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Modi's Fashion Police

Kartika Puri writes on what clothes mean for Identity under Modi's communal India

December in India was dismal. Many a time, trouble arose. The lawless reigned, the guileful ployed. All erred and behaved badly. This month, one community was especially affected. 

The Tripathis, Mishras, Pandeys, Bharadwajs, Iyengars, and Choudharys of the country are principled, and keen. They work with consummate flair, all are meritorious (The Manusm?iti).Very fairly they demand like behaviour from other communities. On the 15th of December, however, these other communities let them down. 


15th of December was a Sunday. It was three in the afternoon, a prime hour for journalism. As usual, Zee Media prepared an incisive presentation. The Tripathis, Mishras, Pandeys, Bharadwajs, Iyengars, and Choudharys intently watched. The reporter eyeballed the camera. Sharply, he spoke, “Vijay Deverakonda feels scared in new house, needs mum to feel safe”. There was more. He willed to read this headline allegorically. Nimbly, he transitioned. The reporter likened “Deverakonda” to India, the “new house” to Pakistan, and “mum” to the Prime Minister, when a compeer cut in. There was trouble in Delhi. The channel has to air different content, they told him. His presentation was nixed. This vexed those watching. The interruption was unjust, they said. Today misinformation is widespread, they said, and they want their young ones to watch and learn from honest reporting. But for there is trouble in the capital, this hour of indoctrination is taken from them!


 The Bharadwajs observed the matter in hand. From their observation, they drew a piercing inference: “No surprise, there is education inequality in India.”  They, however, had little to worry. Their young one already had his Twitter open.


 While typing, he whispered “media”, murmured “Aam Aadmi Party” and “Delhi”. Then, he used trisyllabic words like “hegemony”. For the climax to the 160 characters, he likened the unjust interruption of the news programme to Article 46. Already, raja beta had watched and learnt allegorical reading. 


This was the trouble in Delhi: Some students did the unspeakable. But their villainy did not last long. The police came apace.  Many bore bamboo staffs, some carried service pistols. So armed, they charged on those villains. These villains were lily-livered, all lacking weapons. Their ill-preparedness was very shameful. No surprise, in front of them, the efficient police rose indefatigably. Although, one witness says that a bad-mannered girl did try otherwise. A paunchy 50-year old charged on this fresher, and madam was offended! In defence, she hurled a copy of Of Course I Love You..! Till I Find Someone Better at the officer. Her act was embarrassing, it is plain that she was inexperienced. Only later she learnt that while stick and stones did break her bones, words seldom hurt armed men. 


The real trouble, however, was at the houses of the Tripathis, Mishras, Pandeys, Bharadwajs, Iyengars, and Choudharys. Yes, they safely sat in their 3 BHK flats. Yes, they were riskless to harm and injury. But with the nixing of the scheduled programme, not only was the education of their young ones at peril, now they, the principled, the keen and the meritorious, were coerced to watch those students doing the unspeakable. Every channel aired their evil-doing. This entire Delhi affair was a poke to goodness. A slap to morality.  More like a suplex, the Pandeys thought. Dear me, this December, the other communities of India had truly let them down! 


It is said that our Prime Minister is the people’s person. He is an impressive leader, empathetic and full of care. For example, he seldom lets the Tripathis, Mishras, Pandeys, Bharadwajs, Iyengars, and Choudharys forget that they are the country’s priority. He shares their joys, alleviates their sorrows. It is unsurprising then that shortly after the Delhi affair, he organised a rally in Dumka and saw to their troubles.


At this rally, the Prime Minister was clothed in a cerulean-blue doublet. Under it, he wore a khadi kurta, white as cow’s milk. To complement his looseness, he paired it with tight churidaars. It was an elegant interplay, a clever juxtaposition.


 It is no wonder then that only a man of his style and aesthetic sensibility had the courage to speak of the unspeakable. Finally to all, he addressed the students’ evil-doing. Those villains, he said, “can be identified by the clothes they are wearing”. He did not enlarge on the statement, made no elaborations. But to a gifted mind, none were needed. The implication was clear. The students had made a fashion provocation.


They had agitated the police with their looks. They were at fault of committing a horrific wardrobe crime. What else can people who sat noiselessly in their libraries or condemned persecution be accused of? It is plain. To the State, the clothes they wore were very unstylish. 


In the Bhagavad-Gita, forgiveness is a divine virtue. Only the educated, the valiant and the venturesome forgive. Will the Tripathis, Mishras, Pandeys, Bharadwajs, Iyengars, and Choudharys then forgive the other communities for their awful crime? Despite being let down, the Mishras say it is likely. So long no one wears a kufi, they shall have an understanding and forgiving heart that continues to look for the best in their fellow country people.

About the author

I write, and occasionally wear pants. Instagram: @_kartikapuri



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