Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a drone? No, it’s SuperNamo, (with apologies to Superman). India’s new muscularity on the global and domestic stage has created a host of supermen and women, giving Marvel Comics an inferiority complex. It’s a complex development and all to do with power and an increasingly aggressive posture. Here are today’s leading superheroes.
DyNAMO: or Supernamo as he was known in an earlier avatar. He’s faster than a speeding bullet, one day in Sydney, next seen in Kashmir, Kathmandu, then back to Jammu, seemingly able to leap over the Himalayas in a single bound. Some call it Modiflying as he circles the world to reassure everyone that the force is with them. He uses his amazing powers in a never-ending battle to save the planet from destruction, and SAARC from the evil designs of the fire-breathing dragon called China. As we saw in Kathmandu, just one handshake can send everyone in retreat and save a regional grouping from collapse. Even the head of the sole superpower dare not decline his invitation. His 56-inch chest and limitless energy elicits shock and awe among his opponents, which makes one wonder why his wife needs to plead for protection from her protectors.
Muffler Man: He prefers a cap to a cape, and now that winter’s here, the Muffler Man is sure to re-appear, along with the broom to sweep the city clean and ensure a return to his glory days. The loss of his powers was self-inflicted but instead of resigning himself to his fate, he is back with us, asking to restore his superpowers, cutting electricity wires without a care, lifting water tankers one-handed, taking on the high and mighty, driving his supercar, the mighty WagonR, through the world’s most dangerous streets, fuelled on people power, the aam aadmi. Now, Arvind Kejriwal, a.k.a Muffler Man, looks to take his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to victory in the Three Cornered Battle, but pehle aap may no longer be the case.
Betman: He’s as tough as the cement he makes, destroys his opponents (or sends them into exile) with studied nonchalance, rules over the world of cricket and the Chennai Super Kings with an iron hand, and believes in strong family values. It’s because of family values that he’s now being called Betman, for presiding over an IPL that is now under review by the third umpire, in this case, the Supreme Court. In cricket administrative terms, Betman, also known as Cement Man, N Srinivasan, could now be made an outlaw because of an in-law.
Wonder Woman: People often wonder how she became so all-powerful, and a minister, and so highly educated, but Smriti Irani has become the caped crusader, determined to restore the country’s glory as a mighty kingdom. The fact that she played Sita in a Ramayana serial may have given her inspiration, with help from random astrologers. It could also explain her love for Sanskrit. Sita was a paragon of feminine virtues for all Hindu women, known for her “self-sacrifice” and “courage” — and walking through fire — and, despite the opposition she often faces, the cabinet’s Wonder Woman takes it all in her stride, in keeping with the Bollywood movie she is acting in, titled All is Well.
Invisible Woman: You see her here you see her there, er.., not quite. Sushma Swaraj seems to have lost some of her stature of late, resulting in her being overshadowed by those around her and above her. In a cabinet of macho, high-profile Alpha Males, her invisible act tends to go…, well, unnoticed.