Content Warning: This is a work of satire
I’ve been reading the newspaper cover-to-cover, everyday for the past two years now and I know it has made me a better person- I’m informed, I’m more connected to my emotions, I’m even more empathetic to others.
However, I’ve found little-to-no space to be my better self. Hence, I outrightly advocate that newspapers should not be read. If your family is anything like my small-town upper-caste Hindu family then they will think you’ve consumed so much knowledge that it has conked sanity out of your head. But I am privileged that my family is as supportive that when I once opened my mouth in a discussion on a monetary policy, they immediately extended help and sent me packing to the same doctor who gave my mother all those colorful pills twenty years ago.
Anyway, I recently read an article that said 2020 is declared as the ‘year of protests’. In India, the manhoos saya of protests has not left us even in 2021. Thus, for India to truly catharsise out of 2020, I’ve compiled a list of tactics inspired by a certain leader with 56-inches chest to help guide his Marshalls to eliminate protests in a more systematic manner-
Acknowledgement: Come what may- andhi, toofan or Trump, NEVER acknowledge a protest, riot, crisis (social, economic, political or humanitarian). Period.
Safety of protesters: Women should remain inside their houses, ideally in the kitchen. Children should remain in school and reap the benefits of our free and equally accessible education system imparting quality education. Youth should be college libraries that will be provided with better security than any A to Z-level.
State agencies should time and again reiterate its keenness on holding dialogues with only protesting men.
Role of the Media: The media has an immense role to play in opaque handling of the protests- Firstly, for the mental health and well-being of political leaders, all media should be bought off in what is an exercise of retail therapy (as prescribed). Journalists should avoid reporting on local regions lest the shadow of protests, and emerging protest art and literature befall them. Thirdly, media should actively amplify promises of leaders that echoes like empty vessels.
Simultaneous infiltration and filtration: In a two-pronged move, there has to be simultaneous infiltration by the police, armed forces, bhagwa (saffron) comrades at the protest sites and filtration of academicians, and researchers supporting from off-site. The filtration, either via arrests or mob-lynching, is also a holistic-family centric tool that instills fear in families and engages them as participants to slap tapes on each others’ mouths to quell any dissent.
Feeding Gasoline to lit-gas: If “not acknowledging” protesters, their grievance and dissent was not gas-lighting enough in itself, add gasoline by ‘negotiating’ an offer taking into zero consideration the grievance, demands or dialogue with stakeholders.
New Development projects: Taking a page from Donald Trump’s governing manual, direct tax-payers’ money from healthcare, education, migrants (because it’s not like there is a pandemic to address) to the construction of barricades and walls. Improvised as per Indian geographic and demographic intricacies, development projects can be extended to include- digging of highways and roads up to 10 feet deep surrounding protests, suspension of Internet etc.
These projects will quell protests while also generating employment opportunities and uplifting standard of living.
Deploying armed forces: At last, based on scientific research and study, when deploying forces to tackle with consistent, prolonged and peaceful protests, five important elements must be considered in strategy drafting: information, intention, method, logistics and communication. Then, in a tone-deaf manner, the essence of the protest and needs of the protesters must be binned.
The armed forces should proceed to clearly identify the intention i.e. either dispersing the crowd (employing tools of lathis, batons, and pellet guns) or completely suspending protests via spontaneous announcements of lockdown of the entire nation or court orders (for instance, Shaheen Bagh and JMI protests).
As state agencies it is important to be mindful while deciding upon the course of action that the objective is to physically disperse the protesting crowd and, mentally, to instill in them as much fear as possible to deter them from protesting again.
The masses have the memory of a goldfish and may forget the diversity of caste, gender, religion, culture, ideology etc. and unite on grounds of humanity. Thus, the state must utilise the power vested in them by these very masses, to fell a few trees or shake the very ground: in the spirit of systemic quelling of civil protests to rid India of even the shadow of 2020.
Ms Asthana is Dr.Asthana’s sister based in Assam (hint: Munnabhai MBBS)
Featured image source: Scroll.in