Once upon a time, India was so good from the perspective of intellectuals. Which means Nehruvian. Socialism, secularism, and non-alignment—the key ingredients of the Nehruvian consensus—were flourishing. Of course, this was at the expense of the well being, liberty, and safety of citizens, but that is a small price to be paid for the reveries of intellectuals. Needless to say, people’s misery never bothered the inhabitants of ivory towers.
Everything was fine, but a horrible man, P.V. Narasimha Rao, played the traitor. He hurt socialism and non-alignment badly. The empress did not forgive him for his ‘sin.’
Thirteen years after Rao opened up the economy, the Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty came back with a vengeance; it did everything to revive the ancien regime. But, as it turned out, all the queen’s horses and all the queen’s men couldn’t fight Narendra Modi. The Untied Progressive Alliance (UPA) proved to be the swan song of the Nehruvian system.
It is not only the leaders of the grand old party who are mourning the end of an era in which the possibilities of making money, peddling influence, and exercising unrestrained power were almost infinite. No less melancholic are the intellectuals, many of them beneficiaries of the vile Nehruvian system. Their melancholy has now found full flow in their utterances.
We begin with Mani Shankar Aiyar, a senior Congress leader and former Union minister; he also happens to be an intellectual. In an article titled ‘The dying light of freedom’ in The Indian Express (May 17), he wrote, “Darkness descends. The idea of India gutters. The light that lit our freedom struggle and so defined the nature of our nationhood is going out.”
This from the leader of a party which imposed the notorious Emergency (1975-77) upon the nation; this was the period in which all civil liberties were extinguished. Even the Constitutional Right to Life was abrogated. The Emergency was the culmination of the erosion of Fundamental Rights that started soon after India became a Republic. It was Aiyar’s party which undid the good work done by our founding fathers by bringing in the first amendment to the Constitution within 13 months of its enactment; the Fundamental Right to Freedom of Expression was severely curtailed, as was also the Right to Property.
By the way, the Congress’ instinct to suppress and repress the citizenry did not end with the Emergency. The UPA did its utmost to curtail the freedom of expression by bringing in the notorious Section 66A of the Information Technology Act to gag any dissent in the cyberspace. A Congress leader close to the party vice-president Rahul Gandhi tried to introduce a private member’s Bill to muzzle and intimidate the media. Yet, Aiyar has the temerity to pontificate on freedom!
His hypocrisy knows no bounds. He declares that the “so-called Gujarat model blazed the path to unashamed crony capitalism.” It is his party which has wallowed in crony capitalism for decades and scripted scams of astronomical proportions, but he continues to badmouth Narendra Modi.
And then he unleashes the classical secularism of fear mongering: “That is why those thousands of crores of rupees of doubtful provenance poured into the coffers of Modi’s campaign, just as Krupp and Thyssen funded every step of the march of the corporal from the Beer Hall Putsch to the German Chancery. Hitler repaid them with the biggest bonanza ever.”
The core of the ideology of our Left-libbers is analogy: Hitler was a nationalist, so is Modi; Hitler hated Jews, Modi hates Muslims; Hitler was supported by big business, so is Modi. Hence Modi is the 21st century Hitler. QED. The absurdity of the syllogism is evident to all, save top intellectuals. So, Aiyar, a prominent intellectual, continues: “Catastrophe worse than the two World Wars awaits this subcontinent…” There is nothing catastrophic about the mad mullahs taking over Pakistan with which, Aiyar hectors us, should have an “uninterrupted and uninterruptible” dialogue, but the coming of Modi to power is apocalyptic. Even if his march to 7, Race Course Road is unquestionably democratic.
But then, as the American author David Horowitz once said, “Inside many liberals is a totalitarian screaming to get out. They don’t like to have another point of view in the room that they don’t squash and the way they try to squash it is by character assassination and name calling.” Aiyar is indeed a liberal fascist.
Unfortunately, he is not alone. Another one is Javed Anand, general secretary, Muslims for Secular Democracy, and co-editor, Communalism Combat. Almost hinting that “idiots” have elected Narendra Modi, he wrote in The Indian Express the same day that “majority and morality do not mean the same thing.” True, but it does not also mean that whatever fellow travelers say is moral.
Indeed a large number of Left-libbers have been unabashed in their praise of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and other communist thugs who slaughtered millions of innocent men and women. This means that the intellectuals like Anand cannot be considered as the experts on morality, let alone its custodians; often they sympathize with violent criminals like jihadists and Naxalites.
And then there is Harish Khare, a journalist known for his animus for Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party. A typical secular fundamentalist, he was also media adviser to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He wrote: “It was no surprise that in his prime ministerial quest Modi became the favorite of big business, which had its own selfish and unhealthy reasons to throw the UPA regime out.”
This is the quintessential, lal salaam (Red Salute) type of phraseology where industry’s reasons are always “selfish and unhealthy,” and these are always at loggerheads with the interests of ‘the people’ or ‘pro-people’ activists. In the present instance, though, the reasons of big business and those of the people have coincided, as evident from the mandate in favor of Modi.
The pro-Maoist and pro-jihad lawyer, Prashant Bhushan, claimed in an interview that the interests of industry and people coincide because of “advertising propaganda.” So, you see people are fools; they don’t know what is good for them; they just get swayed by aggressive marketing. Apparently, they need benevolent guidance from the patricians like Bhushan. Self-righteousness can scale any peak.
Thankfully, Vinod Mehta, a veteran journalist does not have disdain for the electorate: “to assume all those who elected Modi are Rightwing, Hindu fascists is both silly and simplistic.” But he also tries to promote the good Atal Bihari Vajpayee-bad Modi dualism. He says that “authoritarianism, vindictiveness, communal prejudice and exclusiveness will need to be jettisoned [by Modi] in favor of the spirit Atal Bihari Vajpayee symbolized.” Of course, he doesn’t explain why Vajpayee is good and Narendra Modi is bad. If Narendra Modi had any culpability in the 2002 riots, as secularists like Mehta suggest, then both Modi and Vajpayee have to share it in equal measure. For, while Modi was chief minister at the time, Vajpayee was prime minister.
The fact is that the mullahs and cardinals and bishops of the unholy Nehruvian empire have been rattled by triumphant march of Narendra Modi. Their world has come to an end—not with a whimper but with a bang.
Ravi Shanker Kapoor is a journalist and author. He upholds freedom of expression, individual liberty, free market, and open society. He is an uncompromising opponent of Islamism, communism, and other totalitarian ideologies. He is also a critic of intellectuals, as evident from his third book, How India’s Intellectuals Spread Lies (Vision Books).