The deadliest mistake that some thinkers, writers and ‘influencers’ of India’s emerging Hindu, "Indic," or “RW” side make is in believing that only they have truly “Red-Pilled” themselves while their opponents, the “Leftists” or “Left-Liberals,” are just popping the fabled Blue Pill or chugging the Kool Aid. The “pills,” by the way, are a reference to the 1999 movie The Matrix in which the hero chooses the Red Pill which opens his eyes to reality, and the “Kool-Aid,” is a reference to 1960s California psychedelic culture popularized by the brilliant writer Tom Wolfe.
At the outset, I say we must reject this simplistic assumption on which much of “RW” Twitter-WhatsApp-Facebook and now Zoom conversation rests; that the “Left-Liberals” somehow are a deluded, clueless bunch managing to get by on sheer evil or privilege.
I understand, naturally, that it is a tempting generalisation to make, especially this week when a storied “Left-Liberal” stole all the headlines from the far more important issue of temple attacks in Andhra Pradesh with her Harvard Professorship that wasn’t. Left is Blue-Pill, Right is Red-Pill seems right, to the Right, and even to the Non-Right. Left is No logic and No truth. Not even that self-professed compassion and concern outside of their own pre-approved identity boxes.
But all this aside, I wish to submit: the Left Pill is not necessarily a Blue Pill.
This has to be understood. And I don’t mean in a vacuous, trying to be neutral, pseudo-empathetic way or anything. That is too easy. Of course, the Left also thinks pretty much the same things about the Right as the other way around. Half of America right now is convinced, or is being convinced by its media, that 70 million people that supported the guy they disliked did so because they were brainwashed by “fake news” and “populism” and must be sent to extreme re-education camps. Yes, there is that “both-sides” aspect to this; the Left thinks the Right drank the hate Kool Aid, and the Right thinks the Left drank not one but many, many different mixes of Kool Aids. But that, that Blue Pill stuff, the delusions and deceptions I often write about, is not my point here.
My point is that the Left is the most potent Red Pill the present generation, or at least the last few generations, of modern world history has seen. No one on the Right seems to get this. They see only the insanity that follows, and the low-hanging fruit of ridicule that the Left seems to offer. But by failing to see that the Left has its Red Pills too, its critics have been left in the dust.
The Left has shoved the Right out of its own bastion, the corporate-war-machine-big-business America. It can’t get any starker than that. And I can’t believe Indian friends of the RW type are still in some bhrama (illusion) that this “Leftist” Kool-Aid conspiracy is going to just go away because the BJP wins elections or maybe Trump "ji" will come back in 2024 or something.
I have no case to argue now for Left or Right in their ideal forms, or in the forms of their embodied political figures and figureheads. What I want to point out is simply the brutal reality that the Left Red Pill is real, and that it is highly effective.
On its own, it’s not the problem. The problem is that the Right, especially such as there is or wants to be in India, fails to see that the problems from the Left come from elsewhere, not its Red Pills.
To understand it, try to imagine first of all about the nature of the Red Pill moment or effect in your own life, be it from any corner of the discourse. What was the event that made you realize that all you believed or assumed was not quite so? Was it a sudden, startling insight, or was it a gradual build up? Was it Hampi? Was it Aavarana? Was it the relentless hypocrisy of Indian media? Or your children’s history textbooks, and the chutzpah of successive regimes printing whatever they want without the evidence (as the recent RTI case showed)?
Or was it more immediate?
A home you had to leave forever?
A relative gone forever for being, "unclean," “shirik,” kafir, heathen, Brawmin?
The Hindu Red Pill.
Jagged Little Pill. Only not little at all.
Our pain. Our truth. Our struggle. Our battle.
We all got to the Hindu Red Pill some way or the other.
But the problem is that the Hindu Red Pill, at least the way it is today, isn’t enough without some understanding of the worldwide domination of the Left Red Pill.
I say this because I saw both. This is how each one felt.
In 2016, I went to see Qutub Minar. I had been there at least twice before. Once, when I was about nine years old, and again, when I was about 20. The first time I recall trying but not being able to get my arms around the iron pillar. The second time, I did. That is about all I recall. In 2016, I went in once again with just a tourist’s eye, albeit not too excited about things (it was a family visit). We were there for almost an hour wandering around, taking photos, and it was only then that it hit me.
Horror hit me.
All the nice-looking walls, pillars, sculptures, I was taking photos of was not just simply there, an old, “natural” ruin over which another building had popped up. All of this was an actively, zealously destroyed temple.
