Prime minister Narendra Modi‘s election speeches all sound the same everywhere: a high-pitched, nasal drone of the badlaav BJP will bring to the soil he is stomping that day.
Today, it is Mysore’s turn.
Although the election schedule in Karnataka hasn’t been announced yet, Modi’s bhashan will doubtless be a sales pitch for the blind BJP bhakt, a blend of bluff, boast, bluster, blather, and bullshit—short on facts and high on rhetoric.
With some tea-stall level alliteration (“latkana, atkana, bhatkana”) and nursery-school level abbreviation ‘TOP’ (tomato, onion, potato) thrown in.
Red meat for India’s brainless TV channels and graduates of WhatsApp University.
Here are 10 things the prime minister shouldn’t say in Mysore, because this isn’t quite the gau-belt city he is accustomed to holding in thrall of the “Gujarat Model”.
Don’t talk about upholding democratic values: Mysore has seen democracy for the longest time in the country. Mysore was where the first Praja Prathinidhi Sabha—a precursor to the legislative assemblies—was set up 136 years ago, in 1881.
Don’t talk about ushering in inter-active governance: Our maharajas held what is widely considered to be the first general election in India, to the representative assemblies, to ascertain the views of the people on future policies, 120 years ago.
Don’t talk about ‘Sab ka saath Sab ka vikas‘: Mysore’s kings saw the disparity in our society and ushered in social reforms over a century ago. In fact, they overruled the objections of their chief engineer Sir M. Visvesvaraya on the need for reservations while building the Krishnaraja Sagar dam. Sir MV resigned in protest.
Don’t talk about ‘Smart Cities’: It is not ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ or the ‘Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission’ that has made Mysore clean. This city is what it is because Mysore was the first in the country, in fact one of the first in Asia, to have a Town Planning Authority, 111 years before 2014, in 1903.
Don’t talk about ‘vikas’: We had piped water supply to our homes in 1896. Asia’s first ever hydro electric project, a stone’s throw away from here at Shimsha, supplied power to Bangalore in 1902. We dammed the water of the Cauvery at Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) and built what was then Asia’s biggest reservoir in 1938.
Don’t talk about ‘shaurya’: Mysore is barely 15 km from the island of Srirangapatna, the kingdom of the brave and brilliant Tipu Sultan, whose rocket science even thrilled Napoleon Bonaparte.
Don’t talk about ‘shiksha’ and ‘pakoda’: Our first English school came up in 1833, our first women’s college in 1881. India’s first private engineering college, National Institute of Engineering, was set up here in Mysore in 1946. We have had an engineering college only for girls for 20 years.
Don’t talk about yoga: Good job getting UNESCO to designate a World Yoga Day but we were the yoga capital of the world long before you. All the three big gurus, Desikacharya, B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois are from here.
Don’t talk about ‘Athithi Devobhava’: Mysore has been a tourist magnet for decades, because of the zoo, the bird sanctuary at Ranganathitu, the national parks at Bandipur and Nagarahole, the Chamundi Hill, and of course our nine palaces.
Don’t talk about Mysore silk, Mysore pak, Mysore masala dosa, Mysore sandal, ayurveda, N.R. Narayana Murthy, Javagal Srinath, Jaggi Vasudev, or even our world-class churumuri (just kidding)…