Friday, March 25, 2016

The New Fringe

There have been some editorial pieces recently that have, as always, decried what they call the Hindutva brigade for all the problems of the world, from ISIS to a lack of ripe bananas in a store somewhere. It is becoming a most regular affair, with the same set of individuals writing in different outlets, both online and offline, about the so-called 'Idea of India' being under threat, Emergency-like situation, fascism, and all that jazz. It is almost becoming comical now, with the same trash being paraded as if it is new. Recently, another such piece of trash caught my attention - a lament that the so-called fringe (read, the right wing) has now become mainstream, and their ideas have become acceptable. Now, here's a bit of spin if I've ever seen it.

But it's not spin simply because the so-called fringe has not become mainstream. In fact, they have. Right wing ideas of capitalism, entrepreneurship, and equality of individuals has become mainstream. What these articles are hiding is the fact that the old ideas of socialism, naked pandering to minority communalism, deliberate use of caste to divide Hindus, and other such tools that have till recently been the norm, are increasingly becoming fringe. The commentators who are crying that the right wing is no longer the fringe have actually become the fringe themselves - loud, shrill voices, bereft of logic, that holler out loud, hoping to catch some attention, but fail to do so every time.

And they have none but themselves to blame. As long as the media was under their control, these leftists could be as hypocritical as they wanted to be. So the murder of a Muslim man by a Hindu mob is a lynching, but the reverse is mere road rage. Calling Durga a prostitute is freedom of expression, but calling Mohammed gay is blasphemy. Dividing Hindus and Muslims is wrong, but dividing Brahmins and Dalits is fair game. A secular country doling out a Hajj subsidy is perfectly rational, Sharia is secular and a uniform civil code is communal. It is these and many more gems of hypocrisy that people have finally come to see, understand, and resent.The game, at least for the so-called intellectuals, is up.

The best example of this is the fortune of the Communist parties. In most of India, their ideology has indeed become the fringe, now trying desperately to clutch at universities, as they always do. Sure, they win elections, but that's because they use caste, tribal affiliantion, and religion to the hilt (so much for communist utopia). The Congress has done much better because they have no ideology, they are simply power hungry. But even their sponsored ecosystem, what I call the Deep Congress, is under strain. They are also becoming the fringe.

Something strange is indeed happening in India. The hypocrisy of the old is giving way to new ideas. The fringe is becoming the mainstream, and the mainstream is becoming the fringe. 

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