As we change the calendar for the 7th time since Modi took over, I look back at those days wistfully. Those days that would never come back. Those were the days when things were so different, so predictable and so normal. Those were the days.
Every now and then, we used to have bombs going boom boom in different parts of India followed by the ever so sweet, #Terror_has_no_religion chants. And these are the days when we don’t even have proper Diwali crackers.
Those were the days. Whenever petrol and diesel prices shot up even marginally, there used to be a cascading effect on inflation. Prices of all essential commodities used to shoot up. And these are the days, with Modi at the helm of the current dispensation, changes in Petrol and Diesel prices make little to no impact on essential commodities.
Those were the days. 1GB 3G data used to cost Rs. 249. The cheapest 1GB data was BSNL offering 1GB at Rs. 69 for 7 days. How frugal we used to be in using data! 1 GB would last 1 month and we would frantically watch some YouTube videos on the last day to use up the balance data.
Today, we’re running out of 2GB of 4G data before noon. The beauty of paying for your phone calls, the extra STD packages, SMS packages, and all that. The most frugal user would run up a bill of Rs. 400 a month. Data is cheaper than Aata these days. 60 GB of 4G data, 3000 SMS, totally free calling, and a lot more things come for just Rs. 200 per month.
How we’re missing those “missed calls” in Modi era! – Or are we?
Those were the days. We used to learn numbers. Humongous numbers with countless Zeroes in scams and then the “Zero loss theory”. The land of Zero also gave us “Zero Loss Theorist”. These are the days when such numbers and the theories have become just fond memories. Those were the days. How cute were those #Aman_Ki_Aasha sojourns to the Wagah border! Those candles, those sweets, those Shaayari nights, Karachi wine and Lahori Kebabs, those Indo-Pak brotherhood messages even when bomb blasts were happening all around us.
These are the days, Aman will be jailed under Love Jihad laws even for loving Aasha. Those were the days. After every terror strike, we could blame it on RSS even if LeT or HuM claimed responsibility.
We could publish books on “RSS Ki Saazish” and demand a ban on RSS. And these are the days, every nook and corner of corridors of power are infested by RSS people. Those were the days. Media had so much freedom that they could literally decide who would be a Minister and what portfolio would be allocated. Those tasteful and elegant interviews with the matriarch of the grand old party where she told us everything about the all-important Mother in law – daughter in law equation. These are the days when the media has no freedom at all. They cannot even predict Surgical strikes and have to depend upon government agencies to broadcast news.
Those were the days. Some chosen news channels enjoyed the absolute freedom of propagating any narrative as gospel truth. There was so much sophistication, style, grace, and poise. Nobody watches those channels anymore. Even their own staff choose #RepublicTV.
Why? All we see on Republic is half of India’s population as panelists with the anchor shouting down everyone. To make matters worse, Social media has made it a priority vocation to expose NDTV whenever they make those intentionally unintentional mistakes. How could people be so crude and tasteless?
Those were the days. The epitome of secularism was all-pervasive as the then Prime Minister said, “Minorities* have the first rights over the resources of the nation.” And these are the days, we have a communal Prime Minister who tells us, “All are equal” and it is “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikaas”. Just how pathetic!
Those were the days. Freedom Fighters of Kashmir and their intermediaries like Abdullahs and Muftis decided what was good for Kashmir. Jammu and Ladhak didn’t really matter. After all, it was all about Kashmir and #Kashmiriat.
Now we have Kashmir, Jammu, and Ladhak. The “Freedom fighters” are all incarcerated and Abdullahs and Muftis have become irrelevant together. One of the “Freedom fighters” was sent packing on the last day of 2020. Thousands of jobs have been lost in the valley as the stone-pelting industry has almost shut down. Oh, Modi!!!
Those were the days. Intellectuals, Artists, and Poets had so much respect. They got awards, rewards, and plenty of support for their wards. These are the days when only Award Wapsi and Ghar Wapsi are in news apart from Tapsee. All that India stood for has been decimated in these benighted six and a half years since May 2014. The very “Idea of India” carefully nurtured over 67 years is in tatters.
Earlier, we had Muslims, Christians, Yadavs, Banias, Brahmins, Dalits, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Kurmis, Jatts, Gujjars, Lingayats, and thousands of castes. Isn’t it horrifying that the identity politics of Hindus and Nationalists is obliterating the Idea of India? Those were the days. In spite of bomb blasts, terror attacks like 26/11, and routine violence all the time, there was no fear in India. There was no “intolerance”.
The people of different castes tolerated everything and hence India was tolerant. Coming on the first day of the calendar year 2021, India has no patience for the old virtues today. There is “intolerance” and “Darr Ka Mahaul” or “Climate of fear” all over. Those were the days. In spite of repeated attacks against the territorial integrity of India by Pakistan and China, India showed amazing restraint. India always stood for peace and the peaceful.
2014 has shattered all those wonderful traits. Retaliatory strikes against our friendly neighborhood enemies have become the norm.
#Nehru’s India has been lost and #Modi’s Bharat has supplanted it.
All we can do is look back at the golden era of Gandhian (Sonia Gandhian, we can say) values and sigh. Those were the days and the chances of bringing back those days look extremely bleak!
Yet, I wish all of you a Happy 2021
by Govind Raj
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