NEW DELHI: On Wednesday, a five year old boy was murdered as he was offered as sacrifice as part of a witchcraft-related ritual in Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh.

The story goes: The accused had picked up the boy from an anganwadi. After performing “puja” the accused beheaded the boy, collected his blood and sprinkled it all over the house.

It doesn’t end there. As the incident came to light, the residents of the village thrashed the accused and set him ablaze.

The above follows another bizarre incident in a separate part of India just a few days earlier. On Monday, a crowd in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri village beat to death a fifty five year old man and critically injured his son based on rumours that the victim’s family were consuming beef.

All this while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi just concluded his second visit to the United States, where he shook hands with tech honchos and Fortune 500 CEOs, and put in place a vague promise of a #DigitalIndia.

The developments of the last few days have been a harsh reminder of what this country is really all about: Irony (and a tragic variant of it).

On the one hand, the huge consumer base makes India attractive to the outside world (cue PM Modi). On the other hand, a majority of that consumer base is still steeped in thought processes that make human sacrifice, cultural perversion and mob violence an everyday reality.

Here are some of the ironies that characterise this country that have come to my mind as I struggle to make sense of the last few days.

1. Let’s start with the obvious. We use terms such as “Digital India” and “Shining India” -- while on the other hand people are killed over eating a type of meat, offered as ritual sacrifice, killed in the name of dowry, killed in the name of wanting a boy child, killed in the name of ‘honour’... I could go on.

2. We think Pakistan is a mess, but is killing a man over a cow any different from killing a man over the Quran? #IndiaIsPakistan.

3. We’re a country that still spends more our daughters’ weddings than on their education.

4. We are a country where it is okay to piss (and the other thing) in public, but kissing in public will get you lynched.

5. We have more cellphones than toilets (which is why pissing in public is not just socially acceptable, it is the only viable option).

6. We are a country where we will kill our own unborn girl child, but still repeat cliches such as “ladki ghar ki laxmi hai” (the girl is the goddess of the house).

7. We are a country where obesity is on the rise, and so is income inequality with a majority of the country still starving, underweight and malnourished.

8. We frown on talking to strangers, but encourage marrying them.

9. We are a country where, just a few weeks ago, hundreds of PhD and Masters degree holders applied for the position of a peon at the UP assembly, but many of our politicians have not even passed high school.

10. We are a country where cows (reference beef ban) are safer than humans (reference any of the social evils that are an everyday reality).

11. We are a country that will kill a man over eating cow meat because it hurts our religious sentiment, but have no problem when that same cow is let loose on the streets to lead the most miserable life ever.

12. We are a country that posts #SelfiesWithDaughter but will thrash a woman for visiting a bar, looking at a man she’s not related to, or will even kill her before she’s born.

13. We are a country where a Mercedes Benz surrounded by beggars is a common sight. So common that we don’t even notice it anymore.

14. We are a country where shopping malls lie next to slums.

15. We are a country that is celebrating the move to a Digital India, when at the same time Kashmir was denied internet for three days because of Eid celebrations.

16. We are a country where homes are built mostly by the homeless.

17. We are a country with a food surplus where 1/6th of our population is undernourished and 190 million people go hungry every day.

18. We have some of the world’s top billionaires and yet 1/3rd of our country lives on less than Rs. 35 a day.

19. Another way to put the above: We rank 6th in terms of number of billionaires per country, but are home to 1/3rd of the world’s poor.

20. We are emerging as a destination for medical tourism, but couldn’t provide medical assistance to a five year old boy and a nine year old girl, both of whom died of dengue fever a couple of weeks ago.

21. We are obsessed with installing screen guards on our cellphones but will not wear a helmet when riding a bike.

22. We have elevated a porn star to the status of a celebrity but a rape victim is shunned by society.

23. We are moving toward banning the consumption of beef within our country, but are rising up on the ranks of beef exporters (we are the second largest exporter of beef in the world).

24. We think homosexuality is the result of western cultural pollution, when it was victorian ideas of morality that made us think it to be cultural pollution in the first place.

25. We think sex is a taboo even though we are the land of the Kamasutra.

26. We worship the Ganga which is perhaps the dirtiest river on earth, as a result of that worship.

27. When we cast our vote we vote for our caste.

28. We pray to a goddess for a son.

29. We lead strikes and protests to be declared officially “backward.”

30. I guess the biggest irony is that we are well versed with all the above (and this could go on and on) but when it comes to doing anything about it, we are collectively silent and even culpable.