Friends, Indians, countrymen, ladies, gents and all, return to your sense. Common sense! It is ‘Jhumla.’ Nothing but ‘Jhumla.’ What the Pradhan Sevak of the country spoke to you about that fifteen lakh meteorite fall into your bank account was just ‘Jhumla.’ His trusted lieutenant Amit Shah will put some sense into you. Listen to him: “It was a way of talking. It was just jhumla. Remember, it was election time. You and I understand that. The people of the country understand that.” That is how Shah, the Pradhan Sevak’s trusted lieutenant, solved the Gordian knot by whitewashing the Modi promise.
Everyone had been waiting with bated breath for the ‘fifteen lakh’ as Modi-sent blessing. It was none other than the Prime Ministerial candidate who promised fifteen lakh in Indian currency if they could let him ascend the throne as the ‘Pradhan Sevak’ of the nation. They waited not just one month, but one year, two years, and then three years!
For Mr. Modi, the selfie-loving leader, who fed the expectant citizens with umpteen promises with magical mumbo-jumbo, turning one month into eternity is just a ‘jhumla’-like mouthwash. In other words, a way of talking! In common parlance, bluff! Amit Shah’s explanation during a video interview with a news channel made the cat come out of the bag, thereby putting the Prime Minister in right perspective.
Thus, we are to understand that those who took Mr. Modi’s election promise seriously were living in fools’ paradise. That is to say that they are morons. In other words, election promises are dished out by politicians who think that their verbal diarrhoea could take the citizens for a ride to Alice’s Wonderland! They have a knack of making citizens wait in anxious expectation.
After all, we Indians are accustomed to waiting. Waiting for yesterday’s train to arrive today ‘on time!’ We are told by the police to wait patiently for a copy of the FIR. After all, a month or two does not matter much. We wait for months for an electricity connection. We wait in vain for our elected representatives to show their faces in their constituencies at least once during their service tenure. The Pradhan Sevak can make us wait for his second term to fulfil his promises. Why in a hurry? Wait, wait, and wait for a second term, a third, a forth; what is the hurry?
Time has come for the politicians of all hues to take note that they can fool the general public some time, not all the time. The nation is fed up with undeserving state and national leaders strutting on the political stage without a modicum of service mentality, without an iota of moral responsibility. One needs to question the qualification of quite many. Many are history sheeters with criminal background and pending cases. Many are educationally ill equipped. It is a family business for many other politicians as they can fit in nowhere else. The only thing most are equipped with is their gift of the gab. Thus, we have a cauldron full of political windbags who use their lung power to amuse us and to promise us the sky. The result can be disastrous or, as one wit termed it, ‘chicken shit!’
When political leaders make election promises and do not execute them, they do not understand the moral and ethical implications of their non-performance. Not even their constitutional binding. First of all, they buy votes with their sweet tongue and wagging tail. Then they blissfully forget what they promised. Many of them do not even know what they sand for.
Value-oriented politics is scattered to the four winds. And, shamelessly, they come once again with folded hands and synthetic smile to crawl, to coax and to beg before the voter who is the king for a minuscule second. Thus, the ‘nukkad’ goes on unending with its mock theatricals. In one such ‘nukkad’, a few years ago, an elected MP, who blissfully neglected his constituency in Bilaspur, had a garland of chappals from the farming community when he came back to them with his begging bowl for another term.
Today, many citizens are wondering whether Modi Sahib’s theatricals have yielded any appreciable result. Disappointment and dissipation are writ large on people’s faces. The development slogan, which was touted by the BJP electioneers and the Sangh Parivar candidates, has been replaced by ‘Gau raksha’ as the pivotal point. It is a politically potent tactic of mixing religion with politics. This toxic mixture can make gods and goddesses become handy tools in the hands of unscrupulous politicians for whom the need of the hour is sheer opportunism. It is not just Modi who fools the citizens with ‘jhumla’, but most politicians engage in it. They can sup with the devil and sing with the saint without any prick of conscience.
Modi has oratorical ability. His lung power will put any rival politician to shame. His uncanny sense, call it the sixth sense, in reading the swinging mood of the general public, can transport him to cloud nine. Once there, he chooses the choicest aspersions on his political rivals while feeding the hungry listeners with promises wrapped in hidden agendas.
The promise of ‘sab ka sath sab ka vikas’ was an eye-popping slogan which the backroom slogan factory equipped him with. Who would have thought that it was a ‘jhumla’ to entertain the gullible voters? Thirty-one percent of the nation’s voters got caught in the magician’s web. But the magician, like the clever spider, knew the loopholes of his web. The result was that ‘sab ka saath sab ka vikas’ turned out to be the ‘vikas’ of Ambani-Adani conglomerate and the gold merchants who have to pay only 3% GST for gold biscuits while the poor are required to pay 18% as food tax. An additional 8% tax was levied on ornament making charges, but then reduced to 5%. That is the difference between gold ornaments and human consumption items. In Amit Shah’s words, the promise is to be understood as just ‘jhumla.’
