My two posts led to a vigorous debate with a friend who is also a mainstream journalist. You will see how the leftwing media and their supporters operate through the Facebook debate that I am going to now reproduce—it is verbatim barring some very minor punctuation and grammatical changes. I am withholding the name of this journalist for ethical reasons. He has worked with some of the best newspapers in India.
Debater: Kundan…I read both your posts with a great deal of interest for two reasons. First, it’s written by a friend whom I have known for many years now, and, secondly, that it concerns higher education, particularly JNU and is written by a person who has dedicated his life to academics. But after mulling over the two posts, I am left a bit confused if not alarmed.
My two-cents worth question is: If, as you assert, the left intellectual mafia has hijacked higher education, and more specifically at JNU, then how come the left remains on the fringe of the political sphere? The amount of indoctrination that has taken place, according to your analysis and thesis, then India should have been overrun by Marxists and Leninists, long time back.
Kundan Singh: Very good point Dada! The politics of left academics is not in the area of political power but in the area of academia. It is there that they have killed alternative perspectives of knowledge pursuit, particularly when it deals with the classical Indian traditions. They have a strong abhorrence for spirituality and anything concerning a paradigm, which does not agree with a framework other than what has emerged post Marx in the left side of knowledge pursuit.
Debater: That’s precisely the stand of the neo-right and neo-nationalists who are crawling out of the woodwork under the current dispensation. The killings of Kalburgi and Dabolkar, the lynching of Iqlak, the bombing of Mecca Masjid and Samjhuta Express, debasement of anyone who is anti-establishment, the killings of Dalits in Jhajjar…so how is it any different from the violence of the left against which you have ranged your argument.
Kundan Singh: You have beautifully substantiated one of my contentions: A critique of the left is always linked with violence. When left intellectuals critique, does the mainstream media link them to violence associated with Naxalism, Maoism, and political killings in West Bengal, Kerala? No. Why? They become messiahs of light bringing transformation. Sheer double standards, which the left is a master at manufacturing!
Debater: But why are you just taking a one-eyed view of the violence of the left. The same view of the neo-right violence should be taken? Isn’t it? And I don’t know how you came to the conclusion that Naxalism and political killings are condoned by the liberal media. What I see (and I travel for first hand information) and read is quite contrary to what you assert. I find your refusal to acknowledge the neo-right majoritism and the associated violence pretty confounding. Violence of all shades is always red in colour.
Kundan Singh: As I have said, in all my contentions I will remain focused on the violence of left and will not budge from there. When your left-wing media people call the leftist intellectuals to a debate, do they make them swear that they condemn the killings of Naxals and Maoists? So why should I not be given the same courtesy that I condemn killings of all Hindu right or for that matter any violence that Hindu right may propose in the name of thought. It should be taken as implicit just as it is taken as given for the left intellectuals.
Debater: I think both agree that violence of any shade has to be condemned.
Debater: Second point you raised in this particular post is that right to speech cannot be absolute. I find that assertion quite alarming because there is no ambiguity about the right to free speech in the constitution (which by the way I have read at some length) as long it does not incite hate and violence. I think, the next time you are India, I can guide you to the right place where you can read up the actual constitution (stamped by the parliament secretariat so that there is no doubt about it’s authenticity) and also the debates that took place in the constituent assembly pertaining to this particular right.
Further, I would recommend that you look up some judgments delivered by the Supreme Court pertaining to the inviolability of the right to free speech. The judgement in the case of Balwant Singh vs the Sate of Punjab delivered by the SC would help to remove certain erroneous assertions that you have made in your two posts. This judgement serves as the benchmark in ALL CASES related to sedation and right to free speech.
Kundan Singh: I was only quoting what people said in the freedom of speech vs. nationalism debate. My individual position is quite complex on this, inclusive of a paradox: though I do not believe in an absolute freedom of speech, I do not believe in any institution of authority gagging it either. The gag almost always leads to fascism, whether it is the Nazis or the communists. That is why I was saying that the issues at stake are much deeper than any which has been covered in the freedom of expression vs. nationalism debate.
Debater: My friend you are quoting the wrong people, when you make such serious assertions better research and analysis is expected.
Kundan Singh: Dada, you are again drawing me in a wrong debate. Please read that section again where I have talked about this issue. I have only said that it is on the pretext of such contentions and an outrage that most English media channels backed off on the issue. I have never said that those are my views. Please focus on issues that are beyond the freedom of expression vs. nationalism divide.
Debater: I am not saying they are your views, but your observations are based on flawed information or understanding/assimilation of the information/data.
Debater: Kundan! you can’t back out after saying that I am ‘taking my thesis’ forward…it’s your analysis of the situation using flawed sources or unreliable sources.
Kundan Singh: Before I begin responding to your sermons, I think I need to give you a reading in reading a text: Let me quote what I wrote: “Due to the public outrage at the anti-India slogans, backed by the arguments of many that the Indian constitution does not guarantee an absolute freedom of expression, some of these media people backed off.”
Where and how did you interpret that I am giving my opinion on freedom of expression? I was only stating a fact regarding how the “freedom of expression” brigade in this debate had backed off. So despite my saying that this post is not about freedom of expression vs. nationalism, it is about something much deeper than that, it really does not really matter: you will still give your own spin about what it is not. This is the tactics of the left wing: Derail the debate by talking about issues where the writer has explicitly stayed clear.
