Are Congress’ political and intellectual ecosystems pulling in opposite directions?

So, the Congress Party has distanced itself from Shashi Tharoor’s “Hindu Pakistan” remarks. Those of us familiar with social media know that the term has been in use for a long time already among hate-filled liberals. The term, in fact, has become part of the now established vocabulary of Hinduphobic terms like “Hindu Pakistan,” or “Hindu Taliban,” each one coined ironically by adding the word Hindu before something horrific established by members of the religion of peace.

Some time ago, when the fear of gau-rakshaks was the “in” thing, I had noticed an escalating dictionary of Hinduphobic hate words: cow-terrorists, cow-Nazis, coming into use in popular media. Same pattern there. Same failure to find something monstrous created by Hindus which could be used to coin a term that would capture the amount of hatred they were feeling. At that time, I remember writing an article helpfully suggesting the use of the term “Cow-Commie” if liberals felt so strongly against the menace of gau-rakshaks, but it seems the term did not catch on.

Yes. So it does come as a sort of surprise when the Congress pulls away from Shashi Tharoor using the term “Hindu Pakistan.” Not just pulling away, but bolting away in the opposite direction. For once, it feels good to see the Hindu right seize on something and make the other side run away.

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But then, it was only the other day that I pointed out the demonization of Hindu icons like Hanuman, Swastika and even the Om symbol. Remember how all it takes is for a smalltime journalist from a left-wing portal to stick her neck out of the window, see a Hindu and feel her Hinduphobia rising like a wicked bout of acidity in those Eno commercials. And then she can write the article that will set in motion a worldwide PR campaign of damning whatever symbol that unfortunate Hindu outside her window happened to be sporting at the moment.

So, what is happening? While they are out there fusing the ancient Om symbol into a Nazi emblem, why is the political mothership pulling away? Why are they seemingly at cross purposes?

This is why one of the alternate titles for this article, in my mind, was to ask if the tail is wagging the dog.

It is not hard to imagine what the master plan is supposed to be here. The rise of Modi and the election of 2014 has sent a chill down the secular spines. The fear of the political Hindu is real. Just ask the party of red atheists in Kerala that has just signed up for ‘Ramayana month.’ Sources say that if this shrinking party finds its base collapsing any further, they might even adopt ‘Mandir wahin banayenge‘ as their new slogan.

This is a massive departure from the days when India’s Prime Minister would openly proclaim that Muslims have the “first right” to India’s resources. The dirty work has been delegated to people much lower down the food chain. The aggression against Hindus will be carried out by people in the wider ecosystem. The top leadership of the Congress will hide under a rock and maintain plausible deniability until the political environment improves.

That’s the plan. Except these things rarely hold up like they are supposed to. Like mahagathbandhans. Because when two forces of extreme greed make an arrangement, they are always going to keep gnawing at each other. And before you know it, someone is sobbing and calling the whole thing a ‘poison’ in order to distance themselves from the trainwreck.

Historically, the Congress Dynasty has done very well at keeping both its political and intellectual ecosystem on a tight leash. The crown here should actually go to Sonia Gandhi, much more than any of her predecessors. Mindful of the diminished footprint of the Congress political ecosystem, she yielded lots of space to the intellectual ecosystem. The National Advisory Council was an extra-constitutional miracle that lasted ten full years and did an amazing job of harmonizing the anti-Hindu agenda of “intellectuals” with the political agenda of the party to win elections. The RTE was a masterpiece in this regard, a poison pill so perfect in its packaging that half a century may pass before this disaster is addressed. By that time, the poison would have worked its way through, devastating Hindu institutions, leaving nothing behind.

But Rahul Gandhi is hit by a double whammy. The Congress political footprint has declined massively, even beyond the tipping point that made Sonia Gandhi craft the National Advisory Council. He is left with little ground to cede. His intellectual hounds are running amok. Worse, they sense both his weakness and his intellectual deficiencies.  How could they not?

Today a Rahul Gandhi, far from appearing like the sinister puppeteer of JNU’s Tukde Tukde gang, sometimes comes off as the sidekick of Kanhaiya Kumar. Perhaps even a puppet himself.

The tail is not just wagging the dog. The tail is becoming the dog.

Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.

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