'Abe..Ja be': Sarcastic jokes go viral in Gujarat as Shinzo Abe comes calling
'Japan se aaya mera dost,
Abe, dost ko salaam karo.
Raaton raat ped kaato,
Din ko raasta banao.
Sab milke ke lighting lagao,
Amdavad ko aaj sajao'.
(My friend Shnizo Abe has come from Japan. Show him the courtesy. Chop off the trees at night to make roads in the daytime. Everyone come together to light up Ahmedabad.)
This sarcastic parody of a Bollywood song from 1977 has been doing the rounds on the social media in Gujarat and it shows that the common man is not amused by the showmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he accompanies the visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a two day visit to Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad.
The sender of this post has qualified this parody by writing, “What a tragedy! I wonder if other nations go as crazy in decoration and over-the-top cosmetic changes at the expense of money collected from the common man.”
Sarcastic jokes and comments galore on social media and during the roadside discussions on this '#Modi circus' as it is being called in Ahmedabad as people see this is yet another attempt to beef up the larger than life image of Modi created by the Sangh Parivar and its affiliates. The commoners who have been put to extreme discomfort are finding solace at hitting out in this manner to get rid of their frustration. They are inking the Abe visit planned by Modi to the forthcoming state assembly polls where 'Modi's BJP' is on the defensive for the first time in the last two decades.
The public is hitting out at the BJP ruled Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) for using the latest technology to repair the roads through which Modi and Abe would be traveling while paying no attention to the devastated roads in the other parts of the city. The roads in Ahmedabad were severely damaged following a high rainfall this year and people continue to face hardships while commuting on them on daily basis. There are pictures of bad roads being circulated with the caption in Gujarati saying, “Crores are being spent to welcome one man.....and huge pot holes for the common man.”
Another one doing the rounds says, “Ahmedabad heartily welcomes Premier Abe and recognises his contribution for fixing Ahmedabad roads overnight! Even during the rainy season! ”
“The public sentiment is against Modi at this point of time like never before. The posters of Modi and Abe along with hoardings that have been put up at various places across Ahmedabad were torn by angry people at certain locations. Today I found security personnel guarding the roundabouts where they have been put up. This was never seen before,” said a local resident.
“The people are not at all amused by the Bullet Train lollypop being offered by Modi during this visit. They are saying that the Bullet Train is for the rich, what is on offer for the poor,” he added.
A post being shared in Gujarati says, “With petrol prices going up to Rs 74 per litre, Vikas (Development) has boarded the Bullet Train.”
There is a picture of Modi dressed in blue being circulated with a caption calling him Blue Whale that has become infamous because of an online game by the same name. The caption that qualifies this picture says, “Blue whale is in town with bullet (train) magic.” The next sentence is in colloquial saying, “Abe...abe ja be.” (Abe...just leave it)
“This is the first time that the people are not enthused with the grandiose Modi event. They are questioning the decorations in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar while pointing that the public money is being wasted while many areas are still reeling under the impact of the heavy rains and floods in North Gujarat,” pointed a resident of eastern Ahmedabad.
There is a video being circulated from Gandhinagar that shows the BJP flag fluttering on top of a pole with the national flags of both India and Japan below it. “It is the same at many places. Is the BJP flag above the national tri-colour? The message in certain social media groups calls for the Congress and enlightened citizens to take up the matter with the Governor for violating the norms on the national flag,” disclosed a local resident.
Sources point out that the BJP is so scared of being shamed and embarrassed on a public platform that the party functionaries including municipal corporators were told to be doubly sure about the people they were bringing for the Modi-Abe road show lest there be an incident that shows Modi or the BJP government in the state in a poor light.
A joke doing the rounds is that if one plans to travel by the state transport buses during these two days, he better call up the bus terminus to confirm whether buses are plying. Doubts are that they have been taken for 'Vikas' Baraat' (wedding procession) by ferrying people to make Modi-Abe event a success.
“Earlier they used to remove the street vendors when a dignitary came visiting. This time they have ordered closure of shops when Modi and Abe go visiting the Sidi Syed Mosque and Agashiye Restaurant. There was a controversy over offering of Namaz at the mosque as well but that is learnt to have been sorted with a restricted entry,” disclosed a local media personnel.
The locals are questioning that how come the stray cattle, a major menace on the city roads all the time, has vanished over night. Modi also continues to draw the flak for trying to hide the ugly spots like slums near the Gandhi Ashram which is visited by every dignitary coming to Ahmedabad.
This reporter can recall how the administration had put poles and used enormous lengths of a green cloth to cover the slum during the visit of Chinese premier Xi Jinping in September 2014. This has been done now too. Several residents of Ahmedabad have shared the couplet, “Garibi hatai ja rahi hai mere shehr se, Lagta hai koi amir aane wala hai.” (Poverty is being removed from my city. It appears some wealthy man is coming).