A renowned poet from Gujarat was recently slammed by the trolls of the BJP IT cell, who once hailed her as the ‘next big icon of Gujarati poetry’. Parul Khakkar’s powerful poem made a commentary on Modi and his government’s mismanagement during the pandemic which led to the horror of floating bodies in the Ganga.
The 14-line poem titled Shabvahini Ganga, which she posted on her social media account on May 11, is a short but powerful satire in Gujarati that describes Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a ‘naked king’ ruling a ‘Ram Rajya’ (kingdom of gods) where the sacred Ganga serves as a ‘hearse’ for corpses.
The poem was also translated in six other languages for maximum number of people who are saddened by the tragedies wrought by the pandemic to be able to share the pain.
Gujarat is a COVID-19 hotspot. It was also the first state in the country to vote the BJP into power. And it is also the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is being internationally berated for his poor handling of the COVID-19 situation.
Describing a regime where the king’s aloofness to the citizens of his country has been exposed and there is helplessness, poverty and mismanagement all around, the poem hits out not only at the government, but also at the mainstream media, the opposition political parties and others as they choose to remain silent .
According to a report by The Wire, Khakkar’s intention in writing this poem was not at all political. She had simply been deeply moved by images in the media of the bodies of COVID-19 victims, nearly a hundred of them, in the Ganga, India’s most sacred and culture-defining river.
It did not take long for the BJP IT Cell to let their troll army attack the poet after she shared the poem. There have been more than 28,000 abusive and misogynistic comments on Khakkar’s social media accounts and the accounts of the more than one lakh people who shared her poem. This has led Khakkar to change her public accounts on Facebook and Instagram to personal locked accounts.
A BJP leader from Gujarat told The Wire that his party’s trolling of the apolitical poet was absolutely tasteless and further exposed the party’s aloofness from the situation on the ground. He also said that the words “Billa Ranga” and “naked king” used in the poem were the main reason that she is being attacked.
In the last few days several dead bodies have been found floating in the river or buried near its banks in several districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Similar scenes were witnessed in UP’s Unnao district, after which a team of the local police carried out an inquiry to find more bodies.
In the last week, Ghazipur and Bihar’s Buxar too have seen grim incidents of bloated, decomposing bodies floating in the river. Many washed up on the shores while some were pulled up by stray dogs.
While it remains unconfirmed if the bodies in Prayagaraj are of COVID-19 patients, nearby residents have said such scenes have never been witnessed before and only started with the second COVID wave.