#GiveItUp and Automate Sacrifice Using the Government

You find #GiveItUp damn appealing, don’t you? You get to be the hero for all those who are serving you day in and day out. Not to mention all those stingy colleagues at work who make you pay for coffee all the time. What better way to do yajna in these modern times than automating the damned thing, you think. Don’t you? You’re in for a surprise.

Wherever it has an outlet — and does it have any? — the Government of India is asking people to #GiveItUp.

For Macaulay’s children, a.k.a. the creme de la creme of India, the fact that an uber-dull thing called government is making a point with a hashtag adds an element of cool — and persuasion.

Let me come to the point. It is that they, the said children, should give up their LPG subsidy for the greater common good. Targeted. Clear. Appealing. Isn’t it?

They’re not exactly reaching out to all those idiots who don’t get what a hashtag is. Nor is it for those who can’t #GiveItUp because they haven’t got any.

In other words, it’s for you.

Not your housemaid, your gardener, your driver, etc., etc.

You find it damn appealing, don’t you? You get to be the hero for all those who are serving you day in and day out. Not to mention all those stingy colleagues at work who make you pay for coffee all the time.

What better way to do yajna in these modern times than automating the damned thing, you think. Don’t you?

After all, that’s what you’re doing when you pay tax. So why not add some change on top of it? This time you get to tweet your sacrifice using a government-sponsored hashtag, and you’re on your way to stardom.

Surprise.

You’re just fooling yourself. It’s impossible to automate sacrifice. Even tax is the worst form of service we can do to our fellowmen.

So is this #GiveItUp money.

Even a foreigner can be as much a hero as you by just paying tax and now this LPG subsidy to the government.

By the way, who is a foreigner? I always refer to what the Gujarat High Court called Hindi: “a foreign language in Gujarat”. It follows that every Indian is a foreigner when he’s out of his or her own linguistic state or region.

Aren’t you in a better position than a foreigner to serve those immediately around you? Do you have to pay tax to do so? Do you have to #GiveItUp to do so?

Do you really believe a government can help automate sacrifice? That too, a government made up almost entirely of foreigners?

For a Kannadiga or a Tamil, a Gujarati or a Marathi, the Government of India is made up entirely of others. Foreigners, to be precise.

The best way for a Kannadiga to help poorer Kannadigas – is it to put money in the modern version of Queen Victoria’s empirical treasury?

Why put your money in such a long loop, especially when the loop has wolves waiting to devour anything coming on the conveyor belt?

Those wolves aren’t going to send any money to your housemaid, are they? They’re not going to help that auto-driver dying in the pollution, are they? They’re not going to help “underprivileged children” get education, are they?

No, my friend. Forget they. If you really want to do something for those around you, get the idea out of your head that you can automate it.

Get out of your house, away form your computer. And throw away that smartphone.

Get talking to those who you want to help.

Learn from them, because they know more than you do. They’re just not hashtaggy, and money doesn’t want them.

Talk to them day in, day out.

Learn their language. If you already know it, proceed to…

Enrich it with what you know.

Make it yours.

Fuck money.

They don’t need money.

This is the real #GiveItUp.

What the government is asking you to do is #GiveItToMe. They just got the hashtag right, like I got the title right for this article.

Don’t be fooled.

Does Modi Want India To Break Up Into Dozens of Uzbekistans?

It’s outrageous to submit to foreign countries that there is only one Indian language, Hindi. That’s what Mr. Modi has done. No, Hindi is not the language of the people of India. It is the mother tongue of a trifling minority, and it must remain so if at all the Indian nation must be considered an ethical entity.

The Hindi-imposition agenda of the Indian nation is nothing new. However, as I have argued earlier, the present BJP disposition at the Centre has taken it up on a war footing. It seems to have given itself a 5-year window within which to destroy every Indian language other than Hindi.

Speaking in Uzbekistan on July 7, 2015, Mr. Narendra Modi reportedly said that the importance of Hindi is set to increase with India marching rapidly towards economic prosperity. NDTV attributes this quote to the prime minister:

Those (countries) whose economy is strong, wings of their language grow faster as people want to learn their language.

This statement, of course, is true for a country which has only one language. But India is not such a country. India is home to at least two dozen well-developed languages. Hindi is a new kid on the block and pales to insignificance in comparison with languages like Kannada, Tamil, and even Mr. Modi’s mother tongue, Gujarati.

It’s outrageous to submit to foreign countries that there is only one Indian language, Hindi. That’s what Mr. Modi has done. No, Hindi is not the language of the people of India. It is the mother tongue of a trifling minority, and it must remain so if at all the Indian nation must be considered an ethical entity.

Hidden in the prime minister’s statement is an acceptance of the fact that it’s possible to look at Hindi speakers as a country by themselves. Similarly, Kannada speakers, Tamil speakers, Gujarati speakers, etc.

