Tavleen Singh’s Change of Heart Fools None
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Tavleen Singh’s Change of Heart Fools None

A rebuttal to and commentary on columnist Tavleen Singh's recent article in the Indian Express in which she praises Narendra Modi for ushering in decolonisation.

ON SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2024, an article appeared in a mainstream English publication that seems to have enthused some of the intellectuals amongst the Hindu Right.  They thought that the message that they themselves were actively pushing is finally being consciously heard within the Khan Market Gang.  This is the essence of her article:

“Many things have changed in India since Narendra Modi first became prime minister. But one change that has gone almost unnoticed is that a process of real decolonisation has transpired. And because of this the old, colonised ruling class has been swept away. This is a very good thing. It should have happened long, long ago. As someone who belonged to that ruling class, I consider myself well qualified to explain why this process of decolonisation was overdue and how we failed India as its ruling class.”

Everything in the article has already been written before, not just by the ones who were enthused, but also by a large number of the Hindu Right.  The phraseology of some amongst the latter may not be to the standards of academia, but they had the truth on their side.  While the anti-Hindu intellectuals could make fun of the idiom, the spelling mistakes, the not so well-formed sentences, etc., they had no answer to the truth that was being expressed.

The process of decolonisation has been an integral part of the struggle for independence, since freedom for the Hindus meant not just political but also civilisational.  Those who were the ancestors of what is now called the Khan Market Gang, had little understanding of the civilisational roots of Bharat – in fact, being seeped in the Marxist school, they actually thought that Bharat had no history that would indicate a unity of the nation.  They thought they were the inheritors of the colonisers, and not the civilisational heroes that existed over a few millennia.  They have always been deracinated and most of them are in this state even today.

Marxists managed to capture the levers of power that were outside the space of electoral politics. This enabled them to dispense patronage and promote people who conformed to their political and social ideology.  Or made it known to those receiving the patronage that they were being rewarded for an ideological purity and not high standards of intelligence.  Effectively, the Marxists demanded and received funds from the society to continue the colonisation project.

Those rooted in the Bharatiya civilisation found support from the people at large, and institutes outside the mainstream came to be created.  These institutes primarily used the Bharatiya languages to spread the knowledge of Bharat and were able to have an audience that was truly national.

So, what enthused the few who promoted the article?  It was the name of the author – Tavleen Singh.  

Considered to be a senior and hence, an informed journalist, she moved quite comfortably (in social terms) within the various spaces that came to be populated by the Khan Market Gang.  She also claims to be part of the ruling elite, or at least she was.

To evaluate to what extent the Hindu Right should be enthused, one should go back to her own writings prior to her epiphany moment that seemed to have happened in a short time prior to April 21.  She is free to change her mind, but it needs a mea culpa, which is an honest introspection and an explanation of her new position, particularly when the change is 180 degrees from before. If this is done with sincerity, I am sure that everyone in the Hindu Right will embrace her and amplify her writings so that the correct message goes out the people of Bharat and the rest of the world.  Else, one will wonder if she has an ulterior motive.

I joined the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in 1990 which gave me a deep understanding of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi movement, and, through it, about Hindutva.  I have followed her writings since then. I found her writings started from a position of deep antipathy towards the civilisation that Hindutva represents.  For example, when the BJP won 85 seats in 1989, primarily on the back of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi movement, she wrote in a column in India Today complaining that the sants of VHP want to come and occupy the bungalows in Lutyens Delhi.  When I read it, I thought with a wry smile that she thinks that Lutyens Delhi is her jagir!

There are several articles that Tavleen Singh has written since then that exposed her own deracinated mind.  She has little sympathy for the Kashmiri Hindus, who were cleansed from the Valley in 1990.  She had no qualms about her open association with the Islamic terrorists in the Valley.  For instance, see her Twitter post dated April 2018:

NO, TAVLEENJI, IT MAKES YOU FAR WORSE. It makes you a sympathiser of Islamic terrorism in Bharat.  Flaunting that she dines with a person who killed four members of the Bharatiya Vayu Sena in broad daylight is worse than being cringe-worthy.  And one cannot ignore the active support that the terrorist state of Pakistan has provided to the likes of Yasin Malik and others.

In case of the Kargil war, when more than four hundred army personnel gave their lives to evict the terrorists sent by Pakistan, she chose to believe that the then Raksha Mantri, George Fernandes, was involved in a scam in importing coffins used for bringing back dead bodies of the martyrs.  Fernandes was the first Raksha Mantri to visit the border areas in Siachen, where the Bharatiya soldiers have to defend the nation in extreme hostile conditions.  Fernandes was the part of the decolonisation project.

In May 2019, Tavleen Singh’s son Aatish Taseer, wrote a cover story for Time magazine, with the title India’s Divider in Chief.  This story is loaded with all sorts of slurs hurled at Modi.  I think she did endorse the theme of the article when it was published.

In one of her recent writings, she clearly states that the economic development that has happened over the last ten years is nothing to boast about.  Written just seven weeks prior to the one that enthused some pepole in the Hindu Right, she ends her article asking: “What point is there in building grand new highways and airports, and aiming to land four Indians on the Moon, if we cannot provide our citizens with their most basic needs?”  (Misplaced priorities or wrong priorities, The Indian Express, March 3, 2024.)

Even as she accepts that the problem of people not getting basic needs is a legacy that Modi inherited, she says that the last ten years were not used properly.  She writes: “We must hope that if he wins a third term he will try harder still and not distract from these priorities by reverting to what has memorably been described as the ‘opium of the masses’.”

It would seem that in a span of seven weeks, she realises that Modi was not distracted, because she writes: 

“What is it about ‘autocratic’, ‘dictatorial’ Modi that attracts ordinary Indian voters more? The answer that I got to this question on my recent travels in rural India is that people have seen changes in their lives, and they believe that these changes have happened because of Modi. These are not remarkable changes. They are simple things like roads, drinking water, electricity, and Internet services but because they were not there before, they seem remarkable.” 

No one from the Hindu Right expects everyone, including from within the group, to agree on everything.  However, when there is a disagreement, expressing the same with logic and data makes for a useful discussion.  In her earlier article, she takes takes a swipe at the reconstruction of the Shri Ram Mandir.  The very people who admired Modi for all the things he did to improve their daily material lives, have also admired him for improving their spiritual lives.  

Clearly, Tavleen Singh has a lot to think about and introspect within when she does her mea culpa yet again in the future.

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