One of the many privileges of being an ‘intellectual’ is being wrong about practically everything under the Sun and yet be regarded as a voice of reason on contentious matters. People who have been virtually wrong on every issue of critical importance and have failed to make accurate assessment every time they have stuck their neck out are still called ‘intellectuals’ and relied upon for their valuable opinions. This is what we would call ‘liberal privilege’. In the liberal clown world, competence is not a concern, allegiance to the dogma is. And one person who has benefited greatly from it is Sadanand Dhume.
On all controversial issues, he has been horribly wrong. And yet, he is treated as a ‘voice of reason’ only because he pays obeisance to the liberal dogma. His failure to perceive things as they are instead of seeing them as he wishes them to be is regularly demonstrated through the tweets he makes and the articles he writes. And yet, due to his ‘liberal privilege’, he still gets to pontificate to the rest of us.
On the 2nd of October, 2010, a couple of days after the Allahabad High Court delivered its verdict on the Ayodhya dispute, Dhume wrote in the Wall Street Journal, speaking of the fact that the Hindu Nationalists for the first time found themselves on the same side of the law, “For this transformation to take hold, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party must seize the opportunity to bury temple politics once and for all and begin evolving into a mainstream conservative party.”
One wonders what Dhume meant by ‘evolving into the mainstream conservative party’ since the BJP even at the time was the primary opposition party. Under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani, the party had even formed its own government and ruled for five years. At no point did they abandon their agenda. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah were already ruling Gujarat for years. In various states, the party was in power. Therefore, Dhume believed that it wasn’t already a ‘mainstream conservative party’ only shows his own lack of understanding about Indian cultural conditions.
With great authority, Dhume asserted, “If the temple issue is settled, the party can focus instead on less divisive (and more pressing) issues such as support for private business, a strong national defence and a foreign policy driven by clear-eyed self-interest. This must be its objective regardless of what the Supreme Court rules.”
The duo of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah politely said “okay” to all such advice and then went about doing what they always planned to do. Dhume believed it was of monumental importance for the BJP to abandon Temples for it to become a ‘mainstream conservative party’. It might disappoint him but the fact is that the BJP secured a simple majority in the Parliament in two consecutive Lok Sabha elections without abandoning its heritage. It did become a ‘mainstream conservative party’ but for that, it didn’t have to fundamentally alter its identity.
Dhume stated further, “Unlike virtually every other major democracy, India has no responsible right-of-centre party to speak of.” The fact of the matter is, India, as a country, relates to the concept of ‘right’ and ‘left’ differently due to cultural reasons. And as per its own understanding, the BJP has always been a ‘right-of-centre’ party. Unfortunately for Dhume and those who think like him, the Center is much farther to the right in India due to historical reasons than they assumed it to be.
Nine years later, when Dhume was forced to realize that the BJP had become a ‘mainstream conservative party’, he abhorred it. In April, he wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal titled: India’s Government Considers a ‘Muslim Ban’. The ‘Muslim ban’ he is referring to is the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill that seeks to provide citizenship to persecuted non-Muslims from neighbouring countries.
Dhume wrote, “This foolish idea may win the BJP votes in the current election but at the cost of undermining interfaith harmony, seeding long-term domestic instability, and tarnishing India’s reputation for tolerance.” Needless to say, the CAB does no such thing. It only seeks to right a historical wrong and takes into account the origins of the Indian state while considering citizenship rights.
Liberals like Dhume are essentially ‘blank-slatist’ when it comes to the origins of India. They believe India began from a blank state on the 15th of August, 1947 and whatever the country’s past may have been, going forward, India shall subscribe to the western values of secularism, liberalism and all else. But that’s not how most Indians look at the Indian state.
Liberals believe the ghosts of the partition should be exorcised from the memories of Indian Constitution, however, they forget that the people this country belongs to do not want that. The CAB merely takes into account the fact that India was partitioned on a religious basis and therefore, persecuted non-Muslims from neighbouring countries should have the right to Indian citizenship.
Indian Citizenship is a privilege and Muslims from neighbouring countries do not deserve it because they are already citizens of Islamic states that they wanted. This is perfectly natural and anyone with any common sense should be able to comprehend it. However, liberals whose ideology is based on a resolute denial of reality won’t.
As for India’s ‘reputation’, the world will have to adjust to new realities. And the world will if India manages to consolidate its strength and emerge as a strong player in international politics. For instance, the world still does business with China despite its ‘reeducation camps’ and the ongoing persecution of Uyghur Muslims. China is literally forcing Uyghur women to sleep with regime officials after locking up their husbands in these ‘reeducation camps’ and yet, liberals are more troubled by Donald Trump’s trade war against the Chinese regime than the plight of Uyghur Muslims.
It’s how things work in international politics. A strong country does not have to care about its ‘reputation’. If it is powerful enough, everyone else will fall in line. As I had said a while earlier, it was extremely unlikely that China will ever have to regret its treatment of Uyghur Muslims. It’s entirely a different matter of debate whether India has been or will ever be successful in reaching that position. Consider this, the USA destabilized the entire Middle-East, killed a million Muslims, paved the way for slavery to return to Libya, funded Islamic terrorists all across the globe and yet, people like Dhume still consider the USA a very respectable country.
