Death of an Intellectual

A spectre of crass, predictable, inevitable irrationality is once again haunting the nation, says Amit Sengupta.

This was bound to happen and this will only get worse. A spectre is yet again haunting the nation. A spectre of crass, predictable, inevitable irrationality. The underbelly of barbarism and the Hobbesean state of nature. Short, nasty and brutish. The banality of evil. And the evil of banality.


The slow and steady ravaged landscape of dissent. Against critical thinking and progressive modernity. Shut all open windows of enlightenment, the doors of perception, the corridors and corners of beauty which you cross both in dream and in insomnia. Crush the aesthetic principle. The evil of brute, crude, rude banality stalks the land.

The lunatic fringe, now with a majority in Parliament, wants so desperately to dominate the mainstream, shift the paradigm, enter our soul, spike our food, destroy our tastes, sense and sensibilities. They want us to shut our wide open eyes wide shut. They will find you out and drone you to death if you don’t agree. It is either their way or the highway.

The lunatic fringe, now with a majority in Parliament, wants so desperately to dominate the mainstream, shift the paradigm, enter our soul, spike our food, destroy our tastes, sense and sensibilities.

Now, you might say, some of their hydra-headed, shadowy creatures are even ready to murder you, if you stand with the rational stream of consciousness, or with a culture of critical dissent, if not voices of sanity, research, evidence and reason. Shot in cold blood, perhaps, while on a morning walk with your wife. And it does not really matter even if you are 80-plus, as was Govind Pansare.

Indeed, I tell you, this is truly the stuff that is “Make in India” in the times of the Akhand Hindu Rashtra. Our Dear Leader’s original gift to the nation. Acche Din. Surely, fat cat ad-gurus, Prasoon Joshi and Piyush Pandey, would be flying over the moon.

The dark side of the moon, however, is what should we do? Ban pizza pepperoni? Ban pork farming in the Dalit ghettos surviving in eternal margins in sub-human “Make in India” social conditions? Stop the hard working daily-wager from eating that meat bone marrow liquid curry with bread early in the morning to keep him going all day? Allow all the cows to stuff their intestines at overflowing garbage dumps with broken glass, aluminium foil, plastic and polythene, medicine wrappers, animal bones and rotting food? Mother of all mothers, do they suffer eternal pain and die a slow, holy cow death in their silent suffering as their intestines get clogged?

Is this pain influenced by Western culture, or, is it, a relentless indigenous, nationalist pain? So how come we don’t pump our chests in nationalistic pride and patriotism when for centuries and years the poorest of the poor rot on the streets, children with bloated stomachs and bare bodies float on the streets, and emaciated mothers fail to nourish their malnourished children, even while the deprived become more and more deprived, while the rich hoard and multiply more and more wealth?

Is this pain influenced by Western culture, or, is it, a relentless indigenous, nationalist pain? So how come we don’t pump our chests in nationalistic pride and patriotism when for centuries and years the poorest of the poor rot on the streets, children with bloated stomachs and bare bodies float on the streets, and emaciated mothers fail to nourish their malnourished children, even while the deprived become more and more deprived, while the rich hoard and multiply more and more wealth? Or, when the drinking water under the ground becomes metallic, acidic, toxic, a vicious poison spreading simmering epidemics like cancer, killing us softly, even while the rivers are wilfully turned into sewage drains? Why don’t we feel patriotic, really, when women are branded witches, stripped naked, and ravaged and murdered as a public spectacle in backward rural interiors, and children are sacrificed to appease this god or that goddess?

 

So what should we do? Collect human piss in huge jars and pissiculture the garden to increase “vegetarian” productivity, as Nitin Gadkari so scientifically declared and with absolute nonchalance? (So why did he go for a modern medical treatment called bariatric surgery for weight loss?) I mean, even aesthetically, how do we eat a veggie after pissing on it? Or offer it to our family members and friends?

Or, how do we drink gau mutra on the rocks, with no ice or soda? Truly, do they really believe that gau mutra is a substitute for antibiotics? So, what will they do in case of a war or a natural disaster with thousands wounded? Banish the doctors and distribute little bottles of cow urine—buy one get two free? With a colour picture of the grand, mythical Ram temple in Ayodhya?

How do we drink gau mutra on the rocks, with no ice or soda? Truly, do they really believe that gau mutra is a substitute for antibiotics? So, what will they do in case of a war or a natural disaster with thousands wounded? Banish the doctors and distribute little bottles of cow urine—buy one get two free?

