Monday, March 27, 2023
HomeOpinionPoVBreaking TV sets to boycotting Chinese goods — India's RWAs wage 'war'...

Breaking TV sets to boycotting Chinese goods — India’s RWAs wage ‘war’ against Xi’s China

For middle-aged RWA men, the death of 20 Indian soldiers is a moment to prove nationalism. As part of revenge, they are breaking goods for which they have already paid money to China.

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As the news of the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a clash at Galwan Valley Monday night broke out, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “frontline warriors” —  the ‘uncles’ of Resident Welfare Associations —  took it upon themselves to scare the Xi Jinping government into submission: by getting rid of anything remotely ‘Chinese’ in their household. Unfortunately for these angry uncles, though, practically every appliance in their homes — from  Samsung refrigerators to Sony or LG television sets — is ‘Made in China’.

Members of Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) have been gatekeeping their precious colonies for the past three months as India remained under a lockdown. They prevented the entry of Zomato or Swiggy delivery boys, created a ruckus over domestic workers using the elevators, demanded Covid-negative reports from them, and barred entry or exit of doctors and nurses. 

If you thought these RWA uncles would have got tired by now, look no further than the men triumphantly breaking and throwing away Chinese goods. Because why not? Whatever nationalist, Modi-loving news channels say, these men follow — they are the PM’s defence warriors in your local colony. They are so passionate and driven about avenging China, they don’t see (or perhaps choose to ignore) the “powered by Vivo” sponsor tag at the corner of Republic’s Prime Time debate, in which  host Arnab Goswami unsurprisingly launches a tirade against India’s enemy — usually it’s Pakistan; these days it’s China.

And so, the RWA uncles are channeling their pent-up energy into becoming the new flag-bearers of ‘patriotism’ and ‘nationalism’ by boycotting Chinese products.

Also read: India-China clashes add new layer of uncertainty for businesses already hit by coronavirus

Forgetting the war against coronavirus

The RWA uncles have completely forgotten about the coronavirus crisis even as positive cases and the death toll continue to surge; they don’t remember any social distancing rules, and are busy beating ‘made in China’ TVs with sticks.

In a now-viral video, men in Surat can be seen rejoicing after a television set was thrown off a balcony, and stamped upon by several middle-aged men — some wore masks but none of them were practising social distancing.

The men appear to be in a child-like tizzy as they smashed the already destroyed TV sets with their lathis, yelling ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. These men, who were once self-appointed ‘Covid soldiers’, don’t fear the coronavirus anymore, despite the fact that India is now fourth in the list of countries with maximum Covid-positive cases.

Moreover, they don’t realise that they are breaking things in their homes for which they have already paid to the Chinese. Quite like Modi “punishing” Xi Jinping by not wishing him on his birthday.

Also read: The more troubling India-China conflict is economic, not military

Anti-China protests

Protests broke out across the country Wednesday, including in Modi’s home turf Varanasi. RWA heads and members of Right-wing bodies like Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) burnt effigies and photographs of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The protesters also burnt tyres and blocked roads, demanding a surgical strike against China — all of this with masks practically falling off their faces and no social distancing.

In fact, one RWA president, in New Delhi’s Defence Colony, went on to “declare war against China” in a five-minute-long audio message that is now being widely circulated on WhatsApp. He stressed on the need to carry on the war by throwing away Chinese goods, because it is “unfortunate we cannot take up guns and bullets.”

Also read: Third round of talks on, India rejects China’s claim over Galwan Valley

Economy not ready to boycott China

These gestures are meant to support the Indian Army, prove one’s patriotism and and nationalism, and help one become ‘aatmanibhar’. India stands by the Army and its soldiers against China, but we also have to be practical in what we do.

The real patriotism would be to figure out why Chinese houses are not filled with Indian products but ours are with their goods. Find out why and then do something about it instead of breaking and burning what you have already paid for.

Because there is a reason why we can’t declare an immediate economic trade war against China — India’s best selling smartphones are Xiaomi, Vivo, Realme and Oppo, all from China. They dominate 60 per cent of our smartphone market. In fact, between 2017-2018, about 60 per cent of India’s electrical and electronic equipment requirements were met by China. Around $4 billion has been invested by Chinese tech investment in Indian startups. 

Moreover, Chinese business magnate Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group has strategic investments worth millions in Big Basket, Zomato, Paytm, Paytm Mall, and SnapDeal among others. Just last week on 12 June, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co, a Chinese multinational firm, bagged a contract of Rs 1,126 crore under India’s Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) project.

Hence, RWA patriots and those thumping their chests by destroying household goods may take a moment to see how it doesn’t affect China at all. The uncles, as well as the young nationalists on social media inciting people to boycott China and its products, need to wake up and see their efforts are an ineffective balm to nurse their grudge. They need to do something constructive such as ‘make in India’, instead of ‘break in India’.

Views are personal.

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  1. Not a nice piece of journalism. Articles like this reduce the standard of Print and the benchmarks set by Shekhar Gupta

  2. Agreed that boycotting Chinese products is a puerile and futile strategy. However, it doesn’t mean that we should not learn anything from the Galwan valley incidence. We are dealing with an arrogant, deceptive and brutal country which has an unhidden ambition of replacing USA and gaining global superpower status. It futile to expect benevolence and fairness from a country which had no compunctions in firing and killing their own protesting students in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Fail to understand why Indian leaders from Nehru to Modi have so much fascination for China. Modi in particular has not understood the Chinese threat in its entirety. As the Chief Minister of Gujarat he was in the forefront to do business with China. This has now turned out to a vicious and harmful economic embrace which makes us as a subservient vassal to the Chinese economic superpower status. How to extricate ourselves from this mess is the vital issue and it requires a long term strategy. Let us hope that at least now, Modi has learnt the lesson.

  3. All this is political bakwas. Engineered by parties.
    Who in his right senses in COVID times, would be doing so unless paid for in advance by vested interests to do so?
    In one picture, the guys are so patriotic they are not using masks. Proves our battle is lost already due to 70 years of indiscipline.
    Bring notable figures like CRICKETERS, YOUNGER POLITICIANS, ACTORS who have been motivating our cattle class for 70 years, then we will know something risky and more fishy is happening…….
    M precedes N. Might indicate Modi problems are more intricate than old Nehru’s too !!!

  4. It is time for India to wake up and its the people who can make a difference.Stop buying anything that is made in China because there is a choice in the market now.Don’t just compare phones but there are many more products that are sold in the market that are China made.We the poeople can turn the screw on China and it won’t happen overnight but gradually.

  5. The author’s ignorance is on full display. Breaking old TV “which have already been paid for” is symbolic of the Chinese goods which will not be purchased in the coming years.
    This misadventure is going to cost China very dearly in the coming years.

  6. When it comes to writing articles that ridicule and humiliate one’s own nation, no one can come close to the liberal Indian authors. Except the last paragraphs, everything else is self-flagellation. Why not write a positive article on how to improve India?

  7. It might well be an instance of confused reportage which bases its discourse entirely upon the ever slippery present! Any sincere historical enquiry is destined to bring into focus the role of those of our economic and foreign policies which may be found responsible for landing the nation of the present day into such a jeopardy, confronting an Aeschylian option of choosing between two similarly uninviting choices. After all, boycott arguably remains a great step taken towards Svadeshi/Svanirbharata.

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