Let’s Say the Congress Got Subhas Chandra Bose Killed. Now What?

The ‘big explosive truth’ about Bose’s death, whatever it is, is useless for the common man. I absolutely support the idea that the truth about the case should come out – it’s much better than falsehood. But what after that?

Let’s say, hypothetically, the much hyped Bose files reveal that the Congress (or Nehru, the man everyone’s pointing a finger at) got Bose killed.

What do we do with this piece of information? Ditch the Congress and vote BJP in every election from now on – which is obviously what the BJP wants? Maybe even get the Congress banned?

Before we go there, we’ve got to deal with one small problem: the same Nehru, the same Congress, created the structure of the Indian nation today and wrote everything down in the Constitution. Oops, it’s is now poisoned!

If the Congress or Nehru indeed got Bose killed, wouldn’t it follow that there are criminal minds behind the Constitution of India? Shouldn’t we declare the Constituent Assembly’s work null and void and start all over again with people who have impeccable credentials?

The above would be the argument of those who take operational corruption really seriously and think that requires us to question the systems that operationally corrupt people built.

Mind you, that’s quite like what the BJP is doing today: they’re trying to expose operational corruption in the time of Nehru as a way of upholding their own ideology. But only, the BJP is not going the full distance. It doesn’t suffice to blame the congress. They need to blame the Constitution which the Congress created, too.

Be that as it may, my argument is different. I don’t give a damn about operational corruption as long as India’s primitive corruption thrives. I’m not worried about the book not being followed; I’m worried about the book being followed – because when it’s followed, primitive corruption thrives.

I don’t care if Nehru got Bose killed. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. It’s a useless piece of information because the real problem in India is not who runs the show but what show is run. That’s why I find it stupid for people to base their vote on how Bose or Gandhi or whoever-it-is died.

What show is run depends on the Constitution of India. I want it rewritten from scratch because the show has serious problems. Not because its creators could potentially have indulged in operational corruption, but because India’s primitive corruption has gotten into it all by itself. There’s no way it couldn’t have gotten there, whether the people involved were operationally corrupt or not.

Therefore, I’d like votes to be cast based on who can get the Constitution rewritten from scratch, today. Not based on how someone died ages ago, even if that someone is a tall figure like Subhas Chandra Bose.

The Constitution needs rewriting for the simple reason that it mishandles India’s diversity, notably of the linguistic kind, and makes the Aryan Pyramid of Corruption thrive all over India. This is the real issue in India, and it’s a problem when politicians and the media take attention away from it.

From this perspective, the ‘big explosive truth’ about Bose’s death, whatever it is, is useless for the common man. I absolutely support the idea that the truth about the case should come out – it’s much better than falsehood. But what after that?

Yoga Day: a Comeback of the Divine Right of Kings

This government, like most monarchies in history, wants to get into people’s minds together with a dose of divinity. Once the common man falls for the scheme, he attaches divinity to the government itself. His mind cannot disentangle the two easily, even though the government is no more than India’s biggest corporation. Reason thus blinded, the poor fellow finds it nearly impossible to question those actions of the government which have a greater bearing on his own life. And that’s the whole idea.

Rabindranath Tagore, undoubtedly one of India’s greatest sons, defined a nation as an ‘organization of politics and commerce’. He contrasted it with society which he called the ‘spontaneous self-expression of man as a social being’.

This bifurcation takes some time to sink in. It may never happen to those who have been indoctrinated to worship the nation. But if and when it sinks in, it becomes a very good tool to understand the world in general and India in particular.

From this understanding, it becomes clear that Yoga is the product of a society, not a nation. Politics or commerce didn’t lead to Yoga. In fact, when it was first discovered (or invented, you choose), there was no pan-Indian politics or commerce. There was no Indian nation.

The Government of India, on the other hand, is not a social institution. It’s is a national institution, i.e., one of politics and commerce. It’s really the biggest business in the country, and it must behave as such.

While it would be idiotic to deny the greatness of Yoga, it would be equally idiotic to think of the Government of India as having anything to do with it.

Yoga Day, therefore, signifies the usurpation of society by politics and economics, i.e., the usurpation of society by nation.

All those text messages about the importance of Yoga, which the Government of India seems to have sent to every Indian with a mobile phone, all those ads, all that propaganda, were nothing but a vulgar display of the power of the Centre to infiltrate into society and take control.

Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Patanjali is no justification for Modi. However, because of the sheer power that the Government of India wields, many will end up thinking he is. That’s the desired result.

In other words, Yoga Day is designed to justify Mr. Modi and his government, their actions, and their right to rule India. It’s this century’s Indian avatar of the Divine Right of Kings.

This government, like most monarchies in history, wants to get into people’s minds together with a dose of divinity. Once the common man falls for the scheme, he attaches divinity to the government itself. His mind cannot disentangle the two easily, even though the government is no more than India’s biggest corporation.

Reason thus blinded, the poor fellow finds it nearly impossible to question those actions of the government which have a greater bearing on his own life. And that’s the whole idea.

Put differently, Yoga Day is an attempt by the Government of India to appear divine to the people of India by psychologically overpowering them, take away their liberty when they’re unguarded, and thereby win on the material plane. This psychological attack is at the very foundation of the party currently running the government.

It’s no secret that the BJP has forever tried to justify coming to and remaining in power using Hindu gods such as Rama. Having learnt that they’re too controversial, they’ve moved on to Yoga.

This time, together with the execution excellence of Modi’s team, the psychological overpowering is almost completely successful. The Divine Right of Kings, ladies and gentlemen, is back in currency. In a democracy.

AAP and the limits of expansionism

Why did AAP win Delhi? Can AAP do to the rest of India what it did to Delhi?

Among many answers to the first question, one must stand out as important: the party had its ears to the ground, i.e., it spent most of its time listening to those at the bottom of the pyramid of power instead of imposing the images and words of supermen from above. That they didn’t have any supermen in the first place helped them become popular with laypeople, providing them an impression of flatness of organization and ideology. Everyone, it appeared, was welcome to AAP as long as they weren’t with “the bad guys”.

But organizational and ideological flatness within AAP is a myth. It was stated in exactly these terms by some, who left the party, but one doesn’t need a proof for it; it’s a truism. Any well-run political party must have a command and control structure, and those who command and control must, in a well-known hierarchy, be above those who are commanded and controlled.

When the organization isn’t large enough, hierarchy doesn’t come in the way of its being close to the ground: the voices from below reach the top because the top isn’t too high up in the air.

Why am I bringing this up? I’m bringing this up to answer my second question above, as to whether AAP can do a Delhi with all of India. AAP’s relative flatness compared to BJP and Congress, which was good enough for the geographically insignificant area of Delhi, is not scalable as it tries to “go national”. Localness isn’t expandable from one locus.

For starters, the very name of the party is in a foreign language for most of India: Hindi. The language of Delhi, it is considered a dangerous threat to liberty in South and East India; there aren’t any Aam Aadmis there to begin with; that’s an alien expression. The actual Aam Aadmi, who speaks an Indo-Aryan language like Hindi, is not exactly welcome in South or East India because he comes to replace the native Dravidian or Tibeto-Burman, to colonize.

No successful organization, because of its inevitable hierarchy, can maintain even an impression of flatness when it expands beyond a certain size, or beyond certain natural boundaries such as those of language and ethnicity as discussed above.

The Congress and the BJP have mastered the art, of not even putting up a facade of flatness, in “going national”. They essentially operate without the advantage which AAP had in this Delhi victory, and they’re not apologetic about it. In fact, they want the peoples of India to apologize for being diverse and making it difficult for them to keep their ears to the ground.

AAP’s fate will be no different as it tries to expand beyond Delhi. Aloofness from the ground is in the very nature of expansionism. I’m not saying this to cast my vote in favor of the BJP or the Congress. Far from it, I am saying this to forewarn the peoples of India against falling for another national party to rule over them thinking it will be fundamentally different from the existing ones. The thing to learn from AAP is that localness is the way forward, and this naturally requires rejecting AAP everywhere outside Delhi.

 

[First published: IBNLIVE, 11-02-2015]

How not to sell the Vedas

‘Pride is the fuel,’ says Amish Tripathi, ‘that will help us build our nation’ (Vedic learning is no one’s preserve, everyone’s pride, Times of India, 21 Sept 2014). And what does any right-thinking status-quo-ist do when such is the assumption and a nation is given? He looks for an object of pride and hard-sells it. Tripathi sells the Vedas, asserting that all Indians must take pride in them. Why exactly should we do that? He cannot possibly say ‘because we have to build our nation’ – the object of pride must have independent validity – so he goes on to argue that it’s because ‘all groups in the subcontinent today have descended from the ancient Vedic people.’

