When the country was divided on the basis of two-nation theory in 1947, the newly created nation under the Muslim League had chosen to be identified as an Islamic Republic of Pakistan while the leaders of the Indian National Congress opted to pursue the destiny of the remaining (British) India as a “Sovereign Democratic Republic” on adoption of its Constitution on 26 January 1050. It is understood that there had been a lot of debate among the then lawmakers including Dr. BR Ambedkar and Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and it was consciously and collectively agreed by the leaders not to include the terms “Secular” and “Socialist” in the Preamble of the Constitution, though they adopted both the concepts in spirit for the future governance. Then after over two and a-half decades, the Congress government under former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi arbitrarily decided during the Emergency (25 June 1975 – 21 March 1977) to include both the terms in the Preamble of the Constitution vide 42nd amendment to make India “Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic” with effect from 3rd January 1977. It could be any sane mind’s puzzle when the country was already pursuing socialist and secular ideals, what was the express need of formally including it in the Constitution?
Apart from making the Indians political slaves through insubordination using state power, the British colonizers had taken yet another shrewd move of introducing a Western curriculum of education with English as the language of instruction by replacing the then native learning languages Sanskrit and Persian predominantly in vogue. This was done through a legislation “The English Education Act 1835” introduced by then Governor General Lord William Bentinck through allocation of funds by the British Parliament, more popularly known as Macaulay’s Education which looked at the native, particularly Hindu culture and traditions, as inferior and retrogressive. While the traditional education in vernacular languages was looked down and discouraged, the English medium education was systematically encouraged and facilitated to natives. The long term objective of such education was to produce a class of people with Indian blood and colour but English in taste, opinion, moral, thinking and living style that could pursue British agenda and act as buffer with common people.
The aforesaid move of the British colonizers was part of a long term gameplan to consolidate their long stay and exploitation of the most prized colony of the time. Needless to mention, they succeeded in their game plan: On one hand, the education system produced Muslim educationists and intellectuals like Sir Sayyad Ahmad Khan who preached Hindus and Muslims as two separate Quams (nations) that cannot live in peace together and favoured a long and sustained British rule in the best interest of Muslims; on the other hand, educated Hindu leaders as part of the Indian National Congress were willing to cooperate and coordinate with British rulers in return of more reforms and civic liberty to Indian people. It was after several decades that the concept of nationalism, patriotism and liberty grew and the Congress under the leadership of MK Gandhi set independence as the ultimate goal. However, the Macaulay’s Education did an irreparable damage in terms of progressively producing a class of educated and elite Indians who looked down at everything Desi (native) as backward and retrogressive, more particularly aspects of Hindu culture and traditions.
Consequently, many of them adopted leftist/Marxist ideology and felt proud to be known as atheist, agnostic or rationalists mostly among Hindus and some Muslims as well and their bias and influence as academicians/educationists is reflected in the various disciplines of humanities, including Modern Indian History and Sociology. Many of them cooperated and actively sided with the British and in return received various material benefits, honours and decorations during the British Raj. They and many from their pedigree continue to hate Hindu culture and traditions as also the modern concepts like state, patriotism and nationalism; one can often find them ridiculing patriotism/nationalism as hyper-nationalism and supporting militant organizations and separatist movements against the Indian state in their pursuits. It is on record that several Indian communist leaders supported China during Sino-Indian War of 1962 and were jailed on sedition charges. Many educated Indians of this descent and mindset have a strong lobby and dominate politics, society, media and academics, and pose as liberals, intellectuals, secularists or human rights activists in the present day India.
While they constantly raise pitch for unlimited and unrestricted fundamental rights of individuals under Constitution, they conveniently tend to forget that the same Constitution also sets Fundamental duties of citizens that inter alia include as the moral obligations of all citizens to help promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India. Every citizen is expected to abide by the Constitution, the National Flag and National Anthem, and uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the nation. They are expected to value and preserve the rich heritage of composite culture of India and work to promote harmony and the spirit of brotherhood amongst the people transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities as also to safeguard public property and abjure violence of all kind. Notwithstanding, the liberals and secularists of this class, while invoking fundamental rights on all occasions, seldom talk about the responsibilities and duties, which are also enshrined under the Constitution.
