How to Spot a UP-wallah Romeo


How to Spot a UP-wallah Romeo

Illustration: Akshita Monga


erriam-Webster dictionary defines Romeo as 1) the hero of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet who dies for love of Juliet, 2) a male lover. For a consenting woman, these definitions work fine and are perhaps desirable, but for the BJP – drinkers of gomutra and counters of condoms – Romeo has somehow been interpreted as the disrupter of sanskar, molester of women.

The anti-Romeo squads, saviours of the women of Uttar Pradesh, have been running wild in the past month, bastardising Romeo’s etymology by turning it 180 degree from love to unruly lust, and taking siblings into custody because they simply refused to believe that they actually were siblings. Which brings me to a million-dollar question: How do the squads even identify a Romeo? I wouldn’t know a Romeo until one came and sang a sonnet under my balcony window.