The Bhakts are coming!
To borrow a phrase from Paul Revere. Not quite the American revolutionary war but probably the same sentiment behind my usage of the phrase. Revere had developed an intelligence network which warned the colonial militia against the advances of the British during the initial days of the American revolutionary war with notable events being the battles of Lexington and Concord immortalized by Longfellow in his poem ‘Paul Revere’s Ride’. He was a patriot who was part of the “Sons of Liberty”; a dissident group formed to take on the British in the years leading up to the American revolutionary war. He played a pivotal role in alerting the colonial forces on the movements of the British by riding on horseback all of which have become the stuff of legend and an integral part of American history. That was circa 1765.
This circa 2015 and we in India are at the precipice of a revolution of sorts. This time it is not the Brits but the Bhakts. I’m no Paul Revere but I sure do believe in freedom and an absolute one at that and I see that very freedom that we fought so hard to wrest away from the Brits is now being impinged upon by a sub-species called the “Uber Bhakts” like never before. Therefore, I have to blow the bugle and sound the warning.
What is a bhakt you ask and why on earth would we need a revolution ?
Well, a Bhakt is human being who has been infected with a virus called ‘Bhakti’ and consequently turns into a zombie. This zombie as is the case with all zombies is braindead and just trudges in a direction dictated by the virus often on a path of self and societal ruination. To put it into a real world context, the virus I’m alluding to i.e. ‘Bhakti’ is a malady that afflicts all the acolytes who embrace in toto every doctrine and every diktat of the leaders they follow without first passing them through the lens of reason and logic (Just imagine the followers of Asaram Bapu and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh).
Then, there are these Uber Bhakts. They start from where the Bhakts let off. These hyper – bhakts are duty-bound to attack, malign, slander and obliterate anyone who is not a Bhakt. This hunt is unrelenting and the bloodlust is insatiable. They have the ‘Bhakti’ counts ratcheted up several notches and this turns them into fierce crusaders against anything and anybody who they see as being critical of their leaders, ideas or opinions. These self-styled testosterone oozing, expletive-mouthing, mostly sexist, rabid Bhakts take it upon themselves to invade every social domain and troll the living daylights out of every single person who is seen to have a divergent viewpoint. They indefatigably ‘conjure – up’ content to showcase their leaders in a positive light, swoop in with astonishing alacrity to gag anyone who they deem as harboring even an iota of critisism against their ideologue or ideology and have aspirations of building a ‘Ramiphate’ (read Hindu Caliphate) where only them and those of their ilk exist sans the ‘seculars’ (Hindu turncoats/minority sympathizers) and ‘infidels’ (minorities). They are constantly fulminating at the mouth and are ready to launch into a scathing diatribe at the drop of a hat to pummel the infidels into submission both verbally and if required physically.
Unfortunately, the Bhakts exist on both sides of the social and political divide. You can easily find them amongst both the Conservatives and the Liberals as well as the Left and the Right.
That said, the Uber Bhakt is a breed that is fairly unique and fairly new. A few things that are characteritic of this sub-species: They are all patently right wing, they all demonstrate a unmistakable misogynistic streak, they let loose a verbal torrent of expletive laced threats during the course of a debate when they sense they are losing ground, they are always itching for the next war against a recalcitrant neighbor; jingoism be thy middle name, they are on a perennial vilification campaign against anybody who identifies themselves as a secular, they are metronomically attempting to revise history to attribute every good thing that has thus far happened to humanity to the right wingers (their icons) and all the ills to have befallen our forefathers and afflicting us today to the liberal left.
These Uber Bhakts believe in the exceptionalism of their own religion and espouse a visceral hatred for anything that in their view is deviant. They therefore despise gays, lesbians transgenders etc., denounce and denigrate any religion that is not theirs, stalk, hound, harry and ultimately cut down any woman to size who they feel is challenging the male domination of societal order and hierarchy.
They want to dictate what we wear (the various diktats around female students required to shun Jeans and skirts in favor of Shalwar-Kameez) what we eat (the beef ban), what we watch (the hullabaloo around PK), which festivals we celebrate (the hooligan brigade that roams the city streets to mete out vigilante justice to the youth celebrating Valentines Day) and finally and most importantly what we speak (online persecution of every single voice of dissent who has disagreed with the policies or views of the ruling party or the parivaar). Isn’t this eerily similar to what the Taliban enforced in Afghanistan when it was in power!!
This insidious breed of ‘Uber Bhakts’ has suddenly sprung out of the woodwork in the last couple of years perhaps emboldened by the conducive political climate provided by the current government at the centre and its empowered grassroots family (read parivaar). They are multiplying at epidemic proportions as zombies do when they bite (Propaganda blitzkrieg) and infect healthy uninfected humans. They will carry on with their malicious agenda as mindless zombies do and will keep gnawing away at our secular, tolerant, progressive social fabric unless a redux of the ‘Sons of Liberty’ materilizes to engage this vile breed in a battle to win the hearts and minds of our youth and preserve the basic nature of our democracy and society.
Let’s write, speak, sketch etc. without rest and with recourse of facts, science and reality to fight this virus hopefully to its eradication.
I’m in….How about you?