In any democratic nation, academicians, intellectuals, liberals and human rights activists are expected to be the torch bearer of the society and are also expected to act as bridge and buffer between the state and people. This is yet another irony and sad story that, instead of playing aforesaid role, many of them are found completely berating the unity and integrity of nation vis-à-vis individual freedom, interests and aspirations. In the following paragraphs, the author proposes to dispassionately analyze whether, and if so, to what extent the Indian intelligentsia or illuminati, if we collectively consider and call them so, are meeting these obligations particularly on the parameters like secularism, nationalism, national symbols, socialism, citizenship, Ancient Indian Culture, civil liberties and the very Constitution itself.
Secularism is in all likelihood the most misused and abused word in the Indian democracy more so during the recent decades. Since ancient time, the Indian culture has asserted and affirmed the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The whole world in one family) and Sarva Dharma Sambhava (All faiths lead to same destination); the term secularism, somewhat akin to these concepts, originated much later in the modern Western Europe and evolved with varied meaning and connotations in different parts of the world. In a nutshell in Western countries, it implies complete separation of the religion from State; however, many Western countries remain officially secular yet endorse Christianity as official state religion. On the contrary, officially the secularism implies equal treatment to all religions in India without endorsing or giving any preferential treatment to any one by the state. The laws of the country implicitly ask the state and its institutions to recognize all religions, abide by the Constitutional provisions, and recognize and respect pluralism in the country.
Understandably, there was a serious debate among the members of the Constituent Assembly at the drafting stage whether or not the term “secularism” should be included in the Constitution and the consensus was against formally including it. One strong reason, arguably, was in that case the concept of minorities will be redundant in the Constitution because secularism implies equal treatment of all religions or distancing the state from religion as was in vogue in West. Consequently, the very first violation or exception creating dichotomy in civil code was to have common laws for the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and other minorities in the country but allowing the Muslim to continue with the separate Sharia-based Muslim Personal Law including the matters such as inheritance, marriage, divorce, alimony, and so on; and all this when the All India Muslim League had already pressed for and secured a separate nation for Muslims with proportionate land, government assets and military. Such inequality created several serious social and political issues such as national integration, polygamy, extrajudicial and unequal divorce rights, inheritance rights, improving the quality of education in religious institutions etc.
Under Pt. Nehru’s premiership, the Personal Laws of the Hindu community were promptly framed and Hindu Code bill passed by the Parliament but he consciously and conspicuously avoided taking similar initiative for the Muslim community as if only Hindus needed reforms and Muslims didn’t. Then his government passed legislation for the administration and management of the Hindu temples and Mutts but Muslim community was kept away from the gamut. In the following years, state funding to the religious Madrassas without commensurate government say or supervision and the annual Haj pilgrimage for Muslims was facilitated with the state subsidy in 1959 through the Haji Act. These and other concessions gave rise an informal appeasement policy and committed electorate to the ruling Congress party in a sort of quid pro quo. Subsequent Congress governments religiously followed this policy and even the last Congress Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for ten years is on record to have stated in the 52nd meeting of the National Development Council in December 2006 that the minorities, particularly Muslims, have the first claim on the national resources.
To look at the aforesaid position objectively, these actions do not fit in any module of secularism, whether Western or Indian; any truly secular governmeny, political party or leader should either maintain equidistance from religious issues of all communities or be equally committed to all religions and communities. Ironically, a large number of liberals and intellectuals, who received generous patronage for decades under the successive Congress governments, subscribe to the Congress model of secularism and constitute the major force in India and abroad in opinion building and dissemination thereto. A narrative has been established over the years that a secularist is one who actively endorses and commits only to the welfare, rights, socio-political and economic empowerment of minorities, particularly Muslims. Those who also speak for the Hindus as majority community or equal rights and treatment of all communities in India are summarily branded as “Hindu majoritarians” or “communalists”.
