Ranjona Banerji: Back to Modiji-land

11 Oct,2019

By Ranjona Banerji


A month-long holiday has come to an end and half of that was spent being locked out of my Twitter account. Which leaves one, awful as it is to admit, completely bereft and out of connect with the world. Well, not the whole world but certainly the world of news and opinion which is essential to this column. And much as life has become easier thanks to the Internet, bureaucratic obstacles remain. So, no India phone means no OTP and in spite of trying to start a roaming package online nothing happened, blah blah blah.

The British media is obviously taken up with Brexit and the weather so Modi’s publicity tactics in the US and the destruction of part of Aarey’s forests did not get much traction. India’s continued clampdown in Kashmir did. No point crying about it. All such actions by authoritarian governments get international coverage. Journalists are so bad, no?

No one got as much bad press as British prime minister Boris Johnson. No one was arrested or locked up or had their Twitter accounts shut down as a result. People stood outside Parliament making fun of Johnson. Tourists flocked to watch. The police officers around were mainly concerned with crowd control not dissent control, minus lathis and teargas. Democracy at work, flailing government and ruling party in distress or not.

It took three minutes to get my Twitter account back though how long that will last who knows because I still don’t know why I was “temporarily restricted”. I had to read a long lecture about abuse but since I’ve been more on the receiving end than on the giving end of that, I knew it was a load of tosh. Welcome to democracy, desi style.

Still, it’s great to be back. To learn that Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh went to France armed with chillis and limes (at least I hope they were desi chillis and limes and not some phoren ones) to save the Rafale planes from harm. Possibly from journalists? You have to love the irony. Carriers of destruction need a little superstition to save them from destruction? All hail brainlessness!

Meanwhile, Modi ji is up to some further publicity with Xi Jinping of China. Who that benefits can easily be guessed but you know, can’t be so anti-national so soon after getting back home, right?

ANI is as usual helping the government along by pushing some book written by a 14-year-old on how everyone loves the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, based on her travels in Kashmir. Then it turns out the book is fiction, sort of. Then it turns out she never went to Kashmir. Then it turns out she never wrote the book. Anyway, it was about something which is that some things never change, and ANI is the most patriotic to BJP of all news agencies, so there all the rest of you pretenders.

And then of course, there’s the destruction of the economy by the government. Looking forward to reading all about that.

Ha ha ha ha ha. Sorry, jetlag affects me in strange ways.


Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She is also Consulting Editor, MxMIndia. Her views here are personal


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