We live in an India that continues to follow Nehru’s folicies1. His folicies might have resulted in some good but has resulted in Brobdingnagian blunders, which has led to the mess we’re mired in. As a result, at the end of 60-plus years, we have more things to hate than things to love about the Nightmarish Nehruvian India.
I hope to make this a regular feature published around this time every month but let’s see how it goes. It doesn’t hurt to begin though. You’re free to add your own in the comments.
1. Folicies (noun): Plural of Folicy, a portmanteau of Foolish and Policy.
1. The Government: The Unmitigated Evil. The Hydra-headed Monster. The Malicious Intruder. The Elected Mafia. You still want reasons why you should hate this government?
2. The Opposition: The Clueless Cowards. The Arch-Weaklings. When they’re not opposing themselves and washing their dirty linen in public, they play the game by the rules set by the ruling party. They race past everybody and fall asleep just when they’re two inches away from the finishing line.
3. New media: The “alternative” online pontificators who after “breaking” one sensational story, revel in it and use it as a launch pad to resort to the same mind-numbing drivel that’s all-pervasive in the newspapers and TV news channels. Exhibit 1: the piece that caused a thousand skeletons to tumble from the filthy cupboards of people in high places. And then the pontification began. Exhibits 1, 2, 3, 4… See how it works? The alternative online pontificators sooner or later get the same scum from the old media. Respectability, credibility, readership and all that. For details, see #4 and #5 below.
4. Old media: Where does one even begin? This is one gigantic, self-perpetuating banyan tree that allows nothing to grow under its rotten branches. Over the years, it’s made itself indistinguishable from a certain political party and is populated by non-professional politicians masquerading as journalists and news anchors. It is the Fourth Estate of the selfsame political party where Estate=wealth, inheritance. As one perceptive blogger cum tweeter observes, this media is a crime scene; who knows how many crimes have been committed under the shadow of this diabolic banyan tree?
5. Academics/Intellectuals: These are various varieties of garden manure, which sustains the banyan tree mentioned in #4. It comprises a poisonous mix of Original Sinners (defined here) and their various illegitimate offspring and pupils who are trained to perpetuate the sin. An Ashis Nandy here. An Amartya Sen there. A Genocide Suzie again. A Kancha Ilaiah yet again. A Khushwant Singh who suddenly crawls out of the woodwork. A Gita Ramaswamy who gatecrashes. The English-speaking-and-reading India is thus reassured time and again that these Doctors of the Health of Public Discourse are always hard at work. Everybody is happy.
6. Award-winners: This class one used to be pretty respectable to some extent until at least the ‘80s. Ever since, it’s pretty much gone to dogs. Each year, when the Padma and assorted sarkari list of awardees are announced, a chill runs down our spine because one knows what to expect. And it only gets worse with every passing year. A new numbskull with no distinction either personally or in terms of public service or excellence emerges from the gutter holding the plaque or posing with the shawl or similar adornment. Here’s a partial list of Padma Bhushan awardees chosen at random: Girish Karnad (1992), Mrinal Sen (1981), Aroon Purie (2001, for of all things, Literature & Education.), Irfan Habib (2005), Shekhar Gupta (2009), Ramachandra Guha (2009), Mallika Sarabhai (2010), Barkha Dutt (2008, Padma Shri)… And so the next time you hear that someone has won one of these sarkari awards, you know you need to update your must-hate list.
7. Revolutions: Show me exactly one Revolution that has succeeded, where success is measured as a long-lasting change for the better. And so if you think the stuff that happened in Tunisia and Egypt will bring about this kind of change, please don’t wake up from your intellectual slumber. But before that, hate revolutions with everything you have. Because sooner or later some nutcase in India will try and convince you that Revolution is the solution for all problems facing India. The Tuxedo Marxists in universities and media and their bloody brothers in the jungles—the Maoists—precisely intend to do this. And they won’t give up in a hurry. Think Gandhians with Guns in the same breath as Genocide Suzie. There! You can feel the hatred building up already.
8. Bollywood: Money laundering and Prostitution on the grandest possible scale, run like a well-oiled corporate machine. Despite flop after flop one wonders how insane amounts of money keeps pouring in. Looks, talent, money, stories, scripts, equipment, distribution, people, everything ultimately ends up serving the mafia. Just how deep the mafia has penetrated it can be gauged by exactly one question: when was the last time you ever heard a Bollywood star going to the cops complaining about threats to his/her life from the mafia? Oh and what about the widespread use of illegal substances?
