Introducing The Dilip D’Souza School of Argument

It almost felt like meeting a long-lost friend when I read Dilip D’Souza’s comment on my Meera Nanda piece. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that name. I had to wait for several hours before I could respond because I first had to control a range of emotions that coursed inside me wildly. Only then did I respond. What followed subsequently was just like the old times. For those who came late, here’s a sample of the old times that I’m talking about. And then one fine day he just left. Only to return now.

I be a happy man again.

But those were days when people’s patience hadn’t dwindled to 140 characters. Active bloggers wrote frequently and with genuine passion and eagerly awaited the next post from their favourite bloggers. The comments section of some blogs was delightful, engaging, and instructive—sometimes all at once. In case of this blog, I must acknowledge the mountain of debt that I owe to several commenters from whom I’ve learned a lot. Dilip D’Souza also happens to be one of them.

If not for him, my education would’ve missed a crucial lesson, which I’ve named in His Honour as The Dilip D’Souza School of Argument. Because knowledge multiplies when it’s shared, I’ve decided to do my bit of knowledge-sharing in this piece.

The Dilip D’Souza School of Argument (DDSA) is also known in common parlance as switch and bait. There are variations and nuances of S&B but they are meant for people who opt for higher studies. S&B works like this:

  1. An adherent of the DDSA asks a question about a widely-known fact or makes an assertion of a  similar nature on something that someone has written.
  2. People respond to him saying that it’s widely known, that enough material about it is available, and that if he doesn’t know, he must make the effort to read it.
  3. He ignores the part about it being a well-known fact. He also ignores the bit about asking him to read up and repeats his question.
  4. When people repeat the same response as in #2, he tells them that the actual fact is merely the claim of the responders. Switch.
  5. By now, people are obviously annoyed or offended or both and yell at him.
  6. He in turn responds by repeating the same question again and what’s more, tells the responders that they’re abusing/accusing him and that they’re being evasive. Even at this stage, he hasn’t bothered to read up. Bait.

Let’s see this principle in action with a hypothetical example. Let’s assume somebody writes the following without going into details about why, what, how, where, who and when.

Nancy Reagan was a staunch believer of astrology and relied on astrologers to plan President Reagan’s schedules.

  1. A DDSA-adherent responds thus: “Nancy Reagan was a staunch believer of astrology and relied on astrologers to plan President Reagan’s schedules.” Why?
  2. Not everybody has the time, patience or inclination to write in detail about Nancy’s well-known and well-documented craze for astrology. Not especially when material is readily available. And so somebody asks the DDSA guy to go and read up on Nancy Reagan.
  3. DDSA guy ignores the part about Nancy’s astrology-craze being a well-known fact. He also ignores the bit about asking him to read it and says: “Nancy Reagan was a staunch believer of astrology and relied on astrologers to plan President Reagan’s schedules.” Why?
  4. When responders repeat the same thing that they did in #2, the DDSA guy tells them that Nancy Reagan’s astrology craze is simply their claim.
  5. One or more responders lose their cool and call him an ignoramus and similar stuff.
  6. DDSA-guy responds by calling them evasive, abusive, and says yet again: “Nancy Reagan was a staunch believer of astrology and relied on astrologers to plan President Reagan’s schedules.” Why?

For a real-life, firsthand illustration of this, please head to this post and read the comment exchanges between Dilip D’Souza and me. Additional tip: the DDSA principles explained above are only an outline. If you wish to hone your skills in this area, I highly recommend reading his blog posts, articles in the media and elsewhere and comments on other blogs.

It appears that Dilip D’Souza works pretty much like an Internet search engine, which functions on only a diet of keywords. Over the years of reading what he writes and sporadic interactions with him, it seems like Dilip D’Souza is bestirred to two distinct types of action when he reads certain keywords. Note that the list of keywords that follow is partial.

The first action type is one of compassion and support, which is elicited by some or all of the following keywords : poor people, people below poverty line, Dalits, tribals, villagers, Muslims, Islam, farmer-suicides, peasants, Babri Masjid, Teesta Setalvad, M.F. Hussain, Binayak Sen, and Left.

The second action type is one of righteous rage and contempt, which is elicited by some or all of the following keywords : BJP, RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Ayodhya, Hindu Activists, L.K. Advani, Ram Janmabhoomi,  Narendra Modi, Savarkar, and Golwalkar.

Oh and there is a third action type. It is one of silence, elicited by some or all of the following keywords: Islamic terrorism (to him, terrorists have no religion, and so even if the trigger-happy guys themselves proclaim loudly that they are doing it in the service of Allah, their words somehow don’t reach Dilip’s eyes and ears—is there a medical term for this?), missionary conversion activity, murder of Swami Lakshmanananda by Christian missionaries, and Ghulam Nabi Fai.

