While intervening in the Rajya Sabha last week during the debate on the situation in Kashmir, Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, suggested that “intellectual terrorism” and “anti-India activism” were attempting to keep the Kashmir-question alive.
“The problem with us in India is that we do not close chapters. And sometimes when convenience suits us, we open chapters. Gade murde ukhaad lete hain, kabhi kabhi jab zaroorat ho (We dig up old issues when it suits us),” Singh told Rajya Sabha. And then he added, “But sometimes, I dread to think over the years, particularly after these 25 years of a protracted phase of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, sometimes it feels a message has gone, rightly or wrongly, that there is a premium on anti-India activism, a premium on anti-India intellectualism. Aap Hindustan ke upar prashna chinha lagaye to aapkaa naam bhi buland ho jaata hai, aapki kitaab bhi hit ho jaati hai (If you raise a question over India, you become famous and your book sells).
“I do not know whether it would be parliamentary to say whether sometime, somebody could contemplate or give a serious thought to such kind of intellectual terrorism, which is, in itself, going to create lot of implications. Yeh buddhijiviyo ka ek naya riwaz hai aur shayad usi me khyati bhi prapt ho jaati hai (this is a new custom of the intellectuals and probably this brings a lot of fame to them). Aur uska nateeja, parinaam, aneko model pichhle 20 saalo me diye jaa rahe hain Kashmir ko hal karne ke liye (And the result is that several models are being suggested in the last 20 years as a solution to the Kashmir problem).”
The junior minister, who hails from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, was obviously, reacting to the writings and TV interventions of many of our so-called liberal intellectuals (academicians, think-tank experts, mainstream media pundits) on the Kashmir situation. In fact, in the list of these “illustrious” ladies and gentlemen, one may also add the names of politicians like CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D Raja and Janata Dal (U) veteran Sharad Yadav. For them, the valley is burning because of the “blood” of the “innocent” and “young” allegedly shed due to excesses committed by the security forces, which the “vulture” (Pakistan) is relishing on. For these so-called liberals, the central government and the state government, not Pakistan, are the real culprits.
In fact, these so-called liberal intellectuals impose on us their theory that the trouble-making youth in Kashmir (who, in reality, are now highly Islamized; their radical belief do not permit them to see virtues in the age-old Kashmiriyat or Sufism that talks of peaceful coexistence of all the religious sects) may kill hundreds of security personnel, but the latter cannot use even pellets, let alone bullets, against them. For them, the blood of our security personnel from the rest of the country does not carry any meaning. They do not seem to consider that if the Kashmir valley is still a part of India, it is by and large because of the sacrifices made by our security forces over the years. Instead, they would like the security forces to be withdrawn from the valley as far as possible.
Unfortunately, these liberals, most of them of being Left-wing copy-masters, shun innovative and different ideas. They all the time talk of the dangers of fascism, but they happen to be the biggest practitioners of fascism as far as any dissenting views are concerned. Unfortunately also, these liberals have overwhelmingly dominated the intellectual space in the country, thanks to the benevolence of the Congress party, which has ruled the country most of the time since independence. They are, in fact, so powerful that even under a BJP-led government, and that too under Narendra Modi, they continue to determine the intellectual agenda of the country. Not surprisingly therefore, they happen to be the biggest and most potent critics of the Modi, his government and his party (the BJP), with their standard slogans of fascism, communalism (including the so-called saffronisation).
In fact, it is not only in the case of the Modi and BJP that this group of intellectuals, India’s most potent, is imposing its weight. Invariably this group is also blindly anti-Hindu in its approach. It considers Hinduism to be the worst ever religion in the world as it considers that the ”casteism” is the most exploitative in the world. It simply does not delve deeper to find out that casteism is a perverse outgrowth within the broad fold of “Sanatan Dharma”(there is nothing called Hinduism if one goes through the Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads; the name Hinduism was contributed to the vocabulary by the Arabs to denote all the people living in between the Indus river or Hindukush range of mountains and the Indian Ocean) but not as perverse was the system of slavery in the West and certainly not as perverse as the status of women under Islam.
