Liberals have found a new target. After tackling global issues such as child pornography and homelessness, liberals have finally found a new target to train their weapons on: The solemn expression of “Om Shanti” following the death of an individual. According to them, the expression is symbolic of the rising ‘Hindutva fascism’ in the country.
Liberals have come to the ‘enlightened’ conclusion that saying the expression used in the event of someone’s death was started by Sanghis.
In the past as well, the ‘Sanghi’ ties to Om Shanti have been questioned and liberals wonder if it is a “Sanghi Nationalist chant”.
Others have gone so far as to assert that the expression is a tool of “caste supremacy”.
It is ironic that the conversation on Tuesday was initiated by someone who had pronouns in her handle name. To use her words, “This was never a thing” until very recently, as recently as 2015 or 2016 most likely. For someone like her to complain that Om Shanti ‘as never a thing’ is, quite frankly, hilarious.
Even so, she appears to be someone who uses the words “Rest in peace” or “RIP” in the event of someone’s death, an expression that has no relevance for the overwhelming majority of India. For one, it is borrowed from the western context and secondly, it is tied to burial, a ritual that is not practiced by the Hindu majority except in rare circumstances.
It is indicative of a larger malaise that Indians have a problem with the expression Om Shanti but perceive ‘RIP’ to be the normal order of things. It indicates that the liberal class of India is more accustomed to western norms and Indian cultural mores abhor them.
Needless to say, the hinterlands of India will be much familiar with “Om Shanti” than they ever would be of ‘RIP’. While it is true that the higher echelons of Indian society have been more familiar with the latter due to their proximity and exposure to western culture, it is not an accurate reflection of India at large.
Om Shanti surges in prominence, ‘RIP’ takes a backseat in India
Having said that, it is true that ‘RIP’ was the normal expression to use after someone had passed away. It is recently, over the course of the past few years, that the usage of the phrase “Om Shanti” has surged on the internet.
There are multiple reasons to this. Firstly, it is the higher echelons of Indian society with greater proximity to the West who first received exposure to social media platforms. Ever willing to assimilate with western mores, they took to the term like fish to water.
However, that has changed in recent times. With the advent of Jio and cheap internet, more and more Indians from the hinterlands have started using social media platforms. Thus, platforms now are more indicative of Indian reality than they were earlier, even though they do not fully reflect Indian realities yet.
As Pratyasha Rath, an advisor in the Developmental Sector, said on Twitter, “RIP was an internet thing and a lot of our elders. who are new to the technology, thought it’s part of the new language and had picked it up.” As more and more Indians joined the platform, it is slowly being abandoned.
The other part is that there is a growing acknowledgment nationwide that we are not part of the West and we do not want to become the West culturally. Yes, we do aspire to attain the material development that they have managed to gain but we seek to do so in our terms, while preserving the essential tenets of our culture.
There is a cultural revolution underway in the country and more and more aspects of our public discourse is being ‘Indianized’, which is to say, ‘Hinduized’. Ananth Krishna, a student of law, pointed out, “Yes, it’s a “new” thing for the upper classes. And yes, a cultural revolution is underway in Bharat, which is why you see such immense cultural and social changes in a short amount of time.”
Having a Prime Minister at the helm who is overtly Hindu in his public conduct sure does help. Narendra Modi has himself used the expression “Om Shanti” on several occasions, which has only served to normalise the term further. It is certainly not all down to him, of course, but when the Prime Minister of the country uses a particular term, the usage of it is only expected to surge further.
Liberals may perceive it to be ‘Sanghi conspiracy’ but the reality is that it is only symbolic of the fact that public discourse in India is getting more ‘Indianised’. And there’s no stopping it. With the progression of time, other facets of discourse would be ‘Indianised’ too. This is only the beginning of it.