Like I said earlier, it took some time for me to bring my emotions under control before I could respond to Dilip’s re-emergence on this blog after so long. Emotional control brings great clarity of thought such as this: apparently, it looks like it isn’t love for me that triggered his dramatic reemergence but the keywords Savarkar and Golwalkar. On my part however, it’s still just like the old times and the long-lost friend sentiment. But it’s a little sad when you realize that despite all these years the friend has learnt nothing from the beatings he took for bad behaviour back in Class 3.

Postscript: Dilip, I continue to maintain that yes, Savarkar and Golwalkar admired Hitler. And no I refuse to indulge you by answering why. You might want to call it evasion on my part. I’ll call it ignorance on your part. Cheers!

75 comments for “Introducing The Dilip D’Souza School of Argument

  1. cricfan
    October 31, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    The great Dilip D’Souza adds to the list of so-called leftist activists (Guha, Sali Tripathi, Mukul Kesavan ..) penning half-baked articles on cricket.
    http://www.caravanmagazine.in/Story/1167/Mr-Tendulkar-s-Neighbourhood.html

  2. September 2, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    You are class :)

    Btw, you know, on that blog post his comment was there as the most recent one when I read it and tried to comment. I read the comment, ignored it, and posted my comment. It is still there, below his first comment :) (I found the proximity by going through that post again, to read your conversation)

    And you know, not many would have cared to know who this guy is, until you make him immortal on your post :) You could have left him feeling whatever. And on that post, ignoring to fell in his trap, you did a pretty good job. In my opinion.

    Btw, you have also given away his blog address. I checked, his post with maximum comments has 4 comments. Often those have either 0 or 1.

    In this post, you have done a brilliant analysis :) A treat to read. You are both a great observer and a brilliant psycho-analyst. Keep it up!

  3. RK
    September 2, 2011 at 2:57 AM

    @vv reg. your comment-
    The book “Breaking India” is by Rajiv Malhotra & Aravindan Neelakandan
    *NOT* Rajeev Srinivasan who is the Shadow Warrior
    Two totally different people, vastly different approach, ideas, research and style… please note. No comparison at all.

  4. culturevulture
    August 28, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    I used to read his column now and then on rediff.com a few years ago. Never liked it. Polemical with a bitchy tone meant to provoke a negative reaction. Third rate writer.

  5. cricfan
    August 26, 2011 at 5:49 AM

    @LoneRanger said a couple of things:
    1. “cricfan – Save your sarcasm for someone else buddy.
    nope, just laughing at another JNU crash-test dummy. nothing personal.

    2. ” … I can understand ..”
    now that’s an outright lie. Why?

  6. yamdut
    August 25, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    Comrade Loneranger a footsoldier of Amnesty International, London. Not surprising given that the same organization not too long ago was publicly found to have been supporting the jihad agenda of a Talibani. Not only that, they even fired their gender affairs staffer for criticizing that member of the Taliban over their human rights record. More here, here, here, here. Now we know, having cut his/her teeth with Taliban supporting Amnesty International in London, comrade Loneranger is in India to advance what agenda.

  7. Loneranger
    August 25, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    cricfan – Save your sarcasm for someone else buddy. I can understand your frustration of not doing anything for the society but that is your own choice so live with it. Keep on venting out here.

  8. cricfan
    August 25, 2011 at 6:19 AM

    The guy out on parole said:
    1. ” The proof of your statement lies in the commentators in 2004 and those now.”
    Absolutely wrong. Ravi Shastri and Gavaskar were boring then and are boring now.

    2. ” Guess they realised what real life is and stopped carrying the baggage of imagined victimhood and wannabe intellectualism. ”
    Absolutely right, and i must say u have been an industrious porter for a very, very long time, although u look silly walking around pompously with those empty boxes atop your own.

  9. Ranger
    August 25, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    Loneranger :

    “I was working at Amnesty international in london but I came back here to be part of some little change in the society and for that I am trying my best.”

    Haha.. effing jholiwallah idiot. How about doing some real work for a change ? Even a shoeshine boy or a janitor is more useful to society than someone who “works” for jholiwallah NGOs like Amnesty etc. How about doing some honest work for a change, Loneranger ?

  10. neelkanth
    August 24, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    Mats buddy, if you see anger here, there are usually good reasons for it, and those do pertain to the real world. Don’t trivialise it and don’t talk to us as if we are idiots, because that only makes things worse. It is good to see that you are no longer worried about us extremists, and although your pendulum has swung to another extreme, at least it has moved.

    Btw, do you find it ironic that one of your ancestors swallowed bullshit about eternal hellfire (assuming that was the only factor) and you now come and tell us to look at the real world?

  11. ava
    August 24, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    Guys, don’t screw up your life stuck up on the fringes of public discourse carrying the baggage of some misplaced notion of self-importance (does the world really care!), imagined victimhood, and wannabe intellectualism.

    Screw up lives? Now since when are you the judge of people’s lives? As for D’Souza, yes people like that should be answered and their perverted thinking shown up for what it is– he asked questions and they were answered and he never bothered to reply to a single answer, even though he might be a non-entity in a larger sense, non entities like him mulpiplied is a problem….

