On August 15th 2016, when nation was celebrating its 70th Independence Day, Delhi witnessed 3 horrific incidents of accidental deaths where people got their throats slit by Chinese Manja which was used for flying kites. What made it more devastating was that two of the victims were kids who died in the lap of their shocked parents while being taken to hospital.
Many state governments (Andhra, Telangana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Gujarat to name a few) have already banned Chinese Manja considering it harmful. Maharashtra Government has banned it for second consecutive year this time. In Gujarat it is banned since year 2010. Having witnessed a death of 28 year old man caused by Chinese Manja a little while ago, Delhi government was also contemplating putting ban on it. It even had a run in with the high court on 2nd Aug for delaying the notification.
Unfortunately in India things don’t move until something unfortunate happens which often is followed by a blame game and exercise to find a suitable scapegoat. The same happened in Delhi after 3 deaths were reported on 15th August. Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia wasted no time in blaming the delay on LG Najeeb Jung and the Environment Secretary. While LG also issued clarification saying he cleared the file on the same day of receiving it.
On 22nd Aug when Delhi Assembly was in session, Deputy CM even started blaming PM Modi for having nexus with Chinese manja “mafia” for allowing import of the glass and metal-coated thread. Two of his statements were tweeted by AAP supporters and were retweeted by the CM himself.
Now the real twist in the tale. The Chinese Manja in question is not imported from China or anywhere else. It is manufactured in India. It is called Chinese because it is cheap as compared to traditional Manja. In fact, even MoS (Independent charge), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman stated in the Parliament recently that Chinese manja is a loose description given to kite threads made of nylon and it may not necessarily be imported from China. If only AAP MP Bhagwant Mann had taken a video of this proceeding instead of the security procedures, and shown it to Delhi CM and Deputy CM during the interval of a movie, they would have been saved some embarrassment. With this latest half-wit remark, IIT educated Kejriwal now is competing with UP CM Akhilesh Yadav’s IQ, who had also asked Centre to ban “import” of “Chinese” Manja, imagining that it was coming from China.
That brings few very important points into focus:
1. On what basis AAP government was blaming PM for allowing import of Chinese Manja? This shows the level of homework they do before making an allegation. This was not just a allegation from an AAP sympathizer journalist or AAP supporter which can be dismissed lightly. It was a serious charge. Deputy CM saying things in assembly and then CM Re-Tweeting his statement makes it an official statement.
2. As per Sisodia, AAP government had done its share of work and it was delayed from LG’s side. So if they were ready from their side one would assume they had a fare idea as how they will implement the ban. When a product is banned, the least govt would ensure is, cutting it’s supply chain and blocking it’s sale. Had they given some basic thought about it they would have realised that it is made locally and hence need to put appropriate controls in place. But it seems the moment they heard the name ‘Chinese Manja’ they assumed it to be a Chinese import. So they sat back, relaxed and chanted their usual mantra – ‘Keep Calm and Blame Modi’.
This will clearly go into the annals of Kejriwal-isms which are already graced by such gems as calculating the ticket price of a Bullet Train ride as Rs 75000.