The first of a multipart essay on the loss of parental authority over Hindu children, a worrying global social phenomenon
In the past few days, the following things have happened:
1. A newspaper reported that a zealously conscientious citizen decided to lock his father inside the house to prevent him from going out to vote for BJP.
2. A demonstratively articulate Kashmiri Hindu diaspora Twitter user wrote a passionate tweet thread scolding his parents' generation for allowing their pain to be "weaponized" by a political party.
3. The Indian Express published an op-ed by another parent-concerned conscientious Indian who complained that her otherwise socially and recreationally liberal Hindu parents said unpleasant things about Muslims.
4. Not quite from just a few days ago, but I recall another example from last year just after the Kashmir de-apartheidization happened – another parent-offended Indian declared to the world on Twitter that she had stopped answering her mother’s phone calls because her mother supported the government’s move - and her mother was now reduced to desperate tears.
Many of my readers are perceptive, un-deceived, knowledgeable, active, and if I may say, activist Hindus. None of this might be news to them. And yet, I realize, those of us in this small internet world of Hindu activism (and some real-world extensions too)… we speak so much about "conversions" and "love jihad" and unfriendly neighborhood Ghazwa-e-Hind plans and all that, and yet, we have such little grasp of the war that is raging on a front that is not as easy to see as simple gifs and memes and maps about lost Akhand Bharat territories - the front and frontier of Time.
Have we understood Time, our place in Time, how Time has produced us? Have we understood how Time will judge us for what we are in turn producing? How much have we recognized that the Time yet to come for which we are responsible, the Time to be made still by our children and grandchildren, is slipping out of the world of the Time we were given by the breaths, actions, measured lives, of our ancestors near and far up that flaming pillar neither Brahma nor Vishnu could hope to measure?
Mahakala makes His faces every day, and his Bhasma-dance extends itself into ecstasies of realisation that do not show in this life or in this time maybe...
We are now handicapped culturally, most of all in our negotiation of time. Space has already been lost. We survive still as we can, in foreign lands, in compressed concrete-chaos high-rises, in subjection to street bullying on every level. And yet, the one thing we are blessed, privileged, to acquire mastery over the time beyond ours, we have neglected. Not for lack of love necessarily, but for lack of intelligence, lack of humility to recognize that lack of intelligence and learn as we must.
Commenting on children, parenting, and such is a sensitive matter, even more so than 'religion' and 'politics.' I realize that. I realize the time I was obstinate and worried my parents by dropping out of engineering. I know it well, and know the future cannot be predicted for those we love and wish to supply with the best package deal we can. I write without guarantees, without authority, except a sense perhaps of conviction, to share my words and hope they are of use....
I think that the growing trend of children resorting to Stalinist denunciations of their parents – and on the basis of utterly false claims pumped into their heads by schools, colleges, workplaces, media and peer groups - is one of the most insane things to happen to India after the wholesale breaking of temples during the last millennium and the wholesale slaughter of nature during this one. It marks a near total collapse of not just parental authority but worse; of even parental credibility. It is the last frontier of triumph for the colonizing forces of the three M’s. I start with ‘Market’ which is the present dominant colonial force and acknowledge the presence also of the other two well known in the Hindu resistance literature representing pre-secular imperialisms, the ‘Mullah’ and ‘Missionary.’ Now, of course, these three M’s are coated in that other ‘M’-ism, whose fierce compassion (or the veneer of it) for the poor swallows your young because you have no clue how to talk about it even. You say ‘Marks’ and they say ‘Marx.’ You represent their agony and frustration even if you mean well for their future. But what their education and media, what you call ‘liberalism,’ gives them is the salve for that agony and frustration, a meaning for their existence.
I know that no one prepares us for the important things in life like seeing one's self in time and history properly so as to cultivate one's self for family, children, parenting, the Sanatana of Dharma. At best, our parents prepare us for the economics of it. And that is what it seems, the parents of these new Ches of the Chaturashrama Dharma are facing now. One generation ago, we couched our rebellion such as it was in polite cover ups with our parents. We did not attempt to change them. We just waited for our time to be what we wanted to be; rebels, atheists, hedonists, whatever. Some of us saw futility in that, some haven't. But still. Our 'rebellion' was limited. And even the rebellion of the first post-liberalisation generation of India, the Made in India/Channel V one, the first generation to grow up to out-earn its parents in a new India, was limited.
I realise that commentaries on time and parenting and even politics usually just come down to optimism or pessimism. I lean towards the latter, at least professionally, as a student of media and culture and everyday life. I think things are very crazy now.
To be continued