Intellectuals and their favourites (Kejriwal, Laloo, Mamata, Mayawati, Mulayam, Rahul, Sonia, Yechury & Co) do not know how to dislodge him
Sometimes what is presented as a ‘solution is really the problem. Similarly, sometimes people who claim to provide solution in fact cause the problem.
We have many examples of this paradox.
The separatists of Kashmir claim that they are fighting for the freedom of the people of Kashmir though the fact is that there are fighting for their own self-interest and creating problems for the vast majority of the people of Kashmir and to the rest of India. Similarly, extremists like naxals claim to be fighting for the poor people though by their anti-development actions they are keeping them poor and making their life miserable.
I place the so-called intellectuals , who claim to be worried about India, in the same category. The dictionary meaning of intellectual is a person who has ability (mental faculty) to think and understand ideas, information and problems and to suggest solutions. In actual practice, reactions and suggestions – more often reactions because seldom they give suggestions – of our domestic ‘intellectuals’ as well as those residing abroad but worried about India create more problems and make us wonder whether linguists and lexicographers have got it (meaning of intellectual ) right.
Common characteristics of ‘intellectuals’
All these ‘intellectuals’ have some common characteristics.
- To these so-called intellectuals, the biggest issues are freedom of speech and secularism, not massive poverty, not widespread corruption and inefficiency, not abysmally poor standard of education. In fact, nothing else matters. To them, right to freedom of speech and expression includes right to speak and act against national interest and against all those who are sacrificing their lives to defend the country from internal and external enemies. They create fear among minorities, encourage divisive forces, encourage people to defy democratically elected government, spread hatred against armed forces and condemn agencies investigating allegations of money-laundering and tax evasion as stooges of government harassing honest persons.
- They make their judgements on the basis of isolated incidents or a couple of incidents and in their utterances and writings betray utter ignorance and deep prejudices. Their reactions or lack of reactions are very much like those of their favourite politicians.
There are numerous examples which improve my point.
False propaganda against Narendra Modi
On the morning of 27 February 2002, the Sabarmati Express carrying large number of Hindu pilgrims returning after a religious ceremony at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid, Ayodhya, was stopped near Godhra railway station in Gujarat. Soon thereafter four coaches caught fire in which 59 persons were burnt to death. The tragic incident triggered communal riots in Gujarat in which 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed. The contemporary records provide ample evidence that Narendra Modi, who had taken over as Chief Minister less than five months back, did everything possible – shoot-at-site orders to the police within two hours of train burning incident, curfew in sensitive areas, deployment of entire police force of the state, airlifting of troops for deployment of army and ultimately arrest of 27,000 persons (including 19,200 Hindus) and conviction of the hundred 32 Hindus and 111 Muslims – to control riots and punish the guilty.
However, opposition parties and intellectuals, working in tandem, are not bothered about facts. All attempts were also made to prove that burning of the coaches was either due to accident or due to conspiracies by the Hindu pilgrims themselves and for more than 12 years opposition parties tried their best to prove that Modi was squarely responsible for the riots. Only in April 2014, the Supreme Court expressed satisfaction that all allegations against Modi were baseless.
During her 2007 Gujarat assembly election campaign, Congress President Sonia Gandhi had ‘infamously’ branded Modi as ‘merchant of death’. The Gujarat voters, turning in record number, decisively snubbed her.
When Modi was declared BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate in 2014 general election, his political opponents got alarmed. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared that ‘Modi as Prime Minister would be a disaster while the best choice was Rahul Gandhi.’
The so-called ‘intellectuals’ did not express their preference for Sonia or Rahul or anybody else but were unanimous that Modi would be a disaster.
On April 10, 2014, more than two dozen intellectuals living in the UK (a few of Indian origin) published in the British newspaper, The Guardian, an appeal to India voters not to vote for Modi as Prime Minister. 13 days later, 75 of them (25 of Indian origin) publicly expressed their deep concern “at the implications of a Modi-led BJP government for democracy, pluralism and human rights in India.” Around the same time, Noble laureate Amartya Sen, perhaps the greatest Indian intellectual today though has been living abroad since 1972, publicly issued a personal warning to the Indians against Modi, because, in his own words, “I don’t want Narendra Modi as my PM” and ‘Muslims are rightly feeling fear about Narendra Modi becoming PM.’ Author Amitav Ghosh declared that if Modi became PM, he would leave the country.