Ironically, the country has nurtured a pedigree of academicians, writers and poets, human rights activists, elite members of the civil society, journalists and celebrities as "liberals and intellectuals" who religiously subscribe to the aforesaid concept of secularism, portray themselves as true secularists and oppose any attempts of government action, legislation or reforms, which orthodox political leaders and clergy of the Muslim community as also the fundamentalist and Islamic organizations do not like or oppose in the country. Currently, such intellectuals and liberals under various identities are the most vocal groups in the country with considerable influence and reach within the country and abroad; their conscience and morality is awakened or challanged only if the incident, however grave or tragic, occurs involving or affecting someway the particular minority community. The cruelest part of this saga is those who speak for and side with one minority community are truly “secular” and those who favour or talk of equal treatment and inclusive development of all are conveniently stamped as “communal”.
Nationalism and National Symbols
Academically, the nationalism is defined as an ideology that promotes the interests of a nation (or large assembly of people with a homeland) with the objective of upholding its sovereignty free from external interference or aggression. A nationalist would therefore be one who is dedicated to preserve and foster aforesaid ideals with a sense of pride. On the other hand, the patriotism is a feeling of utmost love, devotion and attachment to the homeland and kinship with the other people who share similar sentiments. Both nationalism and patriotism are closely linked and often used as synonyms of each other; the fine distinction between the two - the nationalist might also have aspirations for a position or power while the patriot is totally selfless and committed to the homeland, including its ethnic, cultural, political or historical legacies. George Orwell explained this distinction in a different way: Patriotism is defined as defensive, both militarily and culturally, while the nationalism is inseparable from the desire for power.
Notwithstanding the aforesaid academic definitions, thanks to the Indian liberals and intellectuals active in politics, media and academics, the nationalism is yet another term that carries different connotations and nuances depending upon who the person is. For instance, if a Hindu talks about the nationalism or patriotism, he runs the risk of being identified as the "rightist and Hindu nationalist" while any person with a minority tag in similar siuation, particularly a Muslim, is lauded as the true nationalist and patriot. The typical Indian liberals or intellectuals of the aforesaid class use the term nationalism in the context of minorities, mainly Muslims, while in the context of the majority community they call it "Hindu nationalism or hyper-nationalism", needless to mention, a potentially dangerous and serious threat to the modern India’s secular image. The height of contrast can be observed from the approach of former Vice President of India for ten years Mohammad Hamid Ansari, an intellectual himself, when he participates in the conference of the women wing of the militant Islamic organization, The Popular Front of India (PFI) in Kerala, infamous for terror links and subversive activities in India, and then he launches the book “The RSS: A Menace to India” by AG Noorani, citing the RSS principles are in violation of Constitution, and detrimental to India.
Any well-meaning and aware Indian would know well that the RSS could do anything but would never repeat never indulge in any activity which is anti-national or detrimental to the interests of India. Left liberals and intellectuals allege that the RSS is majoritarian and communal because the organization looks at the Hinduism as an "inclusive and eternal culture" rather than mere a religion of one community. Key RSS leaders have often stated that Hindus and majority Indian Muslims share common cultural legacy since ancient past but many Muslim scholars and intellectuals differ in that Hindus and Muslims are two different nations (Quams) and cultures. So far as PFI is concerned, even if we forget outfit's past track record, the recent country-wide protests, arson and violence against the Citizenship Amendment Bill have revealed enough evidence of their participation and subversive role with dozens of leaders and workers arrested for their unlawful activities. The PFI is considered as an affiliate or substitute of Student’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) which was banned as a terrorist organization after 11 September 2001 terror attacks. Here I would pose one question: Many Western Democracies are called secular though they have Christianity as the state religion, for instance, Germany with about 59 per cent Christian population; does that mean Germany is majoritarian and Christianity is threat to all other faiths? General response to the above question is in negative. Then why it's so that anything impacting Hindus or even a reference to Hindutva or Hinduism is criticised as majoritarian and communal by some political parties and Indian intellectuals and liberals.
