Not ‘Hyper-Nationalism’, It Is The Sentiment Against Privileged Elite That Is Growing 

by Sanjay Dixit - Jun 22, 2017 01:00 PM +05:30 IST
Not ‘Hyper-Nationalism’, It Is The Sentiment Against Privileged Elite That Is Growing Is there a rise in ‘hyper-nationalism’? (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
  • Recently, 65 civil servants wrote and signed a petition against ‘growing hyper-nationalism’. Here, Sanjay Dixit, a civil servant himself, responds.

It is rather curious to find your open letter begin with a caveat. There is a good reason for that, I guess. All of us know that the public does not take us, civil servants, too seriously, so we have to append credentials to make ourselves sound respectable. Be that as it may, I find the assertions of ‘no political affiliations’ even more curious.

Embellished as the list of signatories is, with Aruna Roy, Harsh Mander and Wajahat Habibullah, I can only laugh at the twist given to the assertions of impartiality and innocence.

The list even has my former senior colleague of Rajasthan cadre, Umrao Salodia, who made a name for himself by announcing in a press conference that he was embracing Islam because an extension of three months to his senior batch mate would deprive him of a possible three-month stint as chief secretary. We do not know till date whether he is a Muslim or remains a Hindu.

With such shining examples of public spirited and impartial civil servants making up the list, the whole exercise becomes suspect, right at the outset.

Coming to the charge of ‘religious intolerance directed at Muslims’, your entire exercise seems to be a repeat episode of the ‘Award Wapsi’ drama of 2015. It is not my case to defend crimes committed in the name of vigilantism, but all good civil servants are taught to wait for a ‘mens rea’ to be established before ascribing motives. It is clearly not the case with you. One could even grant you a benefit of doubt, were it not for the selective amnesia you develop when it comes to the intolerance debate.

The evidence on which you rest your case of ‘religious intolerance directed at Muslims’ is flimsy at best. It is like behavioural aberrations of criminality, but it is most educative to note that not one of you notice the doctrinal intolerance of either the Left or the Islamists. Scores of murders by the Leftists in Kerala do not make you frown, neither do open threats of beheading, or even threats of blackening the face of an elected Prime Minister by Muslim clerics inconvenience your collective conscience.

A Sonu Nigam cannot even request for implementation of Noise Control Act without being accused of being communal, but the violators can keep filling the ears of all non-Muslims with the statement that ‘There is no other God but Allah’ at every odd hour. Azam Khan’s invectives are glossed over as secular, but when a Kamlesh Tiwari gets arrested for the same crime, you fail to raise the argument of equivalence.

As a matter of fact, I never heard a squeak from any of you when the biggest genocide happened in the country during 1989-94 in Kashmir Valley. Wajahat Habibullah made a career for himself talking about Kashmiriyat and minority rights, but I have yet to see any condemnation of the holocaust of Kashmiri Pandits, surely a minority in the Valley, from him. All of you were serving bureaucrats at that time. Where was your individual or collective conscience then?

I find Aruna Roy attending events on Emergency that she uses to compare the present situation with. Her Leftist commentariat and the Left, in general, were totally supportive of Emergency. People who went to jail during Emergency were of a unique hue. Their colour was not red.

The sheer scale of your hypocrisy is staggering.

An instance in Jodhpur has been cited, but no mention of the credentials of Nivedita Menon has been made of. She of the red-hot Naxal shade, forever preaching secession from India! May I use the same argument that you all used for Nandini Sundar – let the law of the land take its course. That you find a few instances of atrocities against minorities worrying is appreciated, but how could you ignore the ‘Bharat Todo’ campaign in Jawaharlal Nehru University, or roughing up of Makrand Paranjape, or an assault on Vivek Agnihotri (not the signatory of the open letter) in Jadavpur.

When the Left-dominated Academic Council of JNU was blocking courses on Yoga and Indian culture, why did you fail to appreciate the need for freedom of expression of the Indic academics?

Your selectivity makes your motives suspect, besides marking you all as propaganda material. If that was deliberate, it speaks ill of your intentions; and if you were led into it, it doesn’t speak very highly of your intelligence.

Let me bring home a bitter truth – an overwhelming majority of the people who signed this petition were beneficiaries of elitist education in humanities, monopolised by the Left and the elites of Delhi and other privileged cities. You are the product of those venerated times. You find yourself cornered by the rise of a new India.

Nothing demonstrates that better than Jawhar Sircar, who had the impudence to tweet that the “3H – Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan – were useless as they could not write or speak proper English.” This gentleman – yes, I find it loathsome that such a man ever joined my service – even had the vulgarity to tweet that passing Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) was the final chip on a person’s shoulder and one did not need to do anything beyond that.

