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Flip side: Signs of the times

There are some signs that are impossible to ignore since they reflect contemporary mood and trends.

Written by Dilip Bobb |
Updated: February 1, 2015 12:00:09 am
We have plenty of signs of time those floating about right now, indicating what is of primary concern to Indians and where the signs are leading to We have plenty of signs of time those floating about right now, indicating what is of primary concern to Indians and where the signs are leading to.

In India, it is easy to discern the signs of the times, usually traffic signals that everyone ignores. Yet, there are some signs that are impossible to ignore since they reflect the contemporary mood and trends in a country or society. We seem to have plenty of those floating about right now, indicating what is of primary concern to Indians and where the signs are leading to. Here are the obvious ones.

Quit Congress Movement: It’s quite revolting. Having spearheaded the Quit India Movement, the Congress party now faces the problem of its own members quitting, which is quite ironic considering the meaning of ‘Congress’ is coming together. Jayanthi Natarajan is merely the latest in a series of desertions and the implications are Titanic in proportion since it happens to be the image of The Family that is taking a battering. The sign of the times seems to be the one which says ‘exit’. There’s very little consolation for the Gandhis, since the heat may be finally off the son-in-law, but with so many desertions, it is starting to look like his empire is getting bigger than theirs.

Statue of Limitations: History was a lot kinder to the other Gandhi, the original one, on his death anniversary, than contemporary India. While they are still struggling to come up with the funds to build a statue of Gandhi to be erected in London, back home, there is no dearth of support by the right wing for putting up statues of his assassin, Nathuram Godse, across the country, and honouring him as a hero and patriot. There can be no crueler role reversal than that. The Father of the Nation wronged while the Right idolises his killer.

A Question of Answers: For a party as dominant as the BJP, it seems a clear lack of self-belief that they came up with the strategy of asking Arvind Kejriwal five questions a day, and that too some pretty weak ones to start with. The Delhi elections will be a sign of the times, politically speaking, especially considering the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate cannot speak because of a sore throat and the other party leaders are not speaking either, because they are just sore — about her candidature. Banking on an outsider may be seen as a cop-out, but there is the other small matter, of Delhi voters having forgotten what it’s like to have a government.

Designer Treads: It used to be a case of wearing your patriotism on your sleeve to earn your political stripes. Now it’s a case of wearing your name on your sleeve, and along your trousers as well. Monologues are out, and monograms are in, thanks to Narendra Damodardas Modi’s natty pinstripes at Hyderabad House, which have created headlines across the world. In fact, his signature suit got more column inches in the foreign press than his bromance with President Obama and the agreements he put his signature to. The stars and stripes became the Star in Stripes.

Platform for Paradox: It’s 2015 and the Prime Minister and all his men talk about modern technology and the world’s fastest growing economy while displaying for the world to see the tackiest tableaux in the Republic Day parade, taking us back to the ’50s and socialist shabbiness. It didn’t need the rain to dampen spirits. All that blabber on the marvels of ancient Vedic science is clearly impacting the way we showcase ourselves in public, just as we like to show ourselves in public — against the nearest wall.

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