Over the years, successful movements built from the ground up have left behind them a legacy of words. From Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” to Jinnah’s own address to Pakistan, they have inspired real mobilisation and a love for the cause that transcended the leaders who spoke them. They are the spirit of the movement; these words of history’s great and charismatic reformers. Though one cannot expect the same degree of romance surrounding a movement that is a) not a mass movement, and b) subject to possible third party engineering, one is hard pressed to believe some of the things that pour into the microphones at the PTI/ PAT rallies. Beginning with the poorly picked “tsunami,” and now “revolution” and having survived through a great many violent insinuations, the language of the protests seems to have well and truly descended into its lowest echelons. Even if one was to leave Tahirul Qadri’s ridiculous statements aside as the ravings of an enraged preacher, a quick run through of the PTI vocabulary is rife with political misconduct. From perpetual and rather irritating cricket puns, to threatening police officials, to calls for ill-thought out civil disobedience, to digs at baldness, fitness, wet shalwars and food that all but the most ardent anti-Nawaz league supporters now find wanting of grace, Imran Khan is rightly being criticised for his increasing distaste. For all its purported piety, this New Pakistan sounds a lot like the old.

Is there any room, one might ask, for decorum and dignity from a movement that stands opposed to a system? Yes. But how does one expect the same decorum from a movement that has exposed itself as a personal battle between two men? A spat cannot be inspirational, and it cannot be anything more than a caricature of its stated piety. There is no hiding it; this is all personal and insular. It is about one man in stubborn search of his ultimate destiny, and he has allowed it to get the better of him with the world watching his every move. The problem with the language of this “revolution” is that it has largely shaped the national narrative; we are being made to address every unfortunate word that Imran utters, and it is affecting the quality of discourse, not to mention, distracting from the overarching, important things. The show is going on, and like any good show, the audience must be kept interested by the master of ceremonies. But when democracy and national interest is what is at stake, one hopes there is some sense at the end of all this mad-talk we are being forced to hear.