Why was I surprised? Why do I still feel that moment of sinking apprehension so vividly?
The surprise wasn’t the fact of the destruction. The surprise was about my own inability to have seen it, understood it, felt it just right off the bat. It was 2016. It was a year after I had written Rearming Hinduism, with the inspiring symbol of Hampi Narasimhaswami on the cover, a most carefully and reverentially chosen symbol for my effort if there was one. It was in fact nearly ten years after I had visited Hampi, and understood for the first time, vividly, spectacularly, what we once were. And what we will be, somehow, yet. Yes, by 2016, I was a Hindu-woke, for lack of a better word. And yet, it took me a whole hour to grasp the intensity of that site.
What we see, feel, and come to know rests so much on our Prapti (fortune, blessing, inheritance). I had the Prapti to have reached these moments of understanding, learning, and sharing with my readers, over these years because of many people, moments, books…. and yet, only so little, and yet, to only pray for more.
If you have been “Hindu Red Pilled,” or “Right Red Pilled” (since these seem to be closely tied together in Indian or Hindu spaces), you have probably wondered, after your own awakening, about the apathy, indifference, complicity even of friends, family, teachers, colleagues, shopping mall Sunday crowds, tourists in even historic sites. How do they just come and go, selfies and no more? How is it they don’t see what you and I can see? Neither the vast beauty and sacred presence, nor the violent defilements, the violence that still exists today, temporarily hidden under polite constitutional codes and tentative demographic civility?
Not enough education?
What is our duty then?
Mine, now, is to share that this Hindu Red Pill alone will not help anyone. This illusion in which the normalisation of the Hindu Path to Extinction is normalised so effectively that even Hindus jeering and laughing at their own gods in the Bollywood multiplex don’t see it is something innately sinister, a menace that has already grown enormously.
This illusion you will see only when you also know the Left Red Pill.
What is the effect of this Left Red Pill?
Well. For me, the Left was my first Red Pill. It began in the 1990s when I was a graduate student, and it made me who I am now. I do not think I see anything without it, even as I see the limits and lunacies of the Lefty pharmacy perhaps since I am also in the space of the Hindu Red Pill.
The Left Red Pill is that realisation, just like how a Hindu realises with shock, at Hampi, at Kashi, at a thousand other places, that THIS-IS-WRONG, that the whole of this contemporary modern landscape bio-hell we live in, THIS-IS-WRONG too.
For me, that happened in the 1990s. Whether it was life as a student working to survive for the first time in my life, my teachers, the obvious Marxist roots of my field, or the sweeping changes unfolding in my hometown which included not just the theoretically positive ones like a booming economy and growing middle class prosperity but the actual, immediate, physical and environmental fallout of it…. I saw million-year old boulders and hills pulverized, lakes filled up, trees cut down, farms disappear, and then elders face these changes all bravely, traffic, insolence, inflation, anomie, everything. And most of all, I saw the connections, and perhaps only because of my education, my Left Pill, as it were. All these malls and high rises and Fortune CEO mobile-number-length salaries, they came out of something, they extracted something; land, labor, lives.
I saw the whole thing as a monster.
And I never stopped seeing that. Because my Hindu Red Pill was just that. A Hindu one. Not a Right Wing one. I saw the monster still, but only saw its origins more deeply than the Left did or cared to admit because now I read Sita Ram Goel. But to the millions in India in school and college who are from any Red Pill, chances are it will be a tough fight to escape the Kool Aid.
Walt Disney. Mickey Mouse Corporation is educating your kids, in Saraswati’s civilisation!
And now, it’s Amazon Corporation teaching your betas and betis to MBAs and IITs.
Of course, it’s a rat race. Of course, this is how parents, kids, students, all will struggle through it.
But who will offer the first glimmer of hope? The first vision of what it all is? And how, perhaps, one might be free?
Hindus? Hindu Parents? Busy either telling kids to forget temples, gods and pujas for old age because JEE-SAT-GRE is the only thing that matters. OR, go to temple, god, and pujas on weekend only because JEE-SAT-GRE is the only thing that matters.
The first Red Pill that comes their way will be the Left. Songs like Rat Race. And So Much Trouble in the World. And Them Belly Full but We Hungry. You get the drift. Art that speaks of the injustice, the pain, the needless suffering. Some will take it and get very good at it. I mean good in an ethical and intellectual way. Others won’t really care. They will just see the Left pharmacy is offering cushy jobs (and pills) so they will just get in and stay there, sucking out what’s left of the planet from their privileged positions while also performing just the right platitudes to keep the pharmacy open.
