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Bringing out the worst in the usual suspects — again

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The elections of 2014 and 2019 confirmed that India is something however a nation of sheep. That amongst different issues can be what brings out the worst in them: Now, the demonise-Modi broth has been garnished with hate-the-voter topping.

It appears as if we have to set our watches in the rapid aftermath of every electoral victory of a BJP reinvented and reshaped by Narendra Modi and comprehensively remodeled into an indomitable election-winning machine by Amit Shah.

Punctuality has new synonyms: Left. Liberal. Woke. Secular. Pluralist. The concept of India. Occurring like clockwork since 2014.

In the general reckoning, the BJP’s serial electoral victories seem trivial in comparability to the nationwide phenomenon of a large gamut of those usual suspects going berserk on the dot. Predictable. Unfailing. Like time.

The phenomenon is a surreal inversion of an anguished King Lear’s lament that melts the hardest rock, “Is there any cause in nature that makes these hard hearts?”

What is it about Narendra Modi that brings out the absolute worst in these usual suspects? Knowing their report, we belief their reply at our personal peril. But the actual reply is their very own substantial and extended report itself. Their undertaking of demonising Modi since 2002 is definitely a richly documented manifestation of their deeper malaise which has even deeper and extra extended roots.

Barring minuscule exceptions, that is the abstract of their aforementioned report courting again to just about three-fourths of a century: It is extremely powerful if not unimaginable to search out even one constructive or constructive contribution that they’ve provided in phrases of nation-building, social cohesion, and even plain, primary decency. On the opposite, these usual suspects have been the heralds of vulgarising public discourse. And their thick chronicle spans a spectrum that features however is just not restricted to academia, training, tradition, and media. (For particulars, see these essays.)

It can be the similar report that informs their recurrent, unhinged behaviour, particularly with regard to Narendra Modi.

But this time, the frenzy is particularly heightened and extra virulent as a result of the BJP convincingly gained not one however 4 states with Uttar Pradesh being the mom of all victories. And so, beneath the facade of election evaluation and commentary and op-eds, what the usual suspects have unleashed is… retaliation. As usual.

One Far-Left eminence went as far as to declare that he’ll “reclaim the republic” no matter which means. But maybe the most egregious occasion of this retaliation contains what can solely be described as a cheat-sheet prescription for additional splintering India beneath the pretext of defeating “Modi-Shah BJP.” Here are the phrases: “… the best of all, have a regional, ethnic and linguistic fortress so strong that the Hindus vote primarily as Tamils or Malayalis or Telugus.”

Words by a veteran and influential newspaper editor, Shekhar Gupta, whom a far-Left journal had as soon as profiled in its not-so-flattering cowl story. However, the level is to not selectively decide. Nor is it about the individual however his prescription and what it really implies: Sinister.

Shorn of sophistry and bush-beating, it’s a diaphanous veil painted with the similar coat of the breaking-India narrative first propounded and carried out by the British, then buttressed by Gangadhar Adhikari and lately up to date in this essay. Shekhar Gupta’s variant of this narrative hue seems to be one other present of desperation but it surely shouldn’t be taken calmly.

But I’ll spell it out for individuals who are history-challenged: Tamils, Telugus and Malayalis will retain their “linguistic identity” (one other mischievous time period concocted by our early Marxist “sociologists” that has no foundation in Hindu historical past or tradition or society) solely so long as they continue to be Hindus. An alarming however verifiable phenomenon that has accelerated particularly in the final 20 years is the incontrovertible fact that our languages are steadily dying in the similar proportion as the general cultural local weather of India is being de-Hinduised and due to this fact denationalised and due to this fact much more susceptible than it already is.

Big deal. The most pressing and pre-eminent precedence is to defeat Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

Inversion and Mockery

However, on a nobler and profounder aircraft, Shekhar Gupta’s prescription is each a merciless and tragic antithesis, if not a vulgar mockery, of the beliefs that animated our freedom wrestle. A vastly inspiring nationwide, cultural and non secular saga unfold over a minimum of two centuries with the singular aim of seeing a free and united India. The stuff of world-legends. A goldmine for historians, artists, writers, dramatists and filmmakers. Countless inventive works proceed to be written and made on a comparatively minor occasion like the American independence. What do now we have to indicate in comparability?

And in the seventy-fifth yr of the celebration of our Independence, we’re witness to Indians — veterans of the fourth property of the Indian democracy, no much less — overtly advocating the constructing of a “strong” “regional, ethnic and linguistic fortress”. Sure. Let’s take the logic ahead. Exactly what number of fortresses? How about 562? That was the variety of Princely States that have been built-in into the Indian Union. Think of 562 impartial international locations. Carved out of India. That is in the end the place such deadly prescriptions will culminate in.