Debater: Kundan! The spin the googlies are coming from your end.
Debater: Kundan! And if you try to pin that left-wing label to me you are making a very dishonest assertion, given that you know me for long enough (I presume).
Kundan Singh: You put the label on yourself first before I put it on you. And you are vehemently defending the arguments of left-wing. On the contrary, I am only sticking to my arguments.
Debater: Kundan! And that’s exactly how the neo-right operates. When they run out of logical arguments, they resort to calling anyone who disagrees as left.
Kundan Singh: No. I can show it to you how your arguments are inspired by leftist Marxist thought, wait for the full response. Have patience. Let me respond to all your posts first.
Debater: Kundan! Not at all! You seem to have got thoroughly confused over here. My sole point of contention is that if you are against violence, then violence of any shade has to be opposed, not just the left.
Debater: And I can prove how you have turned into a fascist if you want to go down that path.
Kundan Singh: Do you remember what I said to you earlier Dada? Just as any left-wing intellectual in India when he or she makes an analysis or critique not made to swear that he or she opposes the violence of Naxals and Maoists, I need to be extended the same courtesy. I am discussing the nexus of violence and left-wing ideology. Why should I be made to swear that I condemn the violence of right wing (which incidentally I do). I have not written the post from the perspective of right wing. I have made it clear in my post: I am looking for a space of inquiry, which goes beyond the left/right binary.
There are two things involved here: One is that you want to debate; the other is to understand the place I am coming from. If you just want to keep debating just for the sake of debating, there is no end to this. In fact you are confirming my theses of the post: “This is what the left-wing does to dissent and difference of opinion coming from the classical Indian traditions, necessarily in the same order: Hindu, Brahmanical, RSS-BJP, Gandhi Killers, Gujrat violence, Nero, fascists, Nazis.”
Kundan Singh: I challenge you to prove that I am fascist. For that, I need you to write a full paper on the essay that I have written substantiated by facts. As far as I am concerned, I am throwing a challenge to you: Go to JNU, find the most liberal of the leftist intellectual, get his or her latest paper published in a journal, bring it to me, and I will show it you how there is a connection between his or her contentions and violence. And I will show it you this as well: how their contentions and concerns of social transformation can be incorporated without insinuating any implicit or explicit violence. This is a wager to you. Until and unless you do these two, the debate ends here.
Debater: The irony is that you have written a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo without a single fact, where as I have countered you with two factiods about what the constitution says about right to free speech and the Supreme Court judgments regarding sedation and what is anti-nationalism, yet you challenge me write a white-paper. This is exactly the type of dodgy right-wing scholarship that Rajiv Malhotra-types want to shove down the throats of people.
Debater: For your information, I have spent a great deal of time understanding what’s going on in JNU over the past week….
Kundan Singh: There is nothing mumbo-jumbo. I have put a wager to you. Go bring a journal and then talk to me.
Debater: Read the Constitution and Balwant Singh and Others vs the State of Punjab and then talk to me on this issue…
Debater: the later is a Supreme Court judgement..
Kundan Singh: For the nth time: This is not about freedom of expression vs. nationalism. If you have gone to JNU umpteen times, it should be even easier to get the journal article.
Debater: Then what are you talking about?
Kundan Singh: I am saying this: There is an inherent connection between left-wing ideology and violence, which comes in the garb of social transformation. The legitimate concerns of social transformation of the left can be addressed in a much more evolved way from the Indian spiritual paradigm, which the left thinking in India has relentlessly persecuted and not allowed to get established in academia.
Debater: You think only the left think ideology damaged the ancient wisdom? Right, occult and superstition has been perpetuated by the neo-right pretty violently, that has also resulted in bloodshed and loss of knowledge and wisdom. The irony is that in the midst of all this the real traditional Indian science, medicine (actual ayurveda), ancient agricultural science, ancient metallurgy has got lost. That’s the real loss.
Kundan Singh: I agree. But I have never sided with the Right. You are again linking me with the right or neo-right, and once again prove the central theses of my arguments: “This is what the left-wing does to dissent and difference of opinion coming from the classical Indian traditions, necessarily in the same order: Hindu, Brahmanical, RSS-BJP, Gandhi Killers, Gujrat violence, Nero, fascists, Nazis.”
Debater: But your arguments mirror exactly that of the violent right!
Kundan Singh: I will state again from the post: “This is what the left-wing does to dissent and difference of opinion coming from the classical Indian traditions, necessarily in the same order: Hindu, Brahmanical, RSS-BJP, Gandhi Killers, Gujrat violence, Nero, fascists, Nazis.” Thank you for proving me right time and again.
Debater: And thank you proving me right, which I was from the very beginning when I started challenging your assertions.
Kundan Singh: You have not challenged my assertions. You have debated on issues where I have not had an opinion. My challenge to you stands: go to JNU, find the most liberal left intellectual, get his or her journal article, and I will show to you how there is implicit violence in his or her assertions and contentions in the name of legitimate social transformation.
