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Friday, October 11, 2013

PERMANENT CUSSEDNESS - An old-fashioned battle for loaves and fishes

By Swapan Dasgupta

Readers of Agatha Christie’s Man in a Brown Suit will no doubt be familiar with the popular mortification of any political force that was perceived to be Communist. This Red fear persisted during the 1950s and early-1960s when the disavowal of fascism was replaced by the fear of the global designs of international Communism controlled by sinister men in Moscow.

The degree to which the tables have been upturned in the world that came into existence in the aftermath of the anti-Vietnam war protests is remarkable. With the passing away of the age of deference, the intellectual consensus has shifted quite dramatically to the Left. While there may still be American segregationists and doddering British colonels in the Shires who persist with labelling everything they dislike as ‘Communist’, in the more beautiful world of the arts, academia and media, the curling of the lips and the inevitable sneer is reserved for the “Right wing”. It is not merely that the “right” is considered to be authoritarian, anti-democratic and defenders of inequality and privilege, the crucial distinction between democratic conservatism and fascism is often conveniently obliterated.

The number of governments with a self-perception of being socialist may be insignificant: the prefix ‘liberal’ is more often than not favoured by those who try to maintain an intellectual distance from market economics. Yet, throughout much of the democratic world, not least the Anglosphere, the intellectual discourse is dominated by the same types who boisterously celebrated the death of Margaret Thatcher and who seek to exclude Israel from the civilised world. The cocktail of incomprehensible post-modernism, radical feminism, alternative sexuality and state-funded welfarism has proved both heady and addictive. It has contributed immeasurably in edging out traditional values and common decencies from the centre of the frame.

The ability of the ‘liberal’ fringe to punch above its weight is worthy of some respect. President Ronald Reagan, it hardly bears retelling, was one of the most popular and iconic American Presidents of the 20th century. The man who nudged an already crumbling ‘evil empire’ to its final doom, he, along with Thatcher in Britain, was the architect of radical conservatism—a force that reshaped ‘right wing’ politics and made it eminently electable. A formidable communicator who rekindled American pride and extricated the country from its post-Vietnam depression, Reagan will be richly honoured by posterity. What is striking, however, that throughout the most creative phases of his political career, he was relentlessly targeted by a smug, Liberal establishment. For those who care to remember, the admirers of Chairman Mao, Che Guevara and Noam Chomsky quite successfully caricatured Reagan as either something straight out of a Hollywood B-movie or a polarising figure. This depiction may not have cut ice with American voters but it did blot out Reagan’s legacy from succeeding generations of liberal arts graduates throughout the world.

Indeed, the temptation to view mainstream, non-doctrinaire politicians as inherently stupid has proved irresistible. The Conservative Party in Britain was invariably tagged as the ‘stupid party’ by a generation that pretended it would not fight for King and country. Figures such as Stanley Baldwin in Britain and Sir Robert Menzies in Australia were dull symbols of reassurance to their countrymen, but to the ‘progressive’ intellectuals they were stuffed shirts, unable to see beyond their own limited experience.

Menzies, in fact, is an interesting figure whose political career coincided with that of a flashy leader—Jawaharlal Nehru. The Australian was primarily responsible for shaping an Australian identity which, while linked to the values of the ‘mother country’, was also markedly different. In what has subsequently been described as the “The Forgotten People” speech of 1942, Menzies suggested that “the real life of the nation” was to “be found in the homes of people who are nameless and unadvertised, and who…see in their children their greatest contribution to the immortality of their race.”

Reading the speech seven decades later, may indeed prompt a great yawn and unfavourable comparisons with the dashing style of India’s first Prime Minister. Nehruvians would, in fact, be absolutely horrified by the sheer gumption of putting the romantic socialist who spoke with as much passion on Egypt and Indonesia, as he did on Five Year Plans, besides a stodgy, non-cosmopolitan figure from the old Dominions. Yet, assessed in terms of their respective legacies, Menzies does not come out in an unflattering light. The unglamorous Australian laid the foundations of his country’s subsequent prosperity whereas Nehru’s was a case of lofty ideals, poor delivery and umpteen missed opportunities. Nehru, like many of his Third World contemporaries, imagined he was swimming with the tide of history and dismantling an old world centred on domination and iniquity. Menzies, on the other hand, was clearly on the side of a declining Empire and a brash America. But, unfortunately for Nehru, the flow of history didn’t turn out the way he imagined. Somewhere along the way, people tired of experiments and the new regimentation and fell back on time-tested themes: the nation, the community and the family. By the turn of the new century, Nehru was perceived as the founder of a political dynasty blessed with a fierce sense of entitlement while the less-remembered Menzies has earned a modest place in history as the man who forged the central pillar on which modern Australia rests.

