Over the last few years, even before the 2014 elections, Shekhar Gupta has been digging himself into a hole. Every time one thought he had reached the bottom, one finds that he has not quite stopped digging. An article ‘Hamara desh badal gaya hai’ (Our nation has changed) is the latest attempt on his part. In the whole article, Gupta has deliberately tried to palm off the responsibility for the present state of affairs on the political class.
Had Gupta been vigilant in the past, and the knowledge that he is today trying to display was put forward earlier, perhaps the political class would not have merrily gone on its destructive programme. The existence of minority appeasement to garner votes was dismissed on the ground that the social and economic status of the minorities is still abysmal. The politicians felt that those occupying the intellectual space were authenticating their programme as a legitimate way to win elections.
But then, he would have to admit that he, and others who pretend to be analysts, really have no clue what is happening in society. So, let me discuss some of the points in the article.
Gupta: “The media is mostly and happily down on its knees, cheering from the sidelines, afraid to even ask a question…..”
Can he define what exactly is ‘mostly’? I presume he thinks he is not part of the group. But then what about Vir Sanghvi, Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Bhupendra Chaubey, Pallavi Ghose, Siddharth Vardarajan, Nidhi Razdan, M K Venu, Sonia Singh, etc.? Let him list out those who are happily down on their knees from the same section, and then we can have an informed discussion.
Then, what about ‘analysts’ like Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Swaminathan Aiyar, etc.? Their writings clearly show that they are not down on their knees, happily or otherwise. Various media outlets, print and electronic, give lots of space to such people. It is fair to assume that the media barons are on the same page as the journalists they employ and the ‘analysts’ they provide space to.
Gupta himself has started a new venture called The Print. He also has two programmes on NDTV called Walk the Talk and Off the Cuff. He has used these platform to demonise Modi and the government. And he has been able to raise large sums of financial support from the business elite in Bharat – the very business elite that he often says is easily manipulated to keep quiet about the supposed misdeeds of Modi and the government.
I know the names I have mentioned are those who write in English. The regional languages convey a different Bharat, and if a reader reads both at the same time, it cannot be blamed if he thinks that the report is about two different countries. Nirmal Verma, a renowned Hindi writer, at two different times, said:
A writer writing in English has a cynical and critical outlook towards the paradoxes of life. On the other hand, the regional writers have deep empathy with the apparent incongruity in Bharatiya life.
– Quoted in Indian Express, May 24, 1998.
We have to decolonise our imagination. We can engage creatively with the West, exercise moral choice only when we are deeply rooted in and familiar with our own culture.
– In the Outlook. Quoted in Communalism Combat, April 2000.
Perhaps this why Anand Ranganathan tweeted:
Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) tweeted at 6:11 PM on Wed, Jul 26, 2017:
Follow Hindi media EVERYDAY to get the true picture of India. DO IT. There is NO other way to demolish this vile English media propaganda.
In the end, it seems that unless there is a cleansing (in a metaphorical sense) of much of the Old Elite (also called Nehruvian Elite and Delhi Darbaris) from the portals of Luteyns’ Delhi, sanity in discussion will just not happen.
Gupta: “It is tough to convince Indian millennials – an overwhelming majority of our voters now – of the virtues of secularism when every standard-bearer of the idea is a corrupt and controversial dynast.”
Gupta not only has a very poor opinion of the people of Bharat, but is actually insulting them. If he thinks that it is even remotely easy to convince Bharatiya millennials about the virtues of secularism when ‘every standard-bearer of the idea is a corrupt and controversial dynast’ he has deep contempt for these millennials. In fact, it is exactly this behaviour of the ‘standard-bearers’ that has turned the millennials against the perverted secularism that has been practiced in Bharat. Gupta has rarely, if ever, pointed out to these ‘standard-bearers’ that what they say is secularism is indeed perverted. Again, I think it is safe to say that he has authenticated (even assuming in a covert manner) the perverted secularism. And every other person amongst his class has done the same.
Gupta: “Or, your concept of pro-poor governance when all you managed to deliver were leaky, populist, vote-catching yojanas mostly named after your own ancestors.”
