The Deracinated Nehruvian Power Elite Derails the New Indian Renaissance

A survey of the history and consequences of Western intellectualism and how its blind adoption by the Indian power elite after independence derailed the trajectory of decolonisation that had begun during the New Indian Renaissance.
The Deracinated Nehruvian Power Elite Derails the New Indian Renaissance

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The Deracinated Nehruvian Power Elite Derails the New Indian Renaissance
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The Training, Character and Bequest of the Stalwarts of the New Indian Renaissance
The Deracinated Nehruvian Power Elite Derails the New Indian Renaissance

THE EASIEST JOB is to gloat and feel proud about the luminaries of our New Indian Renaissance. The enormity of the difficulty facing us begins when we attempt to walk in the path that they have graveled for us. This difficulty has acquired an insurmountable quality in post-Independence India for two major reasons.    

The first obviously is the deracinated power elite that seized the Government and wrecked our social harmony by uprooting a moral and ethical order, which was based on the code of Dharma. Roughly since the 1960s, our courts became flooded with disputes, which for centuries, had been resolved by a single angry glare from an elder in a village or community. Even a superficial reading of the Privy Council judgements reveals the caution that the British took in sticking to these age-old customs and usages prescribed by our Dharmasastras. “Independent” India has thoroughly abandoned even the notion of Dharma in areas which even the colonial British were scared to touch. This perversion was not only allowed but actively encouraged by the aforementioned power elite.

The second reason was both the consequence and a servant-maid of the first. In practical terms, this was the emergence and the rapid inbreeding of a new class of mentally colonized slaves which called itself variously as “intellectuals” and “opinion-makers.” At no point in our history did this class exist. As we’ve seen earlier, this class was impregnated in India by the Macaulayite “education” system but it acquired frightening levels of power and influence after “independence.” The largest component of this class included the Communists, Marxists, socialists, progressives, and others who awarded fancy appellations to themselves. They arrogated unearned power to pronounce sweeping, public verdicts on topics ranging from thermodynamics to Dharma. Here is a sample of their intellectualism:  

… we should not overlook the fact that this objective force cannot be accepted as unconditional, and that particular historical reasons should be taken into consideration. The bourgeoise becomes a revolutionary factor when it raises the standard of revolt against backward, antiquated forms of society…

What does this even mean? Yet, people who churned out this sort of incomprehensible nonsense were deified as intellectuals and profound thinkers by the rootless ruling class for more than half a century. M.N. Roy, the man who wrote the aforementioned quote was regarded by Prime Minister Nehru as the “greatest Indian intellectual alive.” And so, bereft of such political patronage, it is doubtful that these “intellectuals” could have gone very far.

India was a freak case where the term “intellectual” became a synonym for “Marxist,” “Progressive,” etc., for a straightforward reason: it was a Western import and its importers were Indian bootlickers of Marxism, Communism and variants thereof. The stalwarts of the New Indian Renaissance were not intellectuals in this sense.

This needs a brief explanation in our context.

THE TERM “INTELLECTUAL” OR “PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL” is fairly recent, dating back roughly to the early 18th century. Its most influential progenitor was a Frenchman named Jean Jacques Rousseau.

The growth of the phenomenon known as intellectualism was an outcome of the medieval European society’s revolt against the stranglehold of the Church. The British writer Paul Johnson gives a succinct assessment of this class of people:

“With the decline of clerical power in the eighteenth century, a new kind of mentor emerged to fill the vacuum and capture the ear of society… He brought to this self-appointed task a far more radical approach than his clerical predecessors. He felt himself bound by no corpus… For the first time in human history, and with growing confidence and audacity, men arose to assert that they could diagnose the ills of society and cure them with their own unaided intellects: more, that they could devise formulae whereby not merely the structure of society but the fundamental habits of human beings could be transformed for the better. Unlike their sacerdotal predecessors, they were not servants and interpreters of the gods but substitutes. (Emphasis added)

