Saturday, December 9, 2023

Patriot Games

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By Dilip Bobb


Patriotism, to paraphrase a famous quote, is the last refuge of the politician. In India post-Uri, it has led to a series of surgical strikes by non-combatants aimed at making India great again, to paraphrase another scoundrel. So what does it take to prove your patriotism apart from chanting Vande Mataram while declaring your black money?

Here are some suggestions from an outfit called Citizens for Raising Awareness and Patriotism (The acronym is self-explanatory).

Provide Y Plus security to all superpatriots: A handful of superpatriots are keeping the flag flying and single-handedly taking on the forces of evil, liberals, softies and the Pakistan army represented by retired generals. They are national treasures and need protection from retaliation by the ISI, IS, JeM, Let, LTTE, Taliban, Boko Haram and other nefarious organizations. How else will the nation know what it wants to know? Thanks to Arnab Goswami, armed commandos will now secure television studios so as to allow free and frank debates, never mind that the VIP protectee, Arnab, ran a prolonged campaign against VIP culture!

Ban the enemy: Bashing the enemy can be supplemented by banning anything connected to them. Pakistani actors are already on the blacklist, which will now include Peshawari chappals, Mysore Pak, Karachi halwa, Pathan suits, Chinese crackers, Chicken Manchurian, fortune cookies and Ajinomoto. Children will also be banned from playing Chinese Checkers. Anyone found listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ghulam Ali or other Pakistani artists will have their iPods confiscated. Similarly, those found reading or quoting Faiz Ahmed Faiz will be sent to special camps in Nagpur to be indoctrinated by stern men wearing brown trousers.

Price of patriotism: Thanks to another superpatriot in Mumbai and the state’s chief minister, we now know what patriotism costs—Rs 5 crore. No one is quite sure whether it is extortion or inflation.

Strikes banned: Under instructions from Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, mention of surgical strikes will be banned, which mostly applies to him since he used the phrase the most. Self-sacrifice is clearly the height of patriotism, so anyone mentioning surgical strikes will be assumed to be talking about trade unions and worker’s rights to stay away from the workplace.

Flags for handicapped: All those confined to wheelchairs will have to wave the Tricolor over their heads when watching a movie. This comes after more fortunate movie-goers beat up a legless person for not standing when the national anthem was being played. He is back in hospital.

Going crackers: This Diwali, rush to the border and set off your rockets. You just might hit one of those dangerous pigeons carrying secret messages for Pakistani spies. Better still, you will be allowed to use Chinese crackers to fire at Pakistan, thus killing two birds with one stone.

Lead Illustration: UdayShankar

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