Who joined the dots?
And all of a sudden we are offended because the bindis have gone missing. So much outrage, but not for the continuing Covid-19, not for Lakhimpur Kheri, not for Captain’s manoeuvres. And though the same might not be said of the Aryan Khan case, still, so much outrage and all because some bindis went missing. You might call it a hashtag or by some other name, but “No Bindi No Business” assumed a ring of a primeval whoop and war cry. Innocent words once strung together lose innocence, assume new meaning and power. These ones now worked much like Moses’ staff at the Red Sea. And social media parted, though not quite down the middle, into those who wore the bindi to make a statement and those who didn’t but also to pass a certain sort of judgement.
Camp 1 was belligerent. The missing bindis of the five models --- one of them a man --- featuring in an ad for an apparel brand’s Diwali collection had threatened their ancient religion. Camp members held that the bindi stood for all things cultural and Hindu, auspicious and aesthetic. There were also claims that it was what completed a woman. One denizen went so far as to say, “A woman’s forehead without bindi is like Mysorepak without ghee or sambar without drumstick”. Digest that.
Others claimed the bindi bestowed spiritual benefits, worked as the third eye, and is a matter of pride, worn with pride. Camp 2 held the bindi impasse as an attack on secularism. But instead of putting forth cogent arguments took out their outrage on the beleaguered dot. Suddenly, in the dot they could see all that they opposed, oligarchy, patriarchy, and for this reason No Bindi — as opposed to No Bindi No Business — became a lesser chant. Other divisions revealed themselves --- South and North, brand and brand. At the end of it all, indeed something was missing from the pre-Diwali sparkle — and it was not the bindi.