I am a Modi Supporter in a Media Office Watching the Ultimate Liberal Meltdown


I am a Modi Supporter in a Media Office Watching the Ultimate Liberal Meltdown

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

“You’re wearing this NAMO Again T-shirt ironically, right?” When I did not answer and simply smiled, she asked again.

This was a question thrown at me by a straight-faced senior at work. After all, how could anyone with a sound mind and a bit of logic be a supporter of Narendra Modi? The “decisive manipulator”, “divider-in-chief”, the man who will take India back by some 50 years. Modi is everything evil and his supporters are bigots, illiterate, dangerous idiots and have a chowkidar in front of their Twitter handles. How can a Modi supporter be among one of us?

I have been following Modi for over a decade. My father boasting about the Gujarat model at every family function, was my introduction to politics. Through my summer vacations as a child, I saw first-hand the steady progress that the state of Gujarat was making, with the roads getting better and water, electricity reaching even the remotest areas in Kutch. I was Modi-fied.

Today, I am a lone Modi supporter working in a liberal media organisation. My colleagues consider Dhruv Rathee’s word to be the gospel truth, believe Kunal Kamra is India’s answer to John Oliver, Ravish Kumar is the custodian of all morality in the country, and a PhD in African Studies makes Kanhaiya Kumar the ultimate intellectual.

My colleagues live in Bandra but are more concerned about the abortion debate in the United States. They might not know who the BJP candidate from Begusarai is, but they’ll for sure know everything about Bernie Sanders. This is a lot who was on the verge of tears when Donald Trump won the presidential election and panicked when the UK voted from Brexit. #Truestory. And I’m pretty sure they take two consecutive lefts while driving to work because that is how much they detest the right.

According to colleagues, Modi is an embodiment of everything that goes wrong in the country and he-who-must-not-be-named (Amitbhai) is the dementor of Indian politics. (Yes, a BJP backer can read Harry Potter and no I don’t pronounce Harry as Hairy or Hari). These two men in power, the “Thanoses” of India, are geared for the Endgame – turning India into a Hindu Rashtra, where everyone roams around wearing a bhagwa gamcha, people are forced to drink gomutra (made by Patanjali, of course) and voting will only take place on Indian Idol because democracy as we know it will cease to exist.

I get cornered easily by all the loud, liberal voices, but when no one is watching I place my hand over my heart like Aamir Khan in 3 Idiots and tell myself, “All izz well. All izz well.”

To be a Modi supporter, in such a highly emo environment is like being a good-looking chap in an Anurag Kashyap movie. You feel out of place, obviously. On most days, I keep to myself, without retorting to their rants about the death of freedom of expression, judiciary and the destruction of every other pillar of democracy. But the last few months have been really stressful and somehow I’ve managed to keep my calm. Maybe it’s the yoga… that thing we bhakts hijacked from them liberals in 2014!  

Over the last six months now, I have automatically become the unofficial spokesperson for the BJP at work. Everyone comes at me with “Dekha tumhare Modiji ka pehla ‘press conference’?” “Yeh Pragya Thakur vikas laayengi?” “Air strikes ka kya proof hai?” Trust me when I say I have an even more difficult job than Sambit Patra because there’s no Arnab Goswami to save me. I’m the sole right-wing voice in an office overflowing with liberals, much like Swapan Dasgupta on all NDTV debates.

Whenever I share any news article of a government scheme that has given us returns,  

I get dismissed faster than Rishabh Pant from India’s World Cup squad. Any report I send on the office WhatsApp group is fudged but the conspiratorial forwards about the EVM being hacked are “legitimate concerns”.

Every cordial discussion at lunch turns into an argument as four people surround me to tell me why I’m wrong. Just like everyone is trying to get that one Jain friend to try non-veg food and drinks, everyone is constantly attempting to “convert” me. I get cornered easily by all the loud, liberal voices, but when no one is watching I place my hand over my heart like Aamir Khan in 3 Idiots and tell myself, “All izz well. All izz well.” The election results will speak for themselves.

And today is that day. As the Modi-Shah juggernaut keeps sweeping state after state, I have front-row tickets to the ultimate liberal meltdown.

If 2014 general elections are anything to go by, this is how it will all unfold. The EVMs have already been rigged. RIP, democracy, was the cry yesterday. By 8 am, they are praying for a miracle, all fingers crossed. By 10 am: They are prophesying the end of the world. By noon, they are talking about how they’ve lost faith in the system (for the seventh time in five years). By 2 pm, they are happy that Rahul has some chances in Wayanad. By 4 pm: They are hopping mad and making plans to drink. Hell it’s a dry day, must be Modi’s diktat. By 6 pm: They want to leave the country and are googling where to move.   

This is how it went down in 2014 and this is exactly what’ll happen today. Five years on, not one of them has they left the country. Also, there has been no apocalypse.

Tomorrow they’ll be back with a Blue Tokai flat white in one hand, lamenting about some tweet, ready to take on the world again.

If you think puppies are cute, you should watch the optimism liberals have in the face of defeat. When the Congress managed to do well in Gujarat and subsequently won Assembly Elections in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the cuties in my office were convinced that the BJP Universe was going to come crashing down soon. When the exit polls predicted 300+ seats to the NDA, they were sure that there were many silent voters who lied to pollsters because they were afraid of the ruling government.

When all the other kids are discussing after exam whether the answer is 280 or 300, liberals are those kids that are wondering why no one got 120. And when they don’t like the results, of course, there’s just one excuse: The paper was leaked or the exam was rigged.

Edited by Hardik Rajgor