I got a Whatsapp message this morning from a longtime acquaintance in Calcutta.
This man — a good man otherwise — is a die hard BJP and RSS member, and runs a party newspaper too. He was passing on a message, praising Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the woman president of Croatia, and her on-field gestures after the World Cup football final in Moscow — gestures that became viral instantly.
[If you didn’t watch it, She and France’s president Macron were standing there on the field, soaked with torrential rain, and she was hugging each of her players with a big smile and admiration.]
Now, this Calcutta newspaper man’s message said, “Did you know that Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic speaks five languages, and spoke with Putin in Russian and Macron in French, during the prize distribution?”
The message continued, “Did you know that the highly educated lady who charmed men all around the world by her beautiful body (verbatim, I’m translating from Bengali) is also a trained commando, and a sharp shooter?”
Etc. The praise went on.
In case you didn’t know, BJP is the Hindu fundamentalist party ruling India now with overwhelming majority in the parliament, and is a strong supporter of Donald Trump. BJP’s mentor is the grassroots social movement organization RSS, of which the ruling BJP is the political front. (Also, RSS’ former member Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi, but that’s another story we’ll talk about later.)
So, BJP is using the now-famous Croatia president’s World Cup gestures big time. What is the substance of the social media propaganda? That a “conservative” leader, she spent her own money to travel to Russia, sat in non-VIP gallery, and her ability to speak five languages, etc. And “her beautiful body to charm men” everywhere. Etc.
Why are they doing it? Because it helps them to blast “communist” Russia [communist Russia — what a joke!] and Putin and “leftist” France and Macron.
I thought I’d let you know where the hypocrisy was in circulating their well-organized message on social media.
First, in stark contrast with what the Croatia president did, BJP’s Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has been traveling all over the world spending billions of rupees of Indian people’s money. (That is, not his own money.)
Second, in stark contrast to Kolinda’s attire, Modi after his inauguration proudly wore a million-rupee suit presented by corporate India, and justified it when media started to criticize.
Third, Modi and BJP leaders don’t want to speak anything but Hindi, and are adamant about imposing Hindi across India to be the official language, replacing and downgrading many rich and historically precious regional languages and dialects.
Four, Modi and most BJP leaders have no idea what football is. As I said before, their mentor is Hindu supremacist RSS, and RSS doesn’t believe in “foreign” games. When I was with them for fifteen-plus years as an active member, our leaders forbade us from playing cricket or football. Foreign games were denigrated.
Five, and this is the most important thing, contrary to what they say now about the Croatian president, RSS and BJP do not want women to be so free, confident, and out on the field by themselves in the first place. And a woman hugging men, in front of the entire world, soaked in torrential rain? Ask BJP leaders, and you will find out.
Hypocrisy, lies and brainwashing all have assumed a new level. Here in the U.S., we have Trump. And back there in India, we have their counterpart.
With a deep sigh,
Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
Photo courtesy: New Strait Times (for non-profit, education use.)