Quick question : If you had a chance to meet Dr. Kalam, what would you do?
I would try to learn something from him. Even if I don’t understand the details of technology, I would try to learn from his life, his zeal, his hard work and dedication. I like to believe that most of the country would say pretty much the same. There are a million things we can learn from him.
But then, there is Lutyens’ Delhi and there is the rest of the country. No sir, the denizens of Lutyens’ Delhi have nothing to learn from Dr. Kalam. Instead, they arrogantly offer to teach him stuff.
What would the denizens of Lutyens’ Delhi teach Dr. Kalam? About “tolerance” of course.
Enter elite journalist Sagarika Ghose. With the Presidential election around the corner, this seems like the right time to read again her epoch making 2002 article in the Hindustan Times. Well, to be fair, Rajdeep and Sagarika produced several gems of journalism during and about 2002, but if there is one that should win Sagarika Ghose a perch of immortality, this one should be it.
Again, let me ask you this : if you met Dr. Kalam, how would you address the great man? Probably with a humble “Sir” or maybe even “Respected Sir”. But as Sagarika Ghose mocks us, we are just members of the “Great Indian Public”, with all our silly reverence for knowledge. She is not one of us and I am sure she sees it as a great honor. So, she calls him “Bomb Daddy”.
Why should the Great Indian Public be thrilled about Bomb Daddy? Elite journos on the other hand, only get excited about truly worthy people (tweet compilation by Mediacrooks)
Ms. Sagarika Ghose then proceeds to give Dr. Kalam a real scolding about the supposedly VIP treatment that she thinks atomic scientists receive. In doing so, she also makes some truly puzzling allegations against Indians in general for …. umm, er … loving science! Apparently, it has something to do with all of the following : (1) Casteism (2) Sexism (3) Hindu fundamentalism.
Don’t tell me to make sense of this extract. I didn’t write that article. She did.
But I guess she has some kind of problem with atomic scientists leading “pampered lives” where they are ferried back and forth to spotless labs. Supposedly, it makes them “loftily distant from the dirty masses”.
On the other hand, in this picture below you can see an elite journalist toiling at the grassroots, far from the lofty lifestyle of atomic scientists.
Perhaps she wants the government to stop “pampering” atomic scientists. The government could use the money to ferry elite journalists back and forth in the Prime Minister’s official aircraft.
Next come a bunch of sentences that I never thought any rational person would write in his/her lifetime.
Science is compatible.. even “particularly compatible” with religious fundamentalism? Science creates an “orthodox and extremist mentality”?
What? If you really love your “humanities” subjects so much, at least read them. Throughout history, science has not created orthodoxy, science has always demolished it! Read history or at least use some common sense.
And then, a reminder to all science enthusiasts out there that Osama bin Laden studied engineering. I guess terror finally has a religion to which it can be successfully linked. It’s not called Islam, but science and engineering…
The article comes to an end with a stern warning to Dr. Kalam about the importance of “tolerance”. I guess she is saying that Lutyens is ready to make peace with Dr. Kalam as long as Bomb Daddy promises to be a good boy and not turn into another Osama bin Laden!
Folks, the reason for reading this old article is not the comic value. Nor the embarrassment that it would cause today to elite journalists. It is to remind the Great Indian Public what your brain looks like on liberalism. Don’t do liberalism or you will become intoxicated like “Udta Lutyens”. Liberalism di maa di …