I will admit. Even before I thought of what I will write here, I realized I will either be praised or be attacked. There would be back-handed compliments or sugar-coated criticism, minced and fried with sharp dismissal of opinions, I am expecting that. You ask why? Oh don’t you know already. Its because it involves at least something in passing about the most talked about four-letters in India currently, D-I-M-O (arranged alphabetically so that only humans can understand it, because going by the size of it, I am pretty sure there are programs designed to identify and abuse anyone or anything written, spoken, heard, imagined or dreamt about him).
So what is it I want to write now, after all this time, after all what has been written and spoken, and argued and fought over, you ask again? I will tell you. Morning news has changed for a lot of people. Newspaper articles are all online. Blogs and comments following a piece of (mis) information shape how people who have responded to it, and pegs you to form an opinion. So now everyone has an opinion that can be expressed easily. Earlier letters sent to newspapers and magazines were awaited, so that we could see them published. It was supposed to be a huge achievement – almost being part of history, at least for a few people . Today most of it has become online – and mostly there is another four-letter word for that. Its called S-P-A-M (necessarily in that order). I have spammed many, and the reverse is true as well. I always look-forward to a lively and well-informed debate. There was a time when this used to happen. Now it is mostly just dead meat.
The Indian audience has largely not held on to basic premises on which a discussion, an argument, an agreement can be held. I guess because the computer is cheaper – so has the language also become. Everything is cheaper – the internet connection, smartphones, 2G/3G internet special packs, tablets, different versions of the i-pad, launching a plethora of products which has brought the world closer. Online chatting is now no longer understood as a misguided activity which forms the night-life of majority of college-students in estranged cyber-cafes on flirting chat groups. It has received the silent consent of the society as a form of communication, in a world where phone chats have replaced long letters sent over post.
My apologies. I almost forgot that you came here to read what I had to say about the four-letter word, and not my pathetic nostalgia about something you do not probably care about. So coming back to the question at hand, what new exactly will I say that will make my point clearer. Nothing. Having closely followed everything that has happened around our prospective-PM, I have realized that lines are already drawn. A large number of the people wander around in the middle, with the communist/secular/sickular/pseudo-secular janta is up in arms against a communal-prejudiced/Hindu nationalist right. Both of them claim to have understood the nuances of everything that goes around. And all of them speak for a lot, crores at a time, people. The decreasingly decent ones have tried putting facts, figures and perspectives in front of the others while the other has taken all the painstaking efforts to build counter-arguments. The rest have now resorted to make it a university examination of all the gendered-abuses they have learnt till date.
And I must say, people are doing exceedingly well in this arena. The others floating around are so caught unawares in this that they have already applied for the Australian visa, atleast there is good and cheap beer there (this is the one thing in this piece that I base truly on hearsay). All of the three categories are the small minority of people who have access and ownership over some form of online spaces. Around 70 crore people (if I am being modest in the figures) are not anywhere here. They are too busy tilling the lands of their landlords, or picking your waste, cleaning and cooking for you – or getting shot by bullets in the ‘conflict-zones’ of this country. The rest are just sleeping around the huge pillars of your huge infrastructural architecture – your metro stations, your lush-green real estate apartments, your factories, and beneath your dams and power stations.
They still have not exercised their vote, and more importantly their voices. Not yet. But they will. And the bubble of everything around this four-letter word will then burst. All the arguments of Nationalism, Development, Growth, Progress, Communalism, Mass-Murder, Rape, Violence, all of it will change. All of these people have still not talked about these, because they are too busy living all these, while the rest has merely watched movies and interviews, read reports, argued or have plainly just abused each other. They have not lived everything, probably the ones that they could make use of – ‘skewed development’, for example, that the four-letter word has done to them.
I might rest my case till then. It could take a few years. Elections would come and go. Worst fears on both sides might be realized in this time. I will keep sipping my coffee till then, but I still might not rest my case till then.