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The Curious Case of the Indian Liberals

Indian 'liberals' and 'seculars' are a special breed. One day you see them decrying rising intolerance in the country, criticizing rampant corruption in politics, and leading marches to protest against caste atrocities. The very next day you see them celebrating the victory of a convicted corrupt politician whose only claim to power is his ability to tap into the deeply entrenched caste identities of the masses.

How much more inauthentic and hypocritical can you be when you denounce caste system on a daily basis and then celebrate caste-based politics? It is clear that the Indian liberals and seculars don't want a society without castes. What they want is castes sans Hindu identity. This is the reason every time a State or at times when the nation (eg. 2014 general elections) rise above caste identities and vote unanimously they feel threatened and resorts to fear mongering about the danger of majoritarianism.

I believe majoritarianism will never take root or succeed in India primarily because the majority community, i.e., the Hindu community, doesn't believe in such a concept in the first place. If that weren't the case modern India wouldn't have the kind of diversity that we see around us today. 'Vasudaiva kutumbakam' was not a theoretical construct but a lived reality through the ages in the case of Indian society.

You just need to glance through the annals of our history to see how Hindu Kings not only protected the followers of minority community but even gifted lands and sponsored the construction of mosques and churches in their Kingdoms.

Thiruvithamcode Arappally a.k.a. St. Mary's orthodox Church in Tamil Nadu, considered to be the world's oldest Church that still has daily prayers, was built on land gifted by the then Hindu King of Travancore who granted protection to the 64 'Vellalla' brahmin families that converted to Christianity. Poonjar royal family, to which I belong, had a muslim army fighting for the Poonjar Kingdom more than a century ago. When Tipu Sultan's Muslim army ran amok from the North of Kerala till Alleppey, his army destroyed temples and churches along the way. Shaktan Tampuran, the Hindu ruler of Cochin, was instrumental in giving protection to the Syrian Christian community who had to flee from the North and Central parts of Kerala fearing the Tipu's army. Shaktan Tampuran encouraged businesses and plantations of Syrian Christians and facilitated their resettlement to places like Kunnamkulam, Chalakkudi, etc. in Kerala.

That was the level of trust and harmony enjoyed by both the communities till some time back when the caste and religious divisions weren't exploited by self-serving rulers/administrators. Compare that to the present situation where we have self-proclaimed intellectuals who have been nurtured over the years by successive governments who were more interested in accentuating caste conflicts and minority appeasement to garner votes to stay in power. They created vote banks by fanning caste divisions and resorting to religious polarisation. 

To sustain this system an intellectual eco-system was also nurtured by institutionalizing the indoctrination of these political ideologies into some of the most prominent national institutions. And when it is pay back time, the indebted intellectuals are more than willing to exhibit selective amnesia with respect to historical realities. This end result is that churning out of 'atrocity literature' by this intelligentsia to aid and support the pseudo-secular and pseudo-liberal forces in the country. It is precisely because of such people that the words 'liberals' and 'seculars' have been pushed into the confines of those quotation marks.

There is an urgent need to expose this dark under belly of the Indian intellectual establishment and create a group of original and critical thinkers who has the courage to take a stand on issues based on principles and not just their political ideologies.

Picture Source: Here

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