The Dharmic voice has started gaining strength on Twitter, but its future lies beyond it in the real world.
The “Thinking Right” – as opposed to the lumpens who may savage cow smugglers or attack innocents from another community – now needs to go beyond thought and outrage on Twitter and emerge on the streets.
Outraging over selective outrage may have its uses, but ultimate legitimacy depends on being visible in the flesh and blood – and getting people to build pressure groups for the change they would like to see.
Santosh Desai, writing in The Times of India, makes this point very effectively today (16 April). He asks two questions and then answers them for the Hindu Right. To summarise: Why outrage over the Lutyens group’s “selective outrage” when you can do so yourself? Secondly, no one is expected to share any one else’s sense of outrage.
Just in case this looks like an over-simplification, this is what he said in his own words: “It would appear that implicitly, the only outrage that counts, is the one that the so-called Lutyens establishment expresses. Those on the Right seem to acknowledge that their own outrage means nothing, nor does the enormous clout that the channels that represent their views amount to much; only the handful of people who articulate the liberal worldview count.”
Touche! The Right is legitimising the Lutyens mafia by seeking its endorsement on its own outrage.
Desai added for good measure: “Protesters do not have a moral duty to protest everything unjust with the same passion. As long as everyone agrees on basic benchmarks of humanity, it is natural for different sections to feel strongly about different issues.”
Translated, this can mean two simple things: don’t just outrage, act. And two, selective outrage is fine. Do your own selective outrage rather that railing against someone else who does not feel much for you, or even may be against your cause.
Not everything that Desai says is necessarily true, including the claim that there are TV channels actually focusing on the issues raised by the Hindu right. The channels are into their own TRP races, and most of the time what they discuss does more damage to the Hindu Right cause than help it. By focusing on mindless shouting and haranguing, the TV channels are destroying the legitimacy of Right-wing causes just as the mobs lynching Muslims do.
Another point Desai effectively demolishes is the belief that there is something called unbiased neutrality: by accepting that everyone may not be equally passionate about all causes, he has essentially admitted that different groups may view different things differently, and hence there is no such thing as a universally just cause, barring some things that cause universal revulsion: like harming or violating a child.
The takeout: organise and agitate on the street peacefully to make your presence felt beyond Twitter. The Dharmic voice has started gaining strength on Twitter, but its future lies beyond it in the real world.
If the Thinking Right does not move into the real world, it is the vigilantes who will take over their narratives and mangle them out of shape.
Note: I dislike using terms like Right wing as I have done in this article. These are tired old definitions dating from the French revolution and totally unrelated to India. I prefer the descriptors Indic or Dharmic to define the Hindu Right, but sometimes when the term ‘Right’ has already been inducted into popular discourse, it is best to use it so that it is easily understood. But let me reiterate: there is nothing Right or Left about Indic thought. It is about achieving balance and getting things right in the right context.