After all, the Leftiest Lefties I have seen in India in the last two decades are not the lifelong jholawala PhD students that the Hindu "Right Wing" laughs about but the Hindu "Right Wing's" own bosses, the corporate bigshots and owners. They have the sweetest Blue Pill of all, that somehow their privilege, power, participation in global systems of extraction and exploitation, is for the good of The People, while the people’s own traditions, temples and sacred places are superstitions that must be destroyed. The RW’s will complain and complain, cozying ever deeply into the clichés of the failed American "Right Wing" revolution without understanding. But by doing so, they will surrender the mainstream of the culture and conversation to the Left Blue Pill, the Loony Pharmacy of the Planet if there was one.
The point is today’s world. Today’s modern, mass-homogenised, indriyacally-colonised, river-killing, cow-gulping, nature-guzzling world. See it for what it is. Now.
The Hindu Red Pill, without this one insight, this one key vision of the interconnection between wealth and poverty, economic growth and planetary destruction, profit and labor, will only remain a fringe Red Pill. It will wake Hindus up to injustice, yes, but will it succeed? Will it explain the whole of the world as it is today and not just Hinduphobia? Will it have an answer to the questions that children will ask sooner or later, why there is inequality around them, why someone can splurge in one evening at a bar what their maid slogs on her knees for a whole month to earn? Will it have an answer to all the forms of suffering and madness being generated each year the Monster grows and spreads beyond reassurances like “but they are better off too, look what a nice smart phone our driver bought”?
If there are no Hindu answers for this, your children will seek only the Left answers. Because they do have that one Left Red Pill which is the issue of class. And with that “gateway drug,” of course they will get all the other Left Blue Pills too.
They will say Hinduism has no morals. They will say Hinduism thinks poverty is okay because of "caste system" reincarnation karma. They will say whatever else kids these days are taught with all the fury of a new religion or awakening. Some of your kids will of course resist or reject it. But increasingly, like the doomed even if once armed and aggressive colonising Right Wingers of the United States itself, your "Hindu RW" solutions will lead them nowhere.
The Hindu Red Pill. It could answer more than Hinduphobia too but at the moment it doesn’t.
So that’s why we have the sad situation we see. More and more young Indians going Hindu-woke on social media but then grasping for explanations from the most ridiculous and anti-Hindu of spaces, like the American Christian Fundamentalist Right. They do it because they have no other account of social history at their grasp. Even the very best accounts, using the giants of Hindu resistance, answer for one part of this destruction, but not the whole thing. And inevitably, they fail. Or remain stuck on the treadmill forever.
Hindus get woke. But what next?
The problem today is primarily not the “MMM” triumvirate (Marxist-Missionary-Mullah) concern of the Hindu movement. It is primarily that fourth “M,” which is named, strangely enough, by the Left but not by the Indian RW (the American RW names it quite a bit now though): the Multinational, the Megabusiness, the Corporation.
In plain terms, this new "M" is the businessman without ethics, who has now become a planetary superman in his powers, and his greed. The other three “M” forces are relevant for this critique too, but without confronting the first cause, for all the problems your children see every day, you can never hope to teach them about all the other causes, and all the other problems in the world that we face as Hindus.
If you rant about missionaries or jihadis, they will think you are a hateful Right-Wing majoritarian Hindu who wants to impose his religion on India’s minority Christians and Muslims (at best, they will accept it happened in the past but USA and India are secular now so how can you blame those religions still?). But if you show them that the slum children in India playing on sand-piles by gigantic construction sites, the destroyed farms, forests, the displaced farmers and forest-dwellers, all of them have suffered this because of a global chain of events in which all four “Ms” have played their part, you will prepare them for the tough battles that lie ahead.
And a tougher battle it will be. Imagine the amount of propaganda they are growing up with in school, college, peer groups, social media.
In our childhood, movies occupied maybe three hours in a month. Today, do they get even three hours in a waking day free from digital sensory ingratiation and manipulation?
We cannot say what battles they will fight, and what their own “Red Pills” might be. But what we can do to help is to understand the way things are now in this topsy-turvy battle for truth and sanity that is the propaganda age.
Don’t ignore the Left Red Pill. Once you have that, don’t forget the Hindu Red Pill. And once you have both, you, or your children, will know how to kick the whole Crackhouse media joint fleecing the world down in flames.
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