The monk and his cownstituency
The current chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Ajay Mohan Bisht, most likely has a phobia. It seems he is terrified he might wake up one day and speak humane-like, turn likeable and so he makes the extra effort to be perfectly offensive to one and all. Women. He said once, “Women also don’t need independence, they need protection.” Children. When a dozen children died in an accident at an unmanned crossing in UP, he said to the grieving, agitating parents, “Stop this nautanki.” To the gasping. “No oxygen shortage in UP.” But the state government had reportedly ordered oximeters and thermal scanners for cows in gaushalas. For staff, not cows, a clarification was put out later.
And then there are Muslims, of course. Bisht aka Yogi Adityanath recently said while addressing crowds at UP’s Kushinagar town, “Are you getting ration? Did you get this ration prior to 2017? Back then, those who say ‘abbajaan’ would digest all the ration.” He has said other incendiary things in the past. “If given a chance, we will instal statues of Gauri, Ganesh and Nandi in every mosque.” Yes, yes and he infamously equated SRK with the Pakistani terrorist Hafeez Sayeed. And then, “If they take one Hindu girl, we will take 100 Muslims girls.” (But the UP Cabinet has passed harsh laws to counter cow slaughter.)
The semantics of his latest abbajaan comment is a many-barrelled offensive. At one level, it is of course levelled at Muslims. There might be in there an acerbic suggestion of stereotypical large families too guzzling ration. As to why he chooses abbajaan instead of ammijaan is possibly unadulterated chauvinism, but some may read into it a nod to patrilineality or a dismissal of the womb. At another level it is a pointed jibe at his predecessor Akhilesh Yadav and his progenitor. Some days ago in a television interview he had made a reference to Akhilesh Yadav’s “abbajaan”. This repeat reference then works as a dig at the SP regime, the father-son duo and their politics of appeasement. In fact, in another recent speech, Adityanath criticised the older order. He thundered thus, “Even our cows and buffaloes didn’t feel safe…”