It’s been a calm February 14th. Apparently, the right-wing groups that generally go about thumping their conservative chests and thrashing canoodling couples — they’re usually profess to be Hindu — announced that they were not going to go on a rampage this year. The Shiv Sena’s Delhi convenor said, “Since last year we are not going in for any kind of demonstration. What is the use or point. We cannot stop them from celebrating, and we are getting a bad reputation.” I imagine a disgruntled harrumph at the end of that sound byte or maybe the gent subsided the way Oscar the Grouch would retreat inside his garbage can in Sesame Street, muttering to himself about how annoying the head honchos of the party are to stop him from fighting Western culture all because there are elections around the corner in certain influential parts of the country. Such are the things that make me grin.
As annoying as all the Valentine’s Day rubbish might be, the effect it has on the right-wing Hindu groups is so entertaining that over the years, I’ve become an increasingly staunch supporter of the balloons, bouquets and other maudlin nonsense. The way all this crap makes the right wing foam at the mouth is something that I find hugely amusing. It’s better than anything on tv, even the news (which in India is more entertainment than information; bad entertainment perhaps but still entertainment). Take these cartoons, for example.
These are from the anti-Valentine’s Day page on the website of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, which is apparently “uniting Hindus globally”. Their complaints are absolutely genius. A few samples:
If young revolutionaries, such as Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Madan Lal Dhingra and Chapekar who sacrificed their lives in their youth, had spent their days celebrating days such as Valentine’s days then we would never be able to enjoy freedom today. What pain their souls must be suffering in seeing their dreams being shattered in this way!
On this day young girls and boys come together at pubs, sea shores, hotels, colleges etc and indulge in indecent acts. A common person finds it difficult to even go around such places at this time.
Psychiatrists can site several cases of people who have ‘proposed’ on ‘Valentine’s day’ due to various shades of mental turmoil. Women who have been duped or lured by them and have married them have had to suffer great mental and physical torture.
The seeds of immorality which are planted on this day, later cause the destabilization of society through a general fall in morality.
When I imagine the guy who typed this, I see him looking like he’s been electrocuted by the sight of red balloons and public displays of affection. Bloodshot eyes, hair standing on end, rocking back and forth while he types frantically and mutters to himself.
The media is the only thing that comes anywhere close to the right-wingers on the amusement index and within the media, it’s tough to top the Times of India’s antics. I’ve actually stopped subscribing to the ToI, which is why I missed this morning’s giggle pill but after Immanuel’s Cant told me about today’s front page faux pas, I had to find a copy. Here’s what the Mumbai edition’s front page looked like this morning.
Note that there’s a story that reads “Spanish masterpiece found in city flat broker’s home”. The masterpiece in question is, according to the accompanying photo, “Saturn Devouring His Son” by Francisco Goya. Which, if this story is true, has been so subtly removed from the Museo del Prado in Madrid that no one has noticed it’s missing and then been spirited away to — wait for it — Oshiwara.
This is better than anything the Onion could come up with. I cannot wait to see the story in tomorrow’s paper that sets the record straight.
Good night and good luck.
UPDATE: Page 5 of Feb 15th’s ToI tells us that the police are waiting to hear from Spain about the whereabouts of the Goya painting and the Archaeological Survey of India is dilligently working away to figure out if the found painting is an original. Can you imagine how these men’s universes will change if and when they ever discover Google?