Some time back, the AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who is also an alumnus of Law and Islam, stated that he won’t raise slogan “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, even if someone puts a knife to his throat. The aforesaid slogan and symbols like National Flag, National Anthem and National Song are symbolic to the national pride, citizen’s love and respect to their homeland (country). Though common Muslims do not appear to be rigid on this but the dilemma of the likes of Owaisi is shared by many Muslim leaders, clergy and other orthodox people, who argue that their religion does not permit to bow before the "Bharat Mata" (mother land) or recognize and glorify any symbol other than Allah. In the recent past, the Uttar Pradesh government tried to introduce National Anthem in the government funded thousands of Madrassa (Islamic Schools) to inculcate the spirit of patriotism and love for the motherland but was met with stiff resistance from the management, leaders and clergy; and their stand was forcefully endorsed and supported by a score of Indian liberals and intellectuals. Some Islamic scholars hold a view that the concept of nationalism is alien to Islam because the former seeks unity based on family and tribalistic ties, whereas the latter binds people together on the Aqeedah and Emaan i.e. the belief in Allah and His Messenger.
Citizenship and National Population Register
Despite constraints of geography and resources, India has traditionally welcomed and given refuge to all persecuted people in the world irrespective of their religion, ethnicity or other identity; the persecuted and marginalized communities of Parsis and Jews are the most striking examples. Since Independence in 1947, three countries i.e. Islamic Pakistan and Bangladesh apart from India have already been forked out from the original land mass i.e. the British India. This division threw two other grave challenges before the Democratic India; one, constant flow of the persecuted Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities refugees from the neighbouring Islamic countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan; and two, Muslim illegal migrants from Bangladesh in search of livelihood and better opportunities. Though whole of India is affected but this created more serious problems for the small states like Assam besieged with both the problems of lakhs of illegal migrants and persecuted mostly Hindu refugees.
The concept of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), mandated under The Citizenship Act 1955, is not new but the respective federal governments had conveniently overlooked, avoided or dilly-dallied action on it; for instance, the Congress government passed the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act in 1983 for identifying illegal migrants in Assam, which didn’t show viable progress and was struck down by the Supreme Court of India in 2005 on the grounds of being unconstitutional. Due to non-compliance and unsatisfactory progress, Subsequently, the Supreme Court started monitoring and directing the government on NRC. Now when the present government has shown progress on NRC in Assam to identify illegal migrants and notified Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 to grant Indian citizenship to the persecuted minorities upto a certain date - an issue lingering on for years, the opposition Congress and allies, who did not do needful while in power, have launched nationwide unrest by inciting Muslims as if both CAA and NRC are against their interests, while the truth is that any Indian nationals belonging to Hindu, Muslim or any other community are not at all concerned with it. Many liberals and intellectuals have joined protests and spearheading these protests causing serious law and order problems through arson and violence.
As a matter of fact, the CAA and NRC are merely tools in the hands of the parties and self-proclaimed champions of human rights; in fact, it seems to be anti-state with the real objective of destabilizing the popular government. Now the government has also announced Census and updation of National Population Register (NPR), an exercise undertaken every ten years since 1951; and same liberals and intellectuals have found reasons to speak against this exercise too, which according to them is intrusive, linked with NRC and against the interests of Muslims. While addressing the gathering of students in Delhi University on 25 December 2019, Arundhati Roy, author and social activist put forth another narrative that CAA, NRC and NPR are not only against the Muslims but also against Dalits, tribals and poor people; hence all of them need to jointly fight against it. She gave an open call to people to give false name and address in NPR exercise: “For name, you can say Ranga-Billa, or anything..., and 7, Racecourse for the address…” Now, this is the intellectual face and level of discourse by this Booker Prize awardee at one time, Ranga and Billa being nick-names of two dreaded kidnappers, rapists and murderers of children Gita Chopra and Sanjay Chopra in 1978; and 7, Racecourse is the official residence of the Indian prime minister. She is also one who has constantly supported activities of separatists and militants in Kashmir. In fact, there are many more of this category, who indulge in anti-state sedicious activities thereby doing disservice to nation.
