“खन्ना का असली नाम खन्ना था। वैसे ही, जैसे तिलक, पटेल, गाँधी, नेहरू आदि हमारे यहाँ जाति के नहीं, बल्कि व्यक्ति के नाम हैं। इस देश में जाति-प्रथा को दूर करने की यही एक सीधी-सी तरकीब है। जाति से उसका नाम छीनकर उसे किसी आदमी का नाम बना देने से जाति के पास और कुछ नहीं रह जाता। वह अपने-आप ख़त्म हो जाती है।” (श्रीलाल शुक्ल, राग दरबारी)
[Translation: “Khanna’s real name was Khanna. Just as in our country Tilak, Patel, Gandhi, Nehru etc are not names of castes, rather of person. This only is the simplest way to get rid of casteism in this country. By taking away the name from any caste and making it the name of any individual, nothing is left with the caste. It disappears on its own.” (Srilal Shukla, Raag Darbari)]
Moving around the city I frequently come across shops having names alluding to Modi kaka. You may well argue that it could be just any other Modi and not the Prime Minister. But his surname, or rather his ‘name’ according to Srilal Shukla, has become so popular that it seems most plausible that the shop names refer to him.
It is after a long time that any leader’s surname has become so popular that it has become his full name. Indira, Rajiv and Rahul had the ‘disadvantage’ of having the same surname as the Mahatma. For Singhs, Yadavs and Raos, there are too many of them but none of them have the unparalleled popularity through which they could have laid claims to the surname. Oh yes, there is Kejriwal also.
Another thing to be noted is that the shop owners have chosen to use his name instead of any sportspersoon or actor, which is usually the common practice. I do not remember having come across any such instance in history. Also note that the popularity bestowed upon Modi kaka this way was a gesture of common person, and not an initiative of the government. In all probability it must have been a voluntary act.
Of course, through dedicating their shops and stalls to Modi kaka, these people try to show their loyalty and support to their leader. As for Modi kaka himself, he is gaining more outreach this way. It also gives an impression of hamara apna neta (our own leader). Whether you like him or not, Modi kaka has entered the social culture of the country and will remain in collective memory for a longer time through such gestures by common people.
Please subscribe to Pradyot channel on Telegram for daily updates of my drawings, harmonica, writings and blog posts.