With great power comes great responsibility; a responsibility not so much of the all-powerful leader but, rather, of his followers.
The Left has lost its deposit. It is time for the Right to fight Modi.
Over these past five years, not a day has gone by when the Left – that holds a monopoly on the media narrative in India – principally through inbreeding and entrenched mediocrity and a collectivised belief in loony tomes – not a day has gone by when the Left hasn’t indulged in wanton propaganda, selectivism, scare-mongering, gangrenous puffery, Hinduphobia, shameless hypocrisy, and the institutionalisation of false-equivalence. From spreading misinformation and fake-news, to pillorying institutions like the Supreme Court and the Armed Forces, nothing was left to chance.
Like the proverbial Proustian cup-cake, these so-called Mothers of History and Fathers of Geography reminisced over past comforts, given them by their favourite dynasty, and how they yearned for it. They remembered the untold rewards through fellowships and committee memberships. They remembered the wah-wahs and the requests for encores at fixed television debates on nationalised television channels. They remembered PMO entourages and business-class trips to places they had never previously seen. They remembered the dinner parties and the book launches and the giggles and the nibbles. They remembered the life they had led, but not the life they had written about. They remembered a cocoon. And slowly, over the years, they remembered wrapping the cocoon with their silky threads over and over and over again till it became tighter and tighter. This they remembered. But life under wraps only stifled the pupa, preventing it from transforming into something that could take wings.
The cocoon got unwrapped in the last five years, leaving only a withered mass of putrefying gunge; hanging from a branch; dripping slime; about to detach. But still, they hoped for wings to sprout.
It only got worse in the last few months. These masked and bibbed writers jabbed and parried, jabbed and parried, rattling their sabres in a vigorous bout of eleventh-hour fencing. It was almost as though these Achtung Journalists and fly-by-night intellectuals took it upon themselves to save the Idea of India from the talons of Fascism and Totalitarianism. They dreamt of swastikas and toothbrush moustaches, they heard the approaching rumble of goose steps, they watched their beloved India turn into a Pakistan, but they refused to wake up to reality. They were the new Buffalo Soldiers – stolen from Communism, brought to Secularism; Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.
In response, the Right wrote thousands of rebuttals, filled with logical counter-points and rationale, at times rife with anger, even retribution. But as the Navajo saying goes, you can’t wake a person pretending to be asleep. These rebuttals helped little. That is until one single, solitary rebuttal brought the rotten, decaying cocoon crashing down. It was a rebuttal that could not be read, only heard; could not be watched, only felt. It arrived yesterday. Modi wrote it.
No other rebuttal is now necessary. The Right has no enemy left. Fools are those who do not get weary from battling an idiotic adversary. Ignore and withdraw. Your battles now lie elsewhere.
Modi 2.0 heralds a new beginning for India and her people. It must not be allowed to cultivate the habits of Modi 1.0. It must not be allowed to rest its head on the cushion of nepotism and fawning and servitude and social Darwinism. It must be taken to task when it fails on its promises. The criticism by the Left cannot be trusted or believed in. Who else but the Right to help the government keep to the straight and narrow?
Doubtless, this would be difficult. The Right has not criticised Modi except on rare occasions, and worse, it has charged on galloping horses and spears drawn at those who are neither Left nor Right (call them non-Left) when they have criticised Modi. To be sure, it is the Left and not the Right that cannot take criticism from among its own. The Right works on Darwinian principles and fighting for supremacy of ideas come naturally – a fundamental and glorious reason why there can never be a Right-wing ecosystem.
To build a Right-wing Ecosystem would be to replicate a Left-wing ecosystem. Nothing could be more tragic. Ecosystems are tribes; sooner or later they demand their pound of flesh. Slowly, they sow ideas of brotherhood and dependence in an intellectual who has just joined them and then begins the slide. If India is to encourage the growth of intellectualism, it must understand that ecosystems, as we know them, are to be discouraged. It must understand the role of a patron. You can support a musician by organising a concert for him, but you can’t ask him to perform your mediocre creation. And this is what all ecosystems do. They turn into herds, and their members into little lambs, afraid to speak their minds, fearful of the consequences, scared that the flow of cash or kind might ebb. Ecosystems ensconce and guard mediocrity, then promote and help it prosper. Instead, the Right must now cultivate nonconformists and dissenters among its own fold.
There is a reason why this author is writing these words for Opindia. No one but no one has worked more to demolish the perfidy of the Left in recent past, than Opindia and its motley gang of the founder, editor, and gifted writers – all of whom are true Liberals. It was vital if not a crucial task and one that has been accomplished satisfactorily. It must now walk away from the scarred battlefield and reinvent itself. There is a need for Opindia 2.0. For every article that lauds the actions of Modi 2.0, let there be one written by someone from the Right that is critical of that same action. The space that was erstwhile occupied in rebutting the dissenting Left and its perfidious ideas must now be handed over to the dissenting Right.
So, warriors of the Right: arise, drop your swords and pick up your pens and celebrate true dissent as much as you celebrate true democracy. There is a job to do, and you are needed like never before. Withdraw the middle- and lift the forefinger. And point it at Modi when needed.
Author’s note: Few lines on the machinations of the Left Ecosystem have been taken from the author’s essays published earlier.
Anand Ranganathan is the Consulting Editor of Swarajya and author of three novels, most recently of The Rat Eater (co-authored). A product of St Stephen’s College, Delhi, and Pembroke College, Cambridge, he is a scientist based in Delhi.