Is selling pakodas offensive or anti-national, now?
Bengaluru, Feb 5: Remember, Bollywood superhit film, The Dirty Picture, where the protagonist of the film, Silk, played by actress Vidya Balan with great aplomb tells one of her rivals from the movie industry, "Filmein sirf teen cheezon ki wajah se chalti hain Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment, Aur main entertainment hu (Films run at the box office only for three reasons---entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. And, I am entertainment."
In the film, Vidya played the role of a "B-grade actress" in the south Indian film industry and thus her stress on the word "entertainment" is understandable.
Just tweak the statement a little bit, "entertainment" has actually become the "buzzword" for politics in the country, these days. It seems if there is no "entertainment" nobody is paying attention to anybody and any issue.
That is why our media spends hours at end on derogatory statements our politicians make against each other. All these "prime time" news leave no room for serious journalism talking about real issues, like farmers' distress, joblessness, rise of communalism and women's rights issues, to name a few.
So, these days, the nation is having a good dose of pakoda (fritters) entertainment. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a recent television interview infamously suggested that selling pakodas (India's favourite snacks, especially during winter along with chai (tea), another favourite of the PM) is also a job, the nation is once again divided.
While on the one hand, angry youths (read millions of educated and skilled people, but jobless) of the nation are burning with rage after hearing that "thoughtless" statement by Modi, his supporters feel that the PM is not wrong and pakoda selling is not a derogatory profession as opposition leaders are trying to attack the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government over lack of jobs in the country.
In the interview Modi stated, "If a person selling pakodas earns Rs 200 at the end of the day, will it be considered employment or not?" The statement angered several people, as experts and the Opposition continue to attack the Centre on the employment scenario in the country.
In between all these political rhetoric over whether India has jobs or no jobs, many youths have taken up the task of selling pakodas. In the last few days, several pakoda protests were held in different parts of the country.
Probably, Bengaluru, India's IT hub, saw the highest number of such pakoda-selling protests (four, if we have not failed to keep a count on the number of pakodas we have eaten so far).
All these protests were hosted by the members of National Students' Union of India (NSUI), the youth wing of the Congress, which is facing anti-incumbency wave in the poll-bound Karnataka.
On Sunday, when Modi was in Bengaluru, and once again delivered a "hard-hitting" speech against the Congress, the Gandhis and Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, outside the venue of the BJP event a few young men wearing graduate robes and caps were seen selling pakodas.
Unfortunately, their protest backfired as 10 men were detained by the Karnataka Police for selling fritters and earning a few bucks while agitating over pakodas. We wonder if selling pakodas is offensive or anti-national.
Was it not PM Modi who endorsed selling pakodas? Then, why so much anger against youngsters (even if they represent any political party or ideology) that they had to be detained by police for hosting an innocuous protest by selling pakodas?
Meanwhile, around 100 more people belonging to pro-Kannada organisations were also detained by the police, as they held protests demanding Modi's intervention in Mahadayi water dispute between Karnataka and Goa.
We must say those pakodas were mouth-watering, as people who attended the BJP event did not miss to gorge on those crispy, spicy snacks.
Probably, pakodas have suddenly turned unhealthy for the BJP as the saffron party and its leaders simply can't digest any form of dissent.