Middle-Class Entertainment

The pattern that seems to emerge when one looks at all the ways in which middle-class India engages with civic issues is that it is all little more than entertainment. And when the things they are obsessed with become something more than entertainment, they start to get queasy and often even hostile.

So the women who have wrestled in international matches and stood at attention under the Indian flag make great entertainment until they turn out to have been human enough to not enjoy being violated by someone who holds power over them. They become something nobody wants to touch with a barge pole. This wasn't what the middle-class likes about them.

When the farmers who grow our crops turn out to have been human enough to find the prospect of their imminent destruction at the hands of a friend of the Prime Minister unpleasant and a worthy reason for protest, they suddenly become embarrassments and terrorists and anti-national foreign agents. They weren't supposed to eat pizza. They were supposed to be poor and helpless and submissive nodders before the webcam during every Zoom call from the government.

When the people of a state that people never tire of calling "an integral part" of India turn out to be human enough to be offended at being treated as if they are not, they become separatists and sympathisers and anti-social elements in the eyes of middle-class India.

They are all only supposed to serve one purpose - entertainment. They are supposed to stand in one place and look pretty and not say anything at all. They are just supposed to be decorative items placed in the vicinity of the supreme leader so that his own image can shine as a result of the light that all these people give off.

They were supposed to be Prime Time pastimes prepared for the consumption of middle-class families of the fabled mainstream while it eats dinner before the TV set, watching raving lunatics as they merrily advocate the marginalisation of anyone who speaks a single line that is not in the script approved by those who run call centres in Gandhinagar.

Our doom will not be entertaining. Because the dying don't watch TV. You can either be a citizen, or you can be user-friendly.

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