Now that “Bhakt” is an abuse, what do you think you should say in return?

22nd February 2021

22nd February 2021

For some yet unknown reason, the term "bhakt" is used as a pejorative against pretty much anybody who professes to be pro-India, regardless of all other affinities. Which is fair enough, the concept of "bhakti" extended and still extends across all religions native to India going back thousands of years, while losing none of its original syncretic flavours. But "bhakt" used in a scornful manner is new. From about 2016 to be precise, mostly by the very elastic snowflake generation, which in India means people who went to some specific schools, colleges, clubs or foreign bank ATMs. It's easy to spot them - they are the people swearing at the ATM in foxy pass baba-baby log Angrezi when the machine spits out "funds insufficient" at them.

So then who are these people also known as "snowflakes" using "bhakt" with the same kind of sneer that those of us who live in Delhi know is like a uniform code for "do you know my DaddyJi is who?". For those not familiar with Delhi and its Lootyen's Delights, "do you know my DaddyJi is who" works as a pillow and pen, also known as "taqiya kalaam". This used to work at one time, but sadly has fallen on bad days, and used at incorrect places of correction, may also land a smart visitation of a lathi on your derriere. which said derriere shall then smart for a long time thereafter. In some cases, especially if you like pitzaa or makhan-roni, you can even try "do you know my MummyJi is who?"

Indian snowflakes are unique. Even though they live in India, and in all likelihood have at least one mother tongue which is not English, they can only think and write in English. Travel means budget high density seating airplanes and a hotel not more than 60 minutes away where they can then spend their "package" on the same kind of buffet served at Pappoo ka Dhaba multi-cuisine. Half-day free tourist spots means exactly that. And once they return, they will write long blogs with photographs of food, taken whilst standing in line for the chicken curry and dal makhni.

What do Indian snowflakes do for a livelihood?

Often, pretty much nothing. Favourite designations of late are "life coach", "sustainability experts" and "impact assessment". Once GrandPa's real estate is sold, and the Common Area Maintenance of the apartment exceeds their monthly income, the rest of India doing well outside becomes The Enemy and thus "bhakts" are to blame. Go figure. But whining comes naturally to snowflakes so that's part of the reason.

It is great fun responding politely to snowflakes with basic questions on their supposed skills which they claim put them on a higher pedestal. Thanks to cheap internet and the all-pervasive smartphone, it can take just a few minutes for a 'bhakt" to destroy the smug know-it-all attitude of "snowflakes", all you need is their visiting card or a look at their profile online. Or both.

Do try it.

Another trick is to start a conversation with snowflakes in their preferred language (English) and then rapidly switch between English and Hindi and one more local regional language. A few minutes of this and they melt like the summer snow. Remember - snowflakes are losers, mostly, whilst bhakts are survivors, mostly. Which one are you?

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

So now that you are called “Bhakt, ” what’s the Hindi equivalent of “Snowflakes Generation” you should say in return? 

To Be Continued….

(PostScript: The term "snowflake generation" was one of Collins English Dictionary's 2016 words of the year. Collins defines the term as "the young adults of the 2010s (born from 1980-1994), viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations”).

Veeresh Malik was a seafarer. And a lot more besides. A decade in facial biometrics, which took him into the world of finance, gaming, preventive defence and money laundering before the subliminal mind management technology blew his brains out. His romance with the media endures since 1994, duly responded by Outlook, among others.

A survivor of two brain-strokes, triggered by a ship explosion in the 70s, Veeresh moved beyond fear decades ago.


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