Sickular Libtard - The power of positivity

Last Updated 25 March 2021, 06:26 IST

Whenever people have gotten upset with the Modi-led NDA, Narendra Modi has told them to “be positive.” In a ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio address, he said, “Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power,” and encouraged everyone to create hashtags like ‘#PositiveIndia’ and ‘#ProgressiveIndia’ (or, as he didn’t say but probably wanted to, PI-PI). When everyone was screaming at him about the economic slowdown, he told them to “stop spreading negativity.” Asking Indians to “make positivity viral,” he constantly reinforces the message that there’s no such thing as bad policy or governance, only bad attitude.

As a certified sickular libtard, I admit that since 2014, I have done nothing but whine, point out bad things, issue dark warnings, and be, like, so negative. But I’m writing this on Independence Day, which is a good day to shake things up. I’m trying to see things differently.

For example, up until now, I thought that the amended UAPA law—which allows the government to imprison any person it deems to be a terrorist, or even to have a vaguely terrorist-y bookshelf, without warning or trial—was a draconian abomination, but now I see that it’s a strong, decisive way to fix a bad attitude. Another example: until now, I thought that the economy was in the toilet, but now I think of it as being in an Open Defecation Free zone.

All this is helping me re-orient my thinking about Kashmir, to make me less angry and more popular. Until recently, I thought that the annexation and military colonisation of Jammu & Kashmir was the kind of brutally anti-democratic, power-hungry thing one expects from a country like China. Now, especially after Republic TV responded to reports of super-upset Kashmiris with the hashtag #NegativityGang, I see that it’s only the kind of brutally anti-democratic, power-hungry thing that any old civilisation has to do to introduce a proudly distinct people to the joys of total homogeneity.

Until recently I thought that locking up the entire Opposition was autocratic, and the communications blackout inhumane, and that it’s a de facto state of Emergency. Now I can see that Oppositions are inefficient impediments to New India, that dead phones make for a lovely surprise when a Haryanavi baaraat shows up at the door; and that Kashmiris can use a bit of me-time indoors to compose moving poems in praise of India. Plus, by craning one’s neck through the concertina wire, anyone can see that the streets are mostly nice and quiet. If only Kashmiris could be more positive.

Until yesterday, I thought that democracy is dead when its institutions and procedures are merely maggot-hollowed display trinkets, while the real action happens through force. Now I understand that this is win-win. If the BJP can subjugate Kashmiris, other Indian Muslims will be persuaded to keep their heads down; and if they can’t, Kashmiri radicalisation will be terrifying and might leak out of Kashmir, which would allow Amit Shah to come down even harder on all Muslims, using the amended UAPA. Yay Hindu Rashtra!

The BJP’s actions in Kashmir remind me of the song ‘A New Argentina’, from the musical Evita: “It’s annoying that we have to fight elections for our cause/The inconvenience, having to get a majority/ If normal methods of persuasion fail to win us applause/There are other ways of establishing authority.”

Until recently, I thought all the positivity was more virulent than viral, and deranged—but now I promise to smile as I say so.

(Published 17 August 2019, 20:14 IST)

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