The purpose of this comparison isn’t aimed at belittling Nehru or invoking a man who is barely commemorated in Australia today. If anything, the study of two very different leaders should induce a note of caution about both following political fashions blindly and accepting the judgments of ‘progressive’ and liberal intellectuals as gospel. In the passionate political debates that have gripped India since the 1980s, India’s ‘tenured’ intellectuals in academia have been forthright in their denunciation of ‘vulgar’ market forces and have barely concealed their aesthetic misgivings of a middle class that makes up with brashness what it lacks in polish. In recent months, this repudiation of what is quaintly called neo-liberal economics has been combined with a visceral targeting of the reinvented symbols of traditional—and particularly Hindu—culture. Like their preference for subtitled black and white movies and the austerities of the shortage economy that was conceived by all of India’s most brilliant economists, India’s beleaguered ‘progressives’ are in a state of permanent cussedness.

In recent months, they appear to have a new mission in opposing the swelling ranks of the belligerent Narendra Modi army. Reduced to bare essentials and shorn of rhetorical flourishes, the opposition is based on a twin set of fears. The first is the all-important fear of exclusion from an unfamiliar dispensation. The Congress took exceptional care to accommodate ‘progressive’ and ‘secular’ intellectuals in bodies that disseminated a quasi-official state ideology. A regime change promises potential relegation to the fringes.

Secondly, the assault on the Nehruvian consensus held together by dynasty and cronyism, also threatens a significant shift in power equations from the regulators to the generators of wealth. The possible shift of the state from being the controller of people’s lives to becoming a facilitator of impulses generated by communities and society has the potential of breaking the mould of intellectualism in India. In Britain, Thatcher destroyed the clout of a trade union that had become an extra-constitutional veto on successive governments. On his part, Reagan undermined the east coast liberals by nurturing a counter-establishment that has created alternative institutions and, in effect, made the policy establishment more diverse. Both sets of changes were fiercely resisted and debunked with the same colourful phrases that are being mouthed in India.

Underneath the indignant intellectualism is actually an old fashioned battle for loaves and fishes. 

The Telegraph, October 11, 2013


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

As you had remarked in your earlier piece about the fear of the 'outsider'; this beautiful essay too is an extension of the same significant theme.

Yes we want change. This moribund governance is choking the lifeblood out of us! It would be better still if moditva is able to evolve an intellectual ecosystem which could strangle the liberal pseudointellectuals and their self-seeking propaganda for 'loaves of entitlemnent'.

You have put these propagandists in their place each time, every time! Sir, I salute you.

Vinay Khaitan said...

Dear SwapanJi,

You have stated the obvious. However, the clarity and effectiveness of your english language writing is simply enthralling. Very few article writers has this capability of pouring such a great force in stating what is being understood by most on the right side of political spectrum.
Many Thanks,
Vinay

Anonymous said...

More than black & white movies & shortage economy, it seems like a hark back to childhoods spent in large bungalows in cantonments, civil services residential colonies, endless retinue of servants, fathers car with a red beacon, gymkhanas, VIP passes to govt. events, official telephone, gauranteed seats in prime colleges (ahem), scholarships to study abroad (ahem), gauranteed jobs in govt, the deference/servitude shown by ordinary folk to sons/daughters of civil service officers, the ability to get things done by speaking to father/uncle/aunt, the may queen ball, free movies tickets - home delivered, evening at-homes attended by important people who dont have much money but speak in a Brit acccent, & finally the ability to turn your nose up at the local merchant (ahem) who couldn't speak in English (the guy has way too much money now). I left out the part about the suitcases full of cash, because that might still be possible.

Manas Kumar Bera said...

Dear Swapanda, This is a beautiful piece of article which clearly brings the strangle hold of the Neo Liberals (Left of Centre) over the policies in India, to the fore. This strangle hold is destroying the entire countries future and already damaged the prospects and strengths of last 66 years.I fully consent there should be an alternative thought group of conservatism (Right of Centre). Actually it is the conservatism which lay the base for growth and developed future for the Nation. We should not get confused with words "Right Wing" with "Fascism" and become fearful to it.

Anonymous said...

Nehru destroyed the 'Idea of India'. Check Gadar Map of 'United Dtates of India'

Anonymous said...

Tragedy of "popular" democracy is that eminent "intellectuals" plans how businesses should be run who themselves can NOT even run a "Paan" shop.