Or, should we practise ‘Yogic Farming’ so as to “empower seeds with the help of positive thinking”, as the agriculture minister in the BJP regime in Delhi, Radha Mohan Singh, said so profoundly and with such absolute intellectual authority that even the seedy characters who ritualistically hang around sundry power structures seem to be sniggering? Earlier, he had declared that farmer suicides are due to failed “love affairs and impotency”.

Seemingly, despite the relentless rise in farmer suicides, agricultural growth sinking abysmally, stagnation, starvation and joblessness in the rural economy, farmers in great distress, and vast unemployment and penury among both Hindu and Muslim farmers due to the beef ban in Maharashtra, the sperm count remains a dominant theme in their milky way cow urine consciousness.

Check out what the Sanathan Sanstha, accused earlier for manufacturing bombs and blasts and now for the murder of Pansare, has professed: “Long hair symbolizes fickleness, there is emission of Raja-Tama waves, thus polluting the environment. This denotes distress due to negative energies . . . Due to contact with Raja-predominant waves emitting from hair, the suryanadi (Sun channel) remains constantly active; this produces heat in the body which keeps spreading in the body, resulting in reduction in the sperm count.”

Surely, the new slogan is enticing: “Loonies of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your sperm count.”

“Women prefer keeping their hair short to look modern while men tie ponytails and call themselves trendy. This change in concept has actually taken mankind further down to negativity without realization,” the organisation says in an article published on its website in July.

Give me a break. So what were all those hyper-active sadhus with long hair doing in the Mahabharata? And did Ram get a haircut in the forests in the Ramayana? Surely, the new slogan is enticing: “Loonies of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your sperm count.”

 

Indeed, now they have traced the lunar calendar of all the mythological texts, including the above mentioned one. They have even enacted an exhibition in the arts citadel of Delhi, the Mandi House, watching which gave ardent Hindutva admirer and dancer Sonal Mansingh goosebumps. It’s like professing that you can actually do a Google search on the time, date, location of Ram and Sita eating vegetarian kandamool in the forests, while Laxman takes revenge on Surpanakha following her “indecent proposal”.

The Sangh Parivar not only has an inherited history of being obsessively anti-intellectual, it hates the adventure of ideas, critical enquiry, scientific temperament and modern knowledge systems. If they had their way, they would be still floating in the sticky, high cholesterol quagmire of milky rivers and desi ghee.

The Sangh Parivar not only has an inherited history of being obsessively anti-intellectual, it hates the adventure of ideas, critical enquiry, scientific temperament and modern knowledge systems. If they had their way, they would be still floating in the sticky, high cholesterol quagmire of milky rivers and desi ghee.

They have neither a tradition of great intellectual, aesthetic and scientific history, nor do they have really ever felt comfortable amidst such a complex and pulsating pluralist culture.

They are unilinear, monolithic, homogenous, robotic, shallow, one-dimensional creatures, almost one-celled and amoeba-like in their social consciousness, driven by their troll-like substance abuse of xenophobia and hate politics, and a mytical golden age of “Hindu rashtra” that never existed. That is why they never joined the freedom movement. That is why they had no contribution to make to the great, pre- and post-independence progressive inheritance of literature, arts and culture, and cinema, like the Indian People’s Theatre Association, or the Progressive Writers’ Association, when high art became synonymous with the lanes and by-lanes of our fragmented cities and small towns. Arundhati Roy is right. She recently said that the FTII struggle is perhaps the last bastion against the destruction of creative intelligence engineered by these obsessive creatures: “I have been asked why are you here. I say, I think, these kids are the last people standing; they are standing up because we are suffering an assault on our collective IQ of this nation,” she said, while in a protest in Delhi commemorating the 100 days of the FTII struggle.

They are unilinear, monolithic, homogenous, robotic, shallow, one-dimensional creatures, almost one-celled and amoeba-like in their social consciousness, driven by their troll-like substance abuse of xenophobia and hate politics, and a mytical golden age of “Hindu rashtra” that never existed.

No wonder, riddled with the riddle of utter mediocrity, gibberish-seekers, fanatic shouting brigades, and small-time mumbo jumbo characters, which largely comprises their rank and file, they are appointing all kinds of miscellaneous jokers and soft-porn actors in important posts, including academic and creative posts. That is why, all they in their ‘RSS ka Pitara’ are characters like Gajendra Chauhan and Dinanath Batra, to stupidly showcase to the world.

