Person of the Year: The Bhakt


Person of the Year: The Bhakt

Illustration: Shivali Devalkar

This year Prime Minister Narendra Modi won TIME magazine’s reader’s poll in spectacular fashion, well ahead of opponents like Donald Trump and Barack Obama. Even though he lost out on the real prize, being announced TIME’s unofficial Person of the Year is a pretty grand title in itself (commence chest thumping and aarti reciting). For this great achievement, we must give credit where credit’s due, and acknowledge that the real hero here is you, the BhaktTM, who put in hours of tireless effort to make this possible.

We can only imagine how hard this year must have been for you, dear bhakt. Having to wake up every single day to an announcement from the one man you love the most in the world, and then log on to six different social media platforms to broadcast that thought, is no easy ask. But someone has to do it. And better you than me. We appreciate the hours you put in, trying to Photoshop a positive spin on everything the prime minister is doing, whether it makes any sense or not. All this before you have to invent additional accomplishments to shower him with, when the mood is down. It must be exhausting to have to drink Gomutra three times a day and then immediately have to explain to random internet strangers how it cures cancer, keeping a straight face all along.

We know the bhakt life is not the easiest. All employees of the Bhakt HQ, we hear, are asked to suspend logic and change their profile pictures to something that indicates their support toward Modi. Having to shed all inhibitions to constantly portray oneself, as an aggressive, extremely patriotic, senseless person must be exhausting.

Let’s be honest, dear bhakts. For the first two years of the prime minister’s rule, you got on everyone’s nerves. Getting behind the “selfie with daughter” campaign and the Swacch Bharat toilet-building mission didn’t provide you enough material to become the global organisation you deserve to be. But 2016 has been a special year for you – it provided you with the opportunity to display your true shade of orange.

When Kanhaiya Kumar and Co. of the JNU fame began shouting anti-India and pro-Afzal Guru slogans, you took it upon yourself to show up in large numbers on social media platforms, to call for the imprisonment of those seditious students and display your undying love for everything the government has done. You did this in one broad masterstroke, with one irresistible hyphenated word that elicits in us the kind of shame that not even hearing “boob” on TV is capable of doing. I’m talking of course, about the word “anti-national”.

This term was a real game-changer, bhakts. Previously most of your comments were like this: “Fck u commies. Y u dnt support Modi, stupid.” Now, they are like this: “Fck u *anti-national* commies. Y u dnt support Modi, stupid.” Which, in my opinion, adds so much gravitas. It’s almost lyrical.

I could say something along the lines of, “Oh man, insane traffic today”, and you’d answer, “What about the 60 years of Kongis, you libtard MC, BC?”

Then just when we thought you were done displaying your brilliance, you give us a magical phrase: “Go to Pakistan.” Putting these three words together is hardly the greatest achievement here. What’s actually astounding is how you popularised it, via dozens of fake accounts, coupled with swear words generated at random. You used it so often that the nation’s fourth-best anchor Arnab Goswami picked it up. And then Anupam Kher. And then Paresh Rawal. And now the list is endless. That’s the kind of virality, ad agencies can only dream of.

Maybe that’s where your true talent lies, oh brave bhakt. You have succeeded in the course of the year in convincing large chunks of people that anyone with an opposing view to yours is automatically associated to the Congress or the Aam Admi Party. And that logic makes him some kind of a sickular, beef-eating, cultureless, libtard twat who deserves to be shown his place. It isn’t just us plebs, you’ve done this with big names like Raghuram Rajan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, all former Congress prime ministers, several journalists, Communists, feminists, people of other faiths, and other countries, to name just a few.

It seems almost as though you’ve channelled celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey: You communicate only via swear words, and have the manic ability to cook shit up with talent. It’s now nearly impossible to out-argue you.

I could say something along the lines of, “Oh man, insane traffic today”, and you’d answer, “What about the 60 years of Kongis, you libtard MC, BC?” I may be slightly offended and confused, but I can’t deny that your point is bound to stick with me. Soon after, you’ll invent a statistic to cement your point, and I’ll leave the conversation smarter than when I started it.

And thus, you’ve achieved your goal of being Chief Internet Troll. People from all over the world have had chance encounters with bhakts at some point or the other. When beef was banned, when minorities were targeted, or when the PM announced demonetisation, it was the Bhakt HQ that told us what to think, and worked tirelessly to counter all other opinions. Even unsuspecting Americans, who watched Trevor Noah’s segment about India on YouTube, were put in their place, by one bhakt with 200 email accounts who kept upvoting himself.

In addition, you’ve typed tirelessly to ensure that we believe everything you say, and boycott the news media, because “LiAr iz paid 4 news”. Now thanks to you, I will never believe Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt, or pretty much any other journalist. I was unaware of how “crrpt bitch” they were, until you gave it to Rajdeep Sardesai so good, he had to leave Twitter. You gave us the real news. You forced us to stand for the national anthem before movies, months before the Supreme Court did. When the new ₹ 2,000 note came out, you told us about the microchip feature, the famed UNESCO declaration, and about how everyone who uses the note for nefarious activities comes back as Kejriwal in their next life. You gave us our news via WhatsApp, news that the “sickular” media would never report. Take for instance the Photoshopped image that shows US President Barack Obama watching Modi’s speech on TV. I wouldn’t have guessed that our PM was great after the first 4,000 times you brought it up.

All this makes me feel that you are the only true replacement to the Voice of the Nation, Arnab Goswami. That’s why, we declare you, dear bhakt, our Person of the Year. Get back into your bunkers and forget everything you know about grammar because at this party, everyone is seditious. In the bhakt we trust.