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Flip side: Dangling the participles

The RSS has got their khaki knickers in a twist over what they are calling love jihad.

A new govermment means new challenges, new faces and issues, new extremes and new revelations. The result is that the last few days have seen the birth of a new lexicon, or lexemes, as the inventory of language is called. It has mostly to do with politics and politicians, which is hardly surprising considering they never fail to provide us our daily dose of entertainment and scandals. Here’s the new lexicon, or as some would call it, the ‘Dangling Participles’.

Spoonful of salt: One of the main qualifications for official spokesmen of political parties is a nifty turn of phrase which obfuscates the issue or renders it unintelligible. It’s called ‘muddying the waters’, and here’s the latest example. Responding to a question about the former CAG’s revelations about the former prime minister’s role in various scandals, the spokesman’s advice was to take it with ‘a spoonful of salt’. The original phrase is ‘a pinch of salt’, so what this version translates into is that there may be a few grains of truth in the accusations, but lets not get carried away. Far more credible than the standard: ‘Let history be the judge’.

Love jihad: The RSS has got their khaki knickers in a twist over what they are calling love jihad. Ostensibly, it involves Muslim extremists luring Hindu women into marriage with the intention of converting them to Islam, which is now arousing passions. As a conspiracy theory, it is divorced from reality, but right-wing extremists have come up with a counter: Love Trishul, or local goons who will demolish any attempts at a Hindu-Muslim marriage even if the couple are genuinely in love. The BJP takes the safe route by declaring it a media creation which, as a conspiracy theory, gets them off the hook, or three.

Hate speech: Nothing to do with people like Manmohan Singh who hate speech. This is more to do with love jihad in the sense, or nonsense, that it reflects hatred for a community and is being used extensively as elections near thanks to the benefits accrued from electorates getting polarised. Officially, a criminal act, no one seems to really get convicted, as in the case of Yogi Adityanath, or Amit Shah, or the king of hate speech, Praveen Togadia, who has 20 cases registered against him — the most in any country. It’s a weapon that cuts both ways: Muslim firebrand Akbaruddin Owaisi faces 11 such cases. They still roam free. Competitive communalism takes no prisoners.

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Water terrorism: This combines the worst elements of jihad, hate speech and a warped mind. Water terrorism is what terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed is blaming India for. He has been tweeting, as opposed to excreting, that India is responsible for the floods in POK. One tweet said: “Indian gov discharged water in rivers without notification & has given false information; an act of open mischief. Indian water terrorism is more lethal than its LOC violations”. We’ve all heard about smoking guns, but this guy is smoking something really illegal to produce such hallucinations.

Scottish Swaraj: Considering it was her first official press conference, Sushma Swaraj could have done without the red faces. Asked about the referendum in Scotland that could lead to a possible break-up of the United Kingdom, her response was: “God forbid. I don’t think any such possibility exists at the moment”. A discreet whisper in her ear prompted her to modify her reaction to the prospect of Scottish self-rule, or swaraj, but it was a gaffe made more embarrassing by the connection to her own last name.

First published on: 14-09-2014 at 00:50 IST
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