Also, indeed, their Left-centric phobia and schizophrenia has abjectly failed, even while the valiant FTII struggle has crossed 100 days. In all these days, the struggle has completely exposed the BJP-RSS and its fossilised ice-box of low-IQ loyalist luminaries with not an iota of creative history, brilliance or eminence in arts and culture. Their talent bank is less than zero. Indeed, the majority of great artists and filmmakers who have backed the FTII struggle have nothing to do with the Left: Aparna Sen, Dibakar Bannerjee, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Rasool Pookooty, Amol Palekar, Girish Karnad, Sudhir Mishra, Rishi and Ranbir Kapoor, among a host of distinguished celebrities.

Indeed, even while stubbornly and stupidly holding their ground, the morbid game of this regime has been thoroughly rendered transparent. Predictably, all the corporate upstarts and upwardly mobile urban Indians, many with rich NRI links, who voted for a glorious new superpower India, with the Dear Leader as the Great Helmsman, do not know what to do with the likes of Dinanath Batra and Gajendra Chauhan, least of all, all the mythical virtues of cow urine.

 

The truth is that their dream sequences and ad mantras of “acche din” have collapsed into the garbage can of history, much like the tonnes of garbage on the streets and across railway platforms and all over around suburbs, slums and ghettos of India have proved that the Swachh Bharat campaign has turned out to be a total farce. The bullet trains can only be stuff for animation films it seems, with our Dear Leader as Batman. The dirty rivers, including the Ganga at Varanasi, will flow as dirty as ever, and not even all their gods from heaven can turn it as pristine as it was during the Ram Rajya. The economy is in a sharp slump, and they really don’t like Raghuram Rajan’s on-the-dot, on-the-spot, high intellectual quotient prophecies.

The buzz is, many bureaucrats from the states are refusing to choose Delhi’s plum postings, because of the dictatorial tendencies prevailing in this one-dimensional power structure, and others don’t want to toe the RSS line. Eminent people refuse to apply for high-end jobs, while unqualified third-raters loyal to the Sangh Parivar are scrambling for bits and pieces of all kinds of leftovers.

After tough posturing, the government had to backtrack on the land acquisition bill, something that has made the corporates very, very bitter: why did we pump you up so much if you can’t unleash the totalitarian Chinese model?

I look at Zuckerberg and Murdoch, and the rest of the Modi Inc CEO jingbang, mouth open in cannibalistic glee, teeth in full display like Tony Blair in his infamous “Bush poodle” cartoons, and I remember the fat cats who wilfully backed the Nazis and the Holocaust.

Information is controlled, even as much of the corporate media crawls when simply asked to bend. Uncannily, things are not really working out, despite the clichéd selfies and the endless foreign junkets, even as the smile on the mask of Our Dear Leader never really reaches his eyes.

In Dublin, after a round of Sanskrit shlokas recited by kids, the Dear Leader took a dig at the secularists in India. If this was done in India, they, out there, would have raised questions on secularism. I say, Dear Leader, why don’t you henceforth recite your fascinatingly original and life-affirming Mann ki Baat in Sanskrit? Surely even Gajendra Chauhan would appreciate it, if not one Mr Mohan Bhagwat himself, the supremo of all superemos, with his high-on-TRP handlebar moustache.

I look at Zuckerberg and Murdoch, and the rest of the Modi Inc CEO jingbang, mouth open in cannibalistic glee, teeth in full display like Tony Blair in his infamous “Bush poodle” cartoons, and I remember the fat cats who wilfully backed the Nazis and the Holocaust. I also remember a recent quote from Elementary, the non-conformist detective serial. Says Sherlock Holmes about Ayn Rand: “Oh!, the philosopher-in-chief of the intellectually bankrupt.”

I say, truly, Yeh Dil Maange More.

Amit Sengupta started journalism when he was 19, even while he was working in the relief camps as a student of JNU after the State sponsored genocide of Sikhs in Delhi in 1984. Since then, he has been an independent president of the JNU Students' Union, writer, activist and editor, closely involved with multiple people's movements and conflict zones in contemporary India. He was Executive Editor, Hardnews magazine, South Asian partner of Le Monde Diplomatique, Paris. He has earlier worked as a senior editor and journalist with Tehelka, Outlook, The Hindustan Times, Asian Age, The Pioneer, The Economic Times and Financial Chronicle. Till recently he has been a professor at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.

2 Comments

  • Reply October 1, 2015

    Dheeraj

    Such a Childish Article. Infact the way you criticized RSS , U seem to be another form of RSS. :D

  • Reply October 10, 2015

    G Shah

    Amit Da

    You have a way with words!

Leave a Reply