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Revealed: A country-by-country action plan to realise the dream of Akhand Bharat

Let’s face it, it’s the only feasible way to avoid the agony of a potential loss at the hands of the Bangladeshi cricket team.

Let us get this straight. What gets Indian youth excited these days is free data, bobs and vagene, and Akhand Bharat. It has never been about access to health services or clean water. The most acceptable index to judge a nation’s success is how big it looks on a map. The British empire may have been built on tea, opium and the British accent, but it was always drawn on a map.

Now, mobilising all our military might towards war for the joy of drawing a country’s shape on paper may sound ludicrous, and that is because it is. But you need to stop thinking of it solely as an act of shameful indulgence.

Akhand Bharat is the only feasible way to avoid the agony of a potential loss at the hands of the Bangladeshi cricket team. An Akhand Bharat cricket team would be unbeatable. They would probably even defeat the Akhand Bharat Kabaddi team in a game of Kabaddi. The Akhand Bharat Kabaddi team would still be content because they found someone to play with. Although the number of Olympic medals might roughly remain the same.

Loosely defined as a bundle of neighbouring territories such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Bombay, Akhand Bharat is the captivating climax in nostalgia Olympics. Below you shall find a country-by-country plan to realise this dream.

Nepal: Peak plan

Let us start with Nepal. Nepal is a Hindu Rashtra. We want to sleep with a Hindu Rashtra. (My friend tells me a Venn diagram would look great). So this is what we do.

A confident Indian cow would be let loose into Nepalese territory from Bihar. This would be in spirit of the Ashvamedha Yagna, as choreographed by some great and many mediocre rulers in our ancient past. Ancient sources (such as RS Sharma in India’s Ancient Past) talk about how soldiers following the Ashvamedha horse would often guide the jumpy creature into areas that were desired by the ruler so as to lay territorial claims over those areas in the name of the divine.

Hence, excessively armed Indian attack helicopters could lift an unsuspecting yet confident cow and place it on top of some of Nepal’s highest peaks, overlooking China. This will allow India to effectively claim that territory. Once we establish that we are serious about what we are trying to do, we can negotiate with them over whether we would like a Soviet-style alliance or let them join us as a full-fledged union territory.

South Bombay: An aunty invasion

Modern India has grown into the burgeoning suburb of South Bombay. When South Bombay needed a state, all Marathi-speaking people were assembled around South Bombay, a boundary was drawn around the assemblage with a pointed stick, and the land mass was hurriedly named Maharashtra.

The city of Bombay gained its independence from South Bombay on the exact date your old uncle starts every sentence with. Since then, Bombay residents have carried multiple surgical strikes of irritable behaviour deep into South Bombay territory, sparking horror-laden cocktail conversations in South Bombay.

An unsettled land boundary, rival claims over small islands off the coast and repeated attempts by South Bombay to secede from India citing their Los Angeles accent has only made matters worse.

While the threats of imposing an embargo on lifestyle products being shipped from the western world into South Bombay has checked its sovereign ambitions, a long-term solution necessarily involves Israel-inspired forced settlements of Punjabi aunties in cheetah pants all across South Bombay, forcing its residents to take refuge on cruise ships to Goa or any other state whose capital they can name.

Bangladesh: Via Sikkim

This is the most obvious piece for the jigsaw puzzle that is Akhand Bharat. Bangladesh won the status of a sovereign nation after eliminating India from the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. From its humble origins as a cricket team with a country, Bangladesh has come a long way as the world’s second largest exporter of apparel for western fashion brands and the most cited word in western philanthropy.

To realise the vision of Akhand Bharat, sometime in the near to somewhat near future, India will simply need to begin pretending as if Bangladesh has always been an extension of Sikkim. We shall get Sikkim to update its relationship status as “engaged to the ‘Bae of Bengal’”. The chief minister of Sikkim will start bragging about the state’s long shoreline as geographic dividend, and the most mischievous toddlers in Sikkim shall sing tales of their shared heritage with southern Sikkim. Needless to say, the cricketer Shakib-al-Hasan will be awarded a Bharat Ratna with retrospective effect.

The sincerity of our make-believe would make Bangladeshis fall for this alternative truth in no time. The Bangladeshi Armed Forces shall be used to implement Aadhaar in our newly-acquired territory.

Sri Lanka: Hook and line

All people from Tamil Nadu and Kerala will converge in Kanyakumari and perform a brisk and intimidating Surya Namaskar while reluctantly facing the sun. Further, all those gathered will project a single fishing rod with a sturdy hook towards the South, reaching the northernmost tip of Sri Lanka. Once the hook latches on to the island, we pull till we make contact.

Pakistan: Taimur vs Ramdev

As the motto of Pakistan Tourism goes, “If you want to have a blast, it shall be your last”. Those unfazed with the previous sentence may start conquering Pakistan by snorting the Line of Control.

The loud and servile news media has weaponised pictures of Taimur to distract the electorate from the one issue that our founding uncles cared about the most: Akhand Bharat. Unless we get Baba Ramdev to personally launch an Akhand Bharat-themed beauty products line, the most powerful pornographic image drawn on a physical map of South Asia might soon lose its arousal value to a gif of Taimur singing “Dus Bahane Kar ke le gaye dil” at Virat Kohli’s wedding.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”


“Like what?”


A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”




“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:


This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.