And I also challenge you that I will show how their legitimate concerns of social transformation can be addressed from the spiritual paradigms, which they continually persecute in academia.
Debater: Also your take on the media is seriously flawed. Do you know who and how the current crises were fanned? Do you know who aired the fake and doctored video that attempted to show Kanahiya rasing azadi slogans? The first airing of the fake and doctored video took place on Zee and India TV, most notably by a news anchor called Sudhir Chaudhry of Zee. This scum was arrested in 2014 for blackmailing and attempt for extortion. He served time in Tihar.
At present he is out on bail. After that the so called champion of truth and nationalism Arnab fanned the fire. His bluff has since been called. The job of journalists is not to lead a cheerleading brigade. The natural position of journalist is anti-establishment. That’s what I have learnt from people like John Pilger, Woodward, Bernstine…hence your observations on the media is completely out of the kilter.
Kundan Singh: Let me quote you again what I said: “Due to the public outrage at the anti-India slogans, backed by the arguments of many that the Indian constitution does not guarantee an absolute freedom of expression, some of these media people backed off.” Only a willful or ignorant or biased or ideological interpretation can even insinuate that I am favoring the nationalism side. Once again I only said how the freedom of expression brigade backed off. Period. Nothing more, nothing less.
Debater: “backed by the arguments of many that the Indian constitution does not guarantee an absolute freedom of expression, some of these media people backed off.” Backed by the arguments of many, that’s class 10th essay variety assertion. Who are these many? You are putting a thesis and don’t have the sources and annotation. This is malarkey.
Kundan Singh: Many means the people who were participating in the debate, which these anchors were hosting! I am telling you again: Do not get personal. The more personal and sarcastic you will become, the more you will support my central thesis: these Indian left-wing intellectuals and their supporters are basically violent people, who project their violence on others and claim themselves to being the messiah of peace, love, and light. First learn to debate non-violently, then talk about the great ideas.
Debater: I am not at all getting personal Kundan. And the more you refuse to see the merits of what I have said all along, you go on to prove that you are mirroring the violence of the right. Hence, it’s no different from the violence of the left, which means that your postulate as erroneous as that of the other.
Kundan Singh: Have I ever said that you are wrong about your views on freedom of expression? No. I do not have an opinion on the complexities of freedom of expression in India, because I have not studied it at length–and as an academic, I do not give opinion on things that I have not studied. And I have never said that I side with Arnab or Sudhir Chaudhri.
Kundan Singh: As far as the merits of your arguments are concerned, take my central theses. Do your research and prove me wrong. Why bring me into a territory in which I have not batted?
Debater: “But look at the debate itself. It began with most of the English media anchors like Barkha Dutt (from NDTV) and Zaka Zacob (from CNN IBN) taking the side of freedom of expression—only Arnab Goswami from Times Now TV took a different stance, when he actually nailed the JNU students who were participating in the debate.” If you don’t have an opinion about them, then why have you made it the central peg of your thesis?
Kundan Singh: The central peg of the these is this: “if you think that you have won the freedom of expression vs. nationalism debate, let me tell you point blank: YOU HAVE YET AGAIN BEEN FOOLED BY THE ASURA.”
Debater: Well in the present context, the DEBATE IS ALL ABOUT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION VS NATIONALISM.
Kundan Singh: I am specifically addressing the play of asuric forces in this madness, and the asuric forces take over the Hindu right as well. But the Hindu right is in streets and organizations, not in universities. I am specifically concerned about the state of academia in India, which is dominated by left-wing thinking.
Debater: And your ASURA THEORY is pretty nice attempt to justify the violence unleashed on the left by the right.
Kundan Singh: I am sorry to say if you want to debate about freedom of expression and nationalism, you have picked the wrong post and wrong person. You should argue this in another forum.
Debater: Well it’s you have couched that debate in mythology!
Kundan Singh: You are again proving that you are not reading right. Read once again the suggestions made.
Kundan Singh: Yes, I am for Law investigating and punishing left intellectuals who have explicit connection with violent groups. As far other left-wing intellectuals are concerned, it is important they allow other ways of academic discourse and learn how to engage in dialogues and debates in a civil way.
Debater: I have read it over and over again, and I took a long time to understand, assimilate and process your two posts. Even then your asura anology is pretty bad, coz I can tell you of many instances in India where asuras are worshiped, but I’ll leave it aside for the time being. Your blind hatred for the left has made you completely overlook the violence of the right. All, I am trying to say, if you are opposed to violence as an instrument to ideology, then it applies to both sides in equal measure.
Kundan Singh: Once again, I have never questioned the constitutional right of people to worship whatever or whoever. That again is not the issue. I do not have blind hatred for the left. I am pointing out their blindness towards their own hatred, which resides in their hearts. And instead of looking at their hatred, they are projecting onto others–master asuric craft.
Debater: You have very explicitly challenged those very things, more so without any facts.
Debater: And it leaves no doubt that your post reflects exactly the kind of spurious argument that’s being propagated by the ultra-right to snuff any difference of opinion in the present political climate.
Kundan Singh: Once again, you prove my theses right: “This is what the left-wing does to dissent and difference of opinion coming from the classical Indian traditions, necessarily in the same order: Hindu, Brahmanical, RSS-BJP, Gandhi Killers, Gujrat violence, Nero, fascists, Nazis.”
