Hear a Loud Silence

Published: 08th November 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th November 2015 11:41 PM   |  A+A-

Philosopher Herbert Marcuse differentiates the mass from the elite through the definition of differences. The mass, he writes, comprises a group of people that agrees or disagrees on an issue for the same reason. The elite, on the other hand, also disagree, but each for different reasons. Our conscience-wrung elite is behaving like the mass, en masse, with their award droppings that would put pigeons to shame. Those, whose intolerance towards Modi was evident even before he became PM, are demanding tolerance because his silence is harming the country’s image.

The secular intelligentsia is lamenting how Indians and foreigners are afraid to invest in India because of intolerance. If a comical spat between a Bollywood actor and a maverick monk, and a boorish tweet by a BJP leader is intolerance, then investors don’t understand business. Capitalism perpetrates Arab oligarchs for oil’s sake. Corporations prop up African dictatorships to acquire concessions for huge profits, disregarding human rights. Is Modi supposed to apologise for keeping quiet on blood diamonds? The best thing that has happened to SRK is Adityanath becoming his publicity manager—the star’s Twitter followers rose to 13 million, beating Modi’s.

Ravi Shankar1.pngThe BJP has been a sitting duck for secular czars and lackeys, whose pre-eminent positions in academic and cultural spheres are threatened. Award wapsi has given an opportunity to many obscure people to get their five minutes of fame. It has also given many well-known intellectuals a chance to emphasise their secular credentials. When Narayana Murthy cries intolerance, it gets attention. However, when Ratan Tata says India is a harmonious country and will always be so, it gets little attention. When Mohan Bhagwat says India’s strength is its diversity, it goes largely unreported. Should Modi apologise for this?

Every family, society, community and government has its share of loonies. If Adityanath and other motor mouths are derailing the economy, Alice in Wonderland has seen nothing yet. Until the BJP came to power, right-wing intellectuals like Bibek Debroy experienced intolerance from their peers.

Two years ago, UPA’s Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan pooh-poohed the idea of the Indian Mujahideen. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde asked cops to handle Muslim youth lightly. Nobody asked Manmohan Singh to resign. When Hindus in Dadri stood guard over the lives and property of Muslim neighbours after the horrific lynching, should Modi have apologised for their tolerance? In spite of the anti-beef brigades, much of India continues to happily munch away on bovine meat.

The Sikh riots do not justify the Gujarat riots. But there has hardly been any major communal incident since the NDA took over. No dissident has been jailed, no newspaper or TV channel has been censored nor has any voice been silenced. The RBI governor spoke against the government, but has been left alone to do his job. The Owaisis continue to spew hatred. After the Kalburgi murder, the Congress government in Karnataka has refused to ask for a CBI inquiry, though a BJP leader who threatened to behead the CM if he ate beef has been imprisoned. Does Modi have to apologise for his silence on all this?

Spoofs like Adityanath and Rahman Khan will always be around. Modi has instructed ministers not to respond to fabricated secular noise, and do their job if they want sarkar wapsi in 2019. He is wrong. Propaganda creates perception. Bihar notwithstanding, India’s ace wordsmith needs to get back to his foundry to forge ahead.   ravi@newindianexpress.com

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