How self proclaimed liberals and conservatives are hurting the Indian growth story

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self imposed intellectuals
flickr/amash

In these 3 years encompassing 2014 India elections, Brexit and 2016 US elections, Demonetisation, I have noticed a few things

Firstly, people are so embedded into their own bubbles of left and right political alignments that they have stopped seeing the other viewpoints and then debate

Secondly, with our “isms” we tend to follow only those news sources that appeal to our natural leanings (Scroll, Mint, Rana Ayyubs, most MSM for left or ABP, Zee News, Arnab for right). I have seen people trying to debate while always quoting from the same news website or journalist

Thirdly, we have started loving whiners. Whiners who don’t provide solution. I am complicit in that too but my sole redemption is that I have made an active effort to reach out to our legislators with solutions. We love Nandita Das, Sagarika, Rajdeep, Rana Ayyub whose calendars are stuck in 2002 and Arnabs, Zee TV anchors, Sudarshan TVs who are only chest thumpers.

Fourthly, elitism of the left and rabidity of right has only grown each day. While the self-styled intellectuals, product of DU, JNU, Jamia Milia poo-pooh the downtrodden Dehati, Patanjali loving Sanghis, the Sanghis have labelled all questioning people as Libtards, Presstitues. Otherism has only caused the widening of rift, in similar fashion that caused a rift between the Left and Right of US. Everyone knows what happened in India and US.

Then, we are enamoured by narratives, which are mostly anecdotal. While some want to hang the PM, others want to drive away journalist, leaders of opposition to neighbouring countries. If we believe in democracy, we must also believe in the judgements of Judiciary.

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Then, not my PM, not my President. Same people who hail democracy, want their thoughts to be imposed on majority because majority can’t make right decision. So basically, democracy when things go my way, and oligarchy when they don’t

Then, I have read so many books, learnt so many philosophies that I am the best judge of what other want. Good books and philosophies don’t bring 3 square meals, job, education, roof, electricity to house of poor. While we can be sanctimonious lot quoting horrors of Orwellian dystopia, Nero-like demagogy, the poor man which is in majority hasn’t been able to go beyond 2 levels of Maslow’s hierarchy. For them these are just big words.

Finally, Ridicule – This is another problem. Make other feel like Macaulay’s child or a bhakt depending on whose side you are in.

Though these we are only widening the right between the two ends of the spectrum rather than working together.

I have not used fancy words as a) I don’t know many b) they mostly obfuscate or even hide the inherent lack of substance with profuse language. Many of you wouldn’t agree, criticize me, even point out it’s random incoherent thought. But guess what, it’s still a democracy and it kind of sucks the way it is.

I have always felt that Disney and Pixar movie have more to teach us adults that just being sources of entertainment for our next generation. I offer you Anton Ego’s last like from Ratatouille

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defence of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.”

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And also, one isn’t a sceptic unless one has not completely seen the other side.

I have been one of those, but now I am trying to learn

Caveat – I don’t support Trump, and reluctantly support Modi.

Cheers

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Vatsal Uttarwar
Vatsal is a current student in Oxford University and a graduate from IIT Guwahati.