Ancient Indian Culture and Traditions
In the opening paragraphs, Macaulay’s Education and its impact on Indian educated elites has been briefly explained as also how many of them adopted leftist/Marxist ideology and felt proud to be known as atheist, agnostic or rationalists mostly among Hindus. Many elite academicians and historians of this genre are marked for their bias, aversion or even hate for the Indian (Hindu) culture and traditions, which is often reflected in the contemporary literature, particularly the Indian History. The role of the academicians and teachers has been considered crucial in nation building in every era; the same is reflected in the conduct and quality of the young generation of the time. For illustration, one could take the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi which has become the centre of Marxist ideology, thanks to its academicians and teachers, at a time even when Communism has failed and receded worldwide. JNU Students are often in news for anti-establishment agitation, mockery of the Hindu way of life by insulting symbols of culture and tradition, making a cause with condemned terrorists like Afzal Guru or anti-India slogans, and so on. Even teachers of JNU have been prosecuted and punished by Law for naxal activities.
Ram Janmbhumi - Babri Masjid Case at Ayodhya could be taken as paradigm of Hindu-Muslim dispute and role of Indian historians in the recent years. The Muslim parties had used four noted historians’ report titled “Babri Mosque or Rama‘s Birth Place? Historians‘ Report to the Indian Nation” as the main evidence to challenge the claim of Hindu parties. This report refused to recognize or give any credence to Hindu scriptures, existence of Lord Ram and temple as well as archaeological findings at the disputed site. The report suggested that the destruction of temple and related stories were progressive reconstruction of the imagined Hindu historical myths and faith. Only one historian made himself available for cross-examination and he had to admit that he had no knowledge of relevant scriptures, only two of them actually visited Ayodhya once, the report was made under pressure and it was prepared without going through the records of archaeological excavations. Needless to mention, the constitution bench comprising of five judges declined to give credence to historians’ report.
In the same case, later fourty academicians and rights activists filed a review petition citing the judges had erred in both facts and law by giving a judgment that overrides the faith of one community to favour faith of another community. According to them, the popular belief of Hindus that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya was doubtful; the existence of a Hindu temple at Ayodhya was merely a belief, while the existence of the Babri Masjid was a temporal fact. While putting forth aforesaid arguments, they ignored plethora of evidence available in Hindu scriptures, historical books, travelogues, gazetteers, inscriptions, archaeological findings and witnesses, which clearly suggest their bias and aversion to the Hindu culture and traditions. This is, however, not an isolated case; in the past too, historian RS Sharma, Romila Thaper and others have similarly raised doubt and questioned existence of Krishna, Mahabharata and other historical entities.
A background check of such academicians and historians, often referred to as intellectuals and liberals in the society, would reveal that many of them are either established Marxists or have leaning towards communist ideology. The leftists are well known for their disregard to the established faith and belief system of masses, and many of them are proclaimed atheist, agnostic or rationalists. To an extent, this explains their apathy and aversion to the Hindu culture and religion. But then the point that bothers many well-meaning persons is as to why these intellectuals and liberals are selective in their approach and treatment of two different faith and belief systems. The only simple answer one gets is: There is one culture and religion that tolerates all kinds of dissent, debate and criticism, so it’s easy to take it for ride and get away without any mortal fear or risk; then there is another Deen or religion with zero tolerance where a person is liable to risk his life and possessions for any caricature or criticism. Naturally, these intellectuals and liberals are wise enough to remember the nemesis of people in the Charlie Hebdo episode of 2015 in France?