    I was working at Amnesty international in london

    AHHH! Now that explains why Amnesty International never talked about the displaced Pandits. Momin and British Liberal funded, what can one expect of an organization with only “selective” concerns…?

  12. Loneranger
    August 24, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    Mats – Absolutely right. The proof of your statement lies in the commentators in 2004 and those now. Guess they realised what real life is and stopped carrying the baggage of imagined victimhood and wannabe intellectualism.

  13. mats
    August 24, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    I am an amused spectator here. This forum is indeed a surreal world of adolescent literary flourishes, juvenile make belief, and keyboard bravado. A world of bristling anger and searing indignation at ever the slightest of slights suffered and imagined up. Guys, don’t screw up your life stuck up on the fringes of public discourse carrying the baggage of some misplaced notion of self-importance (does the world really care!), imagined victimhood, and wannabe intellectualism. I think, for your own good, you guys need to grow up and take look at the real world outside.

  14. Amit
    August 24, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    “I was working at Amnesty international in london but I came back here to be part of some little change in the society and for that I am trying my best.”
    __

    Too bad that Amnesty International didn’t post you to their office in Saudi Arabia – or perhaps ask you to open their first office there.

  15. Amit
    August 24, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    Loneranger wrote:

    “Amit – The easiest job in this wide world is to criticise people, nitpik, find faults and indulge in sarcasm to show you are superior.”
    __

    Yes, as I’d written in earlier comments, I’m aware of how your mind works and had already figured out your actions. No need for you to confess to your faults here. :-)

  16. cricfan
    August 24, 2011 at 6:47 AM

    @LoneRanger said:
    1. “I have been pretty busy for the last few days”
    congratulations, about time.

    3. “I was working at Amnesty international in london”
    perfect match. I heard JNU back-benchers land up there

    4.”…but I came back here to be part of some little damage in the society and for that I am trying my best”
    i fixed your typo. u had ‘change’ somewhere in there that didnt make any sense.

  17. August 23, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    http://www.sandeepweb.com/2007/05/02/dilip-unchained/

    Woww.. I find a mention here.. Reminds me of the good old days…

    There is no point having reasoned arguments with DDD (sounds like size of .. umm, well) . I tried it earlier, found myself getting frustrated and abusive, and my language becoming incoherent (switch and bait did work). Eventually I gave up. Wasted my time, and also got caught by my boss writing comments on blogs. Did not want to lose my job and end up like DDD i.e. without a life :-)

  18. Loneranger
    August 23, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    Cricfan – Sorry for the late reply. I have been pretty busy for the last few days in logistics arrangement. By your statement should I infer that the only thing dear to you is to pontificate here and vilify anyone who is working for the poor people? If that is the case, then good luck to you.

    Amit – The easiest job in this wide world is to criticise people, nitpik, find faults and indulge in sarcasm to show you are superior. If you want to change something, then get into the ground and do it. Don’t sit in airport lounges sipping cappucino and ridicule others who are atleast trying to change something. Whether it is good or bad only time will tell. I was working at Amnesty international in london but I came back here to be part of some little change in the society and for that I am trying my best.

  19. oakman
    August 23, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Sandeep – thanks for this analysis. Apparently D’Souza has your goat. Look up ad hominem. Or perhaps you coined that phrase?

  20. Jooske
    August 23, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Dilip D’Souza has not commented.WHY?

    Dilip D’Souza brings out the emotions.WHY?

  21. vasu
    August 23, 2011 at 2:59 AM

    Sandeep – Please review Arundathi Roy’s article on Anna hazare movement and as usual she has demonized hindus, hindutva and indians. It would be great if you rip apart this article with the same sharpness with which you have dealt the other crusaders and comarades
    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article2379704.ece?homepage=true

  22. x
    August 22, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    >>>”Maybe be there is something fundamentally different in western thought and indic thought.”

    That between Dharma and Adharma, sur and asur, altruistic and selfish. Arya and mleccha. There always was.& will be.
    That between Vibhishana and Ravana. Bali and Sugreev, Duryodhan and Yudhishtir. Devas and Asuras.

  23. NASH
    August 22, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    to VV

    1…….what a senior clergyman with a church in south india…..
    2.no need of video just plain TRANSCRIPT will do.

    3.Did you ever wonder how the conversation would be like……………
    4. look forward with all the minutest details.

  24. Jooske
    August 22, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    However, Iftar parties, Mullahs and Namaaz – these are all intrinsically “secular” in the perverted political parlance of Nehruvian Stalinist India.

    WHY? (DDS type of question) Any answers fromSandeep?

    http://rajeev2004.blogspot.com/2011/08/mr-hazare-iftar-appeasement.html

  25. vv
    August 22, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    Apologies, I meant “Breaking India” by Rajiv Malhotra & Aravindan Neelakandan, not Rajeev Srinivasan. Got my Rajivs mixed up.
    My bad.

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