Opinion | A glossary of the festival of democracy6 min read . Updated: 25 May 2019, 10:30 AM IST
- After all the sound and fury, an alphabetical guide to the recent election
- Let it not be said we learnt nothing new
Even the dullest of elections has something to teach us. Elections 2019 might have been toxic, polarizing, dull, gruelling. But let it not be said we did not learn anything new. Here is a handy guide to everything we learnt from the festival of democracy.
A-B-C-D:Economics prizeA winning electoral formula even a child can understand. If your village gives 80% or more votes to the winning candidate, you get Grade A and move to the head of the development queue. Grade B for 60%, C for 50%, D means wait-till-the-next-election, loser.
Winner: Maneka Gandhi
Bed-tea: Best election beverageThe drink that gets our politicians going. A bed-tea in time saves embarrassment. On the other hand, a chai served late can also save you from awkward charcha (talk) about poll violence. A perfect drink for dry states as well.
Winner: Moon Moon Sen
Canada: The best foreign hand of Elections 2019 A “non-political" interview with the prime minister revealed his sleep patterns, his taste in mangoes, and how he wears his watch. It also inadvertently revealed that one of our most enthusiastic Hindustani deshbhakts is Canadian. Fit hai, boss.
Winner: Akshay Kumar
Divider-in-chief: The headline of Elections 2019This one infuriated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fans so much they hacked the author’s Wiki page and made him a Congress PR lackey. But they didn’t notice he had slammed the Congress even more bitterly in his piece. But then reading is overrated.
Winner: Time magazine
Election Commission (EC): Best self-goal of Elections 2019 The umpire of the election found itself on a sticky wicket after it was accused of dragging its feet and the Supreme Court prodded it into action. It quickly issued a slew of clean chits to the prime minister, earning itself the sobriquet of BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) Selection Commission from some.
Winner: The Election Commission
Finger: The Eklavya awardFirst-time voter Pawan Kumar of Bulandshahr chopped off his finger after mistakenly voting for the BJP instead of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Winner: Pawan Kumar
Game Of Thrones: Best foreign film The blood, sex and gore series approaching its grand finale was deemed perfect for getting the youth vote. Winter is truly coming because when you play the festival of democracy, you win or die or knock off the head of (Ishwar Chandra) Vidyasagar.
Winner: EC and the Press Information Bureau
Hemant Karkare: The Yogi Adityanath award for polarizationThis goes to Pragya Thakur for her curse on the late police officer Hemant Karkare and for championing the patriotism of Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse. The runner-up is Yogi “children of Babur" Adityanath, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister who was barred from campaigning for 72 hours by the EC.
Winner: Pragya Thakur
Insult: Best insult of Elections 2019 Every election comes with some pretty colourful insults. While nothing matched the literary flourish of maut ka saudagar, the short list for zingers of Elections 2019 includes “expiry babu", “chowkidar chor hai", “skirt-wali bai", “bhrashtachari No.1" “Khan Market gang" and the size of Smriti Irani’s bindi.
Jaya Prada: Frequent flyer of the decade The Telugu Desam Party (NTR), Telugu Desam Party (Chandrababu Naidu), Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Manch, Rashtriya Lok Dal, BJP—the party-hopping journey of Jaya Prada is heading for the Guinness Book of World Records.
Winner: Jaya Prada
Kedarnath:Incredible India award: A red carpet through the mountains. A stylish cape. A cave with a view, seating for media and a nice white bed, perfect for finding the meaning of life. This was Siddhartha meets Shangri-La meets The Wizard Of Oz. One wonders, though, why did the prime minister wear glasses while meditating? Is this the next Met Gala theme? From camp to glamping. Runner-up for best exotic locale: Khan Market
Winner: Narendra Modi
Love:Nobel Peace Prize The election was toxic but let no one claim this was not a summer of love. For example, “Narendra Modi insulted a martyr (Rajiv Gandhi), no matter how much hatred he has for my family, I only have love for him. I think love is going to win." Coming as an album soon—Love, No Sex, Aur Dhokha.