That is, India is a nation of many countries. It’s a nation of nations. It’s a nation of multiple linguistic peoples, multiple cultures. To brush it all aside and talk as if all of India speaks one language, has one culture, is nothing but a return to colonialism, imperialism.

By saying that the importance of Hindi wiill increase with India’s economic prosperity, Mr. Modi has really said that economics in India is largely a north-Indian, Hindi-speaking, high-caste phenomenon.

He’s not even counting South India as a participant in India’s economic prosperity. Or East India, or West India. He’s only thinking of a few Hindi speaking businessmen from North India.

Is this prime minister the prime minister of India or Hindia? Is this government the government of a piece of India which has seceded from India as we know it?

However you look at it, the statements of Mr. Modi, the linguistic hegemony of his government, and the inherent bias for Hindi in the Constitution, are all against the interests of the diverse linguistic peoples of India.

Every Indian wants economic progress and the world to know about his or her language. Every Indian wants more and more people to learn his or her language. Every Indian wants the wings of his language to grow faster.

If the Constitution, the Government, and India’s prime ministers cannot accommodate — no, celebrate — these expectations, let there be no doubt that India is all set to break up into dozens of Uzbekistans. Why? Because a billion people are not going to take the death of their languages lying down.

Digital India: ‘Stronger than death-dealing war-ships…’

Digital India’s Narendra Modis will talk to every illiterate farmer more than his actual, flesh-and-blood neighbors. When that happens, the idea that India’s racial and linguistic diversity should be taken into account in India’s political system will be all but dead. If the different parts of India cannot communicate with the Centre at break-neck speed, the case for more regional autonomy becomes all the more clear as time rolls on. But with the kind of communication links Digital India is expected to bring in, the case is weakened. Or so the Centre thinks.

In 1887, a British MP by name Sir John Henniker Heaton told the Royal Colonial Institute something remarkable. It’s worth revisiting it amidst all the Digital India noise today:

Stronger than death-dealing war-ships, stronger than the might of devoted legions, stronger than wealth and genius of administration, stronger than even unswerving justice of Queen Victoria’s rule, are the scraps of paper that are borne in myriads over the seas, and the two or three slender wires that connect the scattered parts of her realm.

Heaton’s argument was that ‘in the postal and telegraphic services the Empire of our Queen possesses a cohesive force which was utterly lacking’ in ‘the Greek, the Roman, the Spanish, the Napoleonic Empires’. While these other empires collapsed, the British Empire would continue on and on because of the cohesive force of the post and telegraph system introduced in India.

What were the ‘parts’ that came together due to this cohesive force? Very clearly, Heaton meant the British imperial officers spread all over India. They could now communicate as fast as possible with higher-ups in the British Raj, going all the way up to the Governor General.

The quotes above are from The Tentacles of Progress by Daniel R. Headrick. He makes my point here better than I could:

The lines of communication that hold empires together never seem strong enough to those whose power and security depend on them.

That is, the post and telegraph system was basically intended to increase the power and security of the Indian Empire. Perhaps no more proof is required for this than this exclamation by John Lawrence, Chief Commissioner of Punjab:

The telegraph saved India.

For whom? For Britain, of course. From whom? From Indians! Sounds confusing?

Lawrence observed this after the British had successfully used telegraph “to re-establish control over Punjab and rebel-held Lucknow” during the Rebellion of 1857-58 (also called India’s First War of Independence).

I rest my case that fast communication is used by the political and economic powers-that-be to increase their own power and security.

Digital India is the latest example of this ancient secret, and we have a new and improved version of Lord Dalhousie at the helm of affairs now. “Look ma, no wires!”

Using this flagship project, the Government of India wants to link up all its departments in a tight communication link so that communication can happen lightning fast. So that those at the apex of the pyramid of corruption in this Aryan nation can appear like neighbors to everyone all over India.

Digital India’s Narendra Modis will talk to every illiterate farmer more than his actual, flesh-and-blood neighbors. When that happens, the idea that India’s racial and linguistic diversity should be taken into account in India’s political system will be all but dead.

If the different parts of India cannot communicate with the Centre at break-neck speed, the case for more regional autonomy becomes all the more clear as time rolls on. But with the kind of communication links Digital India is expected to bring in, the case is weakened.

Or so the Centre thinks.

In actual fact, a Gujarati or Hindi speaking politician in New Delhi doesn’t suddenly become a local in Bengaluru or Chennai or Guwahati or Mumbai just because there’s a fast communication link.

The farmer in Karnataka or Tamil Nadu or Assam realizes, sooner or later, that Digital India’s Narendra Modis aren’t doing him any good in the real sense of the term.

It will strike him, sooner or later, that everyone who is on a fast communication link with him isn’t his friend. It will strike him, too, that he’s not doing any of the talking. And then, regional autonomy shall rain.

I only hope it’s not the kind that India achieved in 1947.