When the Army Failed the Bhakts

Social Commentary

When the Army Failed the Bhakts

Illustration: Palak Bansal

Atypical day in the life of an online patriot involves waking up at sunrise to perform surya namaskar, offering prayers before their shrine to Godse, and eating a wholesome breakfast (cup of chai mandatory). Then, they can commence their daily mission of dispensing wisdom and sanskaar across Facebook and YouTube comment sections. Of course, a key component is invoking the Indian Army and the jawans giving their lives on the border to guilt liberals into silence, but Army Chief Bipin Rawat just ruined the party.

The outspoken leader of the Armed Forces was at an event in New Delhi when he said, “The military should be somehow kept out of politics. Of late, we have been seeing that politicisation of the military has been taking place. I think we operate in a very secular environment. We have a very vibrant democracy where the military should stay far away from the polity.” This should come as troubling news to a government that likes to co-opt the success of the Army’s surgical strikes. Coincidentally or not, this is also the same government that benefits from the retired Major General GD Bakshi acting as its proxy in debates on TV news channels.

But the implications of Chief Rawat’s statements encompass more than just the Powers That Be. It has a direct effect on the online army of bhakts. If expert satirists and an escalating meme war wasn’t enough to deal with, Chief Rawat just kneecapped the patriot’s favourite argument. When the Army Chief himself excuses the Army from online political debates, where can the true nationalists turn? It’s a pitiable state of affairs; as if the Army was meant to protect and serve every citizen of India, and not just the like-minded, patriotic folk!

Bipin Rawat might have taken away one of the most convenient arguments that online patriots had, but there’s so many more that it hardly matters

Worry not, bhakts of the nation. Thankfully, there are various other yardsticks by which the true believers can measure a fellow Indian’s eligibility for a ticket to Pakistan. Now that the Army is out of politics, we turn to the National Anthem, and who will or will not stand for it before the screening of Tiger Zinda Hai. Clearly, having an opinion on patriotism being an unenforceable feeling is the sign of an anti-national. Such monsters don’t deserve popcorn, and should be evicted from movie theatres across the country.

Another, easier way, since the busy schedule of online trolling doesn’t let you go to the movies every day, is to post a picture of a steak online and watch people’s reactions. Those who are tempted by a beautiful, medium-rare slice of meat must be ISIS sleeper agents, since eating beef is obviously a crime against the nation.

Bipin Rawat might have taken away one of the most convenient arguments that online patriots had, but there’s so many more that it hardly matters. If they exhaust the options above, they can always move on to topics like “love jihad” and Ayodhya. The fire of online patriotism shall burn bright forevermore.