Did Gupta come to realise this only now? Given the fact that he has rarely spoken against it in the past – at least not in the sustained manner in which he is today demonising the present government – it would seem so. In a moment of sanity, one of the standard-bearer of the perverted secularism, Rajiv Gandhi, had said, when he was the prime minister, that only 15 paisa of every Rupee spent by the government actually reaches the beneficiaries.
Gupta: “Want still more evidence of his approach: (Modi) hasn’t even fired the one man who has brought his government more embarrassment and ridicule than any dozen others: CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani.”
I really wonder how many people outside the circle of the Old Elite in Lutyens’ Delhi would know about Nihalani. If Gupta can find such a person to have caused deep embarrassment to the Modi government, then he is surely living in another planet. And he has deliberately closed his mind to the way the world thinks about Bharat today, and that the popularity of Modi within Bharat is still in the 70% range, the same that he started with when he became the Prime Minister.
The people of Bharat have seen his energy, and have seen how he has made so many thousands in the government (the ministers and the bureaucrats) start to deliver what has been promised to the people. The only ones who are affected is the Old Elite, who are seeing that their parasitical privileges have been eroded, and they are not getting the same sense of awe and reverence which they think is their right merely because they are members of a famous clan.
Gupta: “In my first comment on the 2014 election results I had said that the new Indian voter had a post-ideological, I-don’t-owe-you-nothing and what’s-in-it-for me mindset.”
Again, Gupta shows his deep contempt for the people of Bharat, this time for the youth. He thinks that they are seeking entitlements from the state, and want to give nothing in return. In fact it is people like Gupta that have demanded the entitlements, and given back nothing. Hence, economist Surjit Bhalla recently wrote:
“But the old elite — politicians, corporates, left-intellectuals, academics — cannot be expected to give up their privileges so easily. They will try to derail the transformation and object at every turn: If that means fake analysis, they will do so. If that means intellectual gymnastics, they will do so. The key point is that they must do so….Will the old elite use all its instruments, and cash in all the old I-owe-you(s) in order to influence the debate, even with fake news and even flakier analysis, if need be? You bet.”
These old elite think that there is some god-given right of Sitaram Yechury that he deserves a third term in the Rajya Sabha. And the only thing they can point out as far as his qualification is concerned is that he is a good debater, which, in any case, is very highly disputable. It does not matter to them that Yechury represents a failed ideology, one in whose name more than 100 million people were killed by their own leaders in the last century, and that the people of Bharat have comprehensively rejected Yechury’s political party, which is able to maintain its national status only by getting some of the Old Elite who still control the bureaucracy to significantly dilute the rules twice in the last twenty years.
Gupta: “So a large majority now see a justification for what they always believed, but were constrained from speaking out because of old-generation morality, political correctness or hypocrisies.”
I wonder if Gupta has stopped to think immediately after he wrote this sentence. What he is saying is that the beliefs of the large majority are absolutely without merit, and that this large majority should really blindly follow what Gupta and others say. They should not have a mind of their own. Gupta is shooting the messenger and does not wish to deal with the message because he knows that he was propagating a perverted narrative which was in sync with certain politician’s programme for elections.
This large majority has been silenced all these years by the likes of Gupta who were controlling the gates of information being published. They were successful until internet came along, and the large majority found that they could by-pass the gates, and go to the people directly. And when this happened the members of the large majority found that they were not a minority of one, but indeed the large majority. At the time, there were some who reluctantly observed that the large majority has a voice. Thus, Rajdeep Sardesai tweets, some three years before the last Lok Sabha elections thus:
If twitter was the electorate, Modi would stand a fair chance of being PM.
14 Sep 2011
Gupta rightly feels threatened today. He knows he can fool the business elite but not the large majority. He also knows that time will come when the business elite will realize that hey have been taken for a royal ride. And, so he will fight back the only way he knows how – the way that Bhalla has narrated.
The title of his article is: “Hamara desh badal gaya hai”. He implies that in the period prior to May 2014, Bharat was a land of milk and honey, and that over the last three years the country has gone to the dogs. What he is really saying is that the majority of the people of Bharat are on some sort of suicide mission. Only a deluded mind will think thus. For the aspirational class which is saying ‘hamara desh badal raha hai’ see a nation that will soon live up to its full potential.
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