These "intellectuals" say that someone is poor because rich made them poor. It is like the majority is "stupid" because they(intellectuals) made them so.

Very simple logic. Someone is successful because he made everyone un-successful.

VIKRAM SINGH said...

wish we had a few more Swapans and Tavleens...congress,over the years, promoted mediocrity in India so that people are unable to see through the smokescreen of lies and myths created by the nexus of mainstream media and congress. I am afraid that India is at such a critical juncture that people like Swapan, Tavleen and Minhaaz have to do even more than writing, although such excellent articles help open up a few eyes.

VIKRAM SINGH said...

wish we had a few more Swapans and Tavleens...congress,over the years, promoted mediocrity in India so that people are unable to see through the smokescreen of lies and myths created by the nexus of mainstream media and congress. I am afraid that India is at such a critical juncture that people like Swapan, Tavleen and Minhaaz have to do even more than writing, although such excellent articles help open up a few eyes.

Anonymous said...

When you talk about 'alternative sexuality', are you saying that gays/lesbians are degrading 'common decencies'?

Please reply.

Anonymous said...

To the ridiculous question posted above by Anonymous@10:54PM Oct 11
" When you talk about....common decencies...".


Ostensibly the yuppies with the support of arguments of some self styled doctors talk big about " sexual orientations of certain people blah blah " thus masking the shocking ground realities.

Lots & lots of such gruesome incidents have been taking place in merabharatmahanindia that mainstream media does not report.

I am citing one such case that happened a couple of days ago in Tamil Nadu.

A boy studying in Std VI did not return home & the parents with the help of police found their son's dead body floating in some dirty cesspool. On investigations found out a senior boy studying in the same school had FORCED himself on him (sodomy). The victim ran threatening to report to school principal. Hence the senior student killed him disposing of his body thus.

In all such cases NGOs & human rights activists lunge forward defending the perpetrators of such crimes. Nobody bothers about the victims. Most often if the criminal's religion is christianity ( or ISLAM) & the victim is a HINDU the criminals go scot free.

Recall what happened at Chidambaram Annamalai University where one such CHRISTIAN criminal was "acquitted" & "hugged by one influential christian clergy in cassock in the courtroom" itself.
Later it was reported that CRIMINAL student has become some teacher / headmaster / bishop / padre blah blah.

In a normal traditional Hindu family before the pernicious influence of convents & hostels came yanking away the young children from their protective safe environments such sodomy , sexual abuses , rapes were aberrations. Not routine commonplace occurrences. Homeschooling was also the norm.
Children were not thrown out asking to fend for themselves like they do in the West & which is being copied in India also.

A strong family ensured ENSURES SECURITY.

Spare me statistics.

Dumping infants in creches , throwing parents in old age homes,
forcing womenfolk to step out & work in offices to bring extra income , outsourcing of cooking to household management to maids - these were all UNHEARD of then.

HINDUS' VEDIC Dharmam never advocates the above mentioned western imports.

Anonymous said...

To the ridiculous question posted above by Anonymous@10:54PM Oct 11
" When you talk about....common decencies...".


Ostensibly the yuppies with the support of arguments of some self styled doctors talk big about " sexual orientations of certain people blah blah " thus masking the shocking ground realities.

Lots & lots of such gruesome incidents have been taking place in merabharatmahanindia that mainstream media does not report.

I am citing one such case that happened a couple of days ago in Tamil Nadu.

A boy studying in Std VI did not return home & the parents with the help of police found their son's dead body floating in some dirty cesspool. On investigations found out a senior boy studying in the same school had FORCED himself on him (sodomy). The victim ran threatening to report to school principal. Hence the senior student killed him disposing of his body thus.

In all such cases NGOs & human rights activists lunge forward defending the perpetrators of such crimes. Nobody bothers about the victims. Most often if the criminal's religion is christianity ( or ISLAM) & the victim is a HINDU the criminals go scot free.

Recall what happened at Chidambaram Annamalai University where one such CHRISTIAN criminal was "acquitted" & "hugged by one influential christian clergy in cassock in the courtroom" itself.
Later it was reported that CRIMINAL student has become some teacher / headmaster / bishop / padre blah blah.

In a normal traditional Hindu family before the pernicious influence of convents & hostels came yanking away the young children from their protective safe environments such sodomy , sexual abuses , rapes were aberrations. Not routine commonplace occurrences. Homeschooling was also the norm.
Children were not thrown out asking to fend for themselves like they do in the West & which is being copied in India also.

A strong family ensured ENSURES SECURITY.

Spare me statistics.