Kundan Singh: I am really happy that you are making me assert the above over and over again: Readers will be able to understand the gravity of situation even more.
Debater: It’s an old propagandist’s trick: propagate a lie enough times, then people will start believing it. Anyway, what do you really mean to convey by this, because it’s quite muddled. “This is what the left-wing does to dissent and difference of opinion coming from the classical Indian traditions, necessarily in the same order: Hindu, Brahmanical, RSS-BJP, Gandhi Killers, Gujrat violence, Nero, fascists, Nazis.”
Kundan Singh: When one has explicit and substantial evidence right in front of one’s eyes, it is not propaganda. It is called confirmation and reconfirmation of a thesis.
Kundan Singh: And in this case, it is you who is providing evidence to me and to all other readers.
Debater: But my dear friend, you have only made assertion without citing any evidence, this is propaganda.
Debater: And if that’s what you want, then I’ll make sure this post is read by as many people as possible and then we will see, who gets called out.
Kundan Singh: No it is not. I am asking you to bring me a journal article and prove me wrong. I will stand corrected my dear friend.
Kundan Singh: Wow! Another evidence of violence! Now when you are losing the debate, you are inviting a mob. Good job–further confirmation of theses.
Debater: hahaha…when you lose an argument you start calling it violence. nice trick!
Kundan Singh: I have not lost an argument. I will lose this argument only by [you] getting just one journal article. It is all that it will take. Are you ready to do just that much?
Kundan Singh: It should not be that difficult in the sea of messiahs of light, love, and peace!
Debater: I will…I have no issues with that…but you got to put up your analysis for a wide peer review…
Debater: and then we will talk…
Debater: Pity that when your assertions get called out for venturing into areas over which you have no grip, you twist and turn the debate to desperately show that you have superior intellect.
Kundan Singh: I will love that. As far as the peer-review part is concerned, there will certainly be publications. This is not because I hate the left-wing but because I want to invite some serious introspection in them so that we as an academic community advance further. And let me also tell you this: I would want their critiques to simultaneously exist. My problem is their denial of voice to many other legitimate voices of academic inquiry.
Kundan Singh: I am not getting called out. I am asking you to prove me wrong by just getting one journal article.
Debater: You have been called out right here…by me Kundan. Now you want to further divert the present debate by bringing in a journal article
Kundan Singh: My theses stands and it will stand till you get me a journal article.
Debater: Whatever your grievance with the left might be, I have no idea, I challenged your thesis, and you went round and round in circles
Kundan Singh: Just one my dear friend! I have made it so simple [for you] to have an upper hand in the debate.
Kundan Singh: I did not go about in circles. In fact, it was you who kept belaboring the freedom of expression vs. nationalism divide.
Debater: Will do that too…but you have been called out by me in this debate!
Kundan Singh: No, sorry. Your response, after you took a stance, had already been predicted. And you have not been an aberration.
Debater: Well, that’s what you think…your thesis stands shredded
Kundan Singh: One journal article, and I will take back my words. Just one journal article!
Debater: yes, yes…will get that too….coz i know where you stand, so no worries!
Debater: will give you another chance to expose yourself
Kundan Singh: Where I stand should come after you have proven me wrong. Till then, it is you who is proving me right because you are linking me with right, neo-right, ultra-right and what not.
Debater: which you have already by linking violence (physical/intelluctual) only to the left, while I say it equally applies to the right, which you are not willing to accept
Kundan Singh: I have already clarified in my earlier post with you: I condemn, in fact strongly condemn, the violence of right. I am very clear about that.
Debater: But you kept saying that, only the left indulges in violence
Debater: and still you are at it
Debater: and you called me violent even, where as I neither believe in the idea of god nor in the concept of ideology.
Kundan Singh: Violence happens where there is hegemony. There is hegemony of left thinking in academia, and that is where the gaze is. And that is why this post. You do not know these academics in academia: the moment you talk spiritual and anything which they are in disagreement with, they attack you so virulently. I have seen this, being in academia for a very long period of time, and then they will do politics of the worst kind.
Kundan Singh: As far as you are concerned, I was only pointing to verbal violence. Even that is violence. One may not agree with the spiritual paradigms of India but they are so non-violent that in the classical times, they even taught you how to debate non-violently.
Debater: Please point out my verbal violence…I have kept it pretty civil.
Kundan Singh: One can see this in Dharamshala today where the Buddhist monks are taught how to debate and debate non-violently. And this comes from the tradition that was practiced in Ancient Nalanda, where students from all traditions were taught to debate non-violently.
Debater: I have not denied your intellectual space, but I have challenged you on the premise of the article, which I have every right to, and that cannot be construed as violence
Kundan Singh: There was one place where you were becoming mocking and sarcastic. That is all. The contents of the article have not been the issue.
Debater: Bhai! I have spent a fair deal of time in the monasteries including a fair length of time in the oldest monastery in India in Spiti. I am pretty conversant with the traditional tradition of debate. For your information, I broke the story of the ‘living mummy’ of a Buddhist monk in Spiti in a place called Geu, in Spiti in 2004. I have spent time with the high lamas, I have been explained the significance of debate, but I have also been told that wit, sarcasm and humour are part of the grand debating tradition. It’s not violence.
