Why The ‘Terminological Terrorism’ of ‘Left Liberals’ Needs To Be Debunked

by R Jagannathan - Apr 14, 2016 05:57 PM +05:30 IST
Why The ‘Terminological Terrorism’ of ‘Left Liberals’ Needs To Be DebunkedPlacards of foolishness
Snapshot
  • The anti-Modi Lutyens cabal “trolled” the government mercilessly on non-existent “church attacks” and alleged “intolerance” based on isolated utterances by fringe elements.

    Abuse and name-calling was an art perfected not by the so-called Right, but by the Left (remember terms such as “running dogs of Capitalism” and “class collaborators”).

    In India, terminological terrorism started with our Marxist history writing, whose first contribution was to reduce Hinduism to Brahminism - ignoring the fact that Brahmins were essentially priests.

    What makes Leftism so holy? It was no different from the holy terror of the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades, or the genocides perpetrated by Islamists from ancient times to the present

Notice how the term “Right-wing” has become nearly a term of abuse? It is always “RW trolls” taking on the stars of mainstream media on social media. It is never just trolls; it has to be RW trolls.

While I would be the last one to extol trolling or harassment of journalists, it is interesting how a troll is defined. A troll, says the Wiki definition, “is a person who sows discord on the internet by starting arguments or upsetting people.” If we take out the words “on the internet”, this definition would fit most of those making intemperate remarks continuously about Narendra Modi or the BJP or the Sangh in Old Media, including “Left Liberals”. The anti-Modi Lutyens cabal “trolled” the government mercilessly on non-existent “church attacks” and alleged “intolerance” based on isolated utterances by fringe elements.

To assume that one can only be trolled on social media is a myth. You can troll a person even in other forms of media. Just as trolls bring up past tweets of disliked journos to embarrass them on social media, the Old Media rakes up 2002 (but never any other communal riot) whenever they want to score a point.

Godhra Carnage
Godhra Carnage

This article is not about trolling, but what I would call “terminological terrorism.”

Abuse and name-calling was an art perfected not by the so-called Right, but by the Left (remember terms such as “running dogs of Capitalism” and “class collaborators”). Even ethical behaviour by individuals can be rubbished by the Left by terming it “bourgeois” or “middle class morals.” Long-term political enemies will be called “fascists”, and opportunistic current allies can be called “neo-liberals” as a mere put-down.

In India, terminological terrorism started with our Marxist history writing, whose first contribution was to reduce Hinduism to Brahminism - ignoring the fact that Brahmins were essentially priests. But once the Left defined Hinduism as Brahminism, and Brahmins as essentially exploiters and oppressors, calling someone Brahmin was enough to condemn him. But the same definition – of using priests to define other religions - was never applied to any other faith.

All religions have their priests and ideologues; in Hinduism it was Brahmins. That Brahmins were complicit in and helped perpetrate an oppressive caste system is clear, and they deserve strong condemnation for the same. But Hinduism isn’t Brahminism. This is reductionism at its worst, conflating the negative part of a religion to the whole. It is like saying jihadism is Islam.

Didn’t Christianity and Islam not have their priests and ulema, their own rabid guardians of the faith, at whose instigation kings and generals killed and murdered thousands of people who belonged to pagan or other faiths?

So why isn’t Christianity called “Papism” or Islam Jihadism or Ulema-ism or Mullah-ism, or whatever? Why is only Hinduism Brahminism?

Take another example. Hinduism is represented in Christian literature as a crass cult, what with phallic and monkey worship. That these ideas have moved on from their natural and animist origins to something more metaphorical is never acknowledged. That was how the ancients worshipped the Infinite when their understanding of the world was limited and different. But no one who worships a Shiv Linga today thinks of it as the phallus anymore. Ideas and concepts have evolved.

Now consider the basic concept of imbibing the “flesh and blood” of Christ, something basic to Christian theology. The idea originated in cannibalism. Cannibals believed that if they drank the blood and ate the flesh of their enemies, they would gain their strength. So should we call modern Christianity the Cannibal Cult, or even the Cult of Jesus?

Islamists would like to dismiss “idolators” as kafirs, people who create gods out of stone. But what is the Kaaba if not a large stone? (Meteorite, or whatever). Many Muslims have a picture of that meteorite framed and festooned. Is Islam the Cult of the Big Meteorite?

Ditto with Marxists. To call the history of the Left Marxism is a travesty. Marx was merely the man with 20/20 hindsight who tried to develop a materialistic and deterministic history of the world. But Marxism as practiced in the world became the ultimate Cult of Mass Murder, even worse than Hitler’s Nazism. Marx is unlikely to have approved of this. Class war cannot be this crass.

In his Black Book of Communism, author Stephane Courtois estimates the number of people killed under Communist regimes in the 20th century at 95 million people – 65 million in China, 20 million in Stalinist USSR, and one or two million each in Cambodia, North Korea, Vietnam, pre-Berlin Wall Eastern Europe and Afghanistan.

So why doesn’t anyone call this death cult fascism, or genocidal? We still demand human rights for Maoists in Chhattisgarh who worship the same death cult, and also practice its rituals. What makes Leftism so holy? It was no different from the holy terror of the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades, or the genocides perpetrated by Islamists from ancient times to the present (ISIS, Taliban, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda). We should add one ancient Indian called Ashoka The Great at Kalinga. Do read Sanjeev Sanyal’s piece here on how Ashoka was hardly the benevolent Buddhist and peacenik he was made out to be in later hagiographies. He was brutal and violent, and his violence did not end even after the Kalinga war.

Ashoka Pillar
Ashoka Pillar

And yet, Ashoka is a saint for people like Amartya Sen and Nehruvian historians.

A creed that kills 95 million people is, by definition, good. A man who kills tens of thousands at Kalinga is a model of public reasoning for Amartya Sen. Why? Because some of his edicts claimed he was kind of repentant and preached tolerance. Billi sau choohe marker Haj pe chali.

But a creed with a history of tolerance is violent and dangerous and fascist. The Left-Liberal’s terminological terrorism is clearly intended to tar Hinduism and its followers with the death-paint it has itself used to cover up its murderous past – and possibly create a reason to do so in future.

Today, Indians in the US are fighting biased South Asian faculty in California who have asked the California Board of Education to replace the word “India” in History and Social Science Frameworks with the word “South Asia.” (Read the petition against this move here). This is how petty the Left can get. They can’t even let a name like India remain, so what will they not do to erase the memories of India’s oldest cultural and religious idea called Hinduism?

It is time to fight terminological terrorism.

Jagannathan is Editorial Director, Swarajya. He tweets at @TheJaggi.
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