Mahatma Gandhi once said that there is a higher court above the court of justice, and that is the court of conscience. But, as things stand, even if our politicians are made to face the court of conscience, they are adept in finding the loopholes. The saying that ‘the spider does not get caught in its own web because it knows well the loopholes’ fits very well with our political fraternity.
When the nation was told that demonetisation was to ferret out black money, the citizens thought that the BJP government meant business. They never thought it was a ‘jhumla.’ But, even the best economists differed with the government pointing out that it was a wrong method. They proved correct as the nation saw a total of 200+ persons dying for no fault of theirs. The rickshaw pullers and fish vendors jostling with professors, teachers, doctors and so on in the long winding queues performed the best ‘Passion Play’ theatrical we have ever seen. It ended not only in disaster without finding the sought after black money but also in claiming the lives of many breadwinners of their families. According to a news report, there were 59 demonetisation changes in 40 days. And, some more thereafter! ‘ Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Reserve Bank of India have changed the rules of demonetisation repeatedly.’ (India Today.in, December 20, 2016).
Nobel Laureate and Bharat Ratna award winner Amartya Sen described Prime Minister Modi’s Note Ban as ‘neither intelligent nor humane.’ "I would never criticise Modi for wanting to get rid of black money. If he did it successfully, I would be full of admiration and applause. My worry is that with this move, the lives of law-abiding citizens and white money-holding people will be that much harder. My differences with Modi are over our view of India... and I would like to say the BJP does not have license based on 31 percent of the vote to declare some people anti-national just because they happen to disagree with the government."
Even when the Supreme Court dubbed as a ‘serious issue’ the harassment suffered by people standing in long queues for depositing money, it did not trouble the conscience of the ruling party. In one of his interviews, Yogendra Yadav, president of Swaraj India, spells out a major area of black money transactions. He sees black money passing through the political door which our politicians do not want to tackle. Instead, the leaders bleed the common man white to extract black money. So, the demonetisation hoax can be termed as nothing but ‘jhumla’ to divert attention from other real issues.
In one of his public utterances, Mr Modi said that protection of all religions is a must. Should not one understand this utterance as nothing but a ’jhumla’ when the RSS-BJP gang is declaring openly that India has to be a Hindu Rashtra? So, in the name of Hindu Rashtra, its ‘bhakts’ go about as ‘Gau rakshaks’ lynching, beating or hanging people. They have all the political and religious patronage they want. Minority baiting is rampant. False implications of church men and women in alleged sex cases are part of the hidden agenda. The call to Muslims to go to Pakistan is shamelessly uttered umpteen times. The promises of development for all, security for all, protection for all, and equality for all, are but ‘jhumlas.’ They are meant to mesmerize the nation and derail the lives of those who are the target of the Sangh Parivar.
Today the nation wants to know Mr Modi’s opposing FDI during UPA rule was just ‘jhumla’ or not. When he wanted to give a fitting answer, tit for tat, to Pakistan, the nation was wondering if he was serious. Thereafter, the fitting answer proved to be the coffins of Indian jawans wrapped in national flag staring us in the face. Mr Modi and his tribe opposed UPA’s proposal of Aadhaar card as unworkable and not cost worthy! Wasn’t it just ‘jhumla,’ a way of talking? Today Aadhaar card is so compulsory that it has entered into your pots and pans. No ration will be available to the poor unless their ration card is linked to Aadhaar card.
In Jharkhand a girl child of eleven, Santhoshi Kumari, died of starvation because her family was denied ration for not linking Aadhaar card to ration card. ‘We did not have any grains in our house, due to which my daughter finally died,’ said her Mother Koyli to the Indian Express correspondent (IE News, Oct.19). Sense and sensibility have petered out of the ‘jhumla’-loving BJP government because the Apex Court’s pronouncement that the citizens cannot be denied basic facilities at the cost of Aadhaar compulsions remains on paper. Where is Subramaniam Swami to suggest to us to see the ‘larger picture?’
The full-throated threat to retaliate against China finally ended up in mild whimpers and purrs. Wasn’t it ‘jhumla’ to announce that India’s currency strength would be Rs 40 in comparison with the dollar? Today, it is Rs. 65 or so. Capturing Dawood was rated as a big priority. And, it was reported that recently Dawood’s wife was given safe passage out of India under police security.
The multi-crore ads and media hype for Swatch Bharat and Corruption-free India ended up in netas’ ganging up before media cameras with brooms in hand. Corruption and bribe taking are so rampant that if anyone exposes them, they are victimised. So, the tall promises of Swatch Bharat and corruption-free India are being shelved for a second term. Meanwhile, promises and more promises are coming from the Pradhan Sevak as lip service. ‘Saubhagya Yojana’, ‘Ghar-Ghar me bijli’… the promises galore. What a Ram Rajya!
It is important to ask ourselves how long we will submit ourselves to this type of ‘jhumla’ hype. In every nation’s life a time has to come when it hears the wakeup call not to surrender to sinister forces conspiring to control and derail its true destiny.
(Published on 30th October 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 44)