Saturday, May 25, 2019

"Who needs intellectuals?" - Kerala Edition

Loving this post shared by a *neutral* friend on why Kerala is stupid. I am always proud to be a liberal. Then there are other times when I am even more proud to be so.

For context (which may be useful at a later time), this is about the state of Kerala in southern India resoundingly rejecting the message of religious discord spread by a certain political party by giving them a grand total of zero seats in the recently concluded Lok Sabha 2019 elections. Naturally, some *neutral* egos were bruised and rather lame attempts to make fun of a progressive, secular and intellectually aware state are in full swing.

The very first line by a *neutral* is dissing a couple of South Indian languages, which are thousands of years old with millions of native speakers each and as Indian (if not more) than Hindi. "They don't even speak Hindi" seems to be the mood. No secret then about which side of the liberal-conservative divide these *neutrals* fall. "OK leave it" they say as they graciously overlook that unforgivable 'fault'.

It's time to now look at their math skills. In their liberal nailing calculations, since total population is XYZ, naturally all of them voted... never mind the concept of voter turnout percentage and the fact that a significant number of them are ineligible to vote because they are below 18 years of age. These are 'intellectual' concepts of no importance.

Then, it gets even more brilliant as they calculate the number of votes the *neutral* party received. Since they won 64 out of the 80 seats in India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, it's a simple multiplication. Never mind the 'intellectual' concept that even within each constituency, not every vote goes to a winning candidate. Besides, the concept of an individual opinion is so anti-India and scary. How dare anyone not vote for their *neutrality*?

They seal their bulletproof argument with the case of 'these intellectuals' electing a candidate, a lunkhead of the highest order in his own right, who had lost to a *star* candidate of the *neutral* party in the second seat he was contesting. This *star* who first lied about being a Yale graduate, later promoted herself to an undergraduate degree and then finally revealed that she had studied only till grade 12, (incredible but true) served as Education Minister of the world's largest democracy, a period which she spent angrily questioning IITs and JNU, India's most premier educational institutions, for their lack of standards. Obviously, her victory is clearly indicative of 'actual' intellectuals somehow.

Also, do note in the midst of their *strong* arguments, how they sneak in a convenient half-truth about Kerala having the highest crime rate in India. Sure, Kerala has recently seen a spurt of political violence due to the rise of a certain *neutral* party which will later milk it for electoral purposes through their divisive but tremendously successful *majority is in danger* strategy. But on the list of violent crimes per capita for states, Kerala - with its high Human Development Index - has still consistently ranked near the bottom out of the 30 states in India while guess which state always hovers nears the top of that list? Hint: It's that state that the *neutral* party is so proud of winning and wants to set as a model in the face of happy, wise Kerala. Truth is optional, as it always is for any side terrified of logical opinions.

All I can say is: Kerala, stay your way. If these arguments against you are any proof, we sure need your intellectuals. As far sensible people in both Uttar Pradesh and Kerala and the rest of India know, whatever this joke of a diss was trying to be, it is not exactly a strong case for the *neutral* kind of 'literacy'.

*---* = Self-proclaimed

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Not My Fault

Of late, the fans of a certain political ideology have been insisting that my vote will be ‘wasted’ kyunki “Aayega toh…” Something compels them to come looking for me and post on my FB wall, some talking to me for the first time almost 11 years after college, specifically to tell me that “YOU will lose, OUR guy will win”. Silent Likes on his kinda-funny-but-still-out-of-the-blue aggression indicate that a few more share his opinion. They are the quiet ones, ashamed of expressing their inner feelings but put 3 of them together and they graduate directly to mob frenzy. They want to tell me, shout me down, that I, the sickular, pseudo-liberal, West Bangladeshi will lose and their nation (because obviously secularism = foreign concept imposed on Indians, so I can’t be one) powered by their warped version of religion, long suppressed, shall reduce me to ashes. Also, hate to inform them that I am not running for any office.

I laugh at these children of summer and their naivete. They do not realize that elections work a little differently from Indian Idol. The vote is not always about the most razzle-dazzle and membership on a ‘winning’ team. Sometimes it is a judgement for promises not fulfilled and an indictment for situations unravelling in an atmosphere of unprecedented hatred. Individual opinion scares them, even their own. An independent National Green Tribunal, Reserve Bank of India, Supreme Court, Election Commission etc? Why on earth would any ‘patriot’ need such separate (read inefficient) and free-thinking (read deeply dangerous) power centres? They like to be guided, goose-stepping in alignment with their identified superhero even if for the mildest unbiased eye, he’s just another credit-stealing, buck-passing, self-promoting bag of political hot air. It’s impossible for them to process that those in power can be questioned and should be. Because they are blindly in love with a very tattered and deeply compromised image, they assume that power must be obeyed and worshipped. Since they cannot see any faults in their candidate, others MUST accept His flawlessness too.

I fear I might have already triggered a few of them into commenting below but here are a few other key identifying criteria. JNU students and NDTV are their ‘core’ national issues, not poverty and inequality. The massive environmental crisis that looms ahead due to water, land and air being compromised for business ‘utility’ is acceptable in the race for superpower-dom, except for a few anti-nationals who worry about children being reduced to wearing facemasks to school, their survival dependent on Kent RO water. While they claim to dream of an undivided India, they can’t even bear to look at the people of a particular religion without whispering ISIS and running about, dizzy with panic. Such brotherly feelings they foster, for a massive group of people who first moved to India in 632 AD and subsequently chose India over Pakistan as their home in 1947, never mind those that moved across. Talking about patriarchy and caste crime is a tremendously touchy issue with them. You see, we never had those problems in our golden perfect period until them ‘foreigners’ ruined it. These are just anti-majority foreign constructs being forced down Indian throats. Someone in WhatsApp authority told them so… hence this must be true.

It is these self-proclaimed "progressive minded patriots" who are OK with Sadhvi Pragya and Yogi Adityanath as candidates but would have pooped their pants if a single Opposition candidate used "Allahu Akbar" in their campaigning. "Jai Shri Ram" nasties are however OK? They want uniform civil code but beef - oh, that's a no-no? They are OK with a PM who lies through his teeth in public speeches and promotional interviews (Ganesh-was-plastic-surgery, black-money-no-digitization-no-wait-tax-payer-base-no-no-no-something-else-tomorrow, radar, digicam, internet, DU topper) and walks around claiming to be non-corrupt while canoodling with the shadiest of industrialists. The present government has diluted the Right to Information Act (chillingly, once the petitioner is dead, the RTI automatically closes), introduced the perfect route to industrial scale political corruption through the anonymous political bonds scheme and sanitized its past sins by exempting from scrutiny, all the funds received from abroad going back to 1976. Still, the faithful insist that the Special One is pure as snow.

Even if someone does win on May 23rd, do remember that Rajiv Gandhi won 400+ after the horrific massacre of Sikhs in 1984. Democracy has its ups and downs. The people’s choice is not always the right one. But irrespective of how perfect you think your candidate is (Harking back to a time when idiots, like a particular grade of supporters active today, had said Indira = India, India = Indira), democracy has its own schemes to make the arrogant fall, sooner rather than later. Most of the established parties have already been through that cycle. Some recent regional entrants, in this very election, will feel the same or in the 2021 Assembly polls. I will be watching and smiling.

Oh and sorry, I will always make my opinion heard. I have cast my vote and will continue to, circumstances permitting. I think it matters. I think I matter. It’s not exactly my fault if your bull-shit sensor is so deeply dysfunctional and your independent opinion had gone AWOL.