“Unaided intellects” endures as the distinctive hallmark of the so-called intellectuals. When an unaided intellect acquires the frenzy of a permanent fever, it produces a Prophet. This is precisely what we notice in Swami Vivekananda’s immortal description of Prophet Muhammad:

This state of going beyond reason, transcending ordinary human nature, may sometimes come by chance to a man who does not understand its science; he… stumbles upon it… In a good many cases there is the danger of the brain being deranged… you will find that all those men, however great they were, who had stumbled upon this superconscious state without understanding it, groped in the dark… They opened themselves to hallucinations. Mohammed claimed that the Angel Gabriel came to him in a cave one day and took him on the heavenly horse… Think of the good Mohammed did to the world, and think of the great evil that has been done through his fanaticism! Think of the millions massacred through his teachings, mothers bereft of their children, children made orphans, whole countries destroyed, millions upon millions of people killed! Real inspiration never contradicts reason, but fulfils it. (Emphasis added)

From this perspective, every intellectual from Rousseau onwards is a quasi-Prophet. Personal hubris, a total negation of the past, a personalized and only version of a grandiose utopia, and an obstinate refusal to admit any error – these are traits common to all prophets from Muhammad to Marx to our own Mahatma.

Western intellectuals beginning with Rousseau have had the bad luck and misfortune to live in vastly changed spatiotemporal circumstances. 18th century Europe was not 7th century Arabia where a deranged warlord could wage wars to implement his hallucinatory religious vision by raising fanatical armies. However, the long-term outcome of Rousseau’s brand of intellectualism has been no less fatal than what the Jihad and plunder-hungry armies of Islam have achieved over the centuries. Muhammad built armies comprising trained and indoctrinated soldiers. Rousseau & his intellectual progeny have spawned generational academics and committed legislators.

Negating the past is perhaps the most powerful ingredient of any Prophetism. The past is either a force for the good or a pesky obstacle depending on an individual’s mental makeup. In the Hindu tradition, the past is merely a point in a continuum and it is in this context that the term Parampara – tradition – acquires its most profound meaning. Hence, by definition, the question of negating the past does not arise. On the contrary, Prophetic creeds including the creed of intellectualism have no historical basis to stand on unless they negate or vilify any history that does not fit the core of their prophetism. The alleged “dark ages” that predated Christianity, the concept of Jahiliya in Islam, and the “regressive/feudal era” of Marxism are clearly cut from the same cloth. Dr. Koenraad Elst’s Negationism in India is a masterly exposition of this phenomenon.

The servile Indian variant of this Western intellectual class blindly stole this negationist formula to declare, for example, that Dharma is superstition. It is really quite incredible. In the last volume of his monumental History of the Dharmasastra – a sacred Yajna that consumed sixty years of his life – P.V. Kane makes a humble submission. No matter how many times you read it, you feel like a mere speck, and a lump automatically forms in your throat:

I could not arrange or plan my life. 1 had to oscillate between education, literature and law, between Government service and an independent profession like that of law, I have, however, lived a very active, full and varied life for over sixty years. Thinking over the vast Sanskrit literature and the labour and time that I had to spend on one branch of it, I am inclined to close this Epilogue with two lines from Browning’s poem, “The last ride together,” ‘Look at the end of the work, contrast The petty done, the undone vast.’ (Emphasis added)

Remember that for more than half a century, this Indian “intellectual” class literally dictated what the “true” history, culture and civilization of India was. It branded someone of Kane’s eminence as a regressive Hindu communalist and got away scot-free. It decided and destroyed countless careers. It could do all this because its prophetism had political shelter. One is reminded of Allan Bloom’s pithy diagnosis of this mindset:

Only Socrates knew, after a lifetime of unceasing labour, that he was ignorant. Now every high-school student knows that. How did it become so easy?

In this combined light, what has been the Hindu experience of intellectual tradition? Is it even an intellectual tradition in the sense that the West understands it?

To be continued

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