Narendra Modi has launched the Fit India movement. He chose the National Sports Day to flag off this campaign. National Sports Day in India marks the birth anniversary of the hockey legend Dhyan Chand. Critics say that Modi has concentrated on health of Indians to divert attention from the ill-health of Indian economy. Thanks to Modi’s Quixotic schemes like “notebandi” and GST, the Indian economy is suffering from multiple organs failure. Recession has set in. Thousands of workers are getting pink slips. Factories are closing down. A history graduate heads the Reserve Bank. Even the Bangladeshi Taka is competing with the Indian Rupee. When the economy is gasping for breath, Modi wants to see 130-crore Indians on treadmills. Forget about economic woes. Develop six-pack abs. Every Indian should have a muscular body so that a Muslim star Salman Khan can’t stand out! The RSS must have complained to Modi that millions of Hindustanis look up to Salman Khan as their fitness idol. A shame for Hindutva!
Heaith is Wealth, I heard when I was a baby in diapers. “Ek sehat ,hazar niyamat” (good health is worth a thousand blessings) said my Muslim neighbours as they gorged on iron-rich “khajoor” (dates). I was duly impressed. When I was a kid in Begusarai, Bihar I sometimes accompanied my family members to cinema halls. The feature film was preceded by the Lifebuoy soap commercial. “Lifebouy hai jahan, tandurusti hai wahan“, the tagline echoed in the dark cinema hall. I equated Lifebouy with health as some bhakts equate Modi with nationalism!
The IPS training made me quite fit much before Modi-inspired Fit India campaign. I trekked miles and miles in Uttarakhand mountains. I swam across Olympic size swimming pools. I climbed hard rocks in the scorching Hyderabadi sun. I rode horses. I ran cross-country. I learnt UAC (Unarmed Combat). I did hurdles. Played volleyball. By the time, the IPS training was over, I was as fit as a fiddle. And I devoured tonnes of cornflakes and drank gallons of milk. I could have been the brand ambassador of the Fit India movement!
But Modi’s Fit India set me thinking. My thoughts traveled to a frail, old lady who answers to the name of Jashodaben. She is Narendra Modi’s dharmapatni. In the traditional Hindu society, marriage is a very holy “sanskar“. The highlight of a Hindu marriage is “saptapadi”. The bride and the bridegroom circle the holy fire seven times. The saptapadi means that they will stay together for seven births. Saat janmo ka saath. But Narendra Modi, the great champion of Hindutva, got rid of his wife in months! In “shuddh” Hindi, a woman deserted by her husband is called “parityakta“. In the patriarchal society ,her status is worse than a widow. She is a half-widow. Neither here, nor there. Just imagine Jashodaben’s mental trauma! And she looks so weak and intimidated. A typical Bhartiya Nari. Again and again, the poor lady has expressed her wish to live with her husband. But her pati-parmeshwar is too busy serving Ambanis and Adanis.
Generally, the PM shares with us his Mann Ki Baat on radio. Pearls of wisdom tumble out from his mouth. Even Confucius turns in his grave listening to Modi’s infinite wisdom. I have a small request to make to Modiji. Kindly, visit your wife Jashodaben with some multivitamins. Get her blood tested for different kinds of deficiencies. See to it that she eats “palak saag” (spinach ) regularly. Milk should be an integral part of her daily diet as Kashmir is an integral part of India! She must be a vegetation like most Gujaratis. Therefore, I don’t recommend for her fish, mutton and chicken, let alone beef. I hope the Prime Minister will pay heed to my humble suggestions. As Fit India campaign grows by leaps and bounds, I want to see Narendra Modi’s wife glowing with good health!
(Mr. Amitabh Kumar Das is a 1994 batch IPS Officer. His views are personal.)