Debater: And the story of the living mummy was carried globally by the wire agencies around the world.
Kundan Singh: Well, I did not hear the Dalai Lama say that when he was addressing people in California.
Debater: Come spend time in the company of rimpoches in the monasteries of Spiti and Ladakh, I’ll take you there and you talk to them and find out for yourself. I know quite a few high lamas on personal terms.
Debater: And using your logic and reasoning I can say that the patronising tone of the post and equating dissenting students with asuras is also violence
Kundan Singh: In fact, one of the first rules of the debate is that before one begins the debate, one really understands the contention and the perspective of the individual with whom one is going to debate. Then the debater makes him or her agree that his or her perspective is represented properly and adequately. There is a continuous checking and crosschecking whether the perspectives are being represented properly. And then arguments and counterarguments begin.
Kundan Singh: I have read the story.
Debater: I think that condition has been adequately fulfilled within the constraints of cyber-space.
Kundan Singh: I would love to accompany you on a trip to Spiti and Ladakh.
Kundan Singh: In the meantime, let us come to some other points raised below.
Debater: I have to leave for a shoot now, will continue this debate after I come back.
Kundan Singh: Ok. In the meantime, I will respond to other posts. It was good fun debating. Have a good day!
Kundan Singh: [Besides] The job of a journalist is to not be anti-establishment. The job of a journalist is to have different sides of truth presented so that people can make up their mind, and if he or she has clinching evidence of something, present it as such. When they already become anti-establishment, they have already become biased. But again, as I have said earlier, I am not pro establishment either. I will remain focused on the nexus of ideology and academics in the pedagogy of leftists. There is violence embedded in their ideology because they are always fighting some real or fabricated other.
There is a way to deconstruct oppressions and their hegemonic centers and yet take the discourse to such a level that the embedded violence in such discourse gets transformed and transmuted. The self-righteous left wing scholars have disallowed the space, and they continually disallow the space by linking it to the Hindu Right. This is the problem here. My data comes from reading the left discourse for many years, not the data that you are pointing out. I will point another thing in your position. Once you made your point in favor of freedom of expression, you moved towards deconstructing the journalist who favored the nationalism side of the binary divide. Once again: this is not about nationalism vs freedom of expression.
Debater: Sorry to say you know nothing about journalism and should refrain from commenting on it…I have spent a good part of my life studying journalism. You should know that the establishment is the natural adversary of people. And this journalistic philosophy has been put to test and stood the test of time since the first newspapers rolled. If you don’t take that as a starting point then you are starting out as a propagandist. The natural tendency of the establishment is to hide the truth, hence the anti-establishment stance remains the only starting point of journalism in its truest form.
Kundan Singh: The contentions of the post were neither pro or anti-establishment. I should not have got dragged into the debate in the first place. Here I fell for the trap.
Kundan Singh: I will debate with you later. I have to begin the day but I will be back to these topics again.
Debater: Kundan for you: Pothi Padh Padh Kar Jag Mua, Pandit Bhayo Na Koye, Dhai Aakhar Prem Ke, Jo Padhe so Pandit hoye. KABIR
Kundan Singh: So what makes you think that I do not favor love and compassion but I do distinguish between genuine compassion and idiot compassion! Idiot compassion is compassion without having honed the faculty of discernment, which the Vedantic literature calls vivek (and I am not taking a jab at you; merely mentioning).
Debater: Kundan! I see that you have been propounding some very serious theories about spiritualism, but have you ever dared to be in the high Himalaya where you can be feel the spiritual and divine energies doing a cosmic dance within yourself. I have despite being an atheist, because I seeked. I stepped out of the comfort zone, which you haven’t?
Where the ego is shattered like a fragile cube of ice, where each gasping breath makes you see your inner self, where each step is a discovery of malarkey, where each word resonates the hollowness of the mortal self. No you haven’t. So, please keep this diversionary theories and postulates to your self, and don’t spread any more hatred in the name of left, right or even centre. Peace my friend.
Kundan Singh: You have no inkling about my inner spiritual life; so the comment was not necessary. You neither have any idea of what comfort zones I broke to get into pursuing what I pursue. And besides I did not seek a certificate of your spirituality and I do not need a certificate of my spirituality from you. Again you are making the mistake of getting personal in a debate which neither is in good taste nor required.
As far as your comment on diversionary theories is concerned, I will say this again: “This is what the left-wing does to dissent and difference of opinion coming from the classical Indian traditions, necessarily in the same order: Hindu, Brahmanical, RSS-BJP, Gandhi Killers, Gujrat violence, Nero, fascists, Nazis.” I think I need to add in the quote, left-wing and left-wing supporters.
[Now a common friend joins—I will refer to him as such]
Common Friend: Debater, You are the Asura, but not lying low …. Some free party workers/ Bhakts only agenda is to change the history books… Highlight the selective bad parts of India, and create bloodshed and riots because constitution talks about secular state. There are people who donot respect fellow Indian’s mother but talk about Bharat Mata. I join your appeal to not spread hatred… to dear Kundan…. Atal Bihari ji said ” why even talk constitution, let’s talk humanism” All spiritual quest starts with a basic question. Do you understand love…Most of us talk about love “Dhai akhar” and throw the word around without even properly understanding it. Love starts with Compassion. Love is God… So it is above mayavi Asuras, it is above 3 or 1000 temples, it is above everything. If we understand this, that’s our real education, and real prayer and real patriotism!
