The latest petition against Modi’s US visit is breathtaking for its sheer, self-righteous hubris, not to mention the fact that the lies and the spin it contains are not unfamiliar.
What the signiory of Embden shall be mine.
When Mephistopheles shall stand by me,
What God can hurt thee, Faustus? Thou art safe; […]
Veni, veni, Mephistophile!
Think’st thou that Faustus is so fond to imagine
That, after this life, there is any pain?
Tush; these are trifles, and mere old wives’ tales.
But, Faustus, I am an instance to prove the contrary,
For I am damned, and am now in hell.
Nay, an this be hell, I’ll willingly be damn’d here;
If anything, the latest in the never-ending anti-Narendra Modi Petitionathon only emphasises the fact that the Modi Wave continues its upward crest and consequently, continues to give his tireless detractors sleepless nights. We must hand it to his traducers: their calumny knows no fatigue because there’s no frame within which human insecurity can be bound.
Certainly, not all these slanderers are insecure—some have willingly made the Eternal Faustian pact.
The latest petition/statement is breathtaking for its sheer, self-righteous hubris, not to mention the fact that the lies and the spin it contains are not unfamiliar. Sample this:
Those who live and work in Silicon Valley have a particular responsibility to demand that the government of India factor these critical concerns into its planning for digital futures. We acknowledge that Narendra Modi, as Prime Minister of a country that has contributed much to the growth and development of Silicon Valley industries has the right to visit the United States, and to seek American business collaboration and partnerships with India.
The pharisaic arrogance oozing out from these lines is appalling. It is as if these Silicon Valley businessmen were unaware of said “particular responsibility” until these hallowed academics showed them the light. What next? They need to obtain prior nod from these academic worthies before taking business or other decisions?
Equally, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister should now feel truly flattered for he was hankering for this sort of lofty academic “acknowledgement” and the fact that they finally recognized his “right to visit the United States” while in the same breath they remind the wide world “of the powerful reasons for him being denied the right to enter the US from 2005-2014”cleverly omitting their own dirty lobbying that resulted in his visa blockade. I’d be happy to be proven wrong on either count.
Everything that these self-important academics condemn and warn us about in their haughty “statement” has no basis in fact. The fact is this: the so-called denial of entry of foreign scholars into India, the so-called interference in the academia and institutions like FTII, and strict action against NGOs are exercises in cleaning up the mess left behind by the Congress party which lorded over the disastrous 2004-2014 decade. The Sonia-Gandhi remote-controlled UPA Government of said decade transformed India into a Freeloader Republic in which a furtive band of NGOs was given a supra-extra-Constitutional acronym titled the NAC, far more powerful than the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The NAC decreed. The Prime Minister obeyed.
It was under this regime that India became a playground for alien nations and native scammers to run riot—from NGOs to society-wrecking Christian Evangelical organisations to the Indian enablers of 26/11 to…actually, we’ll let Walt Whitman describe the typical constituents of the UPA:
…the meanest kind of bawling and blowing office-holders, office-seekers, pimps, malignants, conspirators, murderers, fancy-men, custom-house clerks, contractors, kept-editors, spaniels well-train’d to carry and fetch, jobbers, infidels, disunionists, terrorists, mail-riflers, slave-catchers, pushers of slavery, creatures of the President, creatures of would-be Presidents, spies, bribers, compromisers, lobbyers, sponges, ruin’d sports, expell’d gamblers, policy-backers, monte-dealers, duellists, carriers of conceal’d weapons, deaf men, pimpled men, scarr’d inside with vile disease, gaudy outside with gold chains made from the people’s money and harlots’ money twisted together; crawling, serpentine men, the lousy combings and born freedom-sellers of the earth.
Of course, not every adjective of Whitman applies to every constituent of the UPA but a discussion on said adjectives would entail a listing of the individual constituents to ascertain suitability.
