India’s Left Intelligentsia Still Stuck With Outdated Ideas

by David Frawley - Oct 14, 2016 06:57 PM +05:30 IST
India’s Left Intelligentsia Still Stuck With Outdated IdeasActivists shout slogans ... misplaced notions.
  • Unfortunately, many of India’s media leaders today are the progeny of the old Left trying to remain relevant themselves.

JNU today, with its student protests rooted in the Communist Party, reflects the nostalgia of the fading Left for its lost glory days of the bygone twentieth century. The lal salaam or “red salute”, the greeting of comrades, was thrown into the dustbin of history before most of these students were even born.

The Soviet Union is no more since 1991 and instead of Lenin and Stalin, Russian leader Putin praises the Russian Orthodox Church and has restored respect for the Czars. Eastern Europe, once under the Soviet bloc, has brought back its older cultural traditions with no regrets. East Germany is now integrated into the powerful German economy, with no one looking fondly back to the poverty stricken days of the Soviet rule. India has Stalinists today but no other country in the former Soviet bloc allows them.

China is building Confucian schools and an entire city devoted to Buddhist schools and temples. Its economic machine is capitalist in nature and only communist in name, to protect those who have kept power but changed ideologies. India has Maoists today, but not China.

JNU looks back in nostalgia to the western student revolts in the late 1960s. Yet unlike these, it has no peace movements, and no gurus from India among its icons. Would be new Che Gueveras should recognise that the revolutions hoped for at his time went nowhere, and instead, the western world went forward with a high tech capitalism that is now helping India’s economy to grow out of the socialist shackles that have kept the country backward for decades. The old socialism is what caused India’s poverty and offers no economic way forward.

Leftist denigrations of the Indian Government today

JNU leftists like to portray Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP and RSS as fascists like Hitler, as if they hoped for the resurrection of twentieth century tyrants to justify their intellectual journey into the dark dramas of the past century. But Stalin and Mao were as tyrannical and killed as many people as Hitler, extending into tens of millions.

They would like to portray India as an imperialist state and evil empire much like student radicals tried to portray the USA of the 1960s. But India is a diverse and soft country allowing for a number of points of view and having greater cultural and religious freedom than perhaps any other country in Asia.

Such students would not have the same freedom of dissent in Pakistan or China. The communists of old never tolerated dissent and killed thousands of intellectuals who disagreed with them. Under their rule the intellectual traditions of their countries, including art, literature and spirituality, suffered enormous losses.

JNU teachers scream against the Indian government while drawing comfortable salaries from it. They should give up their jobs to sincerely protest what the government is doing, if they think it is so dangerous. Protesting students, taking classes at government expense, will eventually want to receive high paying jobs in a high tech work force. They are unlikely to join farmers or workers unions and actually struggle at a physical level.

JNU youth activists honour Naxalities who have murdered innocent people by the thousands. They excuse terrorists in Kashmir, who are supported by foreign jihadis, and instead denounce the Indian Army as cruel oppressors.

They are silent on the barbarism of the Islamic State (ISIS), Pakistan connections with terrorism and its oppression of Baluchistan, or the danger of Islamic extremism in numerous countries. Their freedom resides in criticising India’s BJP government, not in exploring the truth. They support Kerala’s new communist government with its increasing murders of Hindu activists.

Of course, such students enjoy the attention that they have been lavished with, but this shows the immaturity of the current media that tries to stir young emotions, not promote any deep thinking or encourage any sense of national unity. Student protests in India are exaggerated as media orchestrated political events to turn the youth against the Modi government for hoped for electoral gain.

Need for a new dharmic vision for the youth

Students should certainly be idealistic and envision a better future for themselves, their country and the world - not simply at a material level but a greater creativity and spirituality. They should be open to new insights in all realms of knowledge, inwardly and outwardly, linking futurist science with eternal dharmic wisdom.

The new century requires study of new technologies and development of the country, not a return to failed socialist policies of the twentieth century that have been rejected worldwide.

India has a profound heritage to offer the youth everywhere with Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda, and meditation traditions that are spreading worldwide. Looking backward to the Left’s failed last century is regressive, not progressive, and offers no economic or cultural advancement in any direction.

The old Left in India is just using the youth to postpone its inevitable final demise. India’s media would perform a much greater service to the youth by inspiring them to a new idealism, rather than using them as foot soldiers for their own failed political agendas. Unfortunately, many of India’s media leaders today are the progeny of the old Left trying to remain relevant themselves.

David Frawley is an American Hindu teacher and author. He has written more than 30 books on the Vedas, Hinduism, Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedic astrology.

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