Festival of the Political Sissies

Last year around this time I described how the Jaipur Literature Festival was a festival of the politically correct sissies. I should’ve also mentioned in that piece that it was just one step away from the next logical stage it would reach: from being politically correct to being political.

Because that’s what it’s turned out to be this year: barely three or four days, and all we’ve been hearing about is the slugfests emerging from that annual festivity by, of and for the sissies. We wonder whatever happened to that very word, indeed the raison de être upon which the festival is premised: LITERATURE. It resembles our Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas except that crass politicians are substituted by taxpayer-money-sucking leeches who call themselves writers, poets and littérateurs.

Two exhibits will suffice to illustrate the point. Unlike last year, I won’t go into the topics selected for this year and the list of the so-called littérateurs.

Exhibit 1: Ashis Nandy, the psychoanalyst who should’ve subjected himself to psychoanalysis several decades ago. As we see, the old boy hasn’t changed one bit. After he’d milked the Gujarat riots and Narendra Modi and Gujarati Hindus for all they were worth, Nandy has now targeted SC, ST and OBC people.

It is a fact that most of the corrupt come from the OBC, SC and ST communities and as long as it remains, Indian republic will survive,”

If his shameless racism isn’t enough, doesn’t Nandy know that hurling casteist abuses will earn him jail time? And what does this tell you about the White Mughal lording over this farcical festival who courted this racist psychoanalyst? Also, what exactly are Nandy’s literary qualifications to (dis)grace a Pontificatory role? We don’t know what prompted him to make political statements in a literature festival.

So there we have: Score 1 on the Festival of the Political Sissies. Rest of India: 0.

Exhibit 2: Javed Akhtar and Kancha Ilaiah. This episode resembles two canines tearing at each other fighting for the Most Rabid crown. The good news: they’re equals.

Illaiah, who was expounding on the equality of the two sexes that Buddhism provided to its followers, was confronted by Akhtar who, speaking as an atheist, said that no religion gave equality to women and weaker sections and choosing one’s religion was in fact a bit like “choosing which cave one wanted to live in.”
“Discussing religion was like discussing which cave will be better to live. If you want to follow a religion, follow any religion. It does not matter. If you have decided to commit suicide, does it matter how you do it?,” he said, to a round of applause from the audience, who were at a panel titled, ‘God as a political philosopher: Dalit perspectives on Buddhism.’

The bad news: both of them are terrible in their own right. Kancha Ilaiah is no stranger to my blog. He’s a cultural parasite, and that’s being charitable to him. But he’s primarily a hate monger who possesses neither the intelligence nor the erudition to carry out his campaign of Hindu hatred with dignity much less class. And it’s only fitting that an equally hate monger called Javed Akhtar took him on. Except that Akhtar hides his Hindu hatred under the cloak of a carefully nurtured taqqiya. The best example of his taqqiya is right above: he calls himself an atheist but in his Bollywood heydays, the Islamic 786 and similar symbolism figured prominently in major hit films of Amitabh Bachchan.

But here, he picked the wrong guy, the wrong wronged caste that Kancha claims that he champions. In the grand scheme of things, the Dalit discourse in India today trumps over even the minority discourse. Next time there’s a requirement to write something on the plight of the poor victimised Muslims in India, Kancha will first scan if the name “Javed Akhtar” exists.

But I digress. So what place does a paper like ‘God as a political philosopher: Dalit perspectives on Buddhism’ have in a literature festival? The answer to that lies in the evil genius of William Dalrymple.

A survey from last year to this shows how well this White Mughal has perfected the Art of Milking Division. An art that the Brits employed on us with such aplomb. Here’s a nation splintered into a million divisions: Brahmins VERSUS the rest, OBCs vs Dalits, Hindus vs Muslims, Hindus vs Christians, “Good” Hindus vs “rabid” Hindutva guys, Urban Hindus vs Orthodox Hindus, etc. Dalrymple simply gave an annual platform to these voices which thrive and seek to perpetuate these divisions in whatever name: novel, poetry, drama, etc for whatever reason. BUTBtheres a red line which is Not to be Crossed: NO criticism of Islam. Which last year translated to the hypocrisy around Rushdie. Which simply means Literary Secularism.

But like I said, this year they’ve descended a step lower.

In a different, but related discussion named ‘Heaven on Earth: On Sharia Law’ Muslim writer and activist Asghar Ali Engineer spoke on how Sharia was a dynamic socio-cultural requirement. “I’m a strong defender and fighter of Sharia because it has got a lot of human elements in it that society urgently needs,” he said.

In other words: Sharia in literature.

A small but highly significant step in the project of establishing the Islamic Republic of India. William Dalrymple would be long dead when that actually happens but for now, he’s one of the bricks that history will record as being instrumental in building that republic.

21 comments for “Festival of the Political Sissies

  1. February 6, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Brillant piece again. When I started reading it I was faced with the strong words you used. Later on and with the conclusion, readers are totally satisfied. We have got what we expected.