Human Rights, Freedom of Expression and Constitution
Many of the intellectuals and liberals of this genre are active in India as human rights activists, social activists, members of civil society, citizens’ forum, secularists, and so on, and are seemingly staunch protagonists of human rights and freedom of expression. However, in reality, getting their support for a common citizen is a luxury and remote possibility. For instance, only few weeks back a 26 years old veterinary doctor in Hyderabad was raped and burnt to death by four criminals. The barbaric incident led to countrywide outrage and protests for days in support of the victim girl but none of these well-known activists came forward publicly in support. Later the suspects were nabbed and gunned down allegedly in a bid to escape after attacking the police party, now many of the activists became judgmental seeking action against the policemen without waiting for the outcome of the judicial enquiry already ordered by the Supreme Court. The victim, however, invariably gets lot of their attention if belongs to particular minority community or certain caste.
Their concern for the human rights could be best illustrated with the example of Yakub Memon episode in July 2015. He was a condemned terrorist convicted with death penalty for his role as facilitator and executioner of the terror plan in Mumbai blasts of 1993 which claimed 257 lives and 713 injuries of innocent civilians on a single day. After prolonged litigation, his death penalty was upheld by the Supreme Court of India after due hearing of his appeal and subsequent review petition. There was not even an iota of doubt about the involvement of Memon in the conspiracy and execution of the terror crime as also his continued contact and cooperation with the Pakistani ISI till July 1994. Notwithstanding, some fifty so-called eminent personalities and human rights activists signed and pursued a mercy petition for Memon to the President of India and later, when the petition was rejected by the President, the same activists made Supreme Court to hear another petition at mid-night to stop hanging of the terrorist. These activists included retired judges, academicians, politicians from the Congress and Communist parties and celebrities, some of such names regularly appear in controversial cases in defence of accused or convicted persons. The point is if they are concerned with human rights of terrorists and criminals like Yakub Memon and Afzal Guru why do they not raise voice for hundreds of ordinary citizens killed and injured at their hands.
They are very vocal and staunch supporters of the freedom of expression. Their love for the fundamental rights and respect for the Constitution can be best explained by 9 February 2016 episode of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, where Left wing students had held a protest rally in the campus against the hangings of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, both Kashmiri terrorists. During the meet, students and outsiders called these deaths as judicial killings and raised slogans like “Hum kya chaahte? Azaadi!”, “Tum kitne Afzal maaroge, har ghar se Afzal niklega!”, “Bharat ke tukde honge hazaar” (India will be broken into a thousand pieces), “Bharat ki barbaadi tak, jung rahegi, jung rahegi!” (Our fight will continue until India is destroyed), and so on. The students received massive support from the Congress, Communist parties and aforesaid liberals and intellectuals against police action to stop provocative and seditious activities and slogans in the name of constitutional rights and freedom of expression; the JNU campus remained focal point of such activities for weeks together. Some time back, a group of liberals, including a famous hisorian, acted similarly in yet another case to defend five "Urban Naxals" in the Supreme Court strongly pleading that they were actually respectable and peace-loving citizens.
One could cite numerous incidents in the recent years itself concerning separatist activities in Kashmir, army action against terrorists, activities of urban naxals, violent acts of red ultras (naxalites), Rohingya illegal migrants, students unrest in university campuses, social crimes like rape and murder, and so on, in which they have been found to have selective dissent, support violators of Indian laws and oppose state and security forces impinging upon he national security and integrity – and ironically all this in the name of human rights and freedom of expression. The Constitution of India indeed provides to its citizens the Freedom of Speech and Expression under the Article 19, but the clause (2) of the same Article empowers the state to make any law imposing reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, defamation or incitement to an offence, and so on. Thus the aforesaid freedom does not come without riders and responsibilities that every citizen is expected to exercise in tandem with fundamental duties but many of our learned intellectuals and liberals conveniently choose to forget these facts.
