As an USA (Unofficial Self-appointed Advisor) to the prime minister, I have prepared this speech on the subject of Making India Great Again for next week’s Mann Ki Baat. Since this subject is of more interest to the secular, liberal crowd, it is written in English; it will, of course, be delivered in shuddh Hindi so most of them won’t understand it anyway and the plain people of India who actually watch this great program won’t care about it.
Bhaiyon aur behenon, as you know, I have recently visited my friend Donald Trump, the president of the US. On this trip, I did not travel in my Gujarati rock star avatar—judging from the way things are going at home, and, indeed, the way the diaspora is active on social media, there was no immediate need to push my NRI fans for support; rather the goal was to Make India Great Again.
My friend, Mr. Trump is having a lot of trouble at his home and, although he does not want it to be made public, he wanted my advice on how he could reduce the heat of the opposition he is facing from what he calls the “fake news liberals”. I told him we have those in India as well, but it has been very easy to keep them contained—we simply buy out or bribe or threaten the news media so that they end up doing our bidding. He said that would be difficult in America since, believe it or not, he did not have what he called a “slush fund” of cash to spend on things like this. He does have some friends who have been helping out but it’s still a problem. I told him I would tell Amitbhai to get in touch with his people.
He also asked me whether there was any real value in these Indian healing activities that he was hearing so much about. I asked him whether he meant yoga. Yes, yes, he said, that’s what it is. So, at the White House itself, I gave him a short lesson. He is a little overweight and not at all flexible but it was a good beginning. In fact, when I saw him later in Hamburg, he came up to me to ask about further lessons.
He has a funny sense of humour, though; after we spoke about yoga, he asked me whether I wanted a hamburger in Hamburg. I told him I don’t eat beef since the cow is a holy mother, and that in India, we were trying to get everyone to stop eating beef by choice. Of course, if they don’t abide, we have ways to make them follow our directives. I was a bit surprised when he told me he had heard about some of these activities and, again, he asked, how do I prevent all this negative talk from affecting my temper and health. I told him I would send him some Patanjali products that he should mix with his Coca Cola every day.
I haven’t yet told him that we are planning to start our gau-raksha movement in America soon; we have some friends in Texas who are developing the approach.
Then I went to Israel to meet my new friend Netanyahu—an amazing fellow, a lot like me. He has been elected prime minister of Israel four times, including three times in a row. He does exactly what he likes, and, again like me, he knows how to keep the Arabs in their place. To be honest, he is someone I need to learn from—this is confidential, but I have asked him for some strategic support in fixing our Kashmir problems. I think he will be a great undercover operator for our goals.
While I am being honest, I must tell you that the one part of the world I am still not able to manage comfortably is Europe. I was in the Netherlands recently and it was OK, but, in general, the Europeans, particularly the French, don’t really understand what it is to be vegetarian. And they are very critical, almost continuously, about our record on protecting minorities.
But the biggest problem for me with Europe is that there are so many women in charge. I feel uncomfortable trying to hug them, and I don’t know where to look when they talk about India’s sex ratio and female foeticide and gender inequality. I talk about our Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme but there is always some senior BJP figure or other who says something making it all seem like the sham that it is. The Europeans don’t seem to understand that even though it is 2017, Indian women are very happy living in a patriarchal society—indeed, in time, we will spread these age-old cultural values to Europe as well. In the meantime, to keep their interest alive and the investment flowing, we will make some window-dressing at home.
Bharatiya nari ki jai! Jai Hind!