‘Bas Naam Rahega Allah Ka’: Why The Leftists Are Losing Culture Wars In India

‘Bas Naam Rahega Allah Ka’: Why The Leftists Are Losing Culture Wars In India

by Arihant Pawariya - Thursday, January 2, 2020 03:51 PM IST
‘Bas Naam Rahega Allah Ka’: Why The Leftists Are Losing Culture Wars In IndiaLadeeda Sakhaloon (centre), Ayesha Renna (right). (Pic via Twitter)
  • The religious chants of “Allahu Akbar’ and  ‘La Illaha Illallah’ in a movement apparently championing “secularism” exposed its Islamist underpinning.

    Protesters would have an easier time convincing their fellow countrymen in support of their causes if they dump Faiz for say Ramdhari Singh Dinkar.

Why have the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) fizzled out? One obvious reason is this uprising didn’t have popular backing of the masses, especially of the non-Muslims.

They vast majority of the populace couldn’t understand why anyone would protest against a humanitarian law which simply paved a fast track path to citizenship to persecuted religious minorities in Islamic States of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Another factor is that the Muslim mobs, particularly hoards of illiterates, which were mobilised to come out in the streets were bombarded with false propaganda and misinformation.

My conversations with many poor Muslims who participated in the protests in Meerut and Muzaffarnagar revealed that they were told the government has brought in an Act under which everyone except Muslims will be granted Indian citizenship and only Muslims will have to prove they have been living in the country since Independence.

Any movement based on such crazy falsehoods couldn’t have sustained for long.

Forget supporting this movement against CAA-NRC, it invited huge backlash against itself and thousands of concerned citizens were also forced to hit the streets backing the government.

And it wasn’t simply because the pro-CAA-NRC protesters turned violent, indulged in arson and damaged public property.

The religious chants of “Allahu Akbar’ and  ‘La Illaha Illallah’ in a movement apparently championing “secularism” exposed its Islamist underpinning for all to see.

To make things worse, the protesters couldn’t hide their Hindu hatred for long. The crass ones demanded ‘Hinduon se aazadi’ while the sophisticated declared ‘Hindutva ki kabar khudegi’ but the Hindu hatred lurking behind the dog whistle didn’t fool anyone.

Those who try to intellectualise the difference between Hinduism and Hindutva, pretending to like the former while vilifying the latter, need only to travel 50 km in either direction of their cocoons to be belied of their delusions.

And this is the reason why they fail to connect with the real India. They don’t understand it. That’s why they have stopped even winning elections, let alone culture wars.

While one can understand the Islamist mobs shouting iconoclastic slogans against kaffirs, what explains the Hindu elites doing the same against themselves?

This certainly is a reason why they can’t win anymore and why they are unable to convince the masses in the country about the sincerity of their cause.

Nothing epitomises their irrelevance as the mentality behind their reverence for Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s nazm ‘Hum Dekhenge’ which seemingly yearns for second coming of Muhammad and removal of all idols (obviously falsehoods for Muslims) from Kaaba.

There is something wrong and rotten at a deeper and fundamental level for them to eulogise such a poetry which declares ‘only the name of Allah will remain”.

In a nation of a billion polytheists who will not even agree on whether only the name of Ram or Krishna should remain — even though they are revered equally and are avataras of same God Vishnu — better luck convincing them about supremacy of a god from far distant Arabia.

While the recital of ‘Hum Dekhenge’ in IIT Kanpur by anti-CAA protesters generated a lot of outrage, a simple YouTube search reveals that this poem is quite popular in elite education institutions such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Lady Shri Ram College of Commerce, etc and is often recited during cultural programmes as well as during protests.

It is no surprise then that the anti-CAA demonstrations led by certain sections of students from these places amounted to nothing.

The overwhelming majority of the country doesn’t and cannot relate to Faiz’s iconoclastic poetry. In fact, it is nothing short of blasphemy for them. And the reason why they are not attacking the ones they disagree with is not because they accept it, but precisely because they don’t have the ‘bas naame rahega Allah ka’ monotheistic mentality which some Hindu elites and Islamists are so steeped in.

Rejecting it isn’t cultural illiteracy as the fans of Faiz would have us believe. It simply means they are not deracinated enough to tolerate the normalisation of monoculturalism in the garb of romance of revolution.

