• Chetan Walia

Yes Prime Minister

India adores its Prime Minister.

The PM says stand in lines. We abide.

The PM says wear masks. We do.

The PM says lockdown. We follow.

The PM says it’s thali time. We play.

The PM says light a diya. We do.

We rarely question.

If anyone does, or if anyone remotely appears to disagree with the PM, it is considered anti-India. You must then choose a neighbouring country to reside in.

Recent events of course led a few in the media and few Indians who are troubled at seeing the suffering of people, to question the government. Very nervously, feverishly, choosing words carefully, some asked a few questions.

But when you ask a question, you must be prepared. Prepared not to receive and handle a counter argument, but be prepared that…

your credibility will now be questioned,

your characters will now be assassinated,

your surnames will now be validated,

your motives will now be determined,

and your right to stay in your country shall be debated.

But what happens to the question?

The question, whether or not related, is equated to an attack on the PM. In reality it is just a question. But the answer you get is - Why are you raising the question because There Is No Alternative, and as one of the movie actors recently responded on Twitter — ‘aayega to Modi hi’

As a voter who voted for this government, can I not ask a question, and just stay with the question?

The government’s response is clear and understandable too - How is the government responsible for spreading a virus?

Anyone who says otherwise, it seems, has an agenda to demean India’s credibility or a personal grudge with the PM.

This list would include The NewYork Times, BBC, ABC Australia, Time, and so on. They all just hate India for some reason. And yet their countries are pouring in aid. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

The government is not to blame for the virus. Sure. Common sense.

The government in January, particularly the PM in his speech at Davos (virtually) narrated how

India is successfully combatting the virus under his leadership.

In a BJP official document in March, the BJP executive committee credited the PM for defeating the virus.

It was all over.

Because it was over, it was ok to play cricket matches, inaugurate stadiums, hold festivals, and gather large political rallies.

Just about two weeks ago we had the PM acknowledge that it was one of the largest rallies he’d been a part of.

No PM and no government is responsible for the virus.

But is the government not responsible for leading a narrative that created conditions for the spread?

They say people should have worn masks and not been reckless.

People just followed their PM who had just been credited for defeating the virus - they saw the PM at rallies, they saw their idol taking pride in the turnout at his rallies —- and people as always just said, YES Prime Minister, we follow you….

No one did this intentionally. Of course we know that.

But negligence? Is that not to be questioned? And if I do, must that mean that I am not an Indian, or must that imply that I am anti-PM.

I am an Indian. I am with my PM in this fight. I hope to see him succeed. And for that precise reason I will question, because I care to.

Madras High Court recently lay the blame on EC and questioned whether it is singularly responsible for murder of people.

How can then the mass gatherings encouraged by leaders across the political spectrum not be questioned?

How can the Khumb mela not be questioned, even if it is following protocols?

How can spectators on a cricket field not be questioned?

How can a lack of health infrastructure not be questioned?

How can people dying breathless not be questioned?

Why should it not be questioned?

Question is not a blame. Why can’t our leaders understand that?

You can see the responses are being crafted to deflect criticism..

… oxygen is a state subject

… health infra is a state subject

… permissions of matches is within state jurisdictions

… and elections are well, handled by the EC

Why credit the PM then, when all worked well? Because COVID-19 and policies therein is not a state subject - It is an international pandemic.

Of the people, for the people, and by the people. This is parliamentary democracy and these people are suffering. They are dying.

To which our government bravely says - we will fight together and defeat the virus again.

And all we can do is stare at these dead bodies, live in the fear of even helping others, hope that we don’t need an oxygen cylinder to breathe, and say Yes Prime Minister, we hope you succeed because as everyone says — aayega to Modi hi.

Jai Hind


“Main Jee Bhar Jiya, Main Man Se Marun, Lautkar Aaoonga, Kuch se Kyun Darun”

— Bharat Ratan Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee