Promoting Candlelight Dinners in India: A Political Satire

[This political satire refers to the day of power grid failure in the country. The comments made in the article are fictitious.]

A candlelight dinner on a pleasant summer evening; romantic, isn’t it? Well, that’s exactly what the Government of India thought when it officially enforced such dinners throughout the northern half of the country on the night of 29th July.

Technically termed as electricity blackout, the candlelight dinners,according to the government officials were “improvised” to promote family bonding and cultural values.

“At a time when children spend hours in front of electronic screens and parents are busy with daily chores, it’s our duty to get the family together. And so we intentionally forced the blackout”, said an official.

On being asked why the blackout happened only in North India, the representative answered, “Our party doesn’t discriminate India on regional basis. The blackout area was randomly chosen. Our message to the rest of the citizens is not to worry, the blackouts will be held on a national scale, and on a frequent basis.”

Reacting to the government’s justification, the netizens in India trended hashtags#WeWantElectricity,#blackoutIndia, and #epicfailure on the micro blogging website.

“I hope we have a year-long blackout in the Parliament. Let there be harmony among the senators #blackoutIndia”, tweeted @AamAadmi

Rising to the occasion were parody accounts of Home Ministry and Electricity Department, the most popular being M0HIndia @MinistryOfHomeAffairs. The account had a million subscribers within a few hours, notable among which were the subscriptions of the opposition ministers.

Unable to digest the harsh criticism, the government launched an official complaint with twitter to block the parody accounts.
“We have requested the concerned authority to take down such users as they spread a wrong message in the public. As a precautionary measure, we are requesting our followers to trend #MOHIndiaRocksand #BlackoutForHarmony on twitter”, said a ruling party spokesperson.

The opposition on the other hand was seen bashing the government. “This move is a promotion of the candlelight dining facilities available at ministry owned hotels and restaurants. The government is bluffing the citizens. We need to have a CBI inquiry on this.”

Rubbishing the remarks of the opposition were the comments from ‘teesramorcha’ (the third wing). 
“Government has done the right thing. Such blackouts boost equality among the rich and the poor“, addressed their leader to the media.

Banking on high TRPs generated by the issue, media persons were tirelessly covering the event. ”Aamadmi faces the blackout burden. Electricity shortage rocks North India”, read the headline on a prime time news show.

Various other news channels showed exclusive footage of people trapped in the electricity net. ”Look here!! This man is forced to get a haircut under candlelight”, reported a correspondent.

In certain other parts of the country the situation was even worse. In New Delhi people got stranded in the Metro and were then forced to dine on the train floor by the officials. Special candles were lit for the occasion. As per the government, it was the best display of communal harmony.

At the end of the day, the power ministry released an official statement, “This blackout achieved a large scale success and we plan to organize more such events in near future.”

Battlefield Twitter

Governing in silence for the past six years, the Prime Minister Office-India suddenly voiced itself (ironical to term “Prime Minister”, which has, over a period time become synonymous to the phrase “dead silence”) on the popular 140 word social networking website – twitter, only to realize that it’s impact has been way too large, larger than the popularity of the Office itself – thanks to some “#cattle class” networkers running parody accounts of the PM Office.

The Government, fearing misinterpretation of such accounts or more reasonably, unable to digest the harsh criticism, had filed an application with twitter in June this year. Perhaps, justified in its approach, given that the esteemed citizens of this country had failed to interpret the real faces of their parliamentary representatives during the general elections.

Refusing to give in to the illogical demand of the Government of India, the social networking site didn’t respond back, teasing the Supreme to resort to its countless power. And so it did. Hiding behind the exodus of the North-Eastern citizens, the government shut down the six ‘misleading’ accounts by ordering the Internet Service Providers (ISP) to block their profiles URLs.

Although, we all agree to the fact that there are certain websites and some content over the internet that promotes communal disharmony and needs to be dealt with stiffly, but everything else that criticizes the government can’t be made a goat. This is no China, for god sake.

Damning the government for its arrogant attitude, the rest of the netizens are seen taking on the corrupt class (political power-heads) by offensively tweeting against them. The hashtags #goiblocks, #emergency2012 and #indiablocks have been trending over the internet.

To quote, some of the tweets read as:
“The worst hate speech was made not on social media but in Parliament by Owaisi. While he is still on twitter, others gagged” @jitengajaria
“At the stroke of the midnight hour as Indians slept, world awoke to censorship” @MsWeera
“Rabid right-winger PM0India a) gets to become a martyr and b) will re-appear and start hate-tweeting from another account.” @DilliDurAst

Meanwhile, justifying their high-headedness, a PMO official was quoted as saying, “We are fine with parody, even though at times it is in bad taste, and there is criticism of the government. But we can not allow anyone to misrepresent the PM’s office and tweet nonsense from these accounts”.

Well, Sir, all I fear is of the day when the name of every other netizen starts appearing to you as that of PM Manmohan Singh. If only you could bring down the internet on that day.

The public sentiment is pretty evident – people feel disgusted by the brazenness of the government. The officials must try and understand that for running the country, they need to feed the so called cattle class; which these days does not eat the long political speeches, but an uncensored internet.

P.S. – This latest cyber restriction by the government in the wake of social media uprising, has only jeopardized its already deteriorated public image #RIPCensorship.

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