What is identity and what value does it hold on a public platform? Is anonymity a hurdle in debate forums? Does identity matter when discussing things in public discourse? Normally, one would expect that reasonable people would say irrespective of who says something, what is being said is important and must be the focus of attention. However, what is actually being observed is that “liberals” shut down debate and contrarian views using the argument of identity. There are several aspects to it and as such in this article four prominent “arguments” of identity presented by the so-called liberals will be uncovered.
“You are a nameless troll, scared to show your face.”
Have you ever read this as a come-back in an argument online? Did you wonder, then, as to how name, face and courage came into question in a debate? Shouldn’t the reply have been on the merits of the arguments presented by the so-called “nameless troll”?
The best example of this shouting down and discrediting is related to an anonymous handle on Twitter by the name TrueIndology. This handle tweets on history with each of its tweets backed by in-depth research and evidence of primary sources. It regularly busts fake and distorted historical narratives from the likes of Audrey Truschke, Irfan Habib, Ram Guha and many others. Yet, whenever they are caught spreading false narratives, they reply not with an apology or with the set of primary evidence on which they based their claims but with the statements along the following lines, “I am scholar who put her name on the line, you are just a faceless nameless troll, who is scared to even show his face!”
There can be many reasons for not putting your name and face on display. From simple shyness of an introvert to professional precautions to actually fear for the loss of reputation or worse fear of physical harm. The weight of words is not dependent on the name or face of the speaker or writer. Some of the greatest contributions to literature have come from anonymous writers. Mark Twain is a pseudonym and so is Prem Chand. At one point even Rabindra Nath Tagore wrote under the name Bhanu Simha.
If those that question are not nameless, if they put their name and face on their writing, on what they tweet or post on Social Media then they liberals will ask, “Who are you to question me?” This will always be followed by or prefixed by the claim that they are an “expert” or “trained scholars” on that subject. In some other cases, a slightly different claim will be that the one who said Liberal has quoted in his/her line of argument is a “scholar” with a “large body of work behind him/her”. In either case, the appeal is to “authority” that cannot be questioned by normal people. They have to be “peer reviewed” scholars themselves to question said liberals.
This particular line of reasoning to excuse themselves from criticism and questions is often used by Audrey Truschke, Sheldon Pollock and many others when their claims on Indian History and Hindu scriptures are questioned by well-read Indians like Nityananda Mishra, a Sanskrit scholar or by Indian scholars like Rajiv Malhotra.
This is, however, just one example where Indians are being removed from their own cultural and civilizational heritage. In everyday public discourse too, you’ll see that a person’s claims are given weightage simply because they claim to be a journalist, even though all their analysis till date have been wrong. I am speaking, of course, of Swati Chaturvedi and Rohini Singh.
It is important to mention here that, some of the greatest innovations and discoveries in so many fields like mathematics, economics, science and others have been from people who were not originally from that field. As a contemporary example, today few of the most popular history books in India are from an economist named Sanjeev Sanyal. Thus, somebody not being a scholar in a certain field cannot be a valid reason to discredit them and conversely, them being in a certain field doesn’t put them beyond criticism.
Identity can also be used, very effectively, to discredit a person even before that person ever utters or writes a word on anything. And this is done by the way a person is introduced or described. It can be observed very well on television debates on so-called “news channels”.
Prafulla Ketkar is described as a Right Wing activist of RSS and editor of Organiser, a magazine published by RSS. Notice that his affiliation with RSS will be mentioned foremost, Organiser being a Sangh published magazine will be clarified. Further, Prafulla Ketkar will be simply called its editor and never a ‘Journalist’.
Similar treatment is given to various other regular panalists who have Right Wing leanings like Prof. Rakesh Sinha who is often introduced as Sangh spokesperson despite him having clarified that he is not a RSS member and definitely not a spokesperson for RSS. Or Raghav Awasthi who is introduced as a RSS lawyer and not just a lawyer.
Contrast this with how John Dayal is introduced as simply a Human Rights activists and not as a member of Evangelical organisations carrying on conversions and hindering Government work through PILs, organisations that are mostly funded and controlled by the Church (The Vatican). In fact, his connection with the Church is never mentioned. Or how Tehseen Poonawala is never introduced as a relative of the Gandhis but a political analyst. Or that people like Vinod Sharma are simply called Senior Journalists and their strong anti-BJP bias is not mentioned.
