How the Progressives Bombed Literature by Ruining Language
In this series
Because all ancient civilizations regarded language as sacred, they befittingly assigned a Goddess, or Devi to represent it. Thus, at once, both the spoken and the written word became akin to worship. All ancient Indian political philosophers and savants uniformly prescribed harsh punishment for committing vaak-paarushya or using profanity or harsh language. Beginning with Maharshi Panini up to the modern times, our grammarians have prescribed and upheld this sacred credo: using Sushabda (correct usage of words) earns virtue and using Apashabda (improper or distorted usage) begets sin. A lifetime of paying careful attention to using language and employing restraint in speech automatically leads to inner cleansing and outward refinement.
More than any other class, politicians have not only understood the central value of language but have mastered it. The most celebrated political leaders throughout history were also the most accomplished orators and writers. It is also the reason that language continues to occupy a prime spot in the annals of the Communist or the Left-Liberal cult. We have seen elsewhere how the Left has mastered this dark art of inventing new terminology by mangling language. This primarily works in two ways: a seemingly-positive label is invented and applied to themselves and its antonym is taken from the dictionary and applied to its enemies. The simplest definition of the enemy of the Left: anybody who disagrees with them on anything.
Among other things, George Orwell’s immortal classic, 1984 is akin to a user manual of linguistic distortion whose political consequence is the collective mind control of an entire population. Three years prior to 1984, Orwell wrote a sort of non-fictional preface to the novel in his other classic essay, Politics and the English Language. Right from the opening line, the essay takes off like a rocket:
It is for this reason that our grammarians and linguists insisted on a thorough and rigorous training in language before writing commentaries and digests on crucial subjects like philosophy, aesthetics and literature. It is a measure of our civilisational downfall that today, half-baked pretenders whose only language training—if it can be called that—is in English have neither fear nor shame to write “commentaries” and “interpretations” of say, the Nasadiya Suktam, the Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita. Arguably, this pretension also has its subconscious roots in the century-long Leftist vandalism of language. Orwell continues,
The other word that can be added to this ever-expanding list used to be commonplace till the fall of the Soviet Union: Progressive. The first usage of Progressive was in 1600, derived from the French, Progressif, which is in turn derived from Latin. In 1889, the word was applied in the sense of taxation. However, until 1908, progressive largely stuck to its lexical meaning of “characterized by advancement in action, personal character, etc.” After the arrival of Karl Marx and his gang, it quite obviously took a political character. Now it meant, “radically liberal, favouring reform, etc.” The implicit meaning of “liberal” and “reform” was either left deliberately undefined or invented and applied to the prevailing situation. After a lull of more than a decade, the word Progressive has made an impressive comeback after the Far Left took over the Democratic Party in the USA.
However, in every case, the label Progressive always has a virtuous, almost holy connotation but in reality, it is a highly-loaded, political term. Thus, no matter in which context and subject it appears, its underpinnings are always political. To the unsuspecting casual reader, the term, “Progressive Literature” evokes a positive aura, which is why it has managed to subvert the psyches of several generations.
But it is when we read what they mean in practice, the subterfuge becomes crystal clear. Here is Munshi Premchand:
Notice the sheer sense of self-entitlement that oozes right from the very first line. Also notice how almost everything in Munshi’s quote is left deliberately vague, undefined and hanging, and simultaneously, there is an overarching sense of judgement. Terms like “scientific rationalism,” “reactionary,” “revivalist,” and “communalism,” are taken to be self-evident truths because…well, because the Progressives uttered them. These terms are topics for serious and deep inquiry and continuous exploration and cannot and will not have conclusive answers due to their innately subjective character. But Munshi Premchand only gets worse:
Here, the sense of entitlement gets the heroin dose of haughtiness: “rescue literature from the conservative classes?” What does that even mean? Think about it. The word “conservative” comes from conserve, which actually has a positive connotation in phrases such as “conserve all the best values and traditions of the past,” and so on. And Premchand’s last line of a “future we envisage” is actually a barefaced confession: it is the future for India that the Communists had envisaged back then taking orders from the USSR. It is a future that was realised under Nawab Nehru and his toxic dynasty. It gave us the JNU and the pervasive Leftist destruction of Sanatana culture and its spiritual civilisation.
But we get ahead of ourselves.
In the next part, we shall delineate some facets of what “Progressives” like Munshi Premchand and his club defined and dismissed as “conservative” literature.
To be continued
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