Positions and sinecures for the rest of one’s life and label of an intellectual would follow as a natural outcome. Going by the evidence of his tweets, Jawhar Sircar is best suited to be housed in a museum of ossified civil servants, not in the league of intellectuals - unless writing for the (Siddhartha Varadarajan creation) is a certificate for intellectual achievement.

You enjoyed the best of civil services’ period of unaccountable power, and some were even part of the hallowed National Advisory Council (NAC). With such power and privilege, you are the last group of people who would even make an attempt to understand the doctrinal intolerance of Islamism and Marxism that pervades the world like a brooding omnipresence.

Instead, you ferret out isolated instances from states ruled by a particular administration to paint the whole country dark.

You quote a few instances, but miss out on Dhulagarh, Malda, Nadia and even Bhadrak which are driven by a well-identified ideology – the same ideology which led to India’s partition. Even if you do understand the dangers posed to India’s very existence by Red or Green terrorism, you defend such acts with rationalisations.

The dispensation, which preaches exclusivism as a doctrine, is termed secular by you, and one, which talks universal acceptance is communal for you. I quote this evidence from that infamous contraption of NAC – Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill, the worst kind of communal draft ever produced in a secular country. I marvel that Harsh Mander has the gall to pontificate from the pulpit about religious intolerance today. Irony just died.

UPSC still remains under the dark forces of the Left. If one goes through the syllabus prescribed for the ‘Social Science’ (which, according to me are neither social nor sciences, they teach dark dogma of the Left, and their assertions can neither be verified nor universalised nor repeated – the three essentials of basic science), one will come out scandalised.

Even a slave would not pay such homage to his master as Indian academics pay to Western points of view about India. I would recommend to all of you to watch Rajiv Malhotra’s analysis of the UPSC syllabus as well as of the coaching required to get through the examination. It transpires from this analysis that colonisation of the minds of the civil servants has carried on apace.

The ideological apartheid that you display here is just a symptom of these colonised minds, fully exemplified by Jawhar Sircar. Same as Julio Ribeiro, another signatory, very vocal in the manufactured outrage of Award Wapsi, but remiss when the instances of attacks on which the outrage was manufactured turned out to be concocted.

I tend to agree with Surjit Bhalla that ‘The old elite—politicians, corporate, left-intellectuals, academics, journalists and bureaucrats—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.’

The privileges referred are not just the privileges of power and pelf, but also the privilege of dictating the narrative of the country. That narrative is under challenge today, which is what makes you all uncomfortable. The ignominy of irrelevance and irreverence stares you in the face, and you cannot deal with it.

One of the most succinct descriptions of this mindset came in a tweet from a parody Twitter account @padhalikha (Eminent Intellectual) - “2 lynchings mean entire India is under gau rakshak control, but 2000 incidents of Muslims bursting firecrackers on Pakistan’s win doesn’t hint at any trend.”

I am deeply disappointed that I belong to the same service which was graced by people with such hubris, but I am also encouraged by the fact that we have more and more people in the civil services with diverse technical backgrounds not constrained by the disconnect you all have with democracy and the public. I also find encouragement from my eminent colleagues – both retired and in-service – who have continued to evolve beyond the entitlement bestowed by passing one solitary examination. In fact, the silent majority is not what these 65 are.

I would also add my voice to your appeal to request that Social Sciences syllabus in UPSC be subjected to the same rigour that Science is subject to. The shameful monopoly of the exclusivist doctrine of the Left on Social Sciences must be brought to an end, and diverse points of view must find a place, especially the Indic points of view.

Never again should a Romilla Thapar be allowed to divide the country on the basis of a motivated Aryan Invasion Theory without a counterpoint; or an Irfan Habib allowed to sanitise Aurangzeb without the contrarian memory of an entire Hindu civilisation finding a place in the discourse.

It is ridiculous that even today you can get marks in the UPSC exams if you quote an Ananya Vajpeyi or by citing those who vilified the complete Indic knowledge as backward but would not get those marks if you mentioned Jadunath Sarkar, Sitaram Goel, Ram Swarup, David Frawley or Koenraad Elst. Where is the balance in this doctored social science space?

Political independence with colonised bureaucracy is the worst prescription for a new country. Most of you were District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police during Emergency, and I am privy to many conversations within the bureaucracy that looked at that unbridled power of Emergency rather wistfully. It ill behoves you all to pretend otherwise today. Do not think of yourself as icons. All of us are among the more hated breeds of this country today. Deal with that reality and analyse your contributions to that result.

May your wounds be healed by some Yoga practice on the International Day of Yoga, extending not just to asana and pranayama, but also to the higher reaches of controlling your manas, buddhi and ahankara.

Sanjay Dixit is IAS 1986 batch in the rank of Principal Secretary to Govt of Rajasthan. Posted as Commissioner of Enquiries. He tweets @Sanjay_Dixit

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