Deracination isn’t a virtue but it has been made into one by our education system which is hellbent on mass conversion of India’s youth into ‘secular’ individuals, far removed from their cultural roots that go back millennia.

Once uprooted, they are freely swept away by the winds of whatever is in vogue — Abrahamised poetry in this case.

And the root cause of the rot in education is the language itself. Now, it’s not a fault of a 20-year-old college kid that he has been raised in a foreign language, both at home and in school, without any imparting of his culture and traditions.

His soul is ripe for harvesting by his faithful mates at the university who grew up emulating Muhammad or Jesus. He thinks the language is secular. It is anything but that though.

Languages are intimately connected to the faith, traditions and culture of the people who have developed them. If one is growing up revelling in references, poetry, stories which have little to do with your own land and people, you will always be confused and find yourself out of place among your own.

The popular culture which promotes self loathing and deracination is adding to the heap of filth that is growing in size every year.

Some do succeed in growing out of this phase of cultural confusion and uprootedness after college as they find their roots. But it’s not easy. It takes a lot of courage and humility. That’s why most never come out of it.

That’s why I am not surprised at the popularity of Faiz’s iconoclastic poetry in elite circles. But they should know why they are losing. They have their deracination to blame for it.

They would have an easier time convincing their fellow countrymen in support of their causes if they dump Faiz for say Ramdhari Singh Dinkar.

If you want to blow the Shankha against the establishment (no, do not sound the bugle), you can quote Dinkar:

सदियों की ठण्डी-बुझी राख सुगबुगा उठी,

मिट्टी सोने का ताज पहन इठलाती है;

दो राह, समय के रथ का घर्घर-नाद सुनो,

सिंहासन खाली करो कि जनता आती है ।

Ponder over why Jaiprakash used Dinkar and not Faiz from Pakistan.

If you want to convey your fierceness against the government, you can quote Dinkar:

कुत्सित कलंक का बोध नहीं छोड़ेंगे,

हम बिना लिये प्रतिशोध नहीं छोड़ेंगे,

अरि का विरोध-अवरोध नहीं छोड़ेंगे,

जब तक जीवित है, क्रोध नहीं छोड़ेंगे।

If you want to rally the masses, exhort them like Dinkar:

झकझोरो, झकझोरो महान् सुप्तों को,

टेरो, टेरो चाणक्य-चन्द्रगुप्तों को;

विक्रमी तेज, असि की उद्दाम प्रभा को,

राणा प्रताप, गोविन्द, शिवा, सरजा को।

The point is you have to use the language Bharat gets the message in and not import revolutionary messages from a totally different context. You can find woes to all your problems here itself. As the Mahabharata says:

जो यहाँ है वह अन्यत्र भी है, जो यहाँ नहीं है वह कहीं नहीं है।

But the question is can the deracinated bunch even understand Dinkar? My hunch is they would’ve a hard time understanding the words employed by him. Understanding the bhaava of these poems would be too much to expect from them.

The rot is too widespread and too deep to be cleansed quickly. It will take a lot of effort but attempts to do so will invite the charges of ‘saffronisation’. And the vicious cycle continues. The sick won’t allow a doctor to come close, for he believes he is hale and healthy and it is the doctor who is trying to make him ill.

The only option left is to save the future generations while putting the currently sick into quarantine.

Meanwhile, those willing to listen should understand why Communism never took deeper root in India. Sure, a lot of credit goes to the inherently democratic nature of Indian society, but another major reason for its failure is because of the language the communists employed. Symbolism matters but fortunately, Indian communists never got over the symbols of Moscow and Beijing to create an Indian movement.

Here is Dinkar, again, on such communists.

चिल्लाते हैं विश्व-विश्व कर जहां चतुर नर-नारी,

बुद्धि भीरु सकते न डाल जलते स्वदेश पर पानी

जहां मॉस्को के रणधीरों के गुण गाये जाते,

दिल्ली के रुधिराक्त वीर को देख लोग सकुचाते।

The Leftists will meet the same fate if they don’t learn. Gods-speed.

Arihant Pawariya is Senior Editor, Swarajya.
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