It’s not enough to be pro-minorities to claim that you are a liberal. You need to be overtly pro-Muslim and anti-Hindu.
Shekhar Gupta, in his recent column here, has rightly exposed the psyche of liberals in general and the Indian liberals in specific. Here are some additional salient features of Indian liberals.
1. Tolerant if you agree 100 per cent. This is the most conformist hallmark of Indian liberals that will put even most rabid communalists to shame. They firmly believe that they alone are the supreme regulatory, appellate and judicial authority to define who is liberal and who is not. Even the slightest deviation from their self-defined norms will make you lose your “liberal” credentials and, consequently, the entitlements too.
2. Member of a political dynasty automatically qualifies to be a liberal. Right from the Nehru dynasty at the national level, the current lot of Indian liberals have an overwhelming majority of members who are in influential positions only because they are linked to a dynasty in power genetically or by wedlock. The list is too long to be covered in this article. As soon as you fall out of the dynastic order or the wedlock, you are automatically disqualified from being a liberal.
3. Being overtly casteist is an absolute must to be an Indian liberal. Caste pride is key qualification for them. Religious pride is perfectly acceptable if you are non-Hindu. Displaying pride in being a Hindu is an immediate disqualification. If someone openly claims to represent a caste, gives undue representation to that caste in the power structure, protects criminals and rapists only because they belong to a certain caste and further projects them as victims, then s/he is automatically entitled to be called a liberal. If you create social divisions based on caste, it’s an added qualification. Here is a classic example of how liberals even divide gods on the basis of caste. During the peak of Ram Janmabhoomi agitation and rath yatra of L.K. Advani, a well-known columnist wrote: “Ram is dearer to Mr. Advani because he was a ‘Kshatriya’. On the other hand, Shiv was a mountain-dwelling ‘Kirata’ (tribal) while Krishna, a great warrior, enlightened teacher and indeed divine incarnation, had ‘Yadava’ (OBC) origin”. (TOI, 21/09/1990)
4. As an Indian liberal, one has to sermonise everyday on caste equality and discrimination, but in personal life, s/he will not endorse inter-caste marriages. Members of other castes are absent in Indian liberals’ politburo. Dalits are a strict no-no.
5. It’s not enough to be pro-minorities to claim that you are a liberal. You need to be overtly pro-Muslim and anti-Hindu. If you advocate interests of Sikhs or Parsi community, it is likely that you will be diagnosed as “communal”. But if you publicly say that Muslims have first right on the national resources, you will qualify the entrance test for the “liberal” degree. If you are interested in receiving the honorary membership of RSL (Royal Society of Liberals), you need to support communal violence bill and endorse the legislation that the majority community (read “Hindu”) is presumed to be responsible for every communal riot in the country. But if you are aspiring to be in the exclusive club of the governing board of RSL, then you have to coin and propagate terms like “Hindu terrorism” and “saffron terrorism”, file PILs, profusely shed tears when terrorist hideouts are destroyed by security forces, represent anti-nationals, terrorists in various courts and even wake up Supreme Court judges to prevent hanging of murderers.
6. On international issues, it’s not enough to be only pro-Palestine to call yourself a “liberal”. You have to spit venom against Israel. It’s not sufficient if the Indian government develops good relations with the majority of Islamic countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia or even Iran. According to the members of RSL, the litmus test of liberalism is friendly relations with Pakistan. To achieve this, India is supposed to ignore “fringe elements” within Pakistan who sponsor anti-India terrorist activities. Needless to say, the governing board of RSL is always in regular touch with not only trans-national elements but also the likes of Hafeez Saeed to facilitate this process. And what about the plight of Kashmiri Hindus? For RSL, it’s entirely a non-issue and just a hindrance in resolving the Kashmir issue.
7. Civilization? What’s that? According to Indian liberals, if you describe Ram as a civilisational hero, or even utter a phrase “Muslim invaders”, you are immediately disqualified from RSL membership or dismissed from RSL University even if you are the senior-most faculty at RSL.
8. To be considered a liberal, one needs to emphasise five times a day that Akbar was the greatest king secular India ever had before 1947. And after 1947, the Nehru dynasty is the only qualified inheritor of his tradition.
Everyone knows a famous Sanskrit saying –
“Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (“Entire universe is one family”). The entire shloka may not be known to everyone. Here is the full text:
‘ayam nijah paroveti ganana laghuchetasam
udaracharitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbhakam’ |
‘This is my own and that a stranger is the calculation of the narrow-minded;
for the magnanimous hearts, however, the entire Earth is but a family.’
This is the essence of our civilisational thought process. It is not taught, followed or enshrined as a cardinal principle in the so-called liberal schools.
Vijay Chauthaiwale is in-charge of foreign affairs department of the Bharatiya Janata Party.