‘Eminent’ writers, journalists, creative artists, academics, and activists have urged the Indian government to review its decision to revoke the OCI card of hatemonger Aatish Taseer. The names include Salman Rushdie, Christiane Amanpour, Amitav Ghosh and Margaret Atwood.
They say, “We are extremely concerned that Taseer appears to have been targeted for an extremely personal form of retaliation due to his writing and reporting that has been critical of the Indian government.” The statement continues, “We urge that the spirit of the OCI regulations, which are designed to provide status and connection to their roots and family to citizens of other countries with Indian heritage, are upheld, and do not discriminate against single mothers.”
Consistent with their approach towards issues of legality by propagating doomsday theories, the statement asserts, “Denying access to the country to writers of both foreign and Indian origin casts a chill on public discourse; it flies in the face of India’s traditions of free and open debate and respect for a diversity of views, and weakens its credentials as a strong and thriving democracy.”
First of all, Taseer’s OCI card has been revoked because his father is a Pakistani. It makes him ineligible for an OCI card. This is an indisputable fact. Furthermore, he has chosen to keep his father’s surname which flies in the face of the argument that his father hasn’t had a bearing mark upon his personality and his life. Furthermore, he has himself said in public discourse that for a time, he and his father did share a semblance of a relationship for some time. It eventually did break down but it would be disgracing the memories of his late father, whether by his absence or his temporary presence, by disassociating Aatish Taseer from his father completely.
The letter claims, “In his application for the OCI status, Taseer listed his father’s name and never tried to hide his identity”. One wonders how the writers learnt of this despite the Home Ministry’s clear message that Aatish Taseer had failed to mention his father’s name. Furthermore, Aatish Taseer has himself not claimed any such thing. In an article that he wrote following the incident, he didn’t ‘dispute’ the government’s assertion.
Aatish Taseer wrote, “While the government did not initially reveal their motivations behind this action, they have now stated their reasons for removing my OCI: “concealed the fact that his late father was of Pakistani origin.” But it is hard not to feel, given the timing, that I was being punished for what I had written.” Facts are no substitute for feelings. Aatish Taseer’s ‘feelings’ cannot be interpreted as him disputing the government’s statement.
The argument, essentially, appears to be simple. The ’eminent intellectuals’ have reached the conclusion based on their narcissism that Aatish Taseer is only being targeted because he wrote against Narendra Modi. Here’s a reality check: Plenty of people say plenty of abusive words against the Prime Minister all the time. Some people sitting abroad even peddle complete slander against the Prime Minister. And yet, the government has not ever taken any action against them. Aatish Taseer was targeted for a reason. And the reason is simple, he violated Indian laws.
‘Eminent intellectuals’, who invariably happen to be liberal, want India to ignore its laws simply because it adversely impacts one of them. It is a crass display of narcissism and liberal privilege. An individual can be an ’eminent intellectual’ and violate the law. These are not mutually exclusive. And yet, whenever one of them happens to violate one, they always claim that the person has been targeted for his or her political views.
Will these ’eminent intellectuals’ argue that Jeffery Epstein was ‘targeted’ because he was entrenched to the political establishment? Would these people argue that Harvey Weinstein was ‘targeted’ because of his political opinions? Would these people argue that Michael Avenatti aka Creepy Porn Lawyer is being ‘targeted’ because of his opposition to Donald Trump? Obviously not, because all these men committed serious crimes (Creepy Porn Lawyer did not commit a sex crime) that violated laws of the country they resided in, not because of their liberal political opinions. Similarly, Aatish Taseer, too, violated India laws, although he did not commit any serious crimes like the other men mentioned here.
The elitist mentality as demonstrated by the ’eminent intellectuals’ is the same reason why they were so shocked when Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump. Every attack against Hillary was reduced to her gender. Hillary lost because she was one of the worst candidates to have ever run for Presidency. Compared to her, even Donald Trump seems like an angel. That is why she lost.
‘Eminent Intellectuals’ such as the people here who are urging the Indian government to reconsider their decision are entitled brats who believe they are above the laws of the land. They also have such a fancy opinion of themselves that they can’t think of any other reason than their political opinions for governments acting against them. Second reality-check: They are humans and the people from their class often violate laws. Acting against people for violating laws has nothing to do with their political beliefs.
The only controversy amidst all of this is how did Aatish Taseer acquire the OCI card in the first place. Aatish Taseer is not above the law of the land. Liberals keep shouting ‘Not even the President is above the law’ when it’s convenient for them but when one of their own violates any law, they attempt to shield him from the consequences. Aatish Taseer is not above the law either and the Indian government must stand by its decision or else risk setting a very bad precedent.
Editorial team of OpIndia.com