Yet another open letter! To Bhakts, trolls and faux nationalists


Rakesh Sharma

Rakesh Sharma is a noted filmmaker. He has returned his National Award along with other filmmakers protesting against the divisive and communal politics of the central government.

Yet another open letter!
(responding to the twitter trolls and the ‘celeb apologists’)

Diyar Bhakts, trolls and faux nationalists,

Lets first deal with your whatabout-ery.

I did not protest the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975 itself. At the time, I was a school student in class 5, but not travelling to school atop a crocodile in a river. My chetna was jagrut, but not quite the stuff of legend or some tacky comic book.

I didn’t raise my voice against the British massacres in the wake of India’s first war of independence in 1857, nor did I protest the killings of innocents by King Ashoka, Babur, Taimur and the many other bloodthirsty rulers India has seen over the centuries, for the simple reason that I was yet to be born. I agree that I should’ve discovered a voice in my pre-embryonic stages, perhaps during the Vedic period, a few thousand years before my actual birth, but I wasn’t as enlightened as you at the time!

However, much before you discovered the art of trolling on social media, I wrote and/ or spoke against the Nellie massacre, the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, the 1992-93 Bombay riots and the bomb blasts that followed, the 2002 Gujarat carnage and the 2013-14 Muzaffarnagar riots. I have raised my voice in public protests against Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, the Bhagats and Tytlers of 1984, Sharad Pawar and the Congress government of Maharashtra in 1993 and Modi post-2002. I have condemned the Indian Mujahideen and the Abhinav Bharat alike. I suspect that might truly boggle your mind, or whatever passes for it, for you can not quite comprehend the notion of an independent voice, can you?

I have the deepest contempt for all the UPA scams and all the NDA corruption – I have demanded action in the wake of the many Gujarat CAG reports citing undue favours to crony-industrialists and massive losses to the public exchequer, and the CAG reports indicting the UPA government and many other state governments. I have never been able to become a blind bhakt, venting selective outrage, denigrating/ intimidating independent voices, a skill that remains elusive to me and comes naturally to you.

To me, India has always been greater than any Gandhi Parivaar or the Sangh Parivaar, but that must be a notion totally beyond the realm of your comprehension.

I do not have a direct pipeline to God, but I promise, I will pray for your speedy mental recovery and ask him to finally give you what makes us human – a mind and a heart, for you to discover those alien things called thoughts and emotions, that can lead you to feeling empathy for fellow humans.

trollOn a more serious note: To the hatemongers, the trained attack dogs and the suave apologists, now invoking whatabout-ery – how does it matter anyway – what anyone did or did not say in 1975, 1984, 1992-93, 2002 or 2014?

All of us as citizens have awaited a prompt and just response from the State and all its institutions – but when you see them failing, not out of routine apathy, but as per a pattern of diabolical designs – what choice does any citizen have, but to register his or her strongest protest and speak up, adding to the growing chorus of collective anguish.

As writers, film-makers, artists, scientists, educationists and intellectuals, it is vital that we take the lead and ensure that the public discourse is not tarred by apathy, ignorance or fear. So that the citizens of this country speak out to let those in power know that we expect them to take India forward, and not back to some imagined glory of the prehistoric times, that we expect them to preserve the India Gandhi, Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh, Nehru, Bose and countless others fought for, and not destroy it, with naked impunity and gleeful perversity.

The whatabout-ery seems to come from people who themselves haven’t spoken out consistently on principle, but mostly on a partisan basis, and very selectively. Whether it is merely ironic or hypocritical or both – none of us can know, for there isn’t yet an anthropological or medical study of the pea-sized brains the trolls possess.