9. Indians writing in English: The undeservedly pampered, utterly arrogant, unashamedly talentless and banally ignorant breed of “writers” who’ve emerged as a sort of phenomenon in recent times. I put “writers” in quotes because writing is not defined merely as someone adept at using language. If that’s the case, every blogger writing about how “I woke up and spent almost an hour trying to decide what to wear to work today” qualifies as a writer. Come to think of it: these guys are only slightly better than such bloggers but the damage they’ve inflicted is immense. Irrefutable Proof: Aravind Adiga, the latest prize-winning ignoramus extraordinaire. Majority of these Indians writing in English can’t speak—let alone read or write—a sentence of even their mother tongue without introducing an English word in it but pontificate self-righteously with an all-knowing attitude about weighty matters like “the forces that are tearing India apart,” “the urban/rural Indian experience,” “my growing up in small town story,” “the mental geography of an urban Indian,” “what it is like to be a woman in India,” and so on and on and on. What you have here is a bunch of English-educated ignoramuses with some felicity for wielding the English language fed on a heady diet of mass media and equipped with talent for trite-writing. If you’re feeling like barfing but can’t get it out, open one of these books, pick a random page and start reading. If you’re fine otherwise, hate them.
10. The Middle Class: The One with a knack for getting repeatedly screwed and deluding itself that getting screwed is actually a good thing. Nehru & co screwed it first with his big dams and PSUs. Alongside, the Communists screwed it by feeding toxic literature: look at the mental and “cultural” state of at least two generations of people from Bengal. Mrs. Gandhi then screwed it on a scale and tyranny unmatched till date. Nothing can explain how she stomped back to power after being stomped out of it so spectacularly. And so on till today when the middle class’ idea of: (a) clean governance=kissing candles (b) foreign relations=kissing candles at the Wagah border and/or if they can’t take time off from work, applauding the Professional Candle-Kissers (c) debate=agreeing with everything that demented news anchors spout on prime time (d) social change=donating to some shady NGO that invests money in printing classy brochures (e) democracy=abstaining from voting.
11. TV debates: The staple ingredient in the diet of #10 and hence merits separate mention. TV debates are today’s Importance of Being Earnest enacted in real life. The pusillanimous middle class wants to vent its ire at the Evil Politicians, the corrupt babus, the crooked constable, petrol price hike, escalating EMIs, and their neighbour’s sneaky son and think that a hysterical Bark-ha Dutt or a frothing Arnab Goswami or a “Fake the Nation” Sagarika Ghose somehow provide them the platforms to do so. And so a Ms. Disgraced Dutt is back in business almost undiminished in respect or stardom. And the dictum self-perpetuates: all TV debates are rigged equally: some are rigged more equally. They’re also amorphous and change shape and size according to the “gravity” of the “issue” on hand. Some of these “debates” turn into full-fledged courtroom-like sessions. The idea is pronounce as guilty a particular party, which has the misfortune of sporting a colour that’s perpetually out of fashion. Their Media Honours are as carefully selected as the "audience,” which is invited to the studio. The minimum qualification for Media Honours=Any stream of Secularism and that for the audience: Dumbed-downness.
12. Civil Society: A new beast unheard of at least even two years prior to 2011. A little-known Gandhian (whatever that means) bursts on the scene and threatens the Might of the Government and all hell breaks loose. All kinds of things are bandied about till nobody understands what’s what anymore. And from this confusion is born a beast called Civil Society. We soon learn that it’s nothing but Progressives 2.0. All manner of self-seekers and careerists and out-of-work hangers on form a clique demanding extra-Constitutional privileges for themselves. Some of these worthies also have links to that vile body of nation-wreckers called the NAC. Note that the #1 similarity between our erstwhile Progressives and Civil Society is the fact that these are labels they’ve assigned to themselves. So does that mean that the rest of India is uncivil? Hate them already!
13. Literary and art critics: Also known as the culture vultures with nary a shred of scholarship or scruples. Their criticism is two-pronged: praise for one of their own and abuse of anybody who doesn’t agree with them. For nearly fifty years, they’ve scavenged on pretty much everything that Indian culture and heritage has to offer and yet their hunger remains unabated. One of their Presiding Deities died a few days ago. My obituary to this Devil explains in detail how these vultures work. But hate them anyway.
14. Tihar Jail: Those that rightfully belong in Parliament are now flooding the Tihar jail and have consequently made the place uninhabitable for decent criminals. It’s like displacing an animal from its natural habitat or something. There used to be a time when it was the other way round: hardworking criminals from Tihar jail got out—either after serving their sentence or on hiatus—and contested polls and got into Parliament. Now it’s the other way round. Or should we say they merely returned home? Either way, hate it.
15. Yourself: And if you thought that #1 through #14 is absolutely correct or absolutely wrong or unfair or defamatory or thought that it was just plain funny, well, you deserve the hatred directed at you. Look any which way, you’re screwed because you brought it upon yourself. Hate yourself. Now!