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How can the Indian 'right' do it 'right'?

The political atmosphere in the country is visibly charged up after the turn of events in Karnataka last week after the declaration of results. Though there were predictions of a hung assembly in the state, the expected results which saw the BJP fall short of merely 8 seats from a clean majority, took the nation by surprise. What unleashed thereafter was a drama that no one was quite ready for. Things are only heating up for the General Elections 2019 and social media is full of advice on what and how the 'right' side of the political spectrum can prepare to face for what appears to be a mammoth task in front of them -winning the magic number of 272 seats in the Lok Sabha. The political discourse now is bereft of all decency and morality since 2019 is now a war that each side wants to win desperately. However, what transpired in Karnataka is being seen by many as a warning sign for the BJP to not take 2019 for granted. Tons and tons of advice poured in for the right-wing on Twitter, which is nothing less but a battle-ground for the 'right' vs the left' in India. This reminded me of a question that I was asked in a formal interaction towards the end of April. "Why are there no right-wing intellectuals and why is the right-wing not as successful as the left-wing?"

I, for that matter, disagree with the contention that India does not have right-wing intellectuals. A look at Twitter will help you realize that there are many who write sensibly, argue with facts and logic and provide an alternative to the left of the political spectrum on this social media platform. I am not certain if they themselves would want to identify as right-wing but I certainly see them as the face of the right-wing in India, putting their best food forward to counter leftist propaganda. To name a few: Makarand Paranjape, Rahul Pandita, Nupur Sharma, Kanchan Gupta, Vivek Agnihotri, Shefali Vaidya etc. Even if you don't want to label them as right-wing, these are clearly individuals who offer a counter narrative to the incessant propaganda coming from the left cabal. Here are two sample tweets of the kind of discourse doing the rounds on Twitter after Karnataka 2018 happened.



Coming back to the moot question of why the right-wing is not as successful as the left-wing (I refrain from using the term 'left-liberal' because there is nothing liberal about the left, it having unleashed years of violence and terror on scores of people. Attaching liberal to left is misleading to young minds who find this ideology intellectually appealing). Not everything that is wrong with the 'right' has necessarily to be blamed on them. Credit is due to years of leftist propaganda which has been successful in brainwashing people. Here, I offer five primary reasons as to what ails the right-wing in India and what can be done about it.


1. ECOSYSTEM AND DISCOURSE

What and Why: India's political discourse and governmental machinery has long been dominated by left-centric governments (read the Congress party) for decades after independence. So, those in power have successfully moulded the narrative to their advantage, developed institutions of national and international significance which push and promote their favourite ideology. Their capture of power for such a long time after Indian independence is enough to explain as to why every institution in this country reeks of leftist thoughts and actions. Its a cosy ecosystem built over many years, with lot of hard work, money and allegiance to the ideology. Hence, it is difficult to demolish.

How: How can the right ensure that their discourse does not fade into oblivion? Simple, focus on promoting a discourse, nurturing an ecosystem (institutions and people). Will take patience and time, but can be done if energies and resources are invested correctly.


2. MEDIA

What and Why: Media has been one force to reckon with when it comes to leftist ideology being promoted, endorsed, pushed and mainstreamed. A simple analysis of mainstream media content all across India will help us understand how the media system has been hands in glove with the leftist ecosystem. It is the media which has successfully pushed forward a narrative of leftist ideology being the only valid ideology in India and calling it doomsday whenever the right has tried to offer an alternative. The media is full of individuals consumed by this ideology, who receive perks to help it stay alive and who are not at all open to ideological diversity. The ecosystem which created this narrative of the left as 'holy' and the right as 'the one to fear' can be majorly attributed to the media. It is like you repeat a lie a thousand time and it comes off as the truth.

How: This is where the right has to focus and it is doing so with a lot of center-right portals like Swarajyamag and OpIndia coming to the forefront; offering analysis from a rightist perspective. The right-wing has also taken social media by storm. Reaching out to an ignored social media constituency and tapping the same has worked. But the right has to be more upfront in capturing the media space because that is how it can turn the tables on narrative dominance by the left.


3. FEAR OF ABUSE AND BACKLASH

What and Why: Because of the ecosystem, discourse, narrative and the media - a lethal combination that supports the leftist thirst for power, there exists a lot of negativity and prejudice for right-wing thoughts, actions and individuals. As a right-winger, one's expression of opinion is already constricted by an ecosystem that is out there to lash and abuse any expression. So while the left has this serious gimmickry of freedom of expression and thought, it is true only until one agrees with them. Hence, many young and fresh right-wingers fear confronting this system directly. They know that it involves a risk of being abused, trolled, unfriended, blocked! Hence, expression and voices are chosen safely since not many want to risk personal and professional relationships.

How: It leaves a right-winger with no option but to voice out, express, write fearlessly even at the risk of being labelled. A shift from one ideology to the other is never smooth and right-wingers must get habituated to being ridiculed, mocked and demeaned. Nothing should hold back their ideological convictions. Speak and write fearlessly, but with logic, facts and reason since you will have the last laugh! You don't want to become a poor cousin of the leftists!


4. POLITICAL CORRECTNESS OF THE RIGHT

What and Why: The Indian right loves 'political correctness'. In that, it doesn't want to be seen as appeasing Hindus. At least this is how the political representation of the Indian right is. They'd rather not be seen as 'communals', 'bigots', 'minority haters' (which they are actually not, but are only labelled so by the left. Remember, a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth). So when the right is in power, they shed all their Hinduness, forget their core vote bank, abandon core issues that are directly linked to the welfare of Hindus and Hindu rights and try their best to appear secular (not really secular, but pseudo secular like the left). They easily fall prey to so called secular ideals and try and follow the same appeasement policies that the Congress did for decades. They are afraid to own up what they stand for.

How: Stop being politically correct, be unabashed, never abandon your core voter, stop trying to appear secular since the term and its practice has been highly polluted in this country, and finally stop trying to seek leftist approval. They are never going to let you in their eco-chambers. Do what you have been elected to do!


5. POWER

What and Why: In the more than seven decades of our independence, the right has been in power for about a decade approximately. Quite naturally, you cannot call the shots if you don't have power. Surprisingly though, the left despite being out of power somehow manages