Kundan Singh: Just like Debater, you too are confirming the theses: “This is what the left-wing [and their supporters do]…to dissent and difference of opinion coming from the classical Indian traditions, necessarily in the same order: Hindu, Brahmanical, RSS-BJP, Gandhi Killers, Gujrat violence, Nero, fascists, Nazis.” On a more serious note, there are far more serious issues in Indian academia related to knowledge, pursuit of truth, paradigm, cosmology, etc. And like Debater, you too could not get beyond the pro and anti nationalism debate. If you want to really debate with me, then what you need to [do is to] take the position that left-wing intellectuals do not promote violence against real and fabricated other. All other issues that you are saying in favor or against are superfluous as far as this debate is concerned.
In fact, I will say that I agree with what you are saying. And given that you and Debater are dear friends, I would request both of you to step back and reflect on what I am saying. It is only the people that one loves whose contentions one reflects on. By insinuating red on my contentions, you are profoundly disrespecting my academic sadhana. And in closing I want to clarify again: I favor critiques of left for social transformation because those critiques are highly necessary but those critiques can be brought in a larger spiritual framework of transcendence and integration or inclusion. The position that I am taking around left–the one that does not have explicit connections with violent groups–is not that of anti-left but one where left gets transcended and included.
This time before you begin debating, please take a step back and do a deep reading of what I am saying. I have never shied away from debate and I never will, nor do I have any inclination in stopping debates. But this time, let us debate how the ancients debated: They took the position of an opponent, had him or her agree that their perspective was being properly represented before arguments and counterarguments began. Then debate happens in the absence of verbal violence, and it is this kind of debate that advances knowledge. It leads to refinement and further refinements of perspectives.
Common Friend: There is no debate, because the point that violence is bad and Asuric tendencies lead to violence, is not debatable… Everyone agrees to that!
Common Friend: In fact your assertion that all supporters of JNU are leftist supporters and hence under influence of Asuras… Makes these Asuras wield international influence over students of many universities…Please keep on expanding your call to now include – Students of the world beware of Asuras from Hindu mythologies… You all are leftist hence judged as Violent… This is the only truth.. And unless you allow shutting down of JNU and rewriting of Indian History book….
Kundan Singh: I should not expect from you that you will read either the post or the central contentions: Let me quote it for your benefit: “Clamping down on them or on JNU or any other academic institution is not the solution. But the State should ensure that there are institutions that explore the traditional Indian thought that can challenge the left-wing thinking in the spirit of academic freedom and debate.
The State should ensure that it does not harm the non-violent left intellectuals but it should also ensure that these left-wing intellectuals shun their academic fascism by allowing voices that challenge them in an academic setting—there is a strong need of creating institutions of eminence which teach social sciences through prisms other than those of the left-wing.
For far too long, the left-wing intellectuals have enjoyed the patronage of State for promoting the Nehruvian-Marxian-left ideology and clamping down on anyone who differs from them by right away putting them in the extreme Hindu camp.
Then they link the budding intellectuals with Nero or fascists or Gujrat violence, and that is where the story ends. There is always the support of most English media, and they happily and gleefully go back home celebrating their unknown fascism, having killed dissent and difference of opinion. The classical Indian traditions have a long history of very sophisticated intellectual arguments, which have been almost totally killed by the left-wing fascists in India.”
Kundan Singh: And my opinion has been formed by observing Indian leftists in American academia for a very long time. I am already aware of the article.
Kundan Singh: And again your article does not allow you beyond your RSS-BJP fixation. I do not think we need to debate on this topic.
Common Friend: I don’t debate with Khaki clad imposters with an ulterior motive to create polarization by highlighting Muslim Invader’s atrocities in Indian history and thereby inciting more BJP goons (like lawyers in court) to take up violence and law in hand and become as violent as Maoist…. Whether wittingly or not you are fodder in the scheme… So while u will have debate in your bedroom with khaki Chaddi, the streets will burn. U have knowledge but sorry to say without wisdom and compassion it is of no use. Take a chill pill… Gujarat stint has corrupted ur mind…. Ghar wapas aa ja… Insaniyat walla…. I will pray to God
Kundan Singh: Who are you addressing in the above? It is not me, and given that you are not addressing me, you need to find another forum to debate your contentions in the above.
Analyzing the debate and concluding remarks
I have been in academia for far too long to know that these two friends of mine are actually representatives of how the Indian left—academics, media people, and their supporters—behave. It is therefore that I have used this as a case study to make the following points:
1. It really does not matter what one says as a critic of the Indian left-wing thinking, but whatever one says against the proponents of the left thought or their supporters will right away (pun intended) take him or her into the jaws of extremism, specifically if it is coming from the perspective of the spirituality of the Sanatana dharma—I want to qualify that all the criticism of the left that I am speaking about, it is from the spiritual paradigm of the dharma (next time when they do not understand this, I would really appreciate that they ask instead of linking it with Hindu Right—it comes from the Hindu thought most certainly but it does not represent the Hindu Right).
