It was late mid-eighties when we use to do streetplays in Varanasi as part of our activities as a left student group – which called itself ‘Gatividhi Vichar Manch’ in Banaras Hindu University. One such plays was titled Desh ko Aage Badhao. The 5-7 minute play was part of a compilation of many other plays brought out possibly by Jana Natya Manch. We must have done hundreds of shows of the other play Raja Ka Baja – which was about the dire state of education and employment.
The theme of this short play Desh ko Aage Badhao was rather crisp. It showed a Netaji/leader in white clothes telling people gathered around him how the ‘nation is progressing’. When the innocent people ask for details, then he starts listing out his personal achivements and the wealth he has acquired through all these years of ‘serving the masses’. The tagline was Arrey Murkhon, dekho desh kaise aage badh raha hai‘ ( You fools, look how the nation is progressing)
The end scence showed people coming together, getting organised and slowly pushing the Netaji. When the terrified Netaji use to ask Arrey Murkhon, yeh kya kar rahe ho. (What are you doing idiots). The awakened people use to answer in unison Netaji, desh ko aage badha rahe hain ( We are pushing the nation forward).
I was reminded of this short play when TV started showing the ad how the nation is changing and how it is progressing with a tagline Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai, Aage Badh Raha Hai. ( How my nation is changing, and advancing) focussing itself on two years of Modi government at the centre.
Here are a few interesting reports which can be looked into to know how the nation is changing (for better or worse, I leave it to your judgement).