When it comes to discourse and debate, I donot have a problem to give the Hindutva supporters and Muslim radical agents a “forgive the fool” leeway – I donot expect them to be capable of looking at the world through any other means than their saffron-tinted eyes or their Sharia corrupted brains. After all, as goes the happy myth, they don’t know any better. It’s the well-heeled liberals and seculars that baffles me and I find hard to forgive – their inability to differentiate between right and wrong, to analyse a situation on its merits instead of extraneous factors, to not get carried away by erroneous logic of friends and influential people. It’s on them that the onus of constructive criticism and meaningful dialogue lies, not the others. It is them that we must hold to higher standards of honesty and parity and from whom lower standards and mediocrity cannot be admissable. Isn’t this what education, exposure to liberal thought and social accountability is all about ? But for some reason, there is serious grey cell damage among these unthinking, self-appointed custodians of liberty, equality and fraternity. For them, there is just black or white, they have no room for CMYK in their supposedly “well-read” world-view.
A classical example is the JNU episode. Afzal Guru conspired and facilitated the attack on the Indian Parliament on 13 december 2001. On 23 June 2010 , when the Congress (UPA) was in power (with their explicit consent) his mercy petition to the President of India was rejected and he was executed on 9 February 2013. Yet, when Kanhaiya’s friends speak in favour of Afzal Guru, Modi gets the end of their stick while Rahul Gandhi bats for them and becomes their friend !!!. This is nothing but the sheer beauty of their bigoted lateral thinking. Everything is Modi, there is nobody else in the government or in the opposition – so blinded are they by their hate for Modi, they see him everywhere, like God, to the religious-minded.
Every time the union government acts on any issue, there is a furious refusal to analyse or objectively appreciate the complex layers within a situation, and it is always a latching on to an “anti” narrative irrespective of the policy or the issue. By doing so the secular liberals of India are belittling their own high brow credentials, and giving a bad name to liberalism per se. Liberals are supposed to be able to think out of their skins, now they imprison themselves in boxes. This is nothing but a complete paralysis of free thought, the one virtue they fight for but do not possess. G Padmanabhan, a former director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in an article titled, “Growing intolerance debate: Selective outrage is proving dangerous” emphasized the inconsistencies of these liberal intellectuals:
“In terms of religion, is not global terrorism by and large traced to jihadist movements? Are not many terror attacks in India fallouts of the same jihadist movement? In such a case the intellectuals would assume a lofty position that a terrorist has no religion, but if a Hindu group is implicated, no time is lost in labelling it Hindu terrorism.”
In a nutshell , it has become imperative therefore to bring to task the secular liberals of India and it is as much an important task in itself as fighting the Hindutva supporters or the Muslim radical agents. To subject these so called liberals to corrective intellectual whips through counter narratives, to re-educate and re-orient those astray souls, should be our primary concern as the onus of our great nation´s fight to preserve secular liberal principles depends on their much needed re-orientation. Whoever you are – a secular, a liberal , a secular liberal – believe whatever you want, speak out about whatever you want, but stop complaining whenever your views are held up to sunlight and are shown to lack any substance or merit. You can call that stifling of free speech if you want, I call it accountability. I honestly believe that the best way to combat a wrong idea or a distorted narrative, is to provide other views and alternative counter narratives, contesting astray liberals with facts and plurality in views. For liberalism in India needs to succeed, it needs to be recovered from the noble lie that ostentatious secular ideals are not politics by other means.