It did not even take this journalist friend of mine two minutes to get into an attack mode and link me with extremism. This is despite my call to proliferate the discourse in academia and make it plural, and having made it clear in the post that “This is what the left-wing and their supporters do to dissent and difference of opinion coming from the classical Indian traditions, necessarily in the same order: Hindu, Brahmanical, RSS-BJP, Gandhi Killers, Gujrat violence, Nero, fascists, Nazis.” So what is this? Is this ignorance or arrogance—the latter means, “I do not care what you say? Because I have the might of media behind me, I really do not need to study your discourse or ideas to think critically about them.”
2. It also does not matter what credentials one may have. My friends are fully aware that I have been practicing my spirituality and yoga under the aegis of Sri Aurobindo for close to two decades now. They are also in awareness that I am an academic in the university system teaching in the areas that I have mentioned at the beginning of this article. But all of that does not preclude them from making charge of violent extremism. This is the classic strategy of the left-wing academia and media, whether avowed or a supporter: not inquire into their own violence and project it right into someone other: it can be an individual, collection, or a group.
3. The above tactic also tries to put the critic on the defensive right away—though he was not successful with me–and it reeks of sheer double standards: When you have a critique coming from the Indian left academia, then it is the voice of the messiah of peace and non-violence. However peaceful and non-violent a critic of left may be in his or her critique, pedagogy, and personal life, the insinuation of violence is thrown right away at him or her. This is the sheer hypocrisy and double standards from the Indian left (in order to not sound repetitive, I underline that when I say left I also mean their supporters).
4. The attack of insinuation of violence is so strong that a critic of the left begins defending himself or herself, and the moment he/she goes into that mode, he/she has started to lose the debate. He/she has already waded into the territory of the Indian left where they will dictate the rules of the game, and the critic will keep defending himself or herself. In other words the critic has taken the bait and fallen for the trap.
5. What also is worth noting that they will continue to not read the nuances of the critic’s thought and contentions, and reduce the thought to a position with which he or she is familiar! Despite the fact that I have stated time and again that I am not focusing on freedom of expression vs nationalism debate though it is necessary, and have sided with both the divides on the binary, and have specifically stated that my own position on freedom of expression is complex, only an ignorant and arrogant person will keep belaboring the point with which he or she is familiar—trying to show that I am not in favor of freedom of expression. It is extremely important to see how he has desperately been trying to bring me in the freedom of expression vs. nationalism debate.
So what does this show: “I will not challenge myself to inquire and know but would only see things from my point of perspective, and do everything to drag you in my territory. So, it does not matter what you have stated about freedom of expression in this context, you must be framed in the prism in which I am researching.” I can bet on this: Most in the left-wing media will be unfamiliar with the Indian spiritual thought but would not bat an eyelid before they begin framing it from their subaltern lens. The question is why should the lens or lenses of the Indian left—panning across the spectrum—be absolute. Can there be other lenses in which scholarship be done? Will they allow space for other scholarships, specifically which challenge them? If they do not allow the space, then who is turning into a fascist? They or dissenters?
And the surprising part is that they will use the pretext of their divine right to freedom of expression to specifically silence the voice of their critics. The sanctity of freedom of expression is held only till the time till their citadel is not pierced. The moment there is a critical look at their paradigm, freedom of expression goes off the backdoor and the extra-academic of painting the dissent black, red, or saffron begins. In the academia of social sciences in India, the divine right to freedom of expression only belongs to the Indian left. All others who dissent with them belong to the camp of violent extremists and fascists, who are out to destroy India—I really wonder at the stupidity and sheer arrogance of this reductionist discourse.
6. There is also a conscious or unconscious reason to misrepresent me on the freedom of expression issue. This was being done to show that because I do not favor or understand the nuances of freedom of expression, I am a closet fascist. On the surface, this may look innocuous but the designs are deeper; therefore I am now making a point that deserves careful attention. The fascists are master craftspeople in inverting a discourse. This has been symbolically represented by how the Nazis used the symbol of swastika. The swastika in the classical Indian traditions has always represented divinity and auspiciousness. What did the Nazis do?
They appropriated this symbol and reversed it. On the surface, it looks like the symbol of dharmic swastika but a careful look will reveal that that the swastika is inverted. And as I have been contending in this article, given that the asuric forces operate both through outright evil and ignorance, they will continue to link any dissent to left thought or any discourse inviting scrutiny to left thought with extremism, violence, and fascism—but on careful analysis, one always finds that it is their discourse which has violence embedded in it and it is their behavior which is fascist. And they deflect their fascism onto the dissenter so that they can continue to escape the scrutiny of the fascism of their discourse and behavior.
7. What is even more fascinating is that even after I have defined and redefined my position that “there is an implicit or explicit violence in the literature of Indian left, and that their legitimate concerns for social transformation can be included in a much evolved way from the spiritual paradigm of the classical Indian traditions, which the Indian left continually persecutes in academia by aligning it with extreme Hindu right,” and that “I could be refuted by one journal article of the most liberal of the JNU academic who identifies with the Indian left,” the debate continued till the end in the efforts to link me with Hindu right, neo-right, ultra-right and what not. It is important that we step back and think: Is this category really interested in a debate so that refinement in knowledge pursuit could happen or is it only interested in maligning academics so that the fascist field of the Indian left remains intact? This is an important point to consider and ponder.
