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Opinion | Are you a good Indian?

Score one point for every sentence that describes you and that makes you nod in agreement. The higher your score, the closer you are to being a Good Indian

Indianness can be reclaimed by shopping at Patanjali stores. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Indianness can be reclaimed by shopping at Patanjali stores. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

If you are a minority, Adivasi, intellectual, dissenter, beef-eater, from Kashmir or Kerala, a woman wearing jeans or one with a loud laugh or a Twitter user who helped trend #MeTooUrbanNaxal recently, you can stop reading right here. You don’t meet the criteria and you never will. If you passed this first hurdle, continue reading to find out if you make the cut to qualify for model citizen status. Score one point for every sentence that describes you and that makes you nod in agreement. The higher your score, the closer you are to being a Good Indian.

Your scientific temper has been handed down through generations right from the Vedic age. Only good Indians like you know that Sanskrit texts can tackle everything including climate change, and that the internet existed during the Mahabharat era.

You’re convinced Christian missionaries are one of the biggest threats to the idea of India and are wary of Western influences that have corrupted your country and introduced all sorts of evil, including birthday cakes. Don’t they know that blowing candles is a sign of negativity and one that can bring you bad luck?

You are doing your bit to reclaim Indianness by using Goseva White Floor Cleaner. You shop only at Patanjali outlets and on websites that promote mother cow and her glorious panchgavya. It took you less than 2 seconds to dismiss as fake news the investigative book that explained how Patanjali’s cow ghee is made from white butter that comes from the milk of various animals. As B-movie director Vivek Agnihotri said recently in an interview: “Who said facts are facts?"

Cow protection is the foundation of your India; 2014’s rallying cry, “the cow will be saved, the country will be saved" is one of your favourite chants. You may eat beef secretly, but publicly you are a member/supporter of protection squads and beef bans.

You rationalize the recent spate of bovine-related lynchings and believe the “cow smugglers" deserved what was coming to them. You failed to understand the fuss about the Sanatan Sanstha (why on earth should it be banned? What about Muslim terror?) or the ruckus when a minister recently garlanded eight men convicted in a lynching case.

As far as heroes and zeroes go, you think Rahul Gandhi only spews conspiracy theories and spreads hate. You believe Arundhati Roy is an anti-national who is funded by Western-sponsored agencies to destabilize our democracy (she’s half-Christian, you found out thanks to your superlative investigative skills i.e. Google).

Freedom of expression is okay but only up to a point. How dare Netflix encourage film-makers to produce a series such as Ghoul where government and law enforcement are depicted as totalitarian and bigoted? Uniforms can do no wrong.

All dissenters are anti-national, especially those whose homes are full of books. You only buy books of value such as Exam Warriors and Breaking India. You can’t understand how Arundhati Roy won the Booker prize for that horrible book—it must have been fixed. You know for sure that all those book-reading, Khadi-wearing types are leading a double life. They don’t want to help the poor and marginalized; they are secretly plotting the state’s downfall. And, oh yes, you disapprove of student dissent. Colleges are for rote learning.

You suddenly noticed this month that India’s athletics performance was good in the just-ended Asian Games. It always is, but don’t let that stop you from believing that post 2014 we have become a sporting giant.

You believe the Indian judiciary is the most arrogant pillar of democracy and the fourth estate, its most corrupt.

In social issues, you are firmly conservative. Intercaste and interfaith love is destroying the fabric of your society. You believe in us and them.

In addition to all your name calling, you have a handbook of favourite words such as rabble-rouser and EXPOSED (which you use only with the caps lock on).

You believe you are fighting for your country—your keyboard is your weapon.

You have only one hero and are proud to be followed by him on Twitter. You deleted all the memes that you received on WhatsApp lampooning your favourite leader’s morning exercise video shot at an expense of several lakhs without even looking at them. You love the animated yoga videos that star him—though you believe he looks fitter in real life.

Like one of the Reserve Bank of India’s newest board members, you believe demonetization was a huge success; the money hidden in bathrooms has returned. You believe the rupee has strengthened, and not depreciated in recent times.

You are convinced Yogi Adityanath has done a great job in improving the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh and agree with him when he says that those who fail to see the change are suffering from “vision disorder".

You are proud of the new India you are helping build; so what if along the way Twitter suspends your account occasionally? You believe those who say we are in an Emergency-like situation are against India. The only Emergency you know happened in the 1970s. In recent years, everything looks cleaner and less corrupt. You are satisfied with the way democracy is working. You don’t get the satire of this piece yet you dislike it and the person who wrote it. You are already plotting your revenge.

Priya Ramani shares what’s making her feel angsty/agreeable.

She tweets at @priyaramani

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