Friday, July 10, 2020

BHAKT Magazin - Issues #6 - #9

It's been a fun run so far. Here's what I've been accused of being up to this point : 

1. Hindu Hater
Because making fun of Baba Ramdev and Sadhguru (both of whom earn ridiculous amounts of money by actually conning innocent Hindus of varying degrees of sophistication into parting with their hard-earned money by peddling superstition, half-truths and outright lies)  clearly amounts to spreading hate against all Hindus. These are men who openly mock genuine Hindu tenets (austerity, truth, humility) by openly parading their egos, enjoying (and actively using) immense wealth and power, and indulging in falsification of data, media cover-ups and distorting truth (latest case in point - Patanjali damaging the reputation of all of Ayurveda by trying to market some genuinely useful but mild ayurvedic medicines as some sort of life-saving COVID drug). Saying these guys are symbols that represent all of Hinduism is like saying Bovonto is a symbol that represents all of nutrition, and making fun of it means that I am spreading hate against food.

2. Paid Congress Stooge
Yeah, right. They must be sending the money through BHIM to the wrong Anand Ramachandran.

3. Pakistan Supporter
Mainly because I never make fun of Pakistan or Islam. Judging by this yardstick, by virtue of my not having made fun of them, I am also a supporter of the following things : 
  • Diabetes
  • Arun Vijay's hairstyles
  • Getting your penis caught in a zipper
  • Global Drought and Famine
  • The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
  • Form 16A
Oh, wait...

4. Anti-National
This bothered me, so I made a simple quiz to test the hypothesis.

Monday, June 15, 2020

BHAKT Magazine - Issues #1 - #5

Well, many of you asked, so here. I'm putting up all five issues of BHAKT magazine here.

I started doing this because of a few reasons :

  1. I wanted to remind myself that I hadn't lost the ability to enjoy myself doing satire, and misplaced my usual defense mechanism of laughing like an idiot when things look bad. Just wanted to dust off some old techniques and have some fun in the process, because the laughs were drying up (no booze, no #bikang. Fuck you, COVID)
  2. The BJP government makes it almost too easy. Making fun of these guys is like taking candy from a baby, or counting Devang Gandhi's match-winning international hundreds. 
  3. Some fights need fighting. This is a government that is enabling dangerous thugs who run rampant, spreading hate, lies and violence against the defenseless. We must all raise our voices in whatever way we can, and this is one of the ways I know.
I have no idea how long I'll keep this up, but will keep posting here if possible with some additional commentary and easter eggs. 

And finally, a clarification for BJP and Modi supporters : 

Yes, I disagree with this government and the BJP as a party on several issues, many fundamental. I do not think Modi is a good PM, or the current BJP government is doing a good job.

No, I do not think Rahul Gandhi or the Congress are great solutions to our problems, I remember their corrupt, inept and distastrous time in power quite clearly. I'm not congress-funded, congi or any of the other things you guys may think.

If Modi or the BJP government returns to power and do a better job, I will be glad. I have nothing personal against them as people, just their ideologies and actions in government. If someone takes their place and continues to do a poor job, I will call them out just as vocally.

I'm a satirist, and I will go after anything I believe is wrong, unjust, incompetent or absurd. I target the BJP because they happen to be in power. I will continue to target anyone in power who abuses that power.

You are,needless to say, completely free to make fun of me in return. My rule has always been "Don't dish it out if you can't take it".

The Mad King of Dillekoostan - All Strips

This is a comic strip I did on Instagram and FB a few months ago (seems like a lifetime) during the CAA-NRC protests and the subsequent Delhi pogroms.

Some of my satire output comes, like most satire, from a place of anger. But most of it comes from a place of great sadness at what human beings are capable of doing to each other when they act from fear and anger.

Luckily, I can convert that into badly drawn comics and maybe make a few people laugh, and even fewer think a little.

Here are all of the strips I drew and wrote.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The Times of Stupid - 006

Man, this Tejasvi Surya is a fine piece of work. Hate, Islamophobia, misogyny, stupidity - all in one convenient package. Sometimes I even get how the old farts got his way, and take comfort in the fact that we'll be dead soon enough. But the young ones like Surya scare me. Such capacity for hate at such a young age. 

Also, fellow cricket fans, nostalgia is great and all that, but it's wearing a it thin no? No? Didn't think so. Just wait until the inevitable compilations of Jacob Martin's unparalleled 'defensive cover-drives'. Then we'll see.

I've also been enjoying Vidya Krishnan's reporting on Twitter from the daily Health Ministry press briefings on the COVID-19 situation. But I often wonder why they even have these briefings at all - wouldn't it be simpler to just play the same video of Lav Agarwal rambling unrelated nonsense every day on loop, so that the poor guy could free up some time without detracting any value from the reporters' experience? Maybe someone should suggest it.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Times of Stupid - 005

People like Rahul Kanwal sow more seeds of future violence than even most terrorist organizations. He has treated children with cruelty, violence and hate - this only propagates the cycle, never heals anything. If the media in this country truly want to end terrorism, we need to treat children with love and compassion, not tell them that the society they live in hates and mistrusts them. Kanwal's actions have just possibly created several violent young men who will undoubtedly seek revenge many years later. 

See through the lies - these people do not want to see an end to violence - that would mean they're out of jobs.

Meanwhile, I think Narendra Modi has really painted himself into a corner now. Even if he were to admit publicly to a mistake, the monster he's created would surely swallow him. 

In other news - I found out, quite by accident, that Kovid is a name in India. My commiserations, guys. I can only imagine what it would be like for me if there was a dangerous disease named 'Anand Ramachandran'.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

The Times of Stupid - 004

Sometimes, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. Religious bigotry. Politicization of a global pandemic. Media gags as a misguided way to 'stop panic'. A Government that asks the media to stop reporting Coronavirus numbers except from official Government sources, but looks the other way as the same media spreads hate by taking every opportunity they can to find someone to blame (migrants, muslims, whoever they don't like).

I guess I'll laugh because I'm not very good at crying.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Times of Stupid - 003

I understand the need to stay supportive of a Government's efforts in times of crisis, and avoid sabotaging genuine crisis management initiatives, but this Government's utter lack of empathy for the poorest and most marginalized of our people makes it impossible to do so.

It's distressing to see the privileged constantly ignoring (at best) and often berating and harassing poor labourers and immigrants, vilifying them for purportedly spreading a virus which came into India through privileged international travellers. 

At times like this, we need to empathize with the helpless, and do what we can to help them. They're scared and don't have anywhere to go, no money and no food. Our lives are not any more important than theirs, their fears and anxieties no less valid than ours.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Times of Stupid - 002

Thanks Raisa Elizabeth Bastian for the art. She makes awesome comics and art over on Instagram - follow her here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Times of Stupid - Issue 001

This is a new series I'm starting because, thanks to a 21 day lockdown in India, I have some time and I can't stand the stupidity anymore.

The world is staying indoors because we're under attack from an enemy we cannot see and cannot negotiate with. People are increasingly mistrustful of each other, being manipulated and enthralled by peddlers of hate and violence. Instead of looking for truth, we settle for confirmation bias. Instead of seeking harmony, we revel in winning petty arguments. We sacrifice basic human principles like compassion, kindness and forgiveness at the altars of ego, greed and revenge.

We're scared, we're clueless and we're looking anywhere for hope and reassurance. And when everywhere you look there's so much hysteria, doomsaying, misinformation, ignorance and superstition, it can be hard to stay sane. Yet staying sane is perhaps the most critical thing every one of us needs to do - because only sane people can provide the sane response these situations need. 

It's a measure of how  crazy the world has become that 'Fake News' is, today, a very real threat - a malevolent machine that constantly spews out dangerous lies aimed at the heart of all that is good, innocent and pure. It wasn't always like this. 'Fake News', as pioneered by The Onion and imitated by hundreds of others, including this blog, was once meant to make us see the truth, by holding up a 'funny mirror' to the world. We wrote absurd and ridiculous jokes that, by laying bare all our foolishness, tried to get a few laughs and provoke a few thoughts.

I think it's time to reclaim 'Fake News' so that people who spread rumours, falsehoods and misrepresentations can no longer hide behind the term, and we can go back to calling these what they really are - 'lies'.