Friends, Indians, countrymen and six million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants living under my sink, I want to wish you all a very happy Independence Day. Independent India is soon going to be sixty five years old, or to put it in politician years, foetus. It’s weird to think that some of the people ruling us today were around during the British Raj, dreaming of the day when India would no longer be under the thumb of a white lady. They’re still dreaming.
Anyway, it’s a great time to be Indian, as long as you’re not Kashmiri, North-Eastern, poor, Dalit, a minority, a farmer, female or worse, from Kolkata. On the bright side, we did put up our best show ever at the Olympics, especially with Mary Kom teaching India about grit, grace and more importantly, Manipur. She has inspired a whole generation of women, such as small-time model Gehna Vashisht who went nude to celebrate the spirit of India and Photoshop. Having googled Gehna Vashisht, I can honestly say that I’m reminded of Helen of Troy, because Gehna’s is the face that launched a thousand STDs.
This year, as always, we will indulge in our usual display of patriotism and military might, also known as Ek Tha Tiger. Fun fact: Pakistan had reportedly banned the promos of the film, which means that every man, woman, child and goat in Pakistan has seen them. Let’s face it – the only Pakistani ban that worked was the one they put on democracy. Anyway, the promos were banned because Pakistan felt that they showed the ISI in a bad light. Hey, you know what really shows the ISI in a bad light? Kargil.
Meanwhile, our idea of celebrating freedom is nursing a hangover while watching patriotic films on TV. And by patriotic, I mean any film that shows us pulverizing our neighbour, be it in ’71, ’99 or even ’47, when Sunny Deol killed all of Pakistan with a hand-pump and got Amisha Patel in return. If you’ve ever seen Pakistani women, you know that is a rubbish trade off.
Then at some point, you take a break from the movies and start surfing news channels, and this is what it sounds like:
Rajdeep: Hello and welcome to CNN-IBN. The hard-hitting question we’re asking today is ‘Is Independent India A Sexy Sexagenarian?’ And to answer that, we’ve dusted off and brought out our famous historian, Ramachandra Guha.
Guha: Before we answer this question, we must recollect the events of August 1947, 1912 GMT, 33 degrees East, 72 degrees North, when Pt. Nehru took a deep breath, and uttered the now-historic words, “Boss, Dadar kis side aayega?”
Hello and welcome to yet another edition of Newshour aka ARNAB IS AMAZEBALLS. Today The People demand to know: Are we really free? Are Suhel Seth and Mahesh Bhatt the same person? How come we never see them together? Are you Pakistani? Am I Pakistani? Is India Pakistani? And why the hell is baby nappy mein bhi happy?
KYA QUEEN ELIJABETH IS A MAANGLIK? KYA MIDGETS HAIN BHAGWAAN KE PAPERWEIGHT? DEKHTE RAHIYE INDIA TV!
The biggest spectacle is still the Independence Day parade, wherein the Prime Minister gets on top of the Red Fort and does the Macarena. OK, I don’t know what happens because I haven’t actually watched the parade in years. I mean if I wanted to watch Manmohan Singh speak, I would just stare at his picture really hard. As usual, he will make a speech listing out all of his government’s achievements in the past year, so try not to blink or sneeze.
Then a bunch of different floats will go by, each representing a different Indian state. Let’s be honest: if it weren’t for these floats, you wouldn’t even know about the new states that keep cropping up, like Uttarakhand, or Orissa (Odisa? Orisha? Oreos?) Also, I can’t wait to see the U.P float just sitting there, refusing to move until someone promises them “half-return”. And I bet the Haryana float is just one giant ultrasound machine.
So everything said and done, spending Independence Day in front of the TV is not a bad thing at all. It involves sitting around and living off the hard work of our forefathers. And what could be more Indian than that? Jai Hind. Or as Manmohan Singh puts it, (THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK)
(Note: This is my HT column dated 12th Aug, 2012. Cross-posted from here.)
P.S. ANOTHER, MORE IMPORTANT NOTE: Regular readers may have noticed that the frequency of the column has been changed from weekly to fortnightly. I’ve been assured by HT that this is temporary, but nonetheless, massive withdrawal symptoms are setting in. I want to be able to do this every week. So here’s a small request: if you’ve ever liked any of my work, please drop in a comment here saying, “Hey HT, make it weekly!”, or send in a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org saying the same thing. This will make sure I don’t die alone, sobbing and curled up in a foetal position next to my laptop. And it may help get the column back into weekly mode. Help me out and may Ryan Gosling and/or Anne Hathway do unspeakably satisfying things to you. C’mon. Send that mail. Write that comment. Do it for Sachin. Thank you.