    On the initial days of the festival, even I wondered how could this topic “God as a political philosopher: Dalit perspectives on Buddhism” be in literature festival and the discussions which followed between Akhtar and the other guy was totally avoidable. And here you are telling about other revealing things which we detest.

    It is time the organizers should think twice before making themselves laughing stock. Lit fest is not the pace to play caste and minority appeasement politics.

  2. amarshiam
    February 5, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    @Goda, cutting right to the heart of the matter! A single word yet so powerful it [appears to] sum up his entire word view. “Bigoted!” Love it! Change can happen though. As you’ve noted with Javed Akhtar. So would we have a long time to wait to read a piece by an un-bigoted Sandeep who writes perceptive pieces on human nature, questioning aspects which may cause bigotry, xenophobia, mistreatment of women, intolerance of people of other religions and views, nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, skin colours and so on? Is that a bit much to hope for?

  3. SB
    February 4, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    That was a cute comment, Goda.
    Have you analysed Akhtar’s media statements until recently ?
    He is a perfect pseudo sicko closet cultural Muslim. Let’s not fool ourselves.
    I

  4. Goda
    February 2, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    Once again Sandeep gives an excellent insight into his bigotry. He looks at name “Javed Akhtar” and goes “Hmm that is a muslim name. Ergo he is a muslim. Once a muslim always a muslim. So a muslim is talking ill of Hinduism. The horror of horrors!”. So the only possible thing this bigoted mind could say is that Javed Akhtar practices taqiyya. I mean who could have imagined in their wildest dreams that people change their minds over time! That wouldn’t do when you are a world class bigot. There are standards to be maintained here, dammit.

  5. thisisrubbish
    February 2, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Great article, Sandeep. Can you carry this on Niti Central as well?

  6. som
    February 1, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Asghar Ali Engineer spoke on how Sharia was a dynamic socio-cultural requirement. “I’m a strong defender and fighter of Sharia because it has got a lot of human elements in it that society urgently needs,” he said.
    Do we need psychoanalyst for Asghar Ali Engineer ???

  7. Amit
    January 31, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    amashiam, you sure have a penchant for jumping up on a soapbox without doing your homework, and even after confessing your weaknesses. Here’s something that will help you start from the beginning.

    literary
    1.pertaining to or of the nature of books and writings, especially those classed as literature: literary history.
    2.pertaining to authorship: literary style.
    3.versed in or acquainted with literature; well-read.
    4.engaged in or having the profession of literature or writing: a literary man.
    5.characterized by an excessive or affected display of learning; stilted; pedantic.

    Based on what I’ve read about the past two “festivals”, seems to me that the 5th definition is the best to describe it.

    BTW, how many of the participants have a body of literature, which common sense dictates, should be the criteria for participation?

  8. raj
    January 31, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    Given all the spineless/brainless navel gazing going on in Jaipur these days, two very apropos articles:

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2054380,00.html

    http://www.niticentral.com/2013/01/lets-have-a-really-politically-incorrect-debate.html

  9. Sid
    January 31, 2013 at 2:23 AM

    @amarshiam,

    Yes, they all are political sissies! Most of them have less to do with literature, more to do with their political views. For other’s benefit, let me show few of the more well-known names:
    1) Ashish Nandy. What literature did he write? When he went against Modi, media used to describe him as clinical psychologist. He has a degree in psychology. Now we hear that he is sociologist.
    2) Barkha Dutt. Seriously? Unless you count her journalism as career in fiction writing (which may be true)
    3) Binayak & Ilina Sen (for some reason, doctor is not mentioned)
    4) Diana Eck (Was it the benefit of services rendered regarding Dr. Swamy)
    5) Harsh Mander (oh, we know the dude)
    6) Hindol Sengupta (Really?)
    7) Jaideep Sahni (Claim to fame: wrote some screenplays for bollywood films…ahem … nautankis)
    8) Javed Akhtar (same as point 8)
    9) Kancha (What is his achievement in literary world, he can not even write a readable essay)
    10) Dalai Lama (Some author)
    11) Madhu Trehan (Journalist, boy oh boy, some achiever)
    12) Nandan Nilekani (Oh, yes, there is this thorny question of patronage)
    13) Rahul Dravid (What for?)
    14) Shabana Ajmi (see point 16)
    15) Sharmila Tegore (Two bollywood ex-heroines who refuse to give up limelight)
    16) Suhel Seth (Oh my!)
    17) Sujata Chatterjee ( a JNU lackey & a third-rate translator)
    18) Swapan Dasgupta (His literary credentials?)
    19) Tarun Das (Really?)
    20) Yasmin Premji (As I said, there is this thorny question of funds)

    I can go on. But what is the point? The title is right on target.

  10. CC
    January 29, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    Thanks Itachi for the kaipullai link… amazing stuff!!

  11. ItAcHi
    January 29, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    As an aside, check out this link …awesome stuff abt history.. http://kaipullai.com/2012/01/18/four-little-things-that-shaped-india/

  12. Anil
    January 28, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    i know what are the topics for next year

    “sharia – a boon for rapists ”
    “paid social media – mytho or reality?”
    “RSS – FATHER OF TALIBAN”
    “narka and pagalika gangrape by …..”

