Sunday, April 2, 2017

Re-assertion of India's Cultural Heritage

An article from the internet. Makes a lot of sense. Reproduced verbatim.....

The Delusions of Beef Democrats

The noise over the shutting of meat shops displays how distanced liberals are from the rustic majority.
Posted By Anand Vardhan | Mar 30, 2017

When the humanising aroma of Lucknow’s Tunday Kababi reminded editors of their 
solemn duty towards Indian culture, the fate of the Yogi Adityanath government’s drive 
against illegal slaughterhouse was sealed in a major section of English press. Tunday 
kebab is such a precious part of Indian culinary culture that every English newspaper
 reading Indian, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, must try to protect it. Somehow 
reverence  for cows is not a part of Indian culture and only the vernacular buffoons
regard cows as anything more than a mammal to be slaughtered for delicacies.
The kebab-culturalists should give a clarion call for uniting to save Tunday kebab from
living cows, or for that matter, from those sinister dark skinned buffaloes.
Kebab romantics shouldn’t be distracted by homilies of the constitution, never mind that
its provisions are sometimes useful for our brigade too. Especially when we raise the
spectre of its provisions being subverted. But, some of the sermons in it - as in the 
Directive Principles of State Policy- are so bovine that they are labelled Gandhian. 
Don’t be stuck with the thought that the tag had utility for some of our causes too. 
It seems nativist moorings got expressed in Article 48 - “The State shall take steps for 
preserving and  improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves
and other milch and draught cattle.’’
These moments of beef kebab solidarity also call for some pragmatic measures. We 
shouldn’t care about what National Green Tribunal, that judicial address for our Jantar 
Mantar green activism, asked UP government to do long back - close illegal slaughter
houses and regulate meat shops.
And you know how we trapped that renegade Gaurav Sawant, executive editor of India 
Today, with charges of frivolity when our actual grouse was against the majoritarian 
being taken care of at Yogi’s place in Gorakhpur. We managed to delude ourselves with
 the idea that we can’t stand frivolous news. We know with impish glee that we love it - 
from following the baby shower functions of celebrities to Delhi Chief Minister’s movie 
reviews, if not his updates on loose motions. We lap up stories about public figures 
playing with their Labradors or German Shepherds, but to think of UP CM attending to 
his communal cows at 3 am is too scandalous. Again don’t be derailed from the kebab 
track with the fact that Yogi was only doing what a lot of people in agrarian and pastoral 
Indian plains do early in the morning.
The important thing to raise the alarm against is the cow and what the mammal means 
for a section of people who are also somehow living in this country- the rustic majority. 
Even talking about Hindi writer Mahadevi Verma’s moving story about her cow Gaura 
would be too saffron for our Chomsky reading liberated souls.
You must know that by discrediting the everyday idiolect and habits of millions of 
religiously inclined people is how we became so predictable that even the Prime 
Minister saw through it. Remember how he decoded our script very well during his visit 
to Japan in 2014. After gifting the Bhagvad Gita to Japanese Emperor Akihito in Tokyo, 
PM Narendra Modi said something that revealed how our kebab-secular tribe in the media
has demonised the use of religious texts, symbolism and the vocabulary of the vast 
majority in a country which is predominantly religious in its outlook. “For gifting, I brought 
Gita. I do not know what will happen in India after this. There may be a TV debate on 
this. Our secular friends will create 'toofan' (storm), that what does Modi think of 
himself? He has taken a Gita with him that means he has made this one also 
communal”, he quipped.
We provided him with enough evidence the same day to prove that he was right. Amit 
Baruah, one of our men covering the PM’s visit to Japan, filed a report in  The Hindu 
showing how removed people in the English press are, from the ways in which millions 
of Indians really speak. Ignoring the fact that such religious metaphors are part of 
everyday conversation for  Indians, Baruah thought it was newsy enough to begin his 
report with Modi’s use of such vocabulary.
“If the Hindu female pantheon was likened with a ministry, then education was with 
goddess Saraswati, money with Lakshmi, security with Mahakali and food security with 
the goddess Annapurna. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India was the only country
 in the world where god was conceptualised in the female form,” wrote Baruah.
There are people who argue that in the process of imposing the arrogant protocol of 
non-believers on a country of believers, we beef enthusiasts unwittingly aided the rise of 
Modi at the first place. Social scientist Shiv Vishwanathan has observed: “Modi was 
therapeutic for a generation that felt that elite modernisation was a hypocritical affair 
conducted by groups which used words like ‘secular’ to dismiss the thought processes 
of a middle class more rooted in religion. By articulating such anxieties, Modi soothed
their wounded subconscious. And this ‘wounded class’, tired of pseudo secularism, elite 
cronyism and majoritarian hypocrisy, voted him to power.”
When we house warming party revellers mock the puja performed at Yogi’s Kalidas 
Marg residence in Lucknow, we distance ourselves from a large number of Indians for 
whom grih-pravesh rituals are regular affairs. But, most likely, they may be vegetarians 
too – a sign of them being not liberated enough to be of our ilk.
Our comrades in media space have been working as gatekeepers of kebab- democracy 
ensuring that the everyday grih-pravesh banality doesn’t sneak into its cerebral realms. 
But, it seems the anarchy of social media would threaten us, it’s already doing so. As 
adman and social commentator Santosh Desai has argued, that digital space has 
allowed the majority to get itself heard without the filters of squeamish political 
The ‘common sense’ that we kebab-democrats have injected in English media chatter 
and the assumptions of the ‘educated’ has taken care of being distant from the 
commoners as far as possible. The electoral defeats that we have suffered and the 
general approval of government’s moves among the natives show that despite being 
bloated with all talk of people’s voice, and beef-kebab of course, the actual act of people 
speaking becomes indigestible for us. So a safe way to secure Tunday kebabs from the
living cows and dark buffaloes is to talk among ourselves, listening to people
isn’t that encouraging.


Renu said... last we have a strong government and truely secular one..I have to pinch myself to believe its here.

J P Joshi said...

Thank you Renu. I too feel that we have distorted the meaning of secular, based on our short terms need of getting elected. I do hope that the people of India have seen through the shenanigans of our political parties that have mostly been self/ family serving entities. A leader who speaks and works tirelessly towards 'sabka saath, sabka vikaas' is a God sent for us, and we need to support him in all his nation building initiatives.