The most important thing before we begin is to call things by their proper name. One, our clever-by-half media and secularati have twisted the retraction of Wharton School India Economic Forum’s invitation to Narendra Modi as a “snub.” Two, it was Wharton that had invited Modi. Modi hadn’t sought it out.
Two pithy and succinct commentaries nicely sum up this shameful incident. The first is a tweet by Rajiv Malhotra: “Wharton snub of Modi is meddling in Indian democracy. Like Oxford training East India Co. officers. Except now Indian sepoys are professors.” The second is a blog post by Pamela Geller:
American stalwart institutions giving up our most basic freedom to Islamic supremacists, goons and thugs….The loss of our most basic freedoms without firing a shot is stunning.
Wharton’s fault is not so much as cancelling Modi’s invitation but cancelling it in the face of bullying tactics by a handful of fascist bigots that includes both professors and students. With this, Wharton has accomplished two things together: it has demonstrated that it’s no longer a stalwart institution, and it has violated the spirit of the American First Amendment.
Rajiv Malhotra’s point is closer home, and a deeper examination of the folks and forces who orchestrated the invitation-revocation reveals disturbing things.
The first point is that the Government of India is a sponsor to this event. As we note, the Government hasn’t uttered a single word of condemnation against the band of bigots who got Modi’s invitation revoked. As a Constitutionally-elected (thrice) Chief Minister, it becomes the Government’s responsibility to refuse to kowtow to this ragtag group of muckrakers. Whatever the ruling party’s politics at home, it should realize a basic fact when abroad: it needs to strongly condemn people of other countries who try to dictate who gets invited or whose invite gets cancelled. And when such a thing occurs, it needs to unilaterally withdraw from the event on moral grounds. As we see, it hasn’t done so. Why? The simple answer: the current dispensation doesn’t mind being held hostage to a group of virulent Narendra Modi-haters even if it means India’s image abroad takes a beating.
The longer answer lies precisely in the composition and agenda of these Professor-Sepoys. But first, here’s the Facebook group that lists more than 900 people who wanted—and got—the cancellation of Modi’s invitation. What also unites these folks is the fact a whole lot of them supported mercy petitions for the Indian Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru, and the Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab who mowed down innocent Indians in cold blood on 26/11/2008 in Mumbai.
But when we distill this group to get to the key players who assiduously worked towards and pulled off this shameful deed, we get the following key names:
- Ania Loomba and Suvir Kaul—Professors of English at University of Pennsylvania, they were two of the three professors who kickstarted this free-speech-violating petition.
- Toorjo Ghosh—Assistant Professor of English, the third kickstarter. Here’s how he gloats about the cancellation: “It is the result of the pressure that we were able to bring over the organisers… in the last two days. I am very very proud of Wharton as well as the Penn University.” In other words, he’s proud that Wharton and Penn acquiescence in choking free speech and democracy.
- Shabnam Hashmi—No surprises here. Owner of the highly communal NGO named ANHAD, she’s been one of the key players in the Gujarat Riots Cottage Industry, and continues to be highly active in demonizing Narendra Modi.
- TV18—A sponsor of the IEF. This is the same group that owns the news channel CNN-IBN, headed by Rajdeep Sardesai, a known Modi-baiter. He was also caught with his pants down in that shameful Cash for Votes scandal of 2008.
- Adani Group—Another sponsor, which withdrew after Modi’s invite was cancelled.
Indeed, the name of that Facebook group is very telling of the attitude of these academic fascists and the students and others who supported them: Ban Narendra Modi From Speaking At Wharton. A terminology typically representative of the free-speech-hating Left. Nobody is denying them their right to criticize Modi, yet what is their first response when they hear that Modi is invited to speak at Wharton? BAN him, muzzle free speech, and murder democracy. However, something else also becomes clear when we look at a partial list of participants at the IEF:
- Montek Ahluwalia
- Dilip Cherian
- Milind Deora
- Javed Akhtar and his wife, Shabana Azmi
- Rajeev Masand
- Samir Mitra
- Suresh Prabhu (who dropped out after news of Modi)
All of these except Suresh Prabhu are in one way or the other related either to the ruling Congress party or supportive of its brand of twisted secularism. But it doesn’t end there. Here’s what the note sent out by the IEF Organizing team says:
our goal as a team is to provide a neutral platform to encourage cross pollination of ideas as we all work towards contributing to India’s success…We do not endorse any political views and do not support any specific ideology.
I suppose the neutral and “not endors(ing) any political views” part doesn’t apply to Union Minister Milind Deora.
The strident opposition to Narendra Modi stems from two reasons. The first is the obvious desire to push a Leftist agenda that thrives on India-baiting. The second is the string of successes that Narendra Modi has recently achieved beginning with his third consecutive, thumping electoral victory and his massive show-stealer at the BJP National Council in Delhi yesterday. These have decisively set the stage for a larger role in national politics. Except a few motivated folks, nobody has really been able to dispute his stupendous Gujarat Development Story that has consistently delivered quality governance and economic development. This precisely is the fear of the fascist professors and other fellow travellers: a scenario in which Narendra Modi had spoken at Wharton. There’s little doubt that he’d be the undisputed giant in that assemblage of the aforementioned pygmies who simply cannot think beyond spurious secularism and socialist platitudes. Indeed, that cancellation note explicitly records all these achievements of Modi.
Equally, the fact that the fascist pressure group was led by Left academics is also consistent with their decade-long record of Modi-baiting. It’s both symbolic and symptomatic of the rot that pervades almost all humanities departments in universities worldwide. These Left-infiltrated universities actively discourage critical thinking by substituting reason with theory and rhetoric. Be it the Jaipur Literary Festival or the current disgrace at Wharton, we see the same or familiar faces. What business does Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi have in a Business School? And why were they even invited? Which exposes—yet again—another facet common to events where the Left is involved: preying on taxpayer money.
But what’s clear is this: Wharton and indeed, UPenn itself has scored a massive self-goal by giving in to these Left Professors’ bullying tactics. A goldmine of a sponsor like Adani has pulled out. The former Union Minister, Suresh Prabhu has pulled out. And they haven’t taken this lightly. The social media world began to slam Wharton almost as soon as news of the invite cancellation was reported, and the slamming torrent hasn’t abated. More importantly, Narendra Modi doesn’t need Wharton.
We end this with a self-explanatory and highly revealing snippet:
Curiously enough, not a single professor from the Wharton School, one of the most prestigious business schools of the US, which is part of the University of Pennsylvania, was a signatory to this letter.