There is an apocryphal “Chinese” curse — “May you live in interesting times”! And it IS certifiably one of the most interesting time to live in since man probably discovered fire! Why? Because this is the decade when man is finally learning how to set everything on fire…interesting times, indeed! (Of course, putting it out will be a whole different ballgame). However, for some reason, the current volatile political climate of our country has rendered this apocryphal expression to turn into an apocalyptic vision of the country’s future.
As you’d have already guessed from the title of the article…off late, it has become rather fashionable to dissent against the present government. In fact, rejecting everything that the government says or does is not only regarded as being “intellectually superior”, it is now being viewed as “moral and secular superiority” as well. In fact, for that matter…anyone who is even suspected of supporting the government is unfairly viewed as a saffron radicalist. As a matter of fact, these so-called intellectual supremacists have even come up with a special derogatory name for such breed of people: “BHAKT”!
So strong is this vehement vitriol against the present government that anything and everything that happens in this country gets blamed on the man leading the charge, aka the Indian Prime Minister. In fact, had Shahrukh Khan been a minister in the central cabinet, he would have certainly been dubbed a saffron terrorist. In case, you’re scratching your head, remember the famous song from his last motion picture, Dilwale? If you’re still drawing a blank, however, I am talking of the popular song “Gerua” — the meaning of which was explained rather well by SRK in his tweet: “Gerua means Ochre or Orange to keep it simple…even a bit saffrony. So colour me in the colour of love.[sic]” I wonder if the intelligentsia plans to accuse Shahrukh of “saffronisation”?!?
Well…all kidding aside…the reason I abhor this false partisan debate is not solely because it undermines the present government, it undermines our position as a democracy and a secular state. This is especially worrying since we pride ourselves on being (a) the world’s largest democracy and (b) for our unique cultural diversity. And yet, the intelligentsia continues to undermine a democratically elected government. It seems rather counter-intuitive, does it not? Especially, since they invoke the incantation – ‘freedom of speech’ – in the name of democracy; and yet are unwilling to accept that “freedom of speech” comes with a reciprocity clause. What utter and total hypocrisy!
In fact, it’s time for a quick vocab-lesson: What does a democracy mean? To state simply, a democracy is the rule of the majority. Why then are a handful of people undermining the great big majority. After all, the current Indian Prime Minister wasn’t anointed to his position, he was democratically elected and has the people’s mandate to back him up (in case, these pseudo-intellectuals have forgotten, the present government did a ‘clean sweep’ at the last Lok Sabha polls, winning 282 seats — the highest number of seats won by any one party since the 1984 elections).
Sadly, these recalcitrant intellectuals still believe in the age-old philosophy, as encapsulated by Seneca (the 1st century Roman philosopher), who said: “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful”. Thus they continue to believe that religion will always suit their evil Machiavellian machinations, choosing to ignore that secularism rejects religion and believes that it should never be a part of the affairs of the state.
Of course, what they forget, we remember all too well! Which is why, in 2014…the citizenry did not vote for “A” religion…or a religious identity…or a religious philosophy. It voted for development. It voted for progress. It voted for prosperity.
Thus, the intellectual supremacists will do well to remember that the silent majority speaks with a resounding roar!