When Orwell wrote 1984, he imagine a government that watched what the citizens thought and said and punished those who did not toe the line. Poor chap. No imagination whatsoever. He should have written “India 2017”
We do all that and then more. We have the Aadhar card based on biometric and other information that is to be used for ALL transactions, from the sublime to the ridiculous. We are forced to make digital payments because then of course it is easy to track what we buy and from where. What happens to that data? Is it safe? Is that what you are asking? How dare you? Bloody anti national.
But this is 2017 and obviously this Big Brother act was not enough. There were still many acts that citizens were doing where government was unable to completely control. I am sure a number of worried leaders pondered over this problem of lack of control for a long time. They needed a master stroke. I like to imagine that there was a competition to think of what would be the most invasive act the government could take; invasive of course as connected to citizen’s lives. Many leaders entered the ‘competition’
- Some prescribed what clothes we should wear; since women are unable to think for themselves, this applied more to them.
- Some prescribed what movies we should watch, what books we should read.
- Some even prescribed what devotional hymns in movie scenes should do.
- Some told us to stand when the national anthem was being played, even if you were disabled you must stand they said.
- Some told us to do Yoga, or else…
Almost all of these prescriptions unleashed a force of vigilantes who ensured that the words of their leaders did not fall on stony ground. They were ever ready with their fists, kicks and clubs to enforce the prescriptions.
The grand prize is of course being claimed by the leaders who are prescribing ‘guidelines’ for the food we consume. Now we are clearly told
- What we can eat and what we cannot. Beef – NO. Chicken : yes in some places, not in others. Foreigners are exempt from this restriction if they buy special permits for these special foods.
- What we drink and what we cannot. Alcohol – NO in some places. Ok in some places. Once again foreigners are exempt. Oh and you can get a medical permit to drink alcohol.
- How much we can eat. You have no option – you can only have 2 idlis with ether chutney or sambar; not both, is a regulation I see happening soon. I cannot wait for it.
Now I am wondering what happens next in this space. At the risk of giving a few ideas, let me give it a shot:
- No use of spoons, knives or forks while eating. These are norms forced on us by the decadent, colonial power and the invidious western culture. You are to only use fingers and these have to be licked clean or else…..
- No using plates, whether made of steel or clay. Only banana leaves or plates made of palash leaves allowed. You may keep the banana leaf in portrait or landscape style; your choice. After the meal, the ‘plate’ MUST be disposed off by feeding the cow tied outside the home or in a compost pit.
- No meals to be consumed after sunset.
- All restaurants will remain closed during all major fasting days.
- Pictures of all meals should be taken, tagged with the date, time, and Aadhaar number and uploaded on a central database.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.