This post is not against anyone at all. Just because I am a person with a quick temper does not mean I have to be attacking someone all the time 🙂
Rather I just want to discuss something using a specific person only as an example. I have a lot of respect for this person and all that he has done to break the liberal dominance in media.
I am talking about Rahul Raj. We all know him as @bhak_sala. I think most of us are fans. I have written posts in support of him when he was defamed in the Rajya Sabha.
But recently, Rahul Raj (Bhak_sala) has been raising certain issues about the Right Wing on social media. It is all too easy to dismiss him as a maverick or worse… as some kind of “defector”… LOL!
I think the Right Wing should discuss what Rahul Raj is talking about. And I want to give my personal strategic view on this. Yours may well be different (and more clever).
I think this is a fairly representative example of what Rahul Raj has been talking about recently.
Is this true? No, I am not talking about the gangrape story he mentions. I’ll trust him fully on that.
I am talking about the latter part of his post. Has social media evolved to become a reflection of the mainstream media? Too absorbed with its own agenda to actually care about anything else?
My answer : maybe!
But, my counter question is : so what?
You know Gandhiji essentially felt that we as a nation were “fallen” and being ruled by foreigners a sort of punishment for our sins. In order to stand up and be free, we would have to earn that liberty by purifying our “fallen” society.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong in Mahatma Gandhi’s observation that Indian society in the early 1900s was beset with numerous ills. Of course Mahatma Gandhi fought against these social evils.
But the question is how did the British ruling class perceive Gandhi’s effort to “purify” Indian society? And this is not just limited to Gandhi or his time. How did the British perceive “social reform” movements in India?
As an opportunity, nothing else. For them, social reform movements in India were an admission of the inherent inferiority of the Indian people. It provided an intellectual basis for keeping the “natives” under the boot of the “civilized” British.
Take this quote from a prominent Brit of that era:
“Liberty will not descend to a people. A people must raise themselves to liberty. It is a blessing that must be earned before it can be enjoyed.”
Do you know that these words were engraved by the British at the entrance to North Block where they remain to this day?
The heart of Lutyens’ Delhi. The British ruled from there. The Sonia establishment still rules from there. And both of them have the exact same message for the masses of India : you are not good enough for liberty. Go out and raise yourselves up and then we’ll see if we can give you some liberty.
The strategy is the exact same : here is how the exchange goes between the masses and the establishment.
Masses : We want liberty! Give us liberty.
Establishment : That’s awesome. We in the establishment would love to give you liberty right now.
Masses : Yay! Then, give it to us.
Establishment : We would love to. BUT …
Masses: But what?
Establishment : But we just have these tiny concerns about how you guys treat <insert group>. We are just worried that if we give you liberty < group > may face some injustices.
This is the crucial part of the conversation between the masses and the establishment. The masses are still thinking, because they know there is truth in the criticism they just got from the establishment. Finally, a “Gandhi” emerges from the crowd.
Gandhi : (to the masses) The establishment is right, my friends. How can we ask for liberty when we don’t deserve it? We have to lift ourselves up by reform.
Masses : That Gandhi is right. We are so impure. We have to go back and reform ourselves first.
Establishment : Excellent. Glad we agree. Can we keep the seat of power safe for you while you are busy reforming yourself?
Gandhi : Sure…why not.
Establishment : Bingo!
And that, folks, is how the establishment keeps ruling us. Each time we go back they point out another flaw in us. And while we get busy reforming the new flaw, they keep the power.
Think about how the establishment keeps political assertion of Hindus at bay. What about caste atrocities? What about treatment of women? Yes, there’s been a lot of reform, but we should always be busy with more. Go ahead and drive out the sexism inherent in the Rakhi celebration. How can you be so cruel to animals on Jallikattu? Have you no mercy for the environment on Diwali?
Go ahead and reform yourself. Meanwhile, the establishment will keep all the power. They are just waiting for you to become “perfect” so that they can hand you liberty.
The establishment takes on social media challengers in exactly the same way. You want to democratize the discourse? You want to pull it out of the hands of a few compromised journalists and intellectuals based in and around Lutyens Delhi? Sure… the establishment wants the same… but they just have some “concerns”.
They are concerned about “trolling” and “online misogyny”. They in the establishment are worried about social media pushing its own bias and agenda. Please go make social media perfect. Meanwhile, the old media will keep all the power while the social media challengers leave on a quest to become perfect human beings.
Does it make sense then to become a “social media Gandhi” like Bhak_sala wants us all to be? Should we all set off on a quest for perfection leaving the mainstream media to enjoy its power indefinitely?
I think not.
Bhak_Sala’s stance reminds me of Balaram who arrives just at the end of the Mahabharata war to see Bhim hitting Duryodhana below the waist. Balaram charges at Bhim with his plough, ready to slay the Pandava for violating the code of honor. But Krishna intervenes.
“The era of Kali has begun and the laws of a previous age cannot apply.”
Don’t be Balaram. Be a Krishna.