There’s some misinformation going around. Arnab Goswami isn’t starting a multimedia venture called The Republic. He’s starting his own Republic. Look, a couple of hours on one TV channel was too limiting for a man of his stature and he saw the limitations. Namely, the nation itself. Interrupted by ads, answerable to television rating points, stuck inside a television ‘debate’ (whatever that is), constrained by Indian laws. Answer: Arnab Goswami needs his own nation.
You may argue that we all do, but so few have the following, the patience, the wisdom, the diet, the news anchor’s chair and the lustrous locks to pull it off. His prescient business sense told him that the Nation Wants To Know was sounding awfully similar to He Wants To Know. Solution: have a nation.
What’s the difference between The Newshour and Republic? For one, you couldn’t live inside The Newshour (literally, although over the years, it sometimes felt like we did). You can in his Republic. It will be an actual place.
Like King’s Landing in Game Of Thrones, there will be a giant statue of him – approximately 200 feet high – and to enter The Republic, you will walk in under Goswami’s legs. Yes, it sounds a bit dirty but look at Europe; immigration today isn’t easy.
Inside will be an alternative to India, elegantly-titled The Republic. Guarded by city walls on which are perched an Elite Guard called The ArGo – a crack commando team of 5,000 watchmen that are mutant, artificially-intelligent versions of commentator Suhel Seth, uncanny in their likeness to the real person.
Citizens of The Republic will be called Arnababes and will live by fairly easy immigration rules. However, one critical rule breaking would lead to immediate deportation. You cannot ever listen to another Arnababe and allow them to finish a sentence. Doing so will lead to a high voltage electric shock administered through an electronic tag that is embedded in every Arnababe. They have a fairly good surveillance system, so don’t cheat.
There’s also a very special version of the Indian national anthem (which includes an interlude that is The Republic’s anthem) that is four days long. Arnababes who can stand for its entire duration, without any water or toilet breaks, will be given a prize. Not much is known about the mysterious anthem of The Republic beyond the fact that it is composed and written by Goswami, titled “Naayshun” and composed under the influence of ancient opiates, Rastafarianism and contains a mix of Lucky Ali lyrics and verses from Arthashastra.
By the time The Republic opens to the public, we’ll hear of other elements within it, namely a Parliament, a democracy, an army, a financial system. I’ll break each one down.
Parliament: Nobody is happy with the functioning of The Indian parliament, which is apparently a place for retired uncles to snooze, shout and watch pornography. The Republic will replace debate with actual violence in a Roman Circus type environment called Gosium (Goswami + Colosseum = Gosium). Anyone can bring any bill to be made into law, provided they can survive the rounds of fighting (potentially till death) to pass it. That decides how much you care about an issue. Gay rights look very different when between you and it becoming a law, stands a ravenous bear.
Democracy: Everyone will be allowed to vote for a leader. Arnababes must choose between five candidates, which will all be Goswami in different finger-pointing poses. The polling booth will be inside a giant bronze statue of Goswami – your ballot goes into his belly basically – which has been modelled on the Laughing Buddha in Thailand.
Army: Apart from the ArGo, every citizen will be armed. This takes care of the problem of overburdened courts. Property disputes, family skirmishes, and general disagreements can all be amicably sorted by means of bloodshed, which will free up the Supreme Court for larger matters. Like Goswami holding court.
The Supreme Court: Every night on giant screens mandatory inside all homes (your ‘Arndress’), Goswami will speak to Arnababes. Topics will prominently feature a ‘versus’ to eliminate any grey ambiguity. Some early topics under consideration are:
Money: If you’re part of The Republic, you naturally won’t be paid in Indian currency (so clichéd), but in Goswami, which is a currency Goswami has invented. Not paper (so overdone) but a miniature Lego doll of Goswami. Each Goswami is equivalent to about Rs 100. Five of these can buy you, say, a small cab ride, which in the Republic will be called The Guber Service. Look, it isn’t like the existing paper rupee and bank are working out very well for the nation. Goswami understood the need for an alternative. And The Republic’s bank is obviously the Nation Wants To Bank Bank (NWTB Bank. IFSC Code: GosIsGreat2134).
I don’t know about you, but I’m seriously considering migrating to The Republic. It doesn’t sound too different from where I live now. They say it is a post truth world. What that means is, it is pre-Arnab Goswami. Everything in between is empty space.