By now, everyone on social media has heard about the incident involving NDTV. You see NDTV had put out a tweet mentioning the number of new Covid cases in India and possibly thought nothing of it. It so happened that the accompanying image was that of a visibly Muslim man, with a skull cap and beard. This set off a wave of condemnation on social media among NDTV’s core viewers. Then, a Muslim “activist” demanded to know the name of the NDTV employee who had dared used the image, and encouraged other NDTV employees to disclose the name through DMs. The subtext of demanding someone’s name was obviously chilling.
To her credit, NDTV’s Editorial Director Sonia Singh took on this individual. She pointed out that the accompanying image merely showed an Indian taking a Covid test. She also asked him to “stop trying to intimidate” the NDTV team with his agenda.
Soon after, the tweet was gone. Not the tweet from the Muslim “activist.” But the original tweet from NDTV, with the supposedly controversial image.
Whether you believe that NDTV was intimidated or not, we can all see that Sonia Singh stood no chance against the woke liberal patriarchy.
Understandably, there was a bit of alarm among the liberal elite over what happened. Most did not dare to tweet about it, but some did. The Muslim radicals, now basking in the glory of their “win,” shut up the former by calling them Islamophobic. The liberal elites did not dare to press the issue further.
The scuffle broke out only yesterday. But on the liberal side of the Indian political spectrum, the differences have been simmering. How did this happen? And what do we need to know about this?
The problems actually began a few weeks ago, with the reactions to the murder of that Indian photojournalist in Afghanistan. You might remember how some liberals such as Ravish Kumar played it safe, sending “hazaar lanataein” to the bullet that killed the man. Others advertised their wokeness by celebrating the “humanity” of the Taliban, and choosing to bash the Sangh instead. Here is one such individual, a professor of some sort at an educational institution in the United States.
But those liberals who sought to show off their wokeness by calling the Sangh names such as “Hindu Taliban” were in for a rude shock. Their core supporters were no longer happy even with the RSS – Taliban comparison. They argued that the comparison diminishes the moral standing of the Taliban. How dare Indian liberals insult the Taliban?
The liberal elites had been blindsided. They had underestimated the extent to which their foot soldiers had become radicalized.
That’s where the tension began. And it just exploded yesterday. You should see the discourse on social media. The liberal elites put up a weak defense of their position, if at all. But the radicals will have none of it. They are labeling the liberal elites as rabidly Islamophobic, as Sangh agents in disguise and much worse. The radicals will accept nothing short of total subjugation. They have the numbers and they are laying down the new laws.
For the liberal elite, the wheels on their “too clever by half” strategy are finally coming off. What did the liberal elite do all these years? They kept quiet as the most regressive elements took over the minority community. In that community, child marriage remains legal to this day, a daughter receives half the inheritance of a son and until a few years ago, instant triple talaq was still legal. In Jammu & Kashmir, they are still carrying the can for Article 370, which infringes on property rights of women and allows for people to be put in jail for homosexuality. On a range of issues, Indian liberal elites were on the same page as the Taliban. But the liberal elite pretended not to notice.
What did the liberal elite do instead? They demonized every practice of the majority Hindu community. Because the Hindu community is open to change and willing to act on its faults, this ensured that the liberal elites could make a living out of this.
The liberal elite is now trapped. On the one hand, they cannot acknowledge anything good about India’s Hindu majority. That would destroy everything they have said so far in their lives. So they signed up politically with the minority community and offered to lead them in the fight against “Hindutva.” For this, they had to define “liberalism” as anyone who despises the idol worshipers. From sarees to diyas to rasam to Hanuman shirts, the liberal elites found new ways each day to demonize the Hindus.
But, the radicals in the minority community are now getting restive. Why should they accept leadership from the liberal elite? The radicals have the numbers. They want to assert themselves and make the rules for their side.
This is the classic struggle between the “classes” and the “masses” on the liberal side. On one side are the liberal elites. They pretend to hate the system, and India’s Hindu majority. But secretly, they love it. It is this system in which they made a living and became so successful. They are not radicals, they just play one on TV. They are least excited about the idea of living in Taliban ruled Afghanistan, or in any other country where women are not allowed on the street without a male guardian.
On the other side are the “masses” who now make up the biggest votebank for the liberals. These people don’t have much of a stake in the system. They never got very much from it. Many of them don’t have a modern education, and have not been taught to care for one. But they are not fools. They sense that their supposed thought leaders in the liberal elite do not share their values, and are simply taking advantage of their votes.
The liberal elites can try, but the coalition is not going to hold much longer. On the liberal side of the Indian political spectrum, the “masses” are going to stand up to the “classes.”
For the liberal elite, there is only one way out of this mess. They have to acknowledge everything they have done wrong. They pandered to the most regressive elements in the minority community. Instead, they demonized the only group of people that is genuinely open to positive social change. Their redemption begins with a heartfelt apology to the majority community. And then assuming an intellectually honest position on community relations in India.