Posted on 1-September-2016
In one of the suburbs of Delhi, there is an old factory called Dinmaker. It has been reasonably successful through its existence, but was never a star performer. Its fortunes changed after the election of the Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party to power in India. Since then it has moved into the same league as Nintendo. Its products, all part of a series called controversy, are games as entertaining, as absorbing as any marketed by Nintendo. In the last two and a half years it has marketed one successful product after another with such stunning speed that it is now India's top business enterprise and a Fortune 500 company.
Some of the more notable products of Dinmaker in the Modi era have been: Wendy Doniger, Tolerance, Beef. The first involves people playing either on the side called Shiksha Bachao Andolan or the side called Liberals. The game involves shooting at Wendy Doniger or helping her dodge the bullets. In Tolerance, Tolerance itself is the target and the two sides are called Obscurantists and Modernists. In Beef, the target predictably is the figure of a cow and the two sides are called Hindus and Anti-Hindus. At present, two of the latest products of Dinmaker, Ramya and Don't-Come-to-India-in-Short-Skirts are at the top of the charts. In Ramya, the winner is decided between those who hit Pakistan the most times and those who hit the Modi government the most times. In Don't-Come-to-India-in-Short-Skirts, the scoring system is more complex because the targets to be shot at or defended are many: India's Tourism Minister, the Police, the system of governance, women's dignity and India's cultural values.
No investigative journalist, nor any newspaper has yet been able to reveal the ownership structure of Dinmaker. There are many theories. According to some people the factory is owned by a business house with close links to the Bharatiya Janata Party, for they find it a little curious that a new product is released whenever there is rising noise about the non-performance of the Party's government in Delhi. Some others say that the real owner is a company controlled by the Indian National Congress and yet others believe that the ownership belongs to a consortium of media houses with no interest other than making money. The most alarming of the possibilities is that the factory is controlled by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence which designs and markets its products with the clear aim of undermining the faith of the people of India in their government and in the moral health of their society.
It would be a mistake to dismiss the products of Dinmaker as lowbrow stuff. Some of the country's best intellectuals play and amuse themselves with these products. They also serve a salutary purpose. Anyone who follows news these days is forced to receive tidings of continued violence and suffering in Syria or Libya or Iraq, another terrorist attack somewhere, deaths in Saudi Arabia's futile war in Yemen, devastation caused by floods in large swathes of India or other similar natural or man-made disasters. Those interested in larger issues are told of unheeded warnings about impending environmental disasters or of unheeded warnings about excessive automation of the machinery of war. For the common man aware of happenings around him the products of Dinmaker are a much desired relief, for he knows that he is powerless in the face of the suffering, disasters and iniquities surrounding him. May this factory prosper. May there be more like it.