When Socrates famously advised humankind that the unexamined life was not worth living, he was speaking in realm of philosophy. It was a call for the individual to examine the depth and breadth of his inner and outer life, and to face the emergent blunt truths as bluntly as possible if life should have any meaning at all.
As with the microcosm so with the macrocosm.
The maxim of Socrates can and should be applied to the public sphere as well, now more so than at any point in recent history.
For the better part of the last seventy years, hundreds of unpunished lies uttered in the public space have acquired the status of settled truths simply because they have largely been unexamined. They are the historical equivalent of today’s mindless WhatsApp forwards peddling the most flagrant lies thereby reducing complex subjects ranging from astrophysics, language and time travel to byte-sized balderdash. If politics is the last resort of the scoundrel, lies are the first refuge of cults. Larger the lie, greater the cult following. The phenomenon of the cult is the only true equal-opportunity haven. Its greatest shield is also the secret of its success: an unwritten prohibition against being examined.
Tallest among those who fearlessly dared to examine the unexamined lies uttered with impunity in the public life of “independent” India was Sita Ram Goel. His chapter titled Words which defy dictionaries remains an enduring classic. It is akin to plunging a finely serrated knife into the innards of the Marxist discursive deception and holding up the bloody entrails out in the open for the whole world to see. The few who have internalized Goel’s surgeon-like approach to the aforementioned examination have had their thoughts clarified like the diaphanous reddish liquid essence that floats on top when butter becomes ghee. In the literal sense, when butter becomes ghee it undergoes intense Tapas, i.e., it burns.
Words which defy dictionaries is a visceral evisceration of Leftist terminology whose purpose and goal is to manufacture phony political narratives. Because the Left doesn’t view things in isolation, the terminological chicanery that it employs in other spheres is equally important.
We can begin with the obnoxious term, Hindu rate of growth coined in 1978 by the socialist “economist,” the notorious establishment stooge Raj Krishna. For more than a decade, Hindu rate of growth became a settled truth in all discussions and debates concerning India’s economy. A settled truth precisely because it was prohibited from being examined by the selfsame establishment. A settled truth, which even the World Bank swallowed uncritically. In plain terms, India’s economy continued to remain in a pathetic state because Hindus were superstitious. Sri S. Gurumurthy provides a superb rebuttal of how Raj Krishna shamed India globally by blowing generous mouthfuls of hot air into this balloon that he himself invented.
An equally, if not more, important unexamined lie is a term now largely forgotten. It is actually a geographical collective noun denoted by the acronym, BIMARU standing for Bihar Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It is also a perverse pun: the Hindi word Bimar means “diseased” or “sick.” Needless, only the degenerate genius of the Left could invent such a national slur. In one stroke, about fifty percent of India’s population in the 1980-1990s was diagnosed as sick. This label had less concern with the actual economics of the region. In hindsight, it is fairly clear that a major purpose behind inventing BIMARU was to infuse a sense of accompanying humiliation upon an entire people: what is the first thing that strikes your mind when you hear the words “sick,” “ill,” “ailing” and diseased?
On the ideological plane, BIMARU was the pyrotechnics of the Leftist narrative. But at a fundamental level, BIMARU was a narrative bastard child birthed by the Leftists who fused the malign economics behind Hindu rate of growth with the densely Hindu cultural landscape permeating these states. It was birthed because this landscape adamantly refused to alter or give up its Hindu character despite sustained assaults and shaming and humiliation inflicted upon it.
This point becomes markedly pronounced when we examine the other, far sinister twin of the bastard child: Cow Belt. To rooted Hindus, it is impossible to sever the inextricable bond of their culture from its vital economic component symbolized and lived by them via cattle-rearing, which in turn is inseparable from cow-worship. Cow-worship is one of the profoundest expressions of how Hindus elevated gratitude to divinity. Which is exactly why this illegitimate love child of the Leftist narrative sought to shame this enduring Hindu cultural inheritance by recasting it as a geographical obscenity.
Here is a sample.
That said, there is no disputing the fact that in the aforementioned decades, these states were in the pits. Political violence, lawlessness, squalor, lack of education and healthcare, all these were the order of the day. However, this was not because the dominant ethos and culture in these states was Hindu but despite it. They became economic wastelands precisely because they followed the “economic” model propagandized by the selfsame Leftists and socialists and variants thereof. Recall the fact that Bihar and later, Uttar Pradesh were the original harbingers of Samajwad or socialism.
But what was the condition elsewhere in India, outside the so-called Cow Belt?
Take the case of the most dominant bastions of Communism, West Bengal and Kerala? It took less than a decade of “pure” Communist rule to completely de-industrialise and de-economise West Bengal, one of the world’s economic powerhouses. The consequence was predictable: the first wave of mass exodus of Bengali Hindus began by the early 1980s. If Kerala retains its title as “God’s own country,” it is because no industry was allowed to come up under Communist governments. Needless, Kerala too, witnessed a huge exodus to the Islamic Gulf over the course of two decades. Its economy continues to flourish not because of Communism but because its former inhabitants continue to send money back home.
The conditions in both these states during the same period was the same as in the “cow belt.” Yet, how did the media and commentariat describe them? They were “progressive,” “egalitarian” and “forward-looking.”
However, the common theme that underscored and unfolded over the decades was the steady and now, rapid de-Hinduisation of both West Bengal and Kerala. Today, while Kerala celebrates beef as its…err…national delicacy, a Mamata Banerjee finds it a cakewalk to bludgeon the timeless tradition of Durga Puja in Bengal. The mischief let loose over Sabarimala could occur precisely because the Hindu society in Kerala has been cudgelled to submission and helplessness.
Both states are in the thrall of the worst elements of Islamic fundamentalism.
However, it is precisely in the Cow Belt that the reclamation of Sri Rama Mandira has become a realized reality.
While BIMARU is largely history, the forces that it unleashed have encircled the Hindu community in a multi-pronged manner as we have narrated elsewhere. An isolationist approach treats economics and culture as separate or parallel tracks. But in the Sanatana civilizational heritage, both are parts of an organic whole. Today, the American society held hostage by the Far Left is desperately groping for just a sliver of light to resolve its social problems precisely because it has no cultural inheritance to offer it strength. Oscar Wilde’s brutal observation at the turn of the twentieth century is simply unfolding in a nightmarish fashion even as we speak:
But what is unfolding in India is a conscious effort to annihilate an ageless spiritual civilization by waging a deliberate and well-crafted war of narratives which Hindus are fighting with one hand tied behind their back. Which is why, as we saw at the beginning of this essay, it is critical not to leave anything unexamined.
If it is any solace, I shall take leave with a profound sonnet by Shelley.
Lift not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread,-behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.
I knew one who had lifted it-he sought,
For his lost heart was tender, things to love,
But found them not, alas! nor was there aught
The world contains, the which he could approve.
Through the unheeding many he did move,
A splendour among shadows, a bright blot
Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.
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