The Jallikattu Ban And Other Excesses Of The Secular, Socialist Elite

by Anand Kannan - Feb 5, 2017 01:46 PM +05:30 IST

The Jallikattu Ban And Other Excesses Of The Secular, Socialist Elite ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images
  • Even a reactive population has its limitations on how much it can achieve and is compelled to turn pro-active.

    That’s when the democratic republic must seize the chance to check the moves of the secular, socialist and dynastic elite and direct the society towards prosperity.

The pro-Jallikattu outburst and the spontaneous, collective demonstrations by hitherto soft and activism-neutral population across Tamil Nadu point to a triad of phenomena that have been determining the course of Indian society for nearly a century. Incrementally, since the early 1900s, colonial provinces started electing their own legislatures and executive governments under the colonial umbrella, and especially since 1950 when sovereign status was achieved, and India became a democratic republic. The incidents are not to be seen as local, isolated occurrences but as a manifestation of the dynamics of this triad.

This triad, consists of the following:

  • An over-enthusiastic state apparatus that wants to interfere in more and more aspects of private life of individual, family and community. An apex leadership that is obsessed only with issues that impact upcoming elections and not concerned with efficiency of governance or the rights of citizens and communities. This includes all wings of state – the executive bureaucracy, the legislature, statutory bodies, regulators, tribunals, public sector enterprises – collectively, the state.
  • A tiny elite with no popular support base or mooring, but having high lobbying power, personal wealth, privileged descent, ideological conviction, intellectual strength, international connections, legal sophistication and a strong ego along with the will to impose it on the society. They possess extraordinary manipulative powers and influence on the legislative, executive and judicial wings of state. Since this elite also have an overwhelming domination and control by select families or networks of well-entrenched families, they can be called nominally, the secular, socialist, dynastic elite.
  • A populace that is indifferent, neutral, forgiving, adjusting and even docile at the outset and superficial, but reacts strongly and intensely once a threshold of tolerance is crossed. A society that elastically pushes back to a status quo and reverses the most tasteless actions of the state. A society that appears incoherent, pliable, fragmented and divided changes itself into a clear-minded, resolute and united one under extreme provocation. A populace that has forgotten and discarded its royal lineages and dynastic past – yet throws up new leaders, new movements and empowers new popular faces in the hope of thwarting the impact of the first two forces. The democratic republic.

The spontaneous, apolitical and widespread pro-Jallikattu rallies were but a small and explicit manifestation of the dynamics of interaction between this triad.


At the heart of this dynamics, the righteous, freedom-loving, tradition-loving democratic republic of India is at odds with a self-righteous secular, socialist, dynastic elite. And the issue in contention is the behaviour and decision making of the state apparatus. At present, the state seems to be firmly in the hands of the latter. On specific and small issues where the threshold has been crossed, the most affected segment is cohesive and the reversal is simple, such as the Jallikattu ban, where popular action is able to reverse the inequity. But large issues remain which are very critical to the well-being of the nation, but this is far from reality. This could well be the root cause of India's poor governance, economic inefficiencies and the gap between its size and true stature and influence on the world's state.

This triad of forces is subject to manipulation and utilisation by a number of interested and agenda-driven forces such as established political parties, business houses, multinational corporations, foreign powers, congregational religious orders and other orders of sects, castes and family networks to further their influence and interests.

The first-past-the-post election system enables the state power to be captured without majority support. This leads to much of the venality, arrogance and the cultivated sense of impunity of the secular, socialist and dynastic elite. Sophisticated manipulative behaviour, use of lawsuits, stay orders, legal challenges and judicial processes to extend influence, and the targeted appeasement of just the right minority of the electorate to win the next election. Such an attitude was very much evident in the conduct of lobbying organisations, influential individuals and appointed heads of statutory bodies – all members of the secular, socialist and dynastic elite during the recent events surrounding the Jallikattu ban.

Here are a dozen other examples of this phenomenon, where the state has acted against society instigated by a tiny, opinionated elite that cares more about its own ego than the well-being of the republic.

- Corporate Social Responsibility Tax that imposes a tax on the profits after tax... and other restrictive provisions of the Companies Act 2013

- RBI's draconian deposit rules that deem every entrepreneur seeking capital in the most natural way to be an automatic swindler

- Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)'s overwhelming rules that prevent small, private capital exchanges and private fund networks that can provide funds to small companies in niche segments and liquidity to its investors

- Occupation and control of Hindu temples by the government in the southern states

- Obstruction of the rebuilding of Ram temple in Ayodhya

- The semi-falsified retelling of Indian, Middle Eastern and Western history in textbooks

- The tax exemption and subsidisation of export-oriented industry while the domestic industry is overtaxed and over regulated

- The extraordinary legal privileges, protection and exemptions for minority religious institutions and the legal denial of the same to traditional religious institutions and faiths

- State-run marketing and distribution of alcohol as opposed to the constitutional responsibility of prohibition

- The fixing of growth impacting high direct and indirect tax rates to support a large clutch of leaky, inefficient welfare programmes

- The destruction of rural talent and work ethics through state schemes like MNREGA

- The restriction and coercion of schools using Right to Education (RTE) and other instruments

The people of the democratic republic need to increasingly invest their time, energies, capital and capabilities to just keep this nexus at bay and to carry on with normal, productive happiness of life and the upkeep of their beloved traditions – let alone extraordinary economic growth or advancement as a civilisation or development as a nation with proportionate power and influence in world affairs. The entrenched influence of the secular, socialist and dynastic elite is so deep and pernicious that even the preamble to the Constitution of India was modified in the mid-seventies to add the two words – secular and socialist as attributes of the state that the Constitution governs.

India, as it stands, is a land needing a thousand protests against the nexus between the indecent secular, socialist and dynastic elite and the state. A state that seems to seek omnipresence and extraordinary powers over private and civic life at the expense of its ability to govern well. A state that is constantly egged on by the secular, socialist and dynastic elite to go further and further down this path of aggrandisement and interference in the private life of its citizens, communities and families. India is a country waiting for a thousand reversals of a thousand bans imposed incrementally and with a creeping sense of immunity over the last 72 years. Especially in the last 40 years, since 1976.


A reactive and retrospectively active populace has its limitations on how much it can achieve. It has to somehow turn pro-active and forward-looking in its thought process. That is when the democratic republic can trump or check-mate the secular, socialist and dynastic elite and move the society towards prosperity and the state towards strength and status in the global family of nations. A strong, consistent right-of-centre thought leadership emerging throughout the society in various geographies and at various levels is the most obvious way for the democratic republic of India to regain a proactive position.

A new leadership that can match the secular, socialist and dynastic elite in wits, will and wherewithal, but is deeply aware and respectful of the spiritual and economic underpinnings and potentialities of the democratic republic. The people, the society. A leadership that seeks not to turn the state against society through bans, coercive orders and unnatural regulations, but instead seeks to minimise the intrusive nature of the state and harmonise its behaviour with the deepest desires and natural impulses of the society. A leadership that strives to make the state a powerful tool in the hands of the society rather than a dangerous sword hanging over its neck.

Anand Kannan is an entrepreneur based in Chennai, India. His interests lie in entrepreneurship, improvement of business ecosystem, people development for enterprises and startups, technology innovation and in the evolution of society and its institutions. Anand Kannan graduated from IIT, Madras and also holds a PhD in Engineering.

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