“In the scorch of the mid day sun, when the whole world was busy deploring terrorism and manslaughter in the middle east, India awoke to intolerance and fascism”
-All JL Nehru ideologues
I was a humble shepherd liberally grazing my goats in the grasslands of intellectualism. The butcher from Vadnagar took all my goats in the blink of an eye on the noon of May 16, 2014 and unleashed a reign of intolerance.
I could clearly see the sign of things to come when every channel was saffronized with visuals of the BJP flag and logo. Modi had the opportunity that day to send a message of inclusiveness by posing infront of the INC, SP,BSP, CPI flags, but he didn’t. Would celebrating in front of a Congress flag make him any less of a BJP leader? Would it take away his victory from him? But he missed this opportunity (deliberately) of sending a message of inclusiveness and tolerance. I realized that day that we are entering an age of fascism.
Modi has a history of intolerance. He oversaw the pogrom of 2002 in which tens of thousands of Muslims were raped, murdered, crucified and publically executed. Blood-thirsty Sanghis say that the numbers were in 900s and included Hindus who died and that many Hindus died in police firing. Even the (crackpot) Courts agree with the fact-based Sanghi propaganda but by basing their assessment merely on facts, isn’t the honorable(?) Court disrespecting what a large section of erudite Indians feel? We feel that Modi personally killed tens of thousands of Muslims. That even the courts are disrespecting the feelings of distinguished citizens is clear testimony of how deep the roots of intolerance are.
We tried to cooperate with this diabolical regime and showed our support and enthusiasm by fighting it out to get selfies with the new PM but what did we get in return? Modi activated and institutionalized the most evil practice of Hindu civilization, “untouchability”, against us! He wouldn’t have liberal journalists and intellectuals on board his plane on his foreign trips. And so many foreign trips! I mean, who would want to spend money to go to a place like Mongolia, and who wouldn’t want to go to such an unventured land if all expenses are paid by the state? He’s been to 26 different countries, and our liberal journalists lost the opportunity to collect 26 different “I Love XXXX” t-shirts.
We had to strike back, so we looked to God and found that help was only a ‘stone’s throw’ away. Churches came forward to help us and every stone thrown at them, every cricket ball breaking church glasses transmorphed into a club with which we beat up the growing fascism. The Lord’s commandments, “You shall not lie” and “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God”, stood in our way so we invented the 11th Commandment “You shall break all the ten commandments above, if necessary to fight fascist forces”. But then again, sanghis came up with their unholy concoction called “truth”. When India was liberal enough, we had freedom to disregard truth. There was freedom to be creative, imaginative and economical about the truth, but in these horrid times creativity, imagination, economy are all facing existential threats.
As if this was not enough, the ganwaar of Gujarat speaks in Hindi in international fora and sells his illiteracy as pride in culture. What is sadder is that the international community buys it and the desis love it. This new found pride in things Indian is only making his minions bolder on social media and in the streets. Those who looked up to us to get educated are now questioning us! Factual reporting and literature were so simple earlier (as in, what we said were established as facts), but now we’ve moved back to medieval times where our truths are countered with real truths. This is an intellectual coup! Disregard of intellectuals is the most telling symptom of intolerance.
We were once the leading lights of the Indian society. We kept the pathways dark and exercised strong control over the flashlight. With the advent of internet and Social Media, everyone has his/her own flashlight and this bandar of Bharat, this Modi, is jumping around, showing to people things they weren’t allowed to see earlier.
A gross decline in morality has ushered in. Commoners come and disparage us, shame us, name-call us, question our credentials. Namecalling is so shameful, but is now a norm in the regime of this butcher from Vadnagar, this ganwar of Gujarat, the bandar from Bharat , this Modi!
What is our fault anyway? That we ask irrelevant, unworthy of an answer, hence ‘tough’ questions? And how do people pay us back for trying to rescue them from Modi- by asking fact-based, unanswerable tough questions to us. Is this not a clear attempt to muzzle the voice of the Indian liberal? Gone are days when we said what we wished to, now everybody says what they wish to. People did little else, other than listening to us. Now they talk back and silence us. We shout, they outshout. This public execution of tolerance, is this not a dastardly attack on Freedom of Speech?
Them filthy masses, they dig our past and question our varied stands on the same issues in different regimes. They indulge in whataboutery and call us hypocrites! What about their hypocrisy? They were quiet then, why can’t they be quiet now?
The things we love most about tolerance are its failings. The fact that it is immeasurable and unquantifiable puts it in the domain of perception, and we still have some influence on the way things are perceived. We have taken a leaf out of history as far back as early 20th century when eminent Indians returned their awards to protest against British atrocities. We are hoping that we can recreate an environment of similar distrust and insecurity as in pre-independence India. They say it will hurt India. But what is India if not liberal and what is liberalism if not what we decide it should be? Liberalism and tolerance were safe in our hands. We cannot tolerate the people, led by a man who was certified as intolerant by us, standing judge, so we battle on.
India is an idea. Well it’s a nation also, but we are more concerned about the idea because we monopolize the ideation. In our quest for tolerance customized to our definitions, India may live or die but the Idea of India shall live on and with it, the names of all of us stalwarts who imagined it.