8. My objective of writing this piece, apart from the many that are outlined in the above is also to educate many liberal minded Indians, who have been oppressed by the academic politics of the Indian left. It was also to bring to focus how the Indian left draws a critic into a debate with which he or she may have not been interested to begin with, how it attacks him or her with insinuation of violence and extremism, tries to derail the debate into areas where he or she may not have an interest, knowledge, or expertise. The debate can be a representation to show how the Indian left has to be kept focused on the points that the critic is raising so that it does not deflect the debate and then the critic keeps playing catch-up.
9. I also want to take this opportunity to clarify and outline the paradigm that I come from. While taking on the Indian left, I am not carrying the brief of the Hindu Right or extremists. I am carrying the brief of yogis, saints, sages, and pirs—people who have not only realized the divinity within but divinity without, sages who say that that there is nothing but just One; and that One which is as much in the transcendent as it is in the stones and rocks. This oneness constitutes the oneness of the entire world, not only India: oneness, which comprises multiplicity and plurality. And even when they promote oneness, they are careful in underlining that the plurality and diversity within the oneness should not be not compromised, with a complete clarity that a harmonious and beautiful balance between multiplicity and oneness should be retained, for they are quite clear that the negative or asuric forces operate through both—homogenization and fragmentation.
And the Indian Left does both: it tends to homogenize the debate on almost everything from ancient India, which largely is Hindu as understood in the present context, by stifling the voices of difference and dissent, which it does in the name of protecting plurality and diversity in India. And by promoting all forces of fragmentation while suppressing the voice of oneness and unity-in-plurality which largely comes from the Hindu literature. The above further underlines that academics in India should note and take into account the extreme deception behind which the Left hides. This piece should be considered as a call to all the academics in India to critically examine the discourse of the Indian Left in the light of the spiritual heritage of India, and force the Indian government to create institutions that emerge as a challenge to the Indian Left.
Once again, before my detractors begin jumping up and down, I want to underline that I am not giving a call to anyone to clamp down on left-wing thinking or institutions. I am not recommending restricting freedom of expression or academic freedom. What I am recommending is that a parallel and strong space needs to be created which can engage and debate the left-wing thinking—it can come thorough institutions and centers. Individuals and Institutions that do not blindly follow the religion of the left-wing ideology and the Government must understand that the forces behind the left-wing are hostile and if they are not tacked, India will break.
Their tackling however should happen through discourse, debate, and dialogue—barring the ones who have explicit connection with outright violent groups. If not anything else, it will make the social sciences strong in India. It will also help us recreate the rich heritage of dialogue and debate of ancient India—we need to take the cue from the past that the Vedantists and Buddhists differed differently from one another on many issues but they co-existed in all universities, debating and growing through these discussions.
10. A word about the title of this article: In the spirit of pluralism and diversity that I am inviting in social science discourse in India, I have titled the paper as “Opposing the Left is not Right.” This title actually incorporates the voices of both: the debater and me. The debater is opposing my opposition to left and hence “Opposing the Left is not Right.” Simultaneously I am saying that opposing the left thought in India does not put me in the camp of Right; hence “Opposing the Left is not Right.”
11. After the publication of this piece, I will not be surprised that there are more attempts of the Indian left to link me with Hindu extremism and efforts to marginalize and tarnish me. There is a strong possibility that my publishing the piece on “Indiafacts” will be used against me—but the fact remains that it is only a couple of days ago that I have even come to know of “Indiafacts” when a friend of mine, after reading my posts suggested a possible publication on this forum.
To those who will use extra-academic means for such purposes, I want them to know: As an academic, I should only be challenged on what I write and what I teach. I will be willing to debate them on all areas regarding epistemology and philosophy spanning many branches of western and left scholarship including postmodernism, post colonialism, subaltern studies, post-colonialism, philosophy of science, cultural studies, among others. Any other extra-academic effort to tarnish my image will be dealt with strongly with a legal recourse, including libel and slander. Civil debate is welcome and I will be more than happy to engage in it; in fact encourage it.
A former Core Faculty at Sofia University, Palo Alto, California, Kundan Singh, PhD is currently a core doctoral faculty at the Hindu University of America where he is engaged in developing a completely new field in academia, Postcolonial Hindu Studies: https://www.hua.edu/academics/areas-of-study/post-colonial-hindu-studies/
He is also the Vice President of the Cultural Integration Fellowship in San Francisco and Senior Fellow at Hindupedia, Cupertino, California where he is diligently involved with changing the representation of Hinduism and India in grade-school textbooks in California and across the US. Author of the Evolution of Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo, Sri Ramakrishna, and Swami Vivekananda and numerous book chapters in edited books, and joint author of Making Children Hinduphobic: A Critical Review of McGraw Hill’s World History Textbooks with Krishna Maheshwari, he has lectured extensively in San Francisco Bay Area and has many academic presentations at international and national conferences to his name.