Jaagte Raho: Why India Needs a Chowkidar Like PM Modi


Jaagte Raho: Why India Needs a Chowkidar Like PM Modi

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Now that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party members have taken on the role of chowkidars, the nation can finally rest in peace.

We are eternally grateful to Modi ji for making us realise India is perfectly capable of functioning without a Prime Minister. If Boeings can fly us across continents on autopilot, why can’t a country do the same? As the greatest civilisation that gave the world test tube babies, cosmetic surgery, miniskirts (check sculptures on Konarak temple), and the best sex positions, surely we can show them how a country can run itself.

It’s not that Modi ji hasn’t tried this not-being-a-PM business before. For starters, he made it very clear in 2014 that he is no pradhan mantri, he is a pradhan sevak (of social media trolls). And he has kept his word. All through his tenure, Modi ji has donned many avatars – that of an avid traveller, passionate hugger, style diva, yoga enthusiast, acronym generator. Yet, we continued to mistake him for our pradhan mantri. There were times when he himself would forget he was elected to steer the country toward progress – vikas – by a hopeful electorate. Instead he continues to travel across the country, relentlessly canvassing for votes for BJP, making us wonder if he still fancies himself only as the chief campaigner for the party.

Over the past four years, we’ve seen a lot of changes being ushered in. Valentine’s Day is now Matru-Pitru Poojan Diwas. Christmas is Good Governance Day. Intellectuals are now urban Naxals, there is no such thing as unbiased media – we only have two camps, pro-BJP and anti-BJP – and those demanding accountability or proof from the government of anything from air strikes to economic development are branded anti-national.

We looked to Modi ji for answers. But sadly for us he does not believe in press conferences. Now, we can turn to him for protection.

We get it you hate criticism, but should you mistake it for dissent?

Today, we are being labelled an intolerant nation and that’s baffling especially when we’ve had bragging rights to being the country that introduced ahimsa, nirvana, and all things nice and calming to the firangs. It’s distressing to be now crowned as the upcoming lynch capital of the world. Modi ji, we expected you to act like a tough patriarch, kick gau-rakshaks on their asses, stop this wave of hate-mongers, and be the “hero” you are in your biopic. But instead, all we have been getting is some mann ki baat, clever one-liners and hashtags, and some more speeches that focus on taking a dig at pappu. We voted for a strong leader, instead got a nanny who thinks we are not smart enough to be left on our own and prefers to keep us under surveillance. This time, we’ll vote for a chowkidar.

Despite the digressions, we did not give up on you. We waited for you to deliver on your promises. We waited for one crore jobs a year, smart cities, the ghar wapsi of black money, double-digit economic growth. Instead we got Prayagraj, a Vin Diesel lookalike for a CM, a ₹2,989 crore statue, and a joke on dyslexics.

Yet, we know you are a sensitive bloke. We even saw you cry at the Facebook HQ in San Jose. We get it you hate criticism, but should you mistake it for dissent? Leave that to your supporters, who mistake you for India and think the only way to love you and the nation is with chest-thumping theatrics, eye-bulging histrionics, and a great passion for sharing fake news on WhatsApp that end with Jai Hind. They may not be able to differentiate between Surf Excel and MS Excel and confuse mythology with reality, but have a clear idea of how to make India great again – by tweeting #MainBhiChowkidar.

But I know these wannabe Twitter chowkidars do not have what it takes. But Modi ji, I have a feeling, you’ll be a great chowkidar and will bag the “first-ever” UNESCO Best Watchman award in no time just like the “first ever” Philip Kotler Presidential Award. Your thick uniform will protect your thin skin from indignation. And then you can watch out for rabble-rousers who make their own countrymen feel like interlopers. You could add a few lashings to city administrators who let bridges crumble, denude lush forests, nurture potholes like babies, pretty please? And I’m sure once Pakistan knows who is our official watchmen, they will dare not attack.

Since you barely sleep for four hours a day, this new role is just perfect for you. Unlike most other watchmen you’ll never be caught napping in the middle of the work day. Let your slogan for 2019 then be, “Jagte Raho.”

Modi ji, we’d rather be safe than sorry.