Besides secularism, the socialism in India too has evolved on a pattern that does not conform or fit into the prescribed model. By definition, socialism refers to a socio-political and economic system where the production and distribution of goods and services is a shared responsibility of a group of people or community. In a typical socialist state, there is no privately owned property. Due to constant exploitation for almost two centuries under the British colonizers, erstwhile Indian small scale and cottage industries and agriculture was totally ruined and most people were rendered poor and resourceless. In this background, the leaders rightly adopted a mixed economy on independence with key sectors like infrastructure, heavy industry, defence, and others, under the state control. The main focus of the successive Congress governments remained on poverty alleviation and the development of key sectors under the state control progressed at the snail pace.
With the meager resources, orthodox approach of the rulers and growing population with the maladies of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment remained characteristic feature till early nineties when besieged with serious problems of balance of payments and high fiscal deficit, Narsimha Rao government decided to adopt economic reforms under the pressure of world financial institutions like IMF, deviating for the first time from what was popularly known as Nehruvian model of economy. During the four decades of previous governance, while progress in the country remained largely illusive and poverty alleviation remained mere slogan, slowly but decisively an ecology of elite industrialists, academicians, journalists and celebrities patronized by the political leaders developed. Needless to mention, the aforesaid ecology became a symbol of power and riches in the country with many of them achieving a comfortable space and living in Lutyen’s Delhi itself.
Taking clue from the aforesaid elites, a socialist movement also grew in the Indian states riding on the waves of the regional sentiments and caste-driven aspirations during the same period. Leaders like Lalu Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, and many others are products of the same movement, many of them shared political power with the Congress or even snatched it usurping the same slogans. The contribution of socialism or socialist ideals in the development and poverty alleviation remains a debatable question but, undoubtedly, the political parties and the aforesaid elites in various disciplines became symbols of accomplishment in terms of personal political power and money. Many of them are millionaire and billionaire on date even without a known viable source of income. Therefore, it is not surprising that all such elites, including liberals and intellectuals, together have turned against the prime minister of the country with humble origin, who minces no words when speaks “Na Khaunga Na Khane Dunga” (Neither I will indulge in corruption nor allow others to do it).
One wonders, should there not be a limit for Indian intellectuals and liberals, and their patron political parties and institutions, on propagating their fascinating socio-political agenda and fashionable jargons, some of which is briefly referred to in the foregoing paragraphs. If one goes by their narrative: Being a patriot or nationalist is actually hyper-nationalism; individual citizens, groups or political parties should not be proud of or avoid the patriotic slogans or national symbols because it does not suit or conform to the social and religious belief of particular communities or groups; talking welfare or equal treatment of all people or communities, particularly the majority Hindus, is part of the communal agenda; indulging in separatist activity or raising slogans against the state or homeland is actually exercising fundamental rights and freedom of speech; oppose CAA, NRC and NPR because it is against Muslims, Dalits and poor; do not share any personal information with the state but claim privilege and right on every scheme and facilities created, and so on so forth.
In short, it’s all individual citizen versus state everywhere if one heeds to the call or accords credibility to words of intellectuals and liberals. Going with the current trend, almost every action of the government comes under criticism and fire by opposition parties and their worthy sympathizer intelligentsia as if it is too intrusive in their personal lives and attack on the fundamental rights. Since time immemorial in any society, intellectuals and liberals in various avatars have served as “think tanks” for giving right advice and guidance to the society. For instance, the ongoing unrest against CAA and NRC was initially based on a narrative of the same being against Muslims. In her address in Delhi, Arundhati Roy said that the same is against Dalits, tribals and poor too; the thread was promptly picked up the political parties and opposition leaders have now modified their narrative in public statements that CAA and NRC are anti-Dalit and anti-poor. Paradoxically, a score of Indian intellectuals and liberals, more appropriate to call them ultra liberal left, instead of serving as torch-bearers of society and masses, are merrily engaged in furtherance of the traditional agenda of their political patrons in all likelihood of quid pro quo of an established ecology.