As for the threat to freedoms under the Narendra Modi Government that the academics’ statement warns us against, one only needs to peruse the mainstream English media over the past year till now to get an idea of the staggering amount of hitjobs, planted stories, patently false news reports and unprovoked, vicious attacks against the Narendra Modi Government and his party.
In passing, it is also pertinent to mention the shameful incident of the former Editor-in-Chief of IBN18 Network, Rajdeep Sardesai’s physical violence against Indians who had gathered in New York on the eve of the Indian Prime Minister’s maiden address on US soil at Madison Square Garden.
A large number of samples exposing this media skulduggery are available at the Indian media watch site, OpIndia.
On his part, the Indian Prime Minister has maintained dignified silence in response to these relentless, sustained attacks targeting him.
Apart from the statement itself, the list of signatories is revealing. Every single eminence is a Distinguished Professor, Professor, a Fellow or an Emeritus, variously, in these departments: Gender Studies, Literature, Law, English, Anthropology, Media, Cinema, History, South Asian Studies, Theology, Environment, Religion and Conflict…
Even more revealing is the fact that the list is overwhelmingly populated by Indians.
Beyond dispute, there has occurred a near-complete decomposition of the Humanities departments in the American academia. Over the last four decades, the Humanities departments steadily degenerated into a sprawling den of agenda-pushing and political pamphleteering with the result that it is today the fountainhead of promoting political correctness in almost every sphere of social discourse. Assisted ably by the media, this has led to the creation of a State of Fear in the US, a phenomenon that Michael Crichton elaborates powerfully in his novel bearing the same title.
In his path-breaking book Profscam, Charles Sykes painstakingly shows how the Humanities have done away with all standards: anything goes in the name of research. Coupled with the security of tenure, Humanities professors embarked on mindless theorizing disconnected with the real world, and when these were put into practice, the result has been predictably disastrous. Professorial idiosyncrasies became transmuted into societal disorder. This disconnectedness has also destroyed even a semblance of accountability in the Humanities.
The brilliant A Nation of Victims by the same Charles Skyes shows how for example, Humanities “research” has created phony medical disorders to first designate and then excuse bad behaviour: consistently showing up late for work is labelled as a medical disorder named “chronic lateness syndrome.”
The same applies to aggressive, reality-disconnected feminist theorizing, which instead of helping women achieve equality with men has turned men into the mortal enemies in the eyes of women. Copious literature, talk shows, soap operas and mainstream movies have generously, ably aided in compounding this malady. As Kathleen Parker’s Saving the Males puts it, this sort of feminism has undermined the importance of fatherhood with the result of pervasive destruction of the family as a unit that ensures social stability, and hundreds of thousands of damaged children who grow up to become dysfunctional adults. Laws that were passed on the basis of such theorizing have only hastened the near-decimation of the institution of marriage and family. One does notice the ill-effects of this same phenomenon in India in the form of the disastrous IPC Section 498A.
This sort of degeneracy flowing from the Humanities departments has brutally invaded and mauled that finest bastion of human creativity: literature. Every work branded as “literature” today needs to conform to the latest politically-correct, academically-approved theory because it will be reviewed by these selfsame academics teaching literature who in turn might bestow their magnanimity by recommending said literary work as a textbook or recommended reading in their courses which students—either aspiring academics or writers—will internalize….so it goes, an infinite chain of politically-correct inanity till nothing of value remains. For example, what “literature” can we detect in an episode of the notorious Vagina Monologues where a woman “examines her vagina with a mirror for the first time?” Or, even more alarmingly, where a six-year-old child says (or is made to say?) that “her vagina smells like snowflakes.” These “monologues” have today attained cult status as high literature. For a complete lowdown on how this literary savagery actually works in practice, we can read how John Dolan was snubbed in Budapest.
The less said about the consequences of even contemplating a questioning of this “accepted” narrative the better. A State of Fear induced by an aggressive, politically correct narrative denies agency to free thought much less its expression. This phenomenon is most visible in narratives on politics and ideology as we shall see.
