The Hindu Right’s Intellectual Ecosystem
Every age has its own political correctness. As it emerges from the dominant narratives prevailing in society, it is extremely difficult to go against it. If you don’t comply with it, you will instantly be branded as a bigot and will be demeaned and stigmatized. Therefore, most of the people, to avoid any potential onslaught from the custodians of dominant narratives, silently comply with the political correctness.
The building of a dominant narrative, which takes the shape of ideology over time, requires an intellectual eco-system that controls institutions, especially educational and media organizations. The community that manages to do this, commands the course the society or nation takes.
Take the example of India, which was dominated by Nehruvian socialism and faulty secularism for a long time. Many congress ideologues, especially Nehru, were infatuated by the Soviet-style socialism and tried to replicate it in India. They also sowed the seeds of minority appeasement in the garb of secularism. They built the intellectual ecosystem by patronizing ‘eminent historians’ such as Romila Thapar and Bipin Chandra, who served their agenda by stigmatizing Indian ethos and glorifying the invaders who made every effort to destroy Indian civilization and cultural values. The textbooks authored by the historians created a strong foundation for peddling their narrative.
In many societies, it so happens that the ordinary people, after realizing the futility of some dominant narratives, discard them. The people and institutions, which are influenced by the hitherto dominant narratives, however, continue to peddle the outdated ideologies to make their presence felt. Their exaggerated self-importance makes them oppose change and strongly feel that the society or nation is going the wrong way and only they can save the nation from going down the drain. This is what exactly is happening in India.
After experimenting with Nehruvian socialism for over half a century, the Indian economy was infested with public sector loss-making behemoths which are manned by white elephants. The 1991 economic crisis forced the Congress party to discard its socialism and adapt market-oriented economic policies. Even after it has conclusively been proved that socialism is nothing more than a mere Utopian dream that is never going to be materialized, the Communists in India did not lose hope. Though they were fully evicted from the legislatures, they continue to operate in India in multiple manifestations from jungles, universities and newspaper offices.
After the faulty secularism, which opened gates to Muslim appeasement even before the scars of partition were fully healed, Hindus slowly started awakening to its dangers. This awakening led to the emergence of Hindu right-wing forces, which started dominating the political sphere of the country. Despite their political domination they are yet to establish their strong presence in institutions such as media and universities. The left-wing intellectual ecosystem that is deeply rooted in these institutions continues to peddle its dominant narrative which still enjoys the status of being politically correct.
The Hindu right, though succeeded in dominating the social media arena, is yet to break the hegemony of left-wing ideology in the mainstream media (MSM). They, however, have brought about significant changes in the way the mainstream media operates. The MSM, which would peddle its agenda-driven narratives and would not hesitate to spread fake news to push its agenda, is not able to do it freely any longer as its efforts are vociferously countered on social media.
If we feel that this ideological struggle is only limited to India, we are grossly mistaken. It is, in fact, a global phenomenon. In the United States, the people brought Trump to power even in the face of doomsday like predications made by the MSM. He came to power and he may very well retain power for 4 more years. This happened despite all the major newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post wasting tons of newsprint abusing Trump. The right-wing leaders — Modi or Trump — thrive in the face of stiff opposition and abuse.
Though the Right is struggling to establish its ideological hegemony, the Left is clearly on the backfoot. It, in fact, is on its deathbed and may vanish from the world stage soon. The agenda-driven journalism of many left-wing journos is being called out continuously. People question them about their double standards regarding socialism and democracy by citing China and the atrocities committed by mass murderers such as Stalin, Pot Pot, and Mao.
People even question them about the curious, worldwide phenomena of left-wingers emerging as the most important promoters of global Jihad and notable terror apologists. People fail to understand the relation between communism and Islamism and wonder whether Islamism has become the new egalitarianism for communists.
People who have closely been observing the happenings in India are very aware of the fact that there is an effort to revive the soul of India — its culture and way of life — to restore it to its pristine splendor. Despite all these efforts made by the Hindu nationalists, people are still not ready to openly express their nationalistic feelings. The only reason behind it is, though Hindu nationalism has a strong ideological foundation it is yet to become the dominant pan-India narrative. The right-wing, if it wants to implement its full-fledged agenda, must build a robust intellectual ecosystem and start dominating the institutions to mainstream its narrative and thereby its agenda. The left’s demise, which is sure to happen, will cause a void in the public discourse and the only force that can fill the void is Hindu nationalism.