3 Things Not to Expect from the New Government

General sentiment in India is very positive and the people are very excitable right now. Now is the time to float and sustain the ideas that will shape our understanding towards and expectancies of the new government.

Today has been a truly historic day for India. With the final results of the national elections released today, it has been the first time in 30 years that a single political party has won with clear majority. With a population of 1.2 billion people from 543 constituencies, of which 800 million are registered voters, India saw a record turnout of 66% voters casting their votes to elect representatives to the Lok Sabha (India’s House of Commons), and they have given 282 seats to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by their PM candidate Narendra Modi. Full election statistics can be found here.

General sentiment in India is very positive and the people are very excitable right now. Two things are of paramount importance at such a time – Firstly, the iron is hot. Strike now if you want change. Secondly, now is the time to float and sustain the ideas that will shape our understanding towards and expectancies of the new government. In light of this, I write the following down. Please note that this does not aim to demoralize, rather to uplift.

Do not expect the Modi government to:

Be Anti-Minority

While there were jokes aplenty during the whole election campaign about minorities and non-sympathizers being ostracized by the Hindu Nationalists and being deported to Pakistan, it needs to stop now. There are people who fancy themselves as clever and “ironic” or “sarcastic” when they can’t differentiate between the two. There is no dearth of such people in the 18-25 demographic in India, and they propagate hate messages such as these in a bid to be cool. The problem is that there is no shortage of people who take these jokes and messages seriously, and ironically, are quite often from the group of “sarcastic retards”[1] themselves.

India is the most diverse nation in the history of the world, and that is celebrated. No government will want to convert it to a monotheist country. Let’s bury that debate now. Also bury the idea that there will be riots, hunger games and wars regularly. If you seriously buy into that defamatory hype, I’d like to ask – “Are you stupid?”

 

Be your Humour Mill

The Indian youth have taken wildly to internet culture, which is generally a good thing, I think… With memes and one-liners[2] becoming mainstream, developers have even created apps that let you easily make the widely accepted format of meme – Image with Impact font text superimposed. No need for Photoshop! This is good because (A) humour keeps things amiable and (B) maybe it gets someone interested in learning the software, and snowballs to an interest in design[3]. My main concern is that we might become a people that take nothing seriously.

Two main advertising campaigns from the BJP government went viral on the internet. The slogans of these campaigns are “Ab ki baar, Modi Sarkar” and “x-wale logon, Janta Maaf Nahi Karegi”[4].

While the first campaign spoke of giving a new government a chance and of bringing a fresh perspective on leadership, the second was a more gritty and intense campaign, with several people speaking of how they have been unable to deal with the shortcomings of the previous government and how they will not forgive the government for raising prices[5].

The intense stares of the second campaign, and the lyricism of the first are believed to be major factors in the virality of these lines, and this is the result.

 

Wave a Magic Wand

While the government has promised a heavily development-oriented plan of action, and Mr Modi has a good track record of the same in his state of Gujarat[6], we cannot hope for all the problems to go away in a week. Indians have a nasty habit of hero-worship and exaggeration[7] – I myself am prone to it quite often. We always look for something to put on a pedestal[8], and I fear that the new government might just be the flavour of the month. We should NOT let this monumental victory go the way of Arvind Kejriwal, the national uproar against rape culture, Nitin Gupta, SlutWalk India, Orkut, Chinese Bhel and Crispy Chilly Baby Corn[9]. This is not to offend, but to show you that we do exhibit a strong “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, which hurts the validity and effectiveness of a campaign or movement.

A couple of examples of the kind of exaggeration we let ourselves do.

The BJP has majority – this is not a government formed by coalition. They now have the power to make hard decisions. While we should not expect immediate results and magic, we should nevertheless sustain national interest in the doings of the government, without pointing fingers and jumping to say ‘nay’ at any stumbling block[10]. We’ve given ourselves a new government. Now let’s give it a chance.

[1] It seems it is trendy to call yourself a retard or crazy, because then you have a wild side. Often, this chalks up to little more than taking selfies with your tongue out and/or your brow scrunched.

[2] Mainstream again, for one-liners. Humour is like anything else – concepts trend in and out of fashion. Just look at weight guides and dietary practices.

[3] Far-fetched, but not impossible. I took an interest in basic design from playing video games and messing around with Google Sketch-up.

[4] Translated as “This time [around], Modi Government” and “People who do x, the people will not forgive [you]”.

[5] The exact phrase being “Mehengai badaane walo, janta maaf nahi karegi” which translates to “Those who increase prices will not be forgiven by the people” (Lit. “Expensiveness increase-rs, people forgive no will-do”, that’s the format of a Hindi sentence.)

[6] Where he ran for 4 terms. 4 terms! That is a statement in its own right.

[7] Brought on by years and years of Indian cinema and Masala film physics.

[8] This is not a dig at the bevy of religions in the country. Please put down your sticks and sickles.

[9] Thanks to Sayantan Bhattacharjee for helping me with the list.

[10] Naysayers are in regret now. See here for some humour.

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  • I appreciate your assessment. I look forward to seeing what happens with this new government.