All of a sudden the D word is being invoked by our leaders. Did you say Deepika? Well, that too, but the word in question here is democracy. After actress Deepika Padukone's show of solidarity with Aishe Ghosh and other protesting students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, the predictable inanities predictably gushed out... chhapaak. Promotional tactic. Check. Threats to cancel tickets. Check. Raking up of old statements to embarrass and shame. Check.
When the chorus of support still continued to swell, they brought out the D word. “Ours is a country of democracy. Anyone, any artiste can go anywhere and put forth his or her view,” said information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar, thus problematising the obvious by overstating it. Union minister Smriti Irani typically conflates offence and defence — if you will recall, she once urged Mayawati to hear her out on some point in Parliament, and promised to chop her own head and place it at the BSP leader's feet if her reply proved unsatisfactory. Now, commenting on Deepika's gesture she said, “I can't deny her that right.”
A stitch in time
As the Constitution shivered in the winter chill, Irani continued knowingly, about those that knew of the actress’s political affiliation and those who didn't know. She spoke of the “vibrancy of the democracy we are” and she spoke about oxymorons with a smile and a pause and a half laugh. In the land of Gandhi, as social media brimmed forth with venom and mockery for a 22-year-old with 16 stitches on her head, as the anti-CAA death count climbed to 25-plus, and as police atrocities smashed existing records, the home minister inaugurated the Indian Cyber Crime Co-ordination Centre or I4C in New Delhi. “It will be very helpful in combating cyber crime in our country in a coordinated and effective manner,” the social media announcement read.