What exactly do the geneticists say? In a 2013 study titled Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, Priya Moorjani et. al. argue that most Indian groups descend from a mixture of so-called Ancestral North Indians and Ancestral South Indians (ANI and ASI, which Tripathi mentions). Notably, the authors describe these groups as ‘genetically divergent populations’. The first group is ‘related to Central Asians, Middle Easterners, Caucasians and Europeans’ and the second is ‘not closely related to groups outside the subcontinent.’ In other words, there is no walking away from the possibility of the Ancestral South Indians having played hosts to the Ancestral North Indians before intermingling began (from 1,900 to 4,200 years ago according to the same paper).

Tripathi must not have seen much nation-building fuel in mentioning this genetic divergence. He goes on only to say that ‘these groups have inhabited the subcontinent for at least 6,000 years, if not more, heavily intermingling in the ancient past’ (I don’t even want to get into the usual blaming of Germans and Britishers for divide-and-rule). Well, inhabit they could have, but as one group? No. Groups that intermingle ‘heavily’ or otherwise must have been isolated from one another before the intermingling began: it’s commonsense. Moorjani suspects – yes, that word – that ‘the two groups lived side-by-side for centuries without intermarrying’ prior to 4,200 years ago. Tripathi doesn’t want us to read all this in history – glossing over any sort of plurality is the way to go.

Also, Tripathi should be more worried about the shift away from any sort of mingling in the last 1,900 years. According to Moorjani, mixture ‘even between closely related groups became rare because of a shift to endogamy’ – i.e., the caste-system arose – which the Vedic heritage we all must take pride in didn’t do much to discourage. This finds no mention in his article quite possibly because it isn’t good enough fuel, the pontification in the beginning paragraph of his essay notwithstanding.

Even less nation-building fuel there is in seeking the reasons for India’s linguistic diversity. While the novelist can cast his characters such that his prejudice ‘holds true across religions, languages, castes and even national boundaries’, the fact remains that Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages are quite distinct from each other. The Europeans didn’t invent them; they discovered them. This crucial fact, too, finds no mention in Tripathi’s article.

I haven’t seen a study directly linking this North-South linguistic difference with the genetic difference between ANI and ASI, but commonsense suggests that a link must exist. What sort of commonsense? Just this: that the ancestors of people who speak unrelated languages today must not have intermingled – at least not significantly. No such commonsense is visible in Tripathi’s article. In fact, linguistics, where differences are crystal clear, is very bad nation-building fuel for BJP/RSS types in general. It fuels a completely different kind of nation – one which they hate to imagine. So let’s ensure that objective guides research and findings.

Even if, for argument’s sake, one could successfully trace every Indian to some sort of Rashtriya Adam and Eve – one just needs sufficient pride – it doesn’t follow that we must consider everything the couple did with pride. Some of the greatest sons of India have rebelled against the Vedas. The Buddha in the North and Basavanna in the South are but two examples. No number of opinion pieces convinced them to take pride in the Vedas, let alone those that could have stemmed from political agendas. In fact, this whole idea that we ought to respect that which has been handed down to us from history is irrational and an affront to India’s overall spiritual heritage, though certainly part of Vedic heritage. There, you begin and end with pride – at least of late.

All said and done, there is no doubt in my mind that the Upanishads – which are considered part of the Vedas – are the greatest treasure trove of spiritual wisdom in the world, surpassing that of all other religions. Those who wish to sell them need only to place them before the reader in his or her own language; they cannot but attract the spiritually inclined. One doesn’t need to prove, hopelessly, that the Jilebi was a delicacy eaten by ancient Indians everywhere eons ago in order to attract people who might eat it today. Bring a hot, fresh and tasty one if you have what it takes to prepare it, and mouths will water. What a hopeless exercise it is to bring one’s political biases to the argument that we should study the Vedas! The more the Vedas and Upanishads are considered nation-building fuel, the more shall they become the objects of hate, for the very nature of nation-building is to impose one worldview and cut off other shades of opinion.

First Published: IBNLIVE, 23-09-2014