The funniest video I saw this year did not go viral – though it really should have. It features 20-odd middle-aged men and a bewildered child. It is set in a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh shakha – as the daily meetings of the right-wing organisation that guides the party that rules our country are called. It is not clear when or where the video was shot (if I were to hazard a guess: a summer evening in a middle-class North Indian neighbourhood with a name that ends with “vihar”).
No one is trying to be deliberately funny in the video. The men are doing what they probably do every evening: gather in a circle, raise slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, and run around (khaki short flapping) making a bizarre humming noise. All this while, the child looks on at the theatre around him in amazement.
Every moment in the 45-second clip stands out for its ridiculousness, but it is perhaps also telling of the times we live in – the most important leaders governing us have grown up doing exactly this. It is hardly surprising then that they thought demonetisation was a panacea for the country’s economic problems.