Dumping infants in creches , throwing parents in old age homes,
forcing womenfolk to step out & work in offices to bring extra income , outsourcing of cooking to household management to maids - these were all UNHEARD of then.

HINDUS' VEDIC Dharmam never advocates the above mentioned western imports.

Anonymous said...

Books written on Indian History present a heavily distorted picture.

That we the Hindus were "uncivilized, pagans , worshipping different Gods , backward blah blah & that muslim marauders brought cardamom saffron flavoured cuisine, arts , qawwali , equality followed by East India Company who taught us civilization , bringing vaccines eradicating diseases , building the railways , teaching us democraceeeee blah blah".

One of their mendacious fabrications being child marriages & women's pathetic plight -all of which were remedied eradicated by the "civilized maaadern Englishman".

Go & read the entire works of Kaanchi Paramacharyar before ponding away some tripe picked up from barkha dutts & vikram chandras.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article swapan, I wait for every sunday to read your article in TOI, I wonder why it did not appear in Sun Oct 13th TOI.

Anonymous said...

Amazing article Swapan da, why did it not appear in today's TOI?

Anonymous said...

This writer is confusing religious fundamentalism (of BJP/VHP/Modi) in India with the equivalent of political conservatism in US and Britain (which the writer for some reason clubs under 'right wing'). The two are in no way comparable. Modi is in the Morsy club; leave Thatcher and Reagan alone.

Jitendra Desai said...

Cussedness also could be the result of being bypassed by the youth brigades,congregating at those rallies.Being a snob is also being frustrated with the way things are going.They have realised that [a] Congress will not win [b] 3rd or 4th front will not materialise [c] NDA/BJP/Modi will have adequate numbers to be least concerned of the concerns of the liberals.Expect exponential growth in NGO industry,post 2014.

Nitin Nimkar said...

Dear Swapanda,
I am enthralled with your knowledge and understanding of world Politics, clarity of thoughts and your eloquent English. This left center ecology is so entrenched in Indian psychology that all our popular culture like, Songs, Dramas, Novels popular writing everything is always center left. We need to create a new ecosystem, institutions that can challenge this. I know this is an uphill task, but it should be done for well being of India.

Anonymous said...

I was ALARMED on hearing none other than RSS.S.Gurumurthy telling:-

" Indian muslims are (sic)Hindus ".

How could the erudite S.Gurumurthy make such a ludicrous statement. When he OUGHT to know they slaughter cows & are INIMICAL in lot more ways to us HINDUS than openly acknowledged.

This masochistic mindset is exactly like that of wimpy Yudhishtrar who was hell bent on enduring & condoning Kauravas.

Calling them "brothers..our own kith & kin".

Hindus are paying the bloodiest price for being such suckers.India is the WORST visionless entity that its ex-President joined hands with Yasser Arafat of PLO. As a doddering senile old man I saw him pottering around one Ashram discussing "how to save hinduism".

By deporting them to Saudi Arabia , Libya , Iraq etc along with their OXYGEN suppliers called Congress , DMK , Leftists etc of India our population would be lightened.

We HINDUS should get smarter welcoming Benjamin Netanyahus , Moshe Dayans,
Ariel Sharons , Henry Kissingers & Richard Nixons.

CHINA can help us considerably in this regard.

Not Indian Army saluting congress TERRORISTS. Who only "register some protest at some embassy summoning some diplomat after facing cross border firing & losing scores of HINDU Soldiers".

Anonymous said...

When Angela Merkel won there was this German Lady who said something very very IMPORTANT & ORIGINAL.

I wish useless madhu trehans & tavleen singhs perennially pining for uplifting & coexisting with SAVAGES called muslims ( i went to deoband...they have their heads covered...educate & uplift YAWNS inducing drivel) learn from such PLUCKY GERMANS how to THINK in the first place.

She said " Generally people talk about a glass being half full or half empty calling it optimism versus pessimism..whereas we GERMANS when we look at such a fine glass German made , wish for the same glass to remain tomorrow & several years to come & eventually should they chip or break could they be recycled effectively benefitting us in all possible ways....I am GLAD Angela Merkel has won".

Can a SINGLE Indian MORON think along those lines ? Including colossal MORONS like raghuram rajans , p.chidambarams , manmohan singhs & pranab mukherjees ??

It is a question of the EXISTENCE VERY SURVIVAL of us HINDUS in our OWN country. Yet we keep blabbering on increasing haj subsidies , interfaith dialogues, providing for reservations , jobs BEEF & IDLIS & MINT chutney sambar etc etc for our KILLERS called muslims.

