It’s terrible times for a reader and viewer when the gutsy columnists, anchors and public intellectuals who made sense with their courageous evocation suddenly lose the grip. Their reluctance to articulate reflects badly on the reasons that nurture us.
Neera Chandhoke’s 31st May lead in The Hindu “The making of the 2019 verdict“, on the reasons behind Modi’s astonishing victory is marked by the same fear as 29th May show of Karan Thapar “Upfront with Karan Thapar” on HTN where he debated the crisis in the Congress. Both ended up questioning a host of matters but did not utter the letter “H” of Hindutva project, the most important of all.
The apprehension in pronouncing the term Hindutva was evident in Ravish Kumar’s 24th May post on Facebook as well where he replied to people who considered him a failure after the re-election of the Modi government. Ravish though made a passionate appeal yet stopped short of underlining the Hindutva victory for what it was. The same trend continued with Amartya Sen arguing in his 24th May New York Times piece “Modi won power, not battle of ideas“. Sen, in his article denied the ground reality that even an isolated party worker or the least intellectual amongst the opposition would not.
The liberal hypocrisy stands naked in the face of maneuvering that some of the more outspoken voices have resorted to in the past one week. While most of them are hell bent on normalizing the surge of the fascism in the country, there is this denial from the more responsible quarters that is most worrying.
Neera Chandhoke for example in her piece has rationalized the Hindutva frenzy citing it as a global phenomenon, the rise of the far right combined with populism and authoritarianism.
Karan Thapar who claimed the rejection of Congress by people an antipathy to the dynastic rule; the personification of which he believes is Nehru Gandhi family, conveniently sidelined the ascent of Hindutva. Thapar’s hypocrisy was exposed when on the rebuttal from Congress spokesperson and HT’s political editor, the other panelist on the show he seemed at a loss of words.
It was equally appalling to see the revered Ravish Kumar treading the politically correct line. In his address through his post to his critics as well as his followers he isolated himself from identifying the reason behind the BJP’s victory and offered himself instead as the voice of the people.
Amid successive disappointments by the stand the liberal and progressive quarter was taking in the wake of the Hindutva ascent, Arundhati Roy’s interview published in the New York based “The new Republic” on 28th May is a whiff of fresh air. Speaking to Samuel Earle, Roy termed Indian elections as a “mockery of what democracy should be”. In the run up to the national elections while all the pundits predicted a win for BJP, she along with few others predicted they would lose. This as she believes “was important to puncture the certainty of the outcome and was part of the doctrine of divorcing hope from reason.”
In Arundhati’s words,
“So those of us who had learned to divorce hope from reason stubbornly insisted that the opposition would win, that they had secret pacts and clever strategies. But it is precisely that kind of mad hope that will eventually make people rise up against this nightmare. So yes, hope divorced from reason. And add to that, defiance divorced from reason. That’s what we need.”
While Arundhati with her profound doctrine may have raised hopes where it stood shattered, it won’t translate into any meaningful outcome were it not substantiated with hard hitting questions. Through her interview she has initiated an offense against Hindutva which only needs to be increased and sustained in times to come with conviction.
At a time when the government itself is having no problem in flaunting its communal agenda, but it’s the electorate that is busy concealing her hate for the other, it gets important to disrobe the society of the veil it has put on. They need to be questioned on their hypocrisy that they use as a cover up. The advocates of fascism from political class to the voters need to be told that as secular citizens people can see through their charade, carefully covering their agenda of hate. That whether it be Pakistan or Kashmir, Babar, Jinnah or Tipu Sultan, Gandhi or Ambedkar, the invocation of historical facts and figures is to conceal the hate for the Muslim community, some times in the name of nationalism, sometime in the name of national security and integrity & sometime in the name of curtailing citizenship rights.
People have to be confronted to the fact that the accusation of propagating dynasty on Congress as well as other regional satraps was the veil that concealed the hate for Muslims, because the community remained loyal to them.
The attack on regional parties fighting for social justice carried out in the name of caste was the veil that concealed the hate for Muslims, because the community remained loyal to them.
The daily reinforcement about Pakistan fed to public memory done in the name of advertisement of the imagined actual and fabricated national security threat, was the veil that concealed the hate for Muslims because the community shares faith with the neighbor.
The extremely waste hawkish approach in dealing with Kashmir, was the veil that concealed the hate for Muslims because the community shares its faith with the border state.
The very project of Hindu revivalism encompassing a range of startups like ghar wapasi, love jihad, gau raksha, massive Ram Navmi and Ganesh Chaturthi processions was the veil that concealed the hate for Muslims because the community was at the receiving end.
The rewriting of historical facts about medieval Muslim rulers was the veil that concealed the hate for Muslims because it held currency in contemporary times.
The opposition of Gandhi, and honors to Savarkar, Patel and Godse was the veil that concealed the hate for Muslims because the Mahatma died fighting for Muslims which the latter envied.