Say it loud, say it proud: We are all Narendra Modi's chamchas. But we're not doing the job well enough.
India's first family may have fallen out of favour with the voters, but the sycophantic culture that the Congress nurtured (and Jayalalithaa's fans perfected) is alive, kicking and singing. Bhakti is back in vogue. The words "dear leader" have lost their irony. The pradhan sevak's famous luck is churning out truly unbelievable Gross Domestic Product numbers. Modiji's clout has become so powerful that even the Congress – in this case, a splinter branch in the United States – gave him eight standing ovations.
Americans recognise how great Modi is, and not just because he happens to visit them as often as a Virat Kohli scores a century. Yet, back at home, something still seems to be wrong with Indians: Why aren't we the ones standing and ovating? Some of us even refuse to rise to our feet for the national anthem, tacitly admitting our hatred for the country, cows and corny WhatsApp humour.
There are those among us who have the temerity to make films like Udta Punjab that show states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies in a bad light. Magical realism is for South American novels, not realistic Indian cinema featuring Govinda that accurately depicts the brilliance of BJP governments.
We are not taking our patriotic duties seriously. Could it be because we are still controlled by our Italian colonial overlords? (Italy did rule over India at some point, no? I've read it on too many Facebook statuses for it to not be true.)
Fortunately there is one man who can show us the way: Pahlaj Nihalani.
"Yes, I am a chamcha of Narendra Modi as Anurag Kashyap said. I am proud to be, a Modi chamcha," he told NDTV on Tuesday. "Should I be a chamcha of the Italian Prime Minister instead?"
Fair point. Fairer still (since we don't like dark things, or people, in this country), is the admission that the rest of us have a long way to go before we can catch up with Nihalani's shining example. But we can still try.
Here's Scroll.in's quick guide on how to become the ideal Modi chamcha.
1. Make beautiful videos praising Modiji
Nihalani sets the example that the rest of us should follow. Mera Desh Hai Mahan can hardly be topped, and indeed, it is being respected like the national anthem. It also happens to include shots of the Tour de France, highways in Dubai and the International Space Shuttle, but that shouldn't come in the way of a paean in the painful sense of the term.
2. And if you can't make them beautiful, have them describe Modi in many, many ways
Sorry Nihalani sir, but this is the crowning glory of Modiji fan videos, beating even Meghna Patel's brilliance. This song calls Modi "the last air bender", asks "who's gonna scar 'em" (answer: NaMo), and then features these two wonderful lists of adjectives, good for any IAS applicant:
"Common Man, Cogent Man, Moment Man, Exponent Man, Proponent Man, Employment Man, Improvement Man, Involvement Man."
"Hospitality, Logicality, Practicality, Technicality, Sociality, Physicality, Geniality, Legality, Regality, Vitality, Totality, Originality, Punctuality, Spirituality, Immortality, Who's the man? He's the man!"
3. Popularise this true, real, actual, no-joke map of Modi's brilliant diplomacy
Whenever Modi goes abroad, heads swivel, handshakes are awkward and leaders turn into Indian allies*. One patriotic BMKJ-er decided to do the modern content thing and turn Modi's international successes into an easily read map.
(*One trip to Lahore notwithstanding).
Apparently until 2014, most of Europe didn't like India and one half of South Africa had bad relations with New Delhi. Also in the bad relations corner: Both the Americas, Australia, the entire Gulf and an intriguing portion of China.
Ever since Modi, though, according to this map, most of the world has come over to the saffron corner. The exceptions: Some odd bits of Western Canada/Eastern Greenland and a south-western portion of the Arabian peninsula still thoroughly dislike Modi and India.
4. Describe him as god's gift to India or equivalent, ideally Sanskritised sentiment
The Bharatiya Janata Party in 2016 decided to drop the word "revered" to describe Modi in its national executive resolution, presumably because that much is now a given. That said, the supreme leader was still lauded for being courageous, dynamic, transparent, non corrupt, incorruptible, determined, transformative and path-breaking.
And then Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Venkaiah Naidu went and described him as god's gift to India and a messiah for the poor. Remember: Don't embrace hyperbole when talking about Modi, let hyperbole embrace you.
5. Be like Subramanian Swamy
This is Subramanian Swamy. Swamy writes op-ed saying Muslims should not be allowed to vote in India. Swamy says being gay is a mental disorder. Swamy anoints Narendra Modi a Brahmin. Swamy calls journalist an ignoramus. Swamy does lots more ridiculous stuff that will take forever to list out. Swamy is made a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament by Modi. Swamy attacks Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan by bringing up Section 377 and claiming he is an American agent. Swami doesn't get rebuked by top leadership. Be like Swamy.