Exactly how did we attain this nadir?

The brief reply can be the acquainted one: After the switch of energy in 1947, home-grown imperialism changed that of an alien and imitated the worst components of the departed oppressor. DF Karaka, the outspoken journalist and editor who paid a career-destroying value for talking this fact, characterised these neo-imperialists as “traders in patriotism” as early as 1950. He was in fact speaking about the Nehru-led Congress authorities, which “has degenerated into a feudal organisation which is not ashamed of practising unabashed despotism. It has made a mockery of our freedom”.

Ousting the Good Men

But neo-imperialism took a number of years to bear its fangs. And when it did, it drew an virtually seen line that separated pre and post-Independence India.

Until then, politics — or public life in basic — was dominated by the cream of the society and this cream was not characterised by privileged backgrounds or wealth. Rather it was comprised of true stalwarts whose distinction was simply two qualities: unimpeachable character and an internal perspective of service. This is why somebody like Okay Kamaraj who had no formal training had little to no boundaries to entry into politics.

And those that have been additionally realized, competent and good additionally possessed these similar traits of advantage. At this distance in time, our individuals virtually solely determine Syama Prasad Mookerjee as a Jana Sangh politician. His actual mien, nonetheless, was jaw-dropping scholarship on an astonishing vary of topics. Even worse, now we have all however forgotten titans like “Right Honourable” VS Srinivasa Sastri, S Subramania Iyer, KT Telang, Gajendragadkar, Loknath Mishra, PV Kane, DV Gundappa, PS Sivaswami Iyer, BN Rau…

The apparent principle in all this ought to be spelt out in our personal blighted occasions: That politics is the solely realm that encompasses all the pieces, which is why additionally it is the solely province that should be populated not merely by the brightest minds however by unblemished characters. The aforementioned names belonged to that eminence of character.

And the different facet of that seen line calculatedly ejected all such males till convicted criminals as an alternative of being in jail have been in Parliament. That path was first paved by Jawaharlal Nehru who cynically outmanoeuvred and ousted minds extra completed than him however the actual starting of the downfall was the 1967 elections. This was DV Gundappa’s astute remark a month earlier than the elections: “It is surprising in the extreme that after two decades of continuous hold on power, the Congress is not able to put more than mere mediocrities in the field. The overall significance is that men of acknowledged standing in intellectual achievement or moral prestige or record of social work are avoiding the hustings. It would be damaging to ourselves…to say that we have not a sufficiency of the requisite character and calibre in the country. We have such citizens in good numbers. But the atmosphere built up during the last 20 years has been such as to disgust them and frighten them away.”

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take lengthy for the chickens to come back residence to roost.

The Wages of the Downfall

This fallen political local weather naturally spawned a concomitant tutorial and mental local weather and public discourse, and it’s no shock that it may solely produce prescription-givers and republic-claimers of the foregoing type.

It is Amazing how these usual suspects, up to now, proceed to whitewash the serial delinquencies of Congress with a clear conscience. For instance, Indira Gandhi’s foul technique of capturing the Congress and the authorities is dismissed by these worthies as if it have been only a regular political occasion. To put it bluntly, the Congress “split” was a constitutional and democratic siege. But extra precisely, “The techniques adopted by Mrs Gandhi to capture the party were not ordinary political methods…It was yet another instance of blatant misuse of powers vested in the Government by the people on trust.” That was the legendary Ramnath Goenka.

A parallel phenomenon can be unravelling in an indirect style. For all their decade-plus, dogged and unscrupulous hounding of Narendra Modi over 2002, the usual suspects have gotten away largely unscathed. Which are three issues at the similar time. One, it’s a tribute to Modi’s acumen: He has made them irrelevant sans any retributive motion. Two, the extra they realise their very own irrelevance, the worse they proceed to reveal themselves. Three, additionally it is a standing accolade to the Indian voter: The similar voter who quietly demolished Indira Gandhi in the post-Emergency elections when she was anticipating the reverse consequence.

Epilogue

In India’s case, Edward Murrow’s well-known quote {that a} nation of sheep will beget a authorities of wolves completely and solely applies to those prescription-givers. Thankfully, the elections of 2014 and 2019 confirmed that India is something however a nation of sheep. That amongst different issues can be what brings out the worst in them. Thus, particularly after the 2019 elections and now, the demonise-Modi broth has been garnished with hate-the-voter topping.
Who is aware of what dish they may serve us after the subsequent BJP victory? The nation should brace itself.

The writer is founder and chief editor, ‘The Dharma Dispatch’. Views expressed are private.

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