One of the most shocking revelations in the ongoing #MeToo movement in India has been the recent rape allegation by a JNU student against Talib Hussein, the “activist” who was at the forefront of demanding justice for the Kathua victim.
The chilling account of the survivor, the mind-numbing brutality of the act she describes begs the question: is the cult of liberalism ripping apart the lives of Indian youth on college campuses?
The essence of the #MeToo movement is about abuse of power. Of late, crimes and abuses of power that were committed years ago, sometimes decades ago, have tumbled out into the public gaze.
The question is: what power did Talib Hussein have other than the halo of liberalism that was drawn around his head? His alleged “struggles” that elevated him to god-like status in the cult of liberalism. And as with so many godman cults in India and everywhere else, as with the Catholic Church and the worldwide child abuse scandal, it may be that the cult of liberalism has become an enabler for institutionalized sexual exploitation.
At stake here are the lives of a whole generation of young learners on Indian college campuses.
The tell-tale signs of cult-like brainwashing are all too evident in the manner in which the survivor describes her accusations against Talib Hussein.
This is downright scary. Observe how the survivor admits to “obeying” the predator, ignoring her own premonitions of danger and feeling like the “only way forward” was in the direction her predator took her!
Throughout her account, while the survivor repeatedly comes to the only reasonable conclusion that there is never any excuse for rape and that there is no such thing as “good rape” or “bad rape,” she keeps laying out the conflict in her mind.
This is just so typical of how a cult works. Convincing victims that there is at least “partial truth” to how the rapist has been thinking. The institutional abuser in a cult tries to induce conflicting emotions in the victim, forcing them to blame themselves at some level or the other.
Even though the survivor knows that it’s not her fault, she admits that her sense of self-worth has been extinguished by the liberal godman. Even more disturbing is how she says she feels “abandoned by any source of care.”
More signs of emotional dependence on a cult she was brainwashed into joining, seeing the cult and its godmen as the “source of care.” Not to mention a fear that exposing the crimes committed by the godmen will expose the cult to harm by those that the cult teaches her to see as outsiders/enemies.
The survivor admits that the apprehension of the “others” using her testimony against the cult might well have forced her to remain silent her whole life.
The question is how many other godmen within the cult of liberalism are getting away with crimes of a similar nature. In her account, the survivor says she received news that there might be more victims of Talib Hussein within the JNU student body itself!
What else is this, if not a cult, where educated, empowered women, living in the national capital in the year 2018 and studying at one of India’s best universities, feel too apprehensive to speak out after getting raped?
The #MeToo storm began with liberal comedians caught with their pants down. The fire went on to singe a whole range of liberal celebrities, media persons and journalists. Along the way, it was uncovered that the editor who crossed over to BJP might have been a sex offender back when he was another respected liberal.
Let’s face it. The #MeToo movement has stripped away the mask of Indian liberalism. Just as shocking as the revelations have been the surrounding noise, where liberal intellectuals (including women!!) have admitted to knowing for a long time that this or that person was a predator! They knew! Those in power knew all the time! And they kept their mouths shut, due to a combination of power relations and a loyalty to the ecosystem that they live in.
What is this if not a cult?
They say ‘don’t make it political.’ But it is a fact that the vast majority of those exposed belong to the liberal intelligentsia that is used to lecturing the rest of the country. And we all know what would have happened if the majority of those exposed for their crimes had been on the other side of the political divide.
The most powerful example in this regard is the Kathua case itself, where the demand for justice for a child was spun by liberals into a larger hate movement against all Hindus and all their religious icons in general.
Unlike them, I do not intend to direct hate against any group. Each individual is responsible for their own crimes.
At the same time, it is our responsibility as a society to put an end to dangerous power structures that enable institutional crimes. Isn’t that what #MeToo is all about? Reading the account of the survivor in this case, it is all too evident that this was a crime made possible by the cult of liberalism.
This means that the educated classes in this country must come face to face with the reality of predators lurking in their midst, in plain sight. The media talks about godmen and cults as if they are far removed from genteel Indian living rooms where people are fluent in English. As if godman cults have some rustic, vernacular feel, something that only ‘desi bumpkins’ would engage in. Only because they have so little education and are steeped in superstition.
The English speaking liberal classes have been taught to turn their noses up at cults. To show contempt towards their believers. Who would be brainwashed enough to cover up the crimes of some crooked Babaji like Gurmeet Ram Rahim? Shockingly, there were women at JNU who were raped by liberal godmen and didn’t dare to speak out. Remember she said there are possibly other victims of the same liberal godman on the same JNU campus who haven’t spoken out yet. Now, we know.
Cults are everywhere. There could be a godman speaking from the platform of a major university, belting out sermons on liberalism, surrounded by frenzied and cheering intellectual fans. And these predators are always on the hunt.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.