I attended a couple of sessions in a forum for public discourse. I was intrigued by the tagline of the organization that organized them. “The place for INTELLIGENT CONVERSATIONS”.
Does it mean that what the other people discuss/speak is not intelligent? Who certified that whatever gets spoken at their place is intelligent? Does it imply that one has to be associated with them to get the approval/seal of being an intellectual?
Welcome to the world of Indian Liberals, The Public Intellectuals. Seeing and listening to them (Harsh Mander and Anand Teltumbde) from close quarters for a couple of hours led me to identify 5 characteristics of this breed.
Indian Liberals will say that the Idea of India in under threat/attack
Now, what is this – Idea of India? Who defined it? What does it mean? Has it been agreed upon by anyone? Without elaborating and any explanation, Indian Liberals love to proclaim that the Idea of India is under threat/attack.
Indian Liberals take it upon themselves to be a saviour of the Idea of India. I have heard common people talk about issues that affect this country, but never will it occur to them to mouth the sentence that the Idea of India is under threat/attack.
It is the sole domain of the Indian Liberals and Intellectuals to grieve over the Idea of India, whatever that means.
Indian Liberals have only one problem
This breed of public intellectuals cannot see beyond the communal right wing fascists. Each and everything that is wrong with their Idea of India is limited to only Hindutva hardliners. These people will not see corruption, poor governance, lack of opportunities for the masses as a problem area.
Why, they will not even say that politics of Mamata Banerjee, the Yadav clan, the minority appeasement without any resultant benefits is an issue at all. They actually dovetail with them as if they are long lost twins.
In short, the Indian Liberals can see only one-way. These people are utterly one-sided, utterly. Nothing right with the Hindus, everything right with everyone else.
Indian Liberals speak to the wrong audience
How do you drive change, be a change-maker? By engaging with people who require change. No, this is not what the Indian Liberals will do. They speak to their own selves and people who are similar to them. They will not connect with the masses that they want to preach, not that they want to hear.
Indian Liberals find a greater audience outside the country than what they find in India. This speaks volume of what they stand for. Regardless, they march on about the singular problem affecting their Idea of India in the English press worldwide.
The difference between their words and deeds
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change, you wish to see in the world”. Indian Politicians, of course, do not follow this, which is expected of them. Even, public intellectuals do not pay any heed to this.
The Indian Liberals live a privileged and affluent life in their bungalows, only to come out for optics and the so-called public discourse among their own brethren. They talk about social justice and call themselves allies of the oppressed. However, they will not support their so-called victims, who are actually victims in many of the cases, in any meaningful manner. They will not even stay/speak with them, more than once, the primary mode of extending support.
There is a glaring hypocrisy in what the Indian Liberals practice and preach.
A 5-star lifestyle
This is personal envy, as well. Meaning, how do these public intellectuals live a lifestyle which is beyond the means, of say, the majority of the hard-working Indians. They wear designer clothes, dine in fine restaurants, travel by flights, have posh cars, their children go to the world’s best educational facilities; how do they manage it?
The rabble-rousers do not get paid well. These people also do more or less the same thing, incite hatred by other names. Who pays them?
Better not raise these questions. Else they will make statements that this is a devious ploy to muzzle the voice of democracy in this country.
We do need diversity in opinion and measured debate, but that is not what the Indian Liberals profess. It is just another tribe aimed only at self-perpetuation and not letting any other voice, deviating from theirs, be heard. After all, they are self-classified intellectuals.
Three cheers for the Indian Liberals. Indians Win, India Lose.