Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pratap Bhanu Mehta & Art Of (Forced) Equivalence

I confess, I am pretty pissed off at collective orgasm of Internet Hindus over the overrated Pratap Bhanu Mehta's "While we were silent" piece. Here is what galls me, when PBM uses the hackneyed "We were silent" phrase, he doesn't really mean "I", which he should be doing.

I am not saying PBM has never criticized the disaster that is UPA before, he has done ample of time. What I am saying is, even though the article he wrote now might score high on literary scale, an article titled "Holy shit! this government is a disaster! EJECT! EJECT! EJECT!" published, let's say, eight years ago, while scoring considerably lower on the scale, would have been immeasurably more useful because then it might have helped in averted our present "decade of decline" (which threatens to become "decade of darkness").

And please don't say PBM couldn't have foreseen. Its one thing for paid dullards in Indian media, who copy every frickin' trend in US, to say this, but PBM is a smart fellow, he could and should have foreseen this, especially considering that many in blogosphere (incl yours truly).

It is not my contention that those in blogosphere were particularly smart, rather it is that it didn't require particular keen sense of foresight to predict this, considering Sonia Gandhi and her minions were shouting from rooftops, that was the platform on which they fought 2004 elections, that was what they promised and that was what they delivered. Sure they used latest socialist jargon and that could fool the dullards in media, but surely PBM is a smart fellow, he could have cut through the verbiage and seen the reality.

Ofcourse I think he did see the reality, and as I said at the starting he has criticized UPA ample times. However almost all of his articles can be boiled down to either of the two themes.

1. Congress is bad, "lekin saala akhha system hi kaharab hai".
2. Congress is bad, but BJP is worse.

Of course he took far more sentences to say this, and used fancy vocab and sentence construction, but the gist, was always this.

Why would someone as smart as PBM do this. Surely it must have been clear to him, that as flawed as BJP was, in matters of sound policy and in matter of respecting the institutions, it was (and is) far better than Congress.

Let me postulate this, like all liberals PBM is basically a cultural warrior, his overriding concern is the cultural war over soul or rather idea of India. Sure he wraps this in noble sounding rhetoric of apolitical liberalism, don't let it fool you though, this is anything but apolitical.

PBM is a participant in this war, even if he doesn't explicitly realizes this.Sure he may point to the lumpen elements (and there are many) within the fold of cultural nationalism. but he is more than willing to turn a blind eye towards similar element within lib-sec fold. What is more he has no problem being congenial with our intelligentsia which practices intellectual La Cosa Nostra. In contrast you can bet he feels revulsion associating with, even interacting with, any member of nationalist fold, irrespective of the fact how exemplary that member is.

Mr Pratap Bhanu Mehta, you can play or you can referee, you can't do both.

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