Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram today sought to wear “Andolanjeevi“, a term pejoratively used in Parliament two days ago, as a compliment. Purportedly aimed at those irresistibly drawn to mass agitations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had used it on Monday in the context of the ongoing farmers’ protest against his government’s three contentious farm laws.
Replying to the Presidential address, PM Modi had hit out at those behind the protests saying the country should beware of them. “There is a new crop of ‘andolanjeevi‘. They live for protests. They look for ways to start a new movement…The country needs to be aware of these ‘andolanjeevi‘,” he told the Rajya Sabha.
Loosely meaning “agitation being” – those obsessed with agitations – the coinage gained currency almost immediately, with even Members of Parliament flaunting their credentials in the House since. For instance, demanding their repeal, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi said in Lok Sabha on Tuesday that the new farm laws were against federalism.
He rubbed it in saying he was raising the issue because he was an “andolanjeevi“.
Tweeting today using #iamanandolanjeevi, Mr Chidambaram said, “I am a proud andolanjeevi. The quintessential andolan jeevi was Mahatma Gandhi.”
The Prime Minister’s term was welcomed, too, by a number of people. Former Governor of Tripura and Meghalaya, Tathagatha Roy, for instance, tweeted on Monday calling the term “brilliant”. BJP’s Bengaluru Central MP, PC Mohan, called it “word of the year”.
Word of the year
Feb 08, 2021
Adjective [ Aandolanjeevi ]
One who cannot live without protests and its members continually keep finding ways to stoke protests.
— P C Mohan (@PCMohanMP) February 8, 2021
A number of others, including politicians, writers, and general Twitter users accepted the term as a badge of honour.
Poet Meena Kandasamy, for instance, changed her Twitter profile name to “andolanjeevi dr. meena Kandasamy”. The Congress’s social media coordinator Gaurav Pandhi changed his to “Gaurav Pandhi – Andolanjeevi”.
PM Modi concedes his parent organisation RSS weren’t #Andolanjeevi during freedom struggle. That’s what opposition has alleged. Main Ldrs of BJP were arrested during emergency. But true non-believer in non-violent protest grew a beard, tied turban & hid.
— K. C. Singh (@ambkcsingh) February 8, 2021
All this is aside from the flood of andolanjeevi memes and jokes now floating around on social media.