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Blame it on the Liberals — Bend it like Mehta

Author: Manyu Putra
Publication: Medium.com
Date: July 3, 2018
URL:      https://medium.com/@ManyuPutra/blame-it-on-the-liberals-bend-it-like-mehta-24abd8db01e7

Mr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, recently wrote a ‘blockbuster’ piece called ‘Blame it on the liberals’, which had most of those who call themselves liberals going ooh and aah over it.

Be that as it may, here is an experiment. I took Mr. Mehta’s own article, simply replaced ‘liberal’ with ‘Hindu’, and made a few more contextual changes here and there. The result is — well, see for yourself…

Blame it on the Hindus

This is an age of blaming Hindus for every ill. Who exactly a Hindu is, you would think, is not a straightforward question. But no more. The answer is simple. If you want to blame someone, call them a Hindu.

We used to worry India had more than necessary number of Hindus. Now, apparently, Hindus are everywhere: Plotting the triumph of modest doses of tolerance, robustly defending spiritual freedom, resisting the tyranny of compulsory dogmas, using reason as a modest instrument for argument, engineering scepticism of dogmas, defending social values, making sure the world is full of live-and-let-live attitudes, protesting against great transgressions of power from within, worshipping the environment, defending spaces for open-ended enquiry into the mysteries of self and society, probing history in its mercurial complexity, shoring up institutions as a bulwark against tyranny for hundreds of years, and even making sure milk and khichdi become dominant culinary options. Hindus are apparently so hegemonic that all of these values have triumphed.

The rise of the Hindu is the downfall of India. If only Hindus would disappear, India’s history would go better, all its economic problems would be solved (Hindu rate of growth — remember?), China would quake in its boots, rule of law would be restored, and no ethnic or religious divisions would divide India.

Of course, Hindus are, so we thought, Homo sapiens. So, admittedly, individuals who profess to be Hindu will often display a variety of human vices: Self-satisfaction, hypocrisy, sanctimoniousness, snobbery, self-interest, inertness, too much Sanskrit, listening too little, instrumental behaviour, bad taste in fashion and sometimes even self-betrayal. Like the species in general, they could use more introspection as well. But, don’t be fooled. Hindu vice poses a special danger.

This is because the adherents of no other ideology display any of the Hindus’ society shattering vices. The state-funded Socialist is pure goodness through and through, the epitome of all virtue, no possibility of any kesari chheenta (stain of saffron) on their Fabindia kurta; they often don’t even get the meaning of the term violence, so how can they possibly engage in it (forget that the body count went up to millions in Socialist lands). The Marxists have historical necessity on their side so nothing can count as betrayal or hypocrisy: No red stain can make that red ideology redder. The non-Marxist Left claims to make radical claims on behalf of the poor. But once the poor are your cause and pretext, you are incapable of any misjudgement or corruption or vice.

The fundamentalists of all stripes, colourless or red, are custodians of divine purpose, where evil cannot even exist. Other assorted ideologues, whose single-point agenda is to be a custodian of some collective identity, caste, ideology, religion or region, cannot even be wrong. If you have merged yourself into a larger collectivity against Hindus, fused your identity with it, how can individual vice even arise? The Ambedkarites, whose cause has a core concern of justice behind it, might have some vices, but we have made sure they are so marginal we need not worry about them. Besides, if they can also be persuaded that Hindus are brahaminical, they are also useful allies in ridding the world of Hindus. And then there are the secualrists, whose triumphant progress Hindus have apparently thwarted. But secularists are defined by the efficient allocation of atrocity literature. Where is the room for vice or failing there? So now you know why Hindus are dangerous. Their fault is not that they have vices. Their fault is more serious: They seem to be the only ones capable of vice.

Then there are these other things Hindus do when it comes to toleration. They believe in diversity. But they refuse to acknowledge that it follows that the proposition two plus two equals seven should be of the same epistemic standing as the proposition two plus two equals four. This is twisted logic and intolerance. They want to protect religious freedom from the intolerant who would abridge rights. But this is also a specie of intolerance. They use arguments, sometimes atavistic rhetoric, to condemn arguments they disagree with. But you see, this is as bad as using state power and the might of the law to falsify history and attack freedom.

Then, Hindus apparently breed insecurity and victimhood in everyone, including apparently super prime ministers and superstar actors. They are solely responsible for creating religious victimhood, something that apparently afflicts a group that is as large as 100 per cent of India’s population; they breed victimhood in a whole range of organisations like the Communists who claim millions of members (and millions of lives) across the world; they breed the victimhood of the international secular clique that rules in a majority of the countries; they breed victimhood in a public intellectual whose qualities and achievements surpass the Aristotle and Kumarila Bhatta combined. These Hindus are a menace. Their one word of criticism can bring a glorious global ideology to its knees. Hinduism is such a successful factory of victimhood that even the most dominant groups become victims when they encounter it.

Hindus are haughty, naughty and hegemonic. Their words are more destructive than any actual violence. Here is how you combat them: If they are sanctimonious, go for hypocrisy; if they defend religious freedom, you use judicial activism; if they argue for a decent minimum right to practise their rituals, protest that they are flaming radicals; if they wish for respect, just say they are anti-liberalism; even if they condemn lynchings or other virtues, just say they are intolerant; if they condemn one murder, just say they are partisan; if they claim knowledge, you shout saffronisation; if they say constitution, you say caste and religion; if they show concern for institutions, throw a bone at them and wean away a few; if they want a society where all kinds of beliefs — secular and religious, agnostic and atheist, can all enjoy their path to self-discovery — just yell communal; if they want to minimise violence, just call them weaklings. All strategies you adopt to marginalise, malign, stigmatise Hindus are justified. And if nothing else works, violence is also justified. Remember only they have small vices. We all have big causes.

Hindu bashing is so much fun: You can say both that Hindus are not really Hindu and bash them for being Hindu if they actually are. With this strategy both secularists and fundamentalists will join in. Even some Hindus will join in. You see, if they don’t join in this Hindu bashing, we can say Hindus are communal and the last thing a Hindu wants to be accused of is communalism. So you know you have got them by their own tails. It is as easy as that: Hindus can be made extinct, the world will be cured of all its resentments and insecurities.

Addendum: I saw the below tweet by R. Jagannathan today after (re)writing this piece after someone told me about it. This would be the natural reaction of anyone who observes Indian political discourse without ‘liberal’ blinkers.

I disagree with Jaggi on the ‘just as much sense’ part though. Liberals have no claim to victimhood.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta on how liberal-bashing is fun. But the irony of this piece is this: change the world “Liberal” to “Hindu” and tweak a few connected sentences to make it logical, and the article would make just as much sense. https://twitter.com/TheJaggi/status/1012243750880329729

He has also written something on very similar lines, a few hours before I did. Do read: https://swarajyamag.com/politics/liberals-now-play-victimhood-card-without-realising-joke-is-on-them
 
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