Anonymous said...

During kollywood worthless vishwaroopam movie controversy in Tamil Nadu & all over India & Middle East too ( all muslims of this world are PERENNIALLY in touch with one another UNDERSTAND that at least NOW & WAKE UP HINDU snoring idiots)
congress party its p.chidambarams & manish tiwarys WANTED MUSLIMS to target & KILL as many HINDUS as possible in addition to setting fire & vandalising property. They DESIRED such total breakdown would pave the way for declaring Jayalalithaa as the cause for "communal riots" thus imposing President's rule , immediately calling for elections & installing DMK-congress combination the secular charlatans.

Thank God Jayalalithaa was intelligent enough to understand.

In the meantime MUSLIM SAVAGES had successfully managed to INCINERATE lot of property , cinema halls , vehicles & KILL many Police Officers also.

A country like AMERICA takes the death of a SINGLE POLICE OFFICER seriously & that is the RIGHT ATTITUDE.

How can this GODDAMNED muslims' posterior licking india ever hope to even exist as a nation leave alone become one developed developing soooperpower:-((

No wonder that MUSLIM SAVAGE abdul kalam told HINDU IDIOTS to "dream dream & keep dreaming".

IITians are BRAIN DEAD.

Anonymous said...

While buying anything I prefer made in CHINA instead of made in India.

There is a VALID reason. Made in India hides the heartrending TRUTH that HINDU KILLERS muslims & Temples' PLUNDERERS converted christians stand to benefit TREMENDOUSLY.

Whereas by buying made in CHINA products I am DENYING that to INIMICALS of HINDUS.

To HELL with swadeshi shibboleth ! Whose NATION is it tell me ??

When I read manufacturing of glass bangles in India is monopolised by indian muslims I STOPPED buying. I would rather buy made in CHINA glass bangles.

Let muslims in India SUFFER , STARVE become UNEMPLOYED PERISH. DO NOT hold any enquiries & investigations when muslims die including muslim appeasing indian politicians.
Deny them health care. Send them to Saudi Arabia for treatment. Expenses borne by Saudi Arabia that is so RRRRRICH. Let them drink zam zam water & NEVER come back to HINDUS' Bharath.

That is Insha Allah ! Am I not correct.

Sriragh Karat said...

A brilliant article spoilt by fascist comments. Clearly "Right of Centre" is the way to go about, but how doe we do it? By referring to the comments lets start the "HINDUTVA" revolurion by a.killing all muslims b.killing all homosexuals c. finding the next common enemy to kill
Our country must be a country for all human beings, be it any religion,sexual orientation or caste. Adopting a "Right of Centre" doesn't mean discriminating rest of the population, it only means that the economic reforms are a bit more liberal and they believe in free market. Indians always believed in accepting all forms of race,caste and sexual orientation. So to the large number of dimwits who think otherwise must stop referring to Indian Mythology and start following Indian History. The comments here show everything Swapanda speaks against. Putting the article in a nut shell it simply states that "Follow policies of a party and not the political ideology" OR "Ideology is over rated"

Anonymous said...

" Indians always believed in accepting all forms of race,caste and sexual orientation."

Preposterous comment posted above
by a nincompoop.

The presence of even a single rotten fruit among other normal ones lead to speedy decay of the rest.

This nincompoop is overcrafty.

Where I CLEARLY & REPEATEDLY mention VEDAS & Kaanchi Paramacharya this nincompoop endorsing debauchery uses the phrase " indian mythology".

You Anon IDIOT @1:AM above have lost your case by taking refuge under indian history.

Anonymous said...

Russell Peters the stand up comedian from Canada (an Anglo Indian) who candidly talks about his various girlfriends eventually married one girl & settled down. He proposed to her after making her pregnant over some cell phone.

Later the same Russell Peters said he is concerned & anxious about his daughter's future & welfare & would like to embrace conservative values , code of conduct instead of unbridled freedom.

I wish Indians watch the Hindi movie B.A.Pass to understand the VALUE of PROBITY.

Only then would know why at least a few GOOD ones marched furiously with chappals & broomsticks towards kollywood khushboo's bungalow when she advocated licentiousness & FREE sex as long as one wore "condoms". This was supported by suhasini & many "liberated women".

In comments section those who disapprove of such MISCONDUCT are referred to as HINDU TALEBAN!!

We are seeing the consequences right before our eyes daily. Lots of suicides & violent murders are often triggered by such promiscuity. What can POLICE do ?

Before doing something WRONG nobody consults The Police. When things go awry we sit & find fault with our Police.