Headlines bombard us every which way we look - Corruption, Scandal, Cover-Ups, Lynchings, Fanaticism, Misogyny, Unemployment, Caste Killings and so many more terms make it into daily reportage from across party lines. It just won’t cease. And looking away from it, doesn’t make it go away. Fear of voicing an opinion is a new-found one, thanks to Social Media. But now that feeling of helplessness has a chance to dissipate for just an instance - the day you get to vote. That’s one of the real powers we have as a citizen.
As Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act promo to his Episode on Indian Elections so succinctly puts - Democracy is for people with power: Muscle power and Money power. The only time we can siphon some of that power is on Election Day. And to that end, watching the latest episode of Patriot Act is a must. It’s a 20-minute lesson on what’s ailing Indian politics, the current mood of the nation, and what’s at stake.
You can’t help but laugh along to the digs Hasan takes at himself. It’s everything a troll would throw at him. And the inanity of it is multi-fold when he spouts conspiracy theories about himself. But that apart, this episode is everything you need to know in a nutshell before you make your choice at the upcoming General Election. It’s a well-researched piece going after both the ruling party and the opposition. And that’s what makes it special. It’s not all Modi-bashing. It explains why people are split along party lines. For instance, that the Congress Party’s 2G scam is rated the second worst abuse of power after Watergate, and that UP CM Adityanath is a monk with a gun, are mind-boggling revelations just to show the scope of things. The cons of both parties are listed extensively and without bias.
Shashi Tharoor makes an appearance on the show and tries to bluster his way through Hasan’s upfront and no-bones queries. The absurdity of the situation is laid bare for the viewer. His response to allegations of corruption and murder charges being commonplace in Indian politics was a ‘farrago’ of grunts and uneasy giggles. Unfortunately, Hasan’s invitation to the BJP to go on-air with him was turned down. And that’s only expected when the PM himself refuses to sit for a press conference or answer extempore questions.
Every five years the world trains its eyes on India because the ‘largest democracy’ is out voting. But that’s not really it, isn’t it. And Hasan breaks it down for not just the rest of the world but for even those back at home who think it’s cool to say ‘I’m apolitical’ or, ‘caste doesn’t exist’. There are so many layers to Indian elections - language, community, caste, religion. Nothing is straightforward. Now add to this mix, the new word of the hour - Nationalism. Its effects and the RSS ideology are discussed plainly on the show without any trepidation or reservation. It probably helps that he’s not based in India.
So those of you with access to Netflix (read the Urban Indian) ought to watch this show before you head to your respective polling booths. It could help with perspective. And for those of you who haven’t registered to vote, please do so at the National Voters Service Portal Ain’t no point in complaining, if you don’t use your power.
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