India is about four months away from the General Election, and shit is hitting the fan. In surprising swing state Bengal, 11 people were arrested after violence erupted in the aftermath of an Amit Shah rally. To battle rural distress, the current government has announced a sop of Rs 17 (less than Zomato’s packaging charges) in the bank accounts of small and marginal farmers. Unemployment in the country is at a 45-year-high according to data the Bharatiya Janata Party allegedly tried to hide. Also, Priyanka Gandhi might just might be a some sort of factor.
But as the countdown to the election begins, Indians with half a college degree with aspirations of becoming more than a pakoda seller, those who practice Islam, or rationality, and especially the ones who are female, are running scared shitless of one scenario: What if Prime Minister Modi returns to power?
Welcome to Thought Experiment Thursdays, where we dare to dream. And, sometimes, take a look at plausible nightmarish scenarios coming to life. No, I’m not saying that Rahul Gandhi is the next incarnation of Vishnu. For he’ll forever be the corporealisation of the spirit of the classic idiom ‘Doobte ko tinke ka sahara hi kaafi hai’ (For a drowning man, the twinkle of a star is enough of a crutch) .I’m just saying that we’ve hit rock bottom with Modi the same way we did with Manmohan Singh’s sad second coalition.
And the fuckers who’re still laughing at the prospect of a Rahul Gandhi Prime Ministerial run, here’s a newsflash— recent Times Now poll predicted the BJP falling short of a clear majority. And this is Times Now, the well-known felines known to gush at the very scent of the current adarniya Modi ji.
But what if the recent Rahul Gandhi <3 is a red herring, and Modi ji does return to power, perhaps aided by a communal riot? What will India 2020 look like?
For Young People
The only thing that’s getting high in India these days is unemployment. It’s at a fucking 45-YEAR PEAK . Shit is so dark that last month, nearly 2 crore people applied for 63,000 jobs in the Indian Railways. And these weren’t even the sexy ones, like that of a train driver, but those of helpers, porters, cleaners, etc.
If you have a startup, things are even worse. The government cares so little about startups, that they slashed funding in the recent budget to their own ‘Startup India’ programme. ‘Startup India’ failed miserably, with only 5% Indians trying to ‘start up’.
The BJP is even destroying the party scene, introducing a new law in Goa which will fine those drinking on a beach Rs 2,000, or put them in jail for three months. Why the fuck would anyone go to Goa if we can’t drink on its beaches?
We will, in all probability, become a nation of rappers.
Congratulations! India is finally a superpower. We’re the most dangerous country in the world for women. And while the government talks about ‘Beti bachao, beti padhao’ (Save your daughter, teach your daughter), its lawmakers are raping teenagers, and some are attending rallies in support of those accused of rape.
All this makes sense, considering the founder of BJP’s ideological parent, Veer Savarkar, infamously explained why raping Muslim women is justified and should be used as a political weapon. The BJP also apparently dislikes Sita, the female lead in the Ramayana, the epic they love. One of their ministers recently said that Sita’s birthplace “is a matter of faith and not based on any evidence". It’s a bit rich, considering the party gained prominence fighting for scientific proof of a floating bridge made of stones (Ram Setu), along with the thirst to build a temple at Lord Rama’s birthplace in Ayodhya, also home to an ancient mosque—both instances inspired from the Ramayana.
The lack of respect towards women exhibits itself in efforts towards modern gender parity. With every passing year of this government, India is getting worse for women at the workplace, with latest estimates
saying 66% of women’s work in India is unpaid.
This attitude towards women and the gender pay gap is ‘surprising’, considering the BJP’s claims in their 2014 manifesto. It reads: "BJP recognises the important role of women in development of the society and growth of the nation, and remains committed to give a high priority to women's empowerment and welfare. BJP ruled states have demonstrated this through various schemes."
It doesn’t look like the party has fulfilled too many of these promises. They failed to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in parliament, despite healthy majorities. They launched the ‘Beti bachao, beti padhao’ scheme, but over 56% of the funds allocated to it was spent on marketing it, rather than its execution.
They also claimed, in 2014, that the state of Gujarat would be a good marker to see how women will progress. In the last three years, Gujarati women were among the highest in the country to make emergency phone calls to the government’s ‘One Stop Centre’ helpline, created for women facing physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse.
Will things get better for women, economically or socially if Modi returns in 2019?
I’m not sure. Maybe we can ask this woman in Uttar Pradesh, who was asked to hold burning coal to prove her ‘faithfulness’.
Correction: For religious, caste, gender, and sexual minorities. Basically everyone who is not a cis savarna Hindu bro.
Friends, I can’t even imagine.
Follow Parthshri Arora on Twitter.