Dhume concluded the said article saying, “India continues to tilt dangerously away from its pluralistic ethos toward Hindu chauvinism. On Wednesday the BJP nominated a militant female ascetic on trial for bomb blasts targeting Muslims to run for Parliament. A smart country would pick Vivekananda’s expansive vision over Mr. Shah’s cramped one. The alternative: eroding the secular compact that holds 1.3 billion people together.”
It is classical Dhume. In 2010, Dhume argued that BJP should abandon Temples to become a ‘mainstream conservative party’. Nine years later, when Narendra Modi government was on the verge of securing a reelection, Dhume issued sermons that India is swaying towards ‘Hindu chauvinism’. Why? Because the BJP managed to disrupt the establishment without compromising on its principles.
When people like Dhume say a ‘mainstream Conservative party’, they mean a party that does not differ from liberals in any manner whatsoever apart from economics and the mildest cultural issues. The problem is Dhume’s definition of what constitutes ‘mainstream’ is extremely narrow and when any political party deviates from it, it is labeled ‘chauvinism’.
There’s a reason for this. The massive popularity of the ideas such as political entities espouse is a testament to the failure of the mainstream establishment to convince the ordinary citizen of the superiority of their own ideas. This is precisely why the establishment hates Donald Trump so much. It’s the same reason why establishment Democrats hate Bernie Sanders with such intensity. Because of the massive popularity among the electorate they enjoy is evidence of the fact that their ideas have been rejected by the citizens of their country.
Unfettered by all of this, Dhume continues to pontificate on social media without an ounce of self-realization. For instance, after the Ayodhya verdict was delivered in favour of Ram Lalla, he said on Twitter, “Question worth asking: where does this project of civilizational redress end? Is Ayodhya sufficient, or are Kashi and Mathura also essential? Exceptions notwithstanding, moderation is not a virtue that ought to be associated with revivalists of any faith.”
At the end of the day, a political party ought to accurately capture and represent the will of the people. That is how a Democracy is supposed to function. Therefore, as to the query whether Kashi and Mathura are also essential, the average Hindu would assert that Kashi and Mathura are very important. As for how all of this ends, nobody knows but considering the trajectory of our country, one would assume it doesn’t end where Dhume would want it to. It’s a Democracy after all, questions of such monumental significance will be settled with the will of the people. And considering the fact that liberals are a micro-minority of the Indian population, it’s unlikely that they will agree with the will of the people.
In the most hilarious of fashion, Dhume announced that South Asian countries are not very good at protecting minority rights. “India’s record has been better than most,” he says, “but it’s rapidly backsliding.” Furthermore, he declares that Pakistan under Imran Khan is making the right noises on the issue.
My view: South Asian countries are not very good at minority rights. Since Independence, India’s record has been better than most, but it’s rapidly backsliding. Pakistan’s record is among the worst, but Imran Khan is now making the right noises. Welcome steps, but baby steps.
— Sadanand Dhume (@dhume) November 10, 2019
This is precisely why liberalism has lost in the marketplace of ideas. The people who advocate them are not merely out of touch with reality, they are in denial of it. For those unaware, the countries which make up South Asia are Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Bhutan, and the Maldives.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are the undoubtedly the worst. And there’s no need to elaborate why and how. Bhutan is not as diverse country a country in India and has done well in this regard. Nepal, during its time as a Hindu country, performed exceptionally well in this regard and under the secular regime, they have shown inclinations to persecute the faith of the majority community. Sri Lanka suffered from ethnic problems for a long long time and the ghosts of the past have not yet been buried.
That leaves us with the Maldives, which is again, an Islamic country where people of other faiths do not have equal rights on a variety of issues. Its Constitution makes it mandatory that all citizens are Sunni Muslims. Compared to all these countries, how do you think India has fared?
Comparing India with countries other than those in South Asia, it still comes out looking very good for us, especially given our turbulent past. The USA is not doing very well on racial issues, has never done well on racial issues. Now in addition to racism against Blacks, we have the added component of anti-White racism that’s extremely mainstream in liberal America. It is well known how China and Russia fare in this aspect. Israel constitutionally mandates that its ethnic identity be preserved. It’s true, however, that Israel treats its minority citizen as well as India does, probably not as good. Japan earnestly works towards maintaining their ethnic identity.
The European countries, on the other hand, are committing civilizational suicide in their bid to prove that they treat their minorities well. Some argue that Europe is already dead. Canada treats its minority population extremely well but then again, it is harbouring Khalistani terrorists in their midst. New Zealand and Australia, perhaps, are the only countries that come to mind that do not, as per my knowledge as of this moment, which are not facing any minority issues as of now.
The point is, it will be extremely hard to argue that given India’s turbulent past and the history of its origins, minorities from any other country have fared better. Liberals may not agree to it but they are in denial of reality. In the 20th century, Europeans were busy committing genocides across the globe. ‘Minority Rights’ started gaining prominence only in the second half of the 20th century and since then, western countries have either enacted policies that have led or will lead to a civilizational suicide or those that have left their countries more divided than ever before.
Considering all circumstances, India has scored better than almost every other country around the world, if not every single country. It might be hard for liberals like Sadanand Dhume to digest but its the truth. We have had issues and continue to have them, which we will resolve as a country in due course of time, but considering the size of our country, there’s no need for us to be overly critical of it. And it is a fact that the only section of the population that the Constitution of India has discriminated against as a matter of policy is the Hindu community. Perhaps this skewed perspective is exactly why Subramanian Swamy had in 2017 fondly ‘christened’ Dhume as Gadhananad Ghume.