Imagine my surprise (or the lack of it):
Only the other day, mainstream media, Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with talk of Swami Vivekananda’s historic address in Chicago in 1893. The Prime Minister made it into an event, the people really got into it and a day was spent with Indians proudly talking about the ideals of one of our national icons.
How could the left stay out of the act and just let us be? After all, the man wore saffron robes. How could a leftist just let it pass without spitting at Hindus in the eye?
So left wing propaganda blog Scroll comes out with an article bashing Swami Vivekananda no less, this time declaring that his words laid the foundation for sectarian politics in our country!
Yes, the evils of Indian politics are all due to Swami Vivekananda.
Have you noticed how Nehru and his descendants are never to blame for anything at all? The Nehru dynasty just happens to be the innocent but incredibly lucky ones who just happened to benefit the most from Indian politics. The evils in our politics are all due to ‘others’… due to anyone but the Dynasty.
Even Swami Vivekananda. The article in Scroll itself is a hodgepodge of haphazard complaints, historical inaccuracies and overstretched analogies aching under the weight of the author’s despair to malign a much respected figure.
But the very fact that such an article would pass muster at the editorial desk of Scroll shows us a certain ruthlessness on the left that Hindus often fail to appreciate. See not the desperate, comical attempts of the leftist author to throw mud at the towering personality of Swami Vivekananda. Instead, look at the steely determination of leftists to take on any challenge, no matter how hard, in their quest to undermine anything that could make a Hindu feel proud about her/his place in the world.
For the leftist cause, every icon, every symbol, every idea that Hindus could hold dear is like a target to be destroyed. Because the left aspires to nothing less than total deracination of Indian Hindus, cutting them off from their history, their legends, their beliefs, their cultures, their celebrations, their icons and their languages.
The cry of Vande Mataram was once so powerful in its expression of will that the British banned it in the streets of Bengal. But in independent India, the leftist complex has worked on Vande Mataram constantly, eroding its iconic status to the point that ‘cosmopolitan minded’ Hindus would probably be ashamed to say it in public today.
The iconography of “Bharat Mata” as a Hindu goddess in Bankim Chandra’s novel Anandamath was ananthema to Indian leftists. So they worked on it till even we Hindus became embarrassed to say it.
A similar sense of shame has been injected into the observance of every Hindu festival on some pretext or another : it could be pollution caused by Diwali, the ‘terror’ spread by Kanwariyas during monsoons or even the ‘terror‘ spread by kids playing Holi. It could be the patriarchal undertones of Rakshabandhan. Or cruelty to bulls or even climbing too high on top of each other during Dahi Handi.
Every time the ‘civilized’ leftist is there just in time to save us Hindus from our own ‘barbaric’ culture.
No matter how stiff the challenge, the left never stops trying. Like turning Vivekananda into a hate figure.
Or turning Aurangazeb into a generous, fair minded, secular ruler. The left is unfazed. If they don’t succeed the first time, they try again. And again and again, until the common Hindu finally bows down to their narrative.
This reminds me of a time some 4-5 years ago when the nation was discussing the Nirbhaya gangrape. Out came The Hindu with a piece that related gangrapes to the masculine posture of Vivekananda in his posters, pictures and statues!
The left knows well that these one or two articles will not destroy Swami Vivekananda. The key is that the left never gives up and is continually testing the waters, pushing the envelope little by little, making small gains here and there every day.
And these tiny everyday gains add up as the years pass and the years turn into decades. ‘Cosmopolitan’ Hindus are probably ashamed of saying Vande Mataram today… 20 years from now they might well be ashamed of Swami Vivekananda in much the same way.
Perhaps one of the disadvantages of being such an old civilization is that Hindus have become too stoic. Our civilization really has seen it all and as such Hindu society is oddly comfortable, convinced that we will last forever.
Some people on Twitter told me that Swami Vivekananda is too great a figure to be tarnished by “dwarfs”.
But that’s too cozy a way of looking at things. There is no rock that can withstand forever the lashes of the waves breaking upon it. The same goes for ancient civilization surrounded from all sides by an angry, rising sea.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.