This kind of assymetrical introduction achieves two goals- firstly, one side is painted as biased, while the other side is made to seem neutral. Secondly, anytime one side makes an argument in favour of its ideology or against the other ideology, that argument automatically loses weight due to them being “biased” in the eyes of observers, while the other side is put on the pedestal of “neutrality” so that even biased claims are taken on face value.
However, you’d be mistaken if you think that identity is only a means of discrediting opponents. It can just as easily be used to give undue weight to opinions and words of certain people. For liberals on the ‘Left’ identity is almost a currency. If your identity can be linked to the topic of discussion, then your feelings and opinions magically become more valid than facts. For example, on a debate on sexism, a man’s words become half in worth. But a more interesting phenomenon is that if a woman with right-wing ideological leanings disagrees with prevalent left-wing view on this topic, she will be termed as a traitor to her gender! This is Victimhood Olympics, as it is popularly called, where your identity and how much victimhood you can claim is attached to it can decide the worth of your words. When anyone makes claims that are different, they will be called oppressive and will be accused of “denying the lived experience” of others. Words like Fascist, Brahminical, Nazi, Hitler, Patriarchal will also be thrown at them for good measure.
This race for a badge of Victimhood, obviously, creates “Oppressors”. How else will there be victims? Thus, to do that certain groups are identified and a ‘strawman’ is created. And those who belong to this group are not deserving of any sympathy or human decency. Any and all attacks on this group and it’s people will be justified, no matter what the reason for the attack. In the west, the ‘Zionists’ are such a group while in India it’s the Hindus and ‘Hindutvawadis’. Somehow everybody can claim Victimhood from the “Brahminical tyranny” of Hindus. Take the recent incident with Atul Kochhar, for example, an Indian born Britain based Michelin star chef.
Atul had tweeted, referencing the numerous genocides Hindus have faced at the hands of Islamist invaders and terrorists, as a reaction to the ‘Quantico’ fiasco. Then a certain statistician of sorts, who likes to pretend to be a ‘Right Wing’ economist and call others ‘dolts’ for not agreeing with her, tagged his employers at Dubai’s JW Marriott hotel and the whole thing blew up. Now he’s lost his job and is facing death threats. But, to this economist, who couldn’t get herself or her husband a seat in the Government’s advisory- NITI Aayog- it’s no big deal. She was, as per her, “simply checking the tolerance of Dubai’s Islamist regime and how much JW Marriott valued Kochhar”!!
To the liberals in India too, it’s nothing. In fact, they celebrated this blatant attack on free speech and called it curbing of “bigotry”. Yes, denying Hindu genocide is celebrated by liberals in India, the land of Hindus! Contrast this with the fact that denying Jewish genocide is actually a crime in Germany, the land where the Nazis actually did the genocide. This is because if Hindu genocide is accepted, the strawman of “Brahminical tyranny by Hindutvawadis” falls apart. This cannot be allowed! After all, how can victims of genocides, yes MULTIPLE genocides, be termed as the oppressors of the invading genocidal maniacs?
Therefore, bigotry against Hindus has to be justified. Hyperbolic articles, with zero data, based merely on extrapolating single incidents must be written to defame Hindus and Nationalists in Washington Post by Barkha Dutt. Rana Ayyub must go to UN pretending to be a victim to defame India. Ravish Kumar must cry every night at Primetime how Modi is scared of his failing channel. Sagarika Ghose must test the religion of non-existent semen in an incident that involved no man. Shekhar Gupta must look at Dalit non-involvement everywhere except the Editor’s Guild. All of this must go on, and incessantly so, for if there is silence for even a mere second this identitarian House of Cards built by “liberals” crumbles under its own weight of hypocrisy and retardedness.
This insistence, or rather obsession, of ‘Liberals’ with identity, is due to only one reason. And that is that ‘Liberals’ are, in fact, the most intolerant, fascist folks. The insistence on the identity of a person making valid point engaging in a debate is nothing but an attempt to browbeat the other person by name, birth, creed and social status.
Hence, embrace your anonymity, embrace your being from a different field of study, embrace the asymmetrical description and embrace your identity unblemished by pretend Victimhood and confront these so-called ‘Liberals’ every chance you get.
Call out their hypocrisy and call out their logical shortcomings. Remember, in a public forum you are not arguing to change the other person’s stance but to change the opinions of the onlookers. Do not pay mind to these labels they throw at you and go debate them at every chance you get! Take all of this and the abuses they throw at you as a badge of honour. Wear it with pride. For, the moment you take away their ability to insult with pejoratives, they don’t have a word to say. That is when you win!