The recent controversial incidents at Jawaharlal Nehru University are merely symptoms of an underlying disease afflicting the Indian society. Wrath and frustration on a myriad of issues has begun to surface as discontent which is often misdirected and not very well understood by those propagating it. We see the classic mentality of the rajahs (who allied with the British forces in the 1700’s to defeat the kingdom next door) emerge in the form on sentiments which have widely been seen as antinational.
There are many nations inside India – all in a state of conflict and turmoil - and under various stages of siege. There are the poor who see themselves as being oppressed by the rich. Their frustration comes out in form of Naxalite gangs who make alliances with enemies of the Indian state for arms. There are the homosexuals who resent a society that refuses to open its arms to them and accept them for who they are. There are Muslims who, wrongly or rightly, feel that they do not get their due in the Indian society. There are SC’s, ST’s, Backwards, Dalits etc. who feel like they are the underbelly of the society who have not gotten their fair shake. And now the so called forward caste has started feeling that they are under siege because the quotas have taken jobs away from them – relegating them to menial jobs. It tramples their pride and they now form gangs like ‘Ranvir Sena’ to protect their interests.
When there is little to go around in a country where the population is exploding unchecked, tensions arise. Lines between the peoples of a society that fade in prosperity darken and animosity develops. In these circumstances, incidents like what we saw in JNU flare up. India is now sitting precariously at the edge in a pre-anarchy state with a high degree of polarization between the ruling party and its supporters and the conglomeration of "everyone else". This polarization has brought Leftist intellectuals, Islamists, and troublemakers together in an unholy alliance under the "everyone else" banner.
India has a deficient political system that, because of a political divide, ties the hand of the executive. This has kept the wheels of development frozen for decades. The passenger of the Indian bus deflates the tires when he is not allowed to drive the bus. That is the underlying problem. The rest are symptoms thereof.
In this society, there runs a vein of a populace – the so called intellectuals who have been instrumental in coloring this state of discontent in the society with the paint of anti-nationalism. The average intellectual of India has gone through the rigmarole of the Indian education system, has lived through the rigors of daily Indian life, has haggled for vegetables, has put up with discrimination of various sorts in reaching a position where he/ she is considered “learned” enough to teach or control minds of others. Sadly many of these individuals are ignorant of what is happening around the world. They are products of the turmoil of their daily lives and their myopic education. They can only see so far when it comes to the positions they espouse. Very often they strive to be idealistic and may argue a case against their own existence – much like the Engineer who was allowed to say his last words before his head was to be chopped off by a guillotine. He lay there looking up at the blade and said his last words, “The rope is twisted over the pulleys. This guillotine won’t work!” Was he saying the truth? Yes. Was it in his benefit? No!
Many of our Intellectuals, whether they make a case for Kashmir’s independence or return their awards for the rising (and largely imagined) intolerance in the country are like that Engineer. They do not speak in their own interests.
Farid Zakaria, the noted journalist who hosts the show GPS on CNN commented on many of the Middle Eastern political leaders, saying that they enjoyed the bounties of the West during the night and condemned it during the day! Much like those leaders, these Indian Intellectuals enjoy the privilege of free speech (for which they would be executed in a theocratic / totalitarian state) to speak against the state itself!
|The vision of the Islamic Caliphate. Grab a burka, Menon!|
The Desi intellectual who foments trouble by trying to disseminate inflammatory opinions does not realize that these could just be frustration on a grid locked government, unchecked inflation, a homophobic society, and just a hundred other frustrations that are finding expression in form of lies and partial truths simply intended to destabilize a paralyzed government.
The Indian Intellectual should realize that idealism has its place, but practicality trumps it in every instance. Go live in Pakistan before asking for Kashmir’s secession. While there, try criticizing General Raheel Sharif. If you choose to go to Saudi instead, try criticizing the house of Saud. And by the way, it might be useful to learn a few terms. “Sangsari” means stoning to death. Men are buried up to their waist and women up to their necks. “Hudud” means major crimes mentioned in Koran and finally “Jald” means lashing your backside with whips.