Winner: Rahul Gandhi
Met meme: Best visual effects The superimposition of West Bengal chief minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee on Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ Met Gala’s bewitched camp theme outfit ended up causing more drama than the original. It got BJP youth leader Priyanka Sharma sent to jail for sharing it, the Supreme Court had to step in to release Sharma but also asked her to apologize.
Winner: Priyanka Chopra Jonas
Nathuram Godse: Best villain Mahatma Gandhi’s killer had a good Elections 2019. He got an extreme makeover as a patriot who happened to kill the father of the nation. And calling him a Hindu extremist/terrorist resulted in angry complaints to the EC.
Winner: Pragya Thakur
Oxford English Dictionary: Best umpire The venerable OED waded into the election to reassure an anxious nation that Modilie is NOT a new entrant into the dictionary. We repeat Modilie is a lie. Slapped, chortled the BJP (seeThappad below)
Loser: Rahul Gandhi
Paraguay: Runner-up in best foreign hand category Most Indians would not be able to pinpoint it on a map but now millions know its red, white and blue flag which can, apparently, be easily confused with the Indian tricolour.
Winner: Robert Vadra
Queer rights: Best debut award Despite the fall of Section 377, queer rights still make parties nervous. But it’s creeping into a few manifestos and a Congress candidate promised a separate cell for the community. There was even a Pink List of LGBTQ+ supportive candidates and five LGBTQ+ candidates in the running.
Radar: Best scientific and technical achievement“The clouds could actually help our planes escape the radars." The radar-blocking clouds will surely become a unique Indian scientific achievement, bringing back the scientific glory days when India invented the internet, cloning and plastic surgery.
Winner: Narendra Modi
Sickle:Best election accessoryThe award goes to the sickle wielded by an erstwhile Dream Girl turned political candidate hoping to reap what she had not sown in the last five years.
Winner: Hema Malini
Thappad: Best action sequence For some reason, despite the apostle of non-violence being the father of the nation, India remains slap-happy. From real thappads to virtual slaps of democracy, we are just itching to smack people. But can we please stop slapping poor Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal? There should be a Change.org petition for this.
Underpants: Worst costume design Though firmly in the category of things we really didn’t need to know, a politician informed us that a party-hopping politician, a lady as it happens, always had khaki underpants.
Winner: Azam Khan
Vidyasagar: Agatha Christie award of Elections 2019 The hands-down winner of the Mystery of 2019 is, “Who Broke Vidyasagar’s Head"? The 19th century Bengali reformer and proponent of widow remarriage is enjoying an unexpected renaissance, albeit without his head.
Weighing scale:Worst election accessory award An erudite politician had a narrow escape when the hook of a weighing scale at a temple fell on his head. Luckily, he has not lost his memory or vocabulary. Our festival of democracy can be injurious to our health (also see Finger).
Winner: Shashi Tharoor
Xi: Best foreign leader in a double role Who’s afraid of Xi Jinping? When China blocked the UN attempt to designate Masood Azhar a global terrorist, Rahul Gandhi mocked Narendra Modi, tweeting “1. Swing with Xi in Gujarat 2. Hug Xi in Delhi 3. Bow to Xi in China." But, then, in the middle of the election, China finally lifted its hold, Xi played “good cop" and gave Modi an election present. Hugs all around.
Winner: Xi Jinping
Yeti: Best actor in a supporting role The most unlikely cameo in the election season after its footprints were allegedly photographed by the Indian Army. If we can’t have Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose return, perhaps we can get the Yeti to usher in “Achhe Din". Runners-up: Dead but not forgotten, Rajiv Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Can be blamed for something new every day.
Source: Indian Army
Zindabad: Enough said. Bharat Mata ki jai.
Cult Friction is a fortnightly column on issues we keep rubbing up against. Sandip Roy is a writer, journalist and radio host.