Indeed, this lengthy digression was necessary in order to understand the background, the context of and the forces that propel the academics who have issued the anti-Modi statement. The dominant political narrative in the US Humanities about Hinduism, India, its heritage and traditions is one of naked hostility. At a purely atomistic level, Hindus are treated in scholarly, mainstream academic discourse as Museum species fit for wanton dissection the way say, ancient relics are excavated, collected, taken to a lab, placed on a table, hammered, put under a lens…
To retain control over and to further this dominant narrative, employing foul means as academic method and methodology is considered perfectly fair and acceptable. As numerous studies, books and papers show, anybody who is perceived as offering a native, contrary or alternate narrative is seen a voice to be silenced.
Several other factors also explain this: the American Christian lobby’s India agenda, the wealthy Foundations that actively seek to subvert India, the mammoth MNCs who subtly impose their version of “soft” corporate practices (why for instance would any religion-neutral MNC encourage its employees to organize Secret Santa while no correspondent fanfare meets say, Rama Navami or encourage employees to donate to say World Vision or CRY), Indian outposts of American NGOs and so on, clearly have a vested interest in keeping this narrative alive.
And one of the best ways to do this is to co-opt Indian academics into their university system by giving them lucrative tenures among other things.
Even at a purely academic level, using the yardstick of academic merit, allowing alternative or contrary voices has the real potential to destroy careers carefully built by advancing colonial-Marxist narratives, controlling the levers of discourse, and choking inconvenient voices.
Narendra Modi’s stunning victory in the 2014 elections, and his subsequent ascent from strength to strength, and a renewed, confident awakening on the part of Indians to take back the discourse on India in their own hands thus poses a threat to these well-entrenched, powerful, puffed-up signatories.
More importantly, in the present context, despite strident opposition from all quarters, Narendra Modi’s consistent success in his outreach, diplomacy and international relationship-building have no parallel in any leader of any country in recent memory.
Indeed, some of the names in the list of signatories appear to be the real string-pullers of this latest bout of anti-Modi hate-mongering. Wendy Doniger, widely infamous for a long record of academic racism against Hindus, and Sheldon Pollock, equally known for his anti-Hindu prejudice stand out in the pack. Their notable Indian counterparts happen to be the ultra-Left Vijay Prashad and Ania Loomba who organized the repulsive protest in 2013 preventing Narendra Modi’s prescheduled video address at Wharton.
To put it bluntly, these academics are meddling in the affairs of a sovereign nation and interfering in bilateral relations between India and the US by creating an atmosphere of fear based on lies and Hinduphobia.
It is for the US Government to decide whether it’s a good idea to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the upcoming gathering in Silicon Valley. As noted columnist Swapan Dasgupta accurately observes this about these academics:
If I didn’t think their paranoia suggest a deep disconnect with Indian realities, I would have called them treacherous. In any case, it is always worth remembering the names of all those who are ready to subvert India because they didn’t like the way Indians voted.
Nothing but blind, violent, and extreme hatred explains the behaviour of the Indians among this list of signatories. Or one must share King Lear’s timeless, anguish-laden question, “Is there any cause in nature that makes these hard hearts?”
Indeed, these US-based Indian academics and their ilk have traversed a really long path to such hideous descent: from writing academic denunciations against a religion, ideology and culture to crude sloganeering to stop the progress of the country of their birth, or to quote Swapan again, “India’s intellectual diaspora: When anti-Modi transforms itself into anti-India.”
In the end, the CEOs and businessmen of Silicon Valley need to pay no heed to such statements. Every businessman when he/she embarks upon a venture does so with the full knowledge that ultimate failure is pauperism, and despite this, willingly takes the risk. They need no lessons from a bunch of imperious academics whose contribution to the world of knowledge is suspect at best. And who owe their pompous ivory towers to the taxes that these businessmen and hardworking citizens pay.
It’s a pity that these academics continue to evade accountability even as they dole out sanctimonious advice to corporates on being “mindful of not violating their own codes of corporate responsibility.”
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