  13. Jooske
    January 27, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    “Festival” is not the right word for this crap.

    William Darlymple the wannabe Indian historian.

    Only can happen in India.

  14. January 27, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    It is a masquerade of the “finest intellectuals”, really!

  15. nash
    January 27, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    ramesh

    “There is something seriously rotten with Hindus.”

    It is my observation,this erosion of hindu ethos or rot setting in, is due to split of joint families.In a hindu joint family there was continuity of traditions thus implying many benefits.Sense of belonging is one of those benefits,Like may be any family in its distant or near past may have done some good to the locality,an affinity to the area it presided because of local temples and so on.These intangibles are fading away, causing despair and a lost bearing.
    If the above proposition is not acceptable than you have a better one.

  16. January 27, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    India has become the favorite playground for the post-modernists and extreme feminists whose time ran out in the Europe and west. It’s migration to greener pastures. India tolerated and still tolerates too much non-sense. Krishna sexually abused/molested Gopis? I don’t understand this madness.

  17. ramesh
    January 27, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Willie D is practically a Nobody in his own country, just a successful travel writer; and successful travel writers are a dime a dozen in the blessed isle of Great Britain. Hell, he is not even counted among the greats like Patrick Leigh Fremor, etc. Yet this shameless Islamist “limey” has somehow managed to emerge as some sort of literary arbitrator in the “glorious land of Bharat”, at least among the “sicular folks.” It’s only in this god-forsaken land that a parasite like this guy could flourish and be honored & feted. I guess that’s what’s called “Athithi devo bhava.” I cannot imagine this sort of a thing happening either in China or Japan much less in the UK or the USA; a bloody outsider pontificating on the history / religion / politics etc. of the “bloody natives.” There is something seriously rotten with Hindus. William Dalrymple has been & IS practically telling the Hindus in so many words: “hey, you have been screwed over the centuries, and guess what, you deserve it.”

  18. Grand Mariner
    January 27, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    This is a god given opportunity for hindus, muslims and dalit activists to get together and kick this festival out of the country. You seem to have missed another issue – prasoon joshi said that Krishna was the first eve teaser and that he set the ball rolling by sexually harassing the gopis. first vivekananda’s erect posture inspiring rapists, now this.. the mind boggles.

  19. SP
    January 27, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    My view is that all Psuedo-Sickularists are paid heavily by middle east money from KSA, Iran, Kuwait, UAE through ISI and The Indian National Congress. ISI sends money to banned and not o banned Muslim organisations while Congis openly fund NDTV, IBN-CNN, ToI, HT, IE, The Hindu and most of the “Bar Fridge” elite MSM presenters. AG, BD, RS, SG, KT, RK and another 20 jokers we see everyday on 24×7 TV are real beneficiaries, in addition to owners of these groups. Charge 5 crores for NaMo bashing, 1 crore for Gadkari, 10 crores for highlighting divisions within BJP and 20 crores to show what a terrorist organisation RSS is. On the contrary not to talk about Toofani act of Singvi, promote Digvijay Singh’s ranting, glorifyimg Psuedo-Gandhis, not reporting rape cases where Muslim Politicians are involved etc. are not charged. These guys are hell bent on destroying great Sanatana Dharma, a tree full of true secular thoughts, which has developed over thousand of years in a peaceful manner, with contribution from millions of saints, thinkers, philosophers. Still great Epics Ramayana and Mahabharata guide our daily actions. What a pity, that for a few dollars our MSM has become Whores!

  20. amarshiam
    January 27, 2013 at 2:26 AM

    There is always a problem with sweeping generalizations such as in this case “Festival of the Political Sissies”.

    Does it take only two “exhibits” to illustrate the point? What about all of these other attending speakers? http://bit.ly/Vnu0pL

    Are they all “political sissies”? Nothing any of them has to say is of any value? How do you know?

    We must be very wise. Very sure of ourselves. We do not need to read. We certainly wouldn’t want to read anything even remotely critical of our culture, beliefs and traditions. We do not need to exchange ideas and talk to anyone. We are happy on our little island. We don’t have the strength to look inward and ask the hard questions. And now we don’t even have the strength to look outward and speak to people with ideas differing from our own! What a pitiful existence ours is.

    As far as Sharia law is concerned you conveniently forgot to mention that:

    “His idea was opposed by the noted journalist Mary Harper who said that scores of people were being amputated, mutilated and stoned by groups who’ve adopted Sharia as their identity.”.

    http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/jaipur-lit-fest-spat-between-javed-akhtar-kancha-ilaiah/1/247633.html

    These are speakers with different ideas. Saying they’re all political sissies or dismissing the entire festival because you don’t like two of them just does not make any sense to me.

    What you can be sure of is they’ll definitely give you something to think about. But perhaps we don’t want to think and are happy where we are?

    I absolutely agree on your sentiment regarding Salman Rushdie though. They should never have backed down on that.

  21. January 26, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    They should the change the name of the “festival”. It’s all a bad joke

    -Vasu-

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