Dad Called Me Khan Market Gang: Being Anti-Modi In A Bhakt Family

After this story was published, we received many comments on Twitter and Facebook, from those who relate to being alienated by family members for their anti-Modi stance. We have updated the story with their responses.

The Modi wave hasn’t just swept the nation. It has also birthed awkward silences among colleagues, broken friendships and caused heated arguments in family get-togethers.

According to many people – especially from Hindu families – who oppose the divisive and communal rule of the BJP, it has become impossible to have conversations with family members who are staunch supporters of the BJP government, and Narendra Modi in particular. Dads, uncles, aunts and even a few cousins have all dedicated to the cause of Modi.

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There were political debates earlier too, but earlier it was about parties and ideologies, and now, it is about Modi. And when it comes to Modi, there are just two extremes – die-hard loyalty or deep hatred.

Many Twitter posts bear testimony to the fact that those who dare to criticise Modi and the BJP are being alienated in their own families.

Journalist Shreya Dhoundial’s post is a case in point.

She said, “Impossible to have a civilised political debate even with your family.
My dad has just called me 'Khan Market Gang' and banged the phone on me.”

Shreya’s tweet is just the beginning. It prompted many Twitter users to come up with their stories. Journalist Vijaita Singh said she has decided to not talk politics at home. “Can’t tell you the kind of WhatsApp garbage they consume and believe in. I lost count of all the fact-checks, then gave up,” she tweeted.

The biggest arguments from Modi enthusiasts in the family come in the form of unverified but widely circulated WhatsApp forwards that defame other party leaders and spread communal hatred. 

“Rahul Gandhi posed with a suicide bomber” or “Mamata Banerjee is actually a Muslim” are just a few of the lot.

Another Twitter user SKay says, “Spent lot of time and energy in debunking myths, sending right source of info, news clippings, rationale unbiased res, wrote many mini- blogs (rants), still no one budged. 9pm news rules.”

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Journalist Ashutosh Mishra is from Gorakhpur. He says he stopped debate and focussed on pakode (fritters) after meeting relatives in his hometown. “Hindi news channels (no number for guessing the channel) and WhatsApp is their primary source of info. Mind totally radicalised, hate fact checks. Ideology has got fuel support from social media,”he tweeted.

He also adds that “sane advice they find anti national or anti Hindu. They [relatives] feel debate on economy is propaganda against India. Most of them are teachers too. Sad time.”

Saurav Datta’s story is even scarier. “Some relatives in whose lap I used to play as an infant have pointedly told me I am not welcome in their homes any more,” he tweeted, exposing the magnitude of the situation.

Off Twitter too, we got a few people to talk about how the love for Modi is spurring domestic strife. “My folks just believe any WhatsApp forward about Hinduism being under threat and use it to tell me why Modi is right,” says Anil (name changed), a 27-year-old IT professional from Kerala.

“It is impossible to logically argue with my father. And it just spoils the mood of family vacations. They consume content from highly polarised news channels and forward messages. And they ask, if not Modi, then who is the hope for Hindus” says Shreya, a lawyer who hails from Delhi.

The BJP’s idea of ‘saving Hindus’ appeals greatly to the patriarch but not to the liberal millennial from the same family who understands the underlying message of ‘othering’. These altercations in family WhatsApp groups, at dinner tables and marriage functions reflect the height of polarisation that Modi has created at the top. There is absolutely no space to accommodate differing opinions anywhere, be it the nation or a group chat on WhatsApp.

Facebook Responds To Story: ‘Relatives Called Me Pakistani’

Many Facebook and Twitter users responded to this article, saying that they have been ridiculed and alienated in their homes for criticising Modi. While photographer Hardik Chhabra said, “That’s my stoy too,” Tanvi Sareen, a journalist said it is great someone talked about this. “I will be sharing this on family group and waiting for some crazy reactions,” she wrote.

One Facebook user said she was called “Pakistani” by her relatives when she argued against “religious hate”.

“Best friend calling you anti Hindu, old school friends calling you liberal sickular, anti national, asking for ghar wapasi....faced it all”, wrote Swati Ingle Salvi.

Jeet Yadav commented that he has the same feeling. “When my father, brother and friend circle is bhakt but I am not able to talk because they cal me katwe or anti-national,” he wrote on Facebook.

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