This group does not care for new knowledge or scientific enquiries. Take, for instance, the fresh scientific works that repudiate the myth, developed first by the European colonialists and then perpetuated by the Marxist historians that fair-skinned Aryans came from the Central Asia/Eastern Europe around 3500 years ago and destroyed the Indus or Harappan civilisation that was peopled by dark-skinned Dravidians. This theory has been based on linguistics – “European scholars of the colonial era found striking similarities between Sanskrit and Iranian/European languages, suggesting a common source or intermingling” – not on strong archaeological evidences. However, now new discoveries, thanks to genetic sciences, disprove the Aryan-invasion/migration theory. Significant papers on the subject have been published in world famous scientific journals like Nature and American Journal of Human Genetics that “There was no significant addition to the Indian gene pool 3,500 years ago!”
Likewise, this group of arrogant and dominating intellectuals in the country has never been impressed by the archaeological excavations that proved that the so-called Babri Masjid was built at the place of a temple. In fact, it was on this basis that the Allahabad High Court gave a verdict and offered a solution, which if implemented would have bridged the Hindu-Muslim divide on the issue significantly. But these arrogant intellectuals and their political masters saw to it that the case lingered on by challenging the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court.
And it is this very group which has mastered what is called argumentum ad hominem. Here, they malign the character of a person they do not like, even if he or she speaks the truth or anything good. In fact, they even tend to put words into mouth of the person they do not like by saying the person has said something, which in fact was not said. In most of such cases, they justify their version of what their targeted person has “said” on the basis of their own interpretations. But then interpretation is not a fact; although by repeating it many times this interpretation is eventually made into a “fact”. This is called argumentum ad nauseam (argument to the point of disgust; i.e., by repetition). One may give two prime examples in this regard.
One is Prime Minister Modi’s much-talked about interview to a foreign news agency in 2013 (then Chief Minister of Gujarat). While asked on whether he was sorry for the communal riots of 2002, Modi had said , “Another thing, any person if we are driving a car, we are a driver, and someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will be painful or not? Of course, it is. If I’m a chief minister or not, I’m a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad.”
But this was interpreted by Modi’s political opponents and a section of intelligentsia that he compared Muslims to dogs. “For Modi, the life of a Muslim is not more than a life of a puppy”, so ran the news headlines. And this “interpretation”, repeated consistently, became a “fact” in the global media.
The other example is that of Minister of State of External Affairs General VK Singh. Asked persistently by a news channel on what the central government was doing after two Dalit children were killed in a village of Faridabad last October, the minister apparently had said that it was a local matter, that it involved a property dispute, that the caste angle should not be cited, and that the state government was doing what was necessary to punish the guilty. But that did not satisfy the reporter and the minister was again asked about the role of the central government. To this General VK Singh had replied, “The Centre cannot be blamed if somebody throws a stone at a dog.” He explained that he did not intend to draw an analogy between the Faridabad incident and stoning of a dog, but that was precisely what the critics piled on. In fact, the Opposition demanded that a criminal case be registered against the former Army Chief, under the Prevention of Atrocities on Scheduled Castes Act as he has said that “Dalits are dogs”!
In other words, what we know to be “reality” in our media or public discourse is often nothing more than interpretation driven by beliefs, values and attitudes of these so-called intellectuals. The “truth” here is nothing more than the familiar expression of habit, which, in turn, is because of things repeating themselves. And what is more, the habit is so strong that these intolerant intellectuals do not even wonder “what if?” or “what else?” or “why not?” As a result, they unthinkingly categorise some politicians or analysts as communal, casteist and reactionaries.
Like terrorists, these intellectuals want the whole world to follow their causes or beliefs, howsoever misplaced these may be. Hence, they could be described as intellectual terrorists.
By Prakash Nanda