The little NGO that couldn’t, and other sad stories

The little NGO that couldn’t, and other sad stories

Sickular Libtard

Mitali Saran thinks a good asteroid could solve all our problems @mitalisaran

Five short months after a big general election victory, nothing is going right for the dark lords of India. The economy is crap, nobody liked the budget, the Haryana and Maharashtra state elections were damp at best, the government’s own economists are grumbling—and one with a “totally left-leaning” mindset won the Nobel Prize. Social media is mutinous: a Twitter poll conducted by a ‘Proud Hindu’ showed that a mortifying 70% of respondents don’t think the national anthem should be played in movie halls. In the unkindest cut of all, Goan cows have become non-vegetarian, even though BJP leader Gopal Bhargava has warned that ingesting the merest egg can turn a child into a cannibal! Beef-eating cannibal calves is just the kind of religio-nationalist headache a dark lord doesn’t need.

It’s equally bad on the international front. If the Modi government has a tenuous relationship with reality, its relationship with international opinion is properly bonkers. If the feedback is good, the foreignness of the source comprises its credibility; if it is bad, foreignness is its own disqualification. But now, the democratic world is refusing to understand how stamping on the necks of Kashmiris is good for unity, peace and development.

What’s a hapless authoritarian Hindu supremacist government to do, when the carpet is being pulled from under its jackboots? What it has always done: keep pressing with the jackboot, and try to find a good camera angle while doing so.

Mr Modi decided to look good in Kashmir by inviting in a bunch of European Union parliamentarians—from a political spectrum so diverse that the only liberal member was dropped after asking to meet regular people; via an NGO so naturally qualified that nobody has ever heard of it; on a visit so unofficial that members met only the Prime Minister and the National Security Adviser, and publicised only a formal group shot with the PM, and interacted in Kashmir only with the police, the Army, and government-friendly press. It’s hysterical that the NGO is a) an NGO—a class of entities much vilified by the Modi government, b) run by a foreigner, c) penniless, d) tied to loss-making or defunct firms, and publications reproducing Russian propaganda, and e) headed by Madi Sharma, whose first name is an acronym, which explains the warmth of her relationship with the PM.

As if this wasn’t enough, one delegation member said that he couldn’t see why Indians weren’t being let into Kashmir if he was, and that there is a mis-balance there that the government has to address.

Talk about things going pear-shaped. You expect a democrat like Angela Merkel to say that what’s happening in Kashmir is “not sustainable and not good”, but when a guy with a totally right-leaning mindset disses you, you have to wonder who’s funding him…oh, wait.

The story, meanwhile, has moved on to the fact that, as a waggish WhatsApp forward says, Mr Modi was criticised for following trolls on Twitter, so he decided to follow journalists on WhatsApp instead. Yes, the government is now in the hot seat for pretending it doesn’t know a thing about who’s hacked WhatsApp and is spying on Indian journalists, activists, lawyers, and dissenters via the Israeli spyware called Pegasus.

I suppose it takes a disaster to distract from the previous disaster. The only way to normalise giving yourself a black eye with your own jackboot, is to give yourself another one.