During the general election in 2014 , eminent intellectuals like economist Jean Dreze and activist Setalvad (who had been defending Ishrat jahan, an associate of terrorists) parked themselves in Modi’s constituency to warn voters against the imminent “threat to India’s plural culture” from “fascist” forces, namely Modi. They were ready to prefer anybody – novice Arvind Kejriwal or history-sheeter Ajai Rai – to Modi.
Contrast it with what happened in October-November 1984. In retaliation of Indira Gandhi’s murder by two Sikh armed guards, at least 3874 (more than 2300 in Delhi alone) Sikhs were killed by goons led Congress leaders while Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Home Minister Narasimha Rao kept quiet for three days. It was not Hindu-Sikh riot, though that might have been the hidden agenda. No one was shot dead by the police or the army. The victims are still waiting for justice. Till date the so-called secularists and intellectuals have not uttered a word against Rajeev Gandhi or Narasimha Rao.
False allegations of intolerance
After Modi became Prime Minister, intellectuals became more restless. To express their antipathy and frustration, they started using the term ‘intolerance’. They used every incident, every excuse, to cry that ‘under Narendra Modi India is becoming intolerant’. For months, left-wing students kept protesting against the danger of ‘saffronisation’ of the Television and Film Institute. To protest against murder of scholar M. M. Kalburgi on August 30, 2015 and murder of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri on September 28, 2015 for storing beef, several persons from the field of art and literature started returning the awards they had received from the previous governments. One of the most beloved film artists of the Indians, Aamir Khan, publicly stated that his wife had become so much worried that she wanted him to explore the possibility of leaving India for good.
Despite all the noise, Amitav Ghosh continues to stay in India. Aamir Khan is not exploring a more tolerant country. Perhaps, there is none. Amartyta Sen had not said that if Modi became Prime Minister would never visit India.
Opposition to Modi’s reform agenda
There is something extraordinary in Modi’s character that ignoring all the attacks he started working for country’s all-round development from the day one. Within a short time he proved himself, so much so that in December 2014 his bitterest critic Amartya Sen had to admit that that Modi ‘gave people a sense of faith that things could happen’. There is no aspect of social and economic development that has escaped Modi’s attention, a quality not seen in any Prime Minister earlier. Neither his policies nor his actions have given any indication that there is even trace of anything anti-Muslim. From the very beginning he has been saying that his goal is ‘Sabaka Sath, Sabaka Vikas’.
Modi’s most revolutionary measure for checking the galloping menace of black money was demonetisation of high currency notes. This was too much for the corrupt politicians and inherently hostile intellectuals to digest. Manmohan Singh declared it a ‘disaster’. Mulayam Singh Yadav wanted ‘’at least a week’ to set his house in order. Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati, Arvind Kejriwal, Laloo Prasad, Mamata Banerjee and others declared that the measure being ‘anti-poor’ (read ‘anti-hoarders of currency notes’), they would launch mass protests. They had to eat humble pie when they realised that Modi got maximum support from the poor and lower middle-class people who had no black money.
However, Modi-baiters got support from the great intellectual Amarya Sen. By declaring demonetisation a ‘disaster’ Sen, who has been claiming to be fighting for the poor, joined the company of Manmohan Singh, Rahul, Mayawati, Kejriwal, etc. The great economist did not bother to give facts and figures to support his judgement. Perhaps, he believes that for a poor country like India his one-liners are enough: ‘I do not want Modi as my Prime Minister’ and ‘demonetisation is a disaster’. Hope, now Sen has realised that demonetisation was like a pest control measure which brought out most of the ‘pests’, which have been harming the economy, out of their hideouts and are now being investigated. It is nobody’s claim that the measure will put an end to generation of lack of money once for all but certainly it has proved decisive and for the present removed a big hurdle to economic growth. In its latest assessment, the IMF has admitted that India would be the World’s fastest growing economy in 2017, 2018.
Targeting Indian Army for defending India’s territorial integrity
The so-called intellectuals obsession with ‘freedom of speech and expression’ has reached a dangerous level. In February 2016 separatists of Kashmir managed to organise an event at the Jawaharlal Nehru University to shout anti-army and anti-India slogans like ‘God willing, India will disintegrate’ and ‘Afzal Guru, ham sharminda hain. Tere katil zinda hain’. (‘Afzal Guru, we are ashamed. Your killers are still alive’). When the authorities started taking action against JNU President Kanhiya Kumar and others the ‘intellectuals’ who place ‘freedom of speech and expression above national interest’, rushed to the defence of these anti-national elements.
The intellectuals are disturbed to no end at Major Major Leetul Gogoi’s method – tying a stone pelter to army jeep as’ human shield’ – to avoid use of bullets to disperse violent crowd that had besieged paramilitary personnel and was threatening to set the building to fire which would have resulted in several deaths, in action defended by army chief General Bipin Rawat in ‘dirty-war’ situation. The most shocking criticism has come from a political theorist and historian Partha Chatterjee. In a published article he has described the presence of the Indian Army in Kashmir “as an occupying force in a conquered colony.” He claims that there are “chilling similarities between the justifications advanced (by Brigadier General Dyer) for the actions of the British Indian army in Punjab in 1919 and those being offered today in defence of the acts of the Indian army in Kashmir.”
If Partha Chatterjee has compared General Rawat to Dyer, former Congress MP Sandeep Dixit has called him (General Rawat) ‘sadak ka goonda’ (street goonda)! The difference between the two is only in the choice of word.
The intellectuals and opposition politicians would have been happy had Major Gogoi used bullets to disperse the hostile crowd because then they would have demanded his head for killing ‘innocent Kashmiris’.
If Partha Chatterjee considers General Rawat playing the role of Dyer, will he say that the Indian Army which is running a “Super-40” coaching centre in Kashmir to prepare young boys and girls for IITs – this year nine students of the Centre have competed – is playing the role of Lord Macaulay?
Discovery of an Emergency-like situation in India
Since the UPA days, the income tax department is investigating serious allegations of tax evasion and money-laundering by NDTV founder Prannoy Roy and his wife who are alleged to have earned undisclosed income of ₹ 1600 crore. They floated 32 shell companies including 14 in foreign between 2006 and 2012 to launder unaccounted income of ₹ 1100 crore. Several such companies had since been dissolved to make it difficult to pursue investigations. Since early 2014 the department has passed some assessment orders confirming concealment of income. The RBI has also discovered money-laundering by them. There are also being investigated by the Enforcement Director and the CBI also.
On June 9, imminent intellectuals – eminent jurist Fali S Nariman, journalists and columnists like Aroon Purie , Kuldip Nayar. Arun Shourie, Shekhar Gupta and Rajdeep Sardesai – gathered together to express solidarity with Prannoy Roy and his wife whose houses were raided by CBI. Instead of countering allegations of money-laundering these intellectuals described investigations as an attempt to muzzle freedom of press. Kuldip Nayar in particular considers the situation more or less the same as that during the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in June 1975, ‘though not to the same extent’.
It is really shocking that of all the persons 94 year old Kuldip Nayar who was himself sent to jail during the last phase of the Emergency, should compare the present situation with those dark days. Had the gentlemen gathered to criticise government during the Emergency, they would all have found themselves behind the bar but today there are free to say anything and get applaud from the media. Can we forget that after the Emergency was declared in 1975, some 50 newspaper editors marched to Indira Gandhi’s house, not to protest against murder of democracy, but to tell her that censorship was not strict enough to rein ‘counter-revolutionaries’?
These intellectuals equating action against tax evasion with the Emergency are not different from Laloo Prasad who after income tax raids to unearth ‘benami’ transactions of his family, called the Modi government ‘fascist’ and has threatened to mobilise opposition parties to launch protests against the ‘fascist’ government.
Intellectuals’ positive contributions?
Our country is beset with all sorts of social, economic and political problems. Being the second largest populous country – in less than a decade and half we may be No. 1 – ours is also home to the largest number of starving people and children suffering from malnutrition. About 190 million Indians go hungry every day, 25% of all children are malnourished, about one fourth of under-five deaths are in India and about 40% of Indian population needs subsidy for survival. Our standard of education remain very poor. With very high dropouts in schools, only a small percentage of students complete graduation, mostly without proper knowledge, drastically restricting the availability of sufficient number of young persons capable of managing the affairs of the society. One can go on counting problems.
What have the intellectuals done to solve these problems? Their contribution is negligible. They are more interested in finding fault with the government if it is not controlled by self-styled ‘secularists’.
That is why, out of sheer desperation, I say: “O GOD, SAVE INDIA FROM INTELLECTUALS!”
June 14, 2017