Hyderabad: Signs have always been an integral part of protest culture as eye-opening props that also silently speak amidst the cacophony of slogans. While some plainly express angst like “Down with XXXXXX” or any condemnatory remark, some creative ones stand out as well. For instance, at Osmania University this past week, there was a poster that read, “Ikea has better cabinets than Modi.”
Almost four years ago at a Manthan event in Hyderabad, former Finance Minister under the UPA government, P. Chidambaram, claimed that there is no humour in political discourse. The government’s high-handedness in Delhi is being felt and protested all over the country. Not only is the Deccan up in arms with their own protests, they are injecting that which Chidambaram believed was lacking in such dialogue.
That too, in their signature Deccani dialect that lends an extra charm to any laughter-evoking remark. Be it Old City or Osmania University, people have been creatively injecting the local vernacular alongside the angst in their posters. Taking a cue from a dialogue made famous by Dheer Charan Srivastav’s character Ismail Bhai in the Deccani comedy The Angrez, who boasts of his exalted standing in Old City, one poster says “25 saal se Charminar pe baithawa huN, ine documents poochra (I’ve been sitting at Charminar for 25 years, yet he’s [PM Narendra Modi] is asking for my documents).”
During last week’s Osmania University protest, placards with local lingo, such as a yellow one that read, “Chicha!!! Maamla garam hora, samajre? Samajre Na?, (uncle, the situation is getting hot. Do understand?) stood in contrast alongside ones that contained Harry Potter references.
Outside Hyderabad, protesters are incorporating their Islamic cultural aspects to denounce the unreasonable criterion for the National Registration Council.
Even in turbulent times like this, political rhetoric isn’t bereft of humour, be it Delhi or Hyderabad.
Among the first distinctly Hyderabadi condemnations to go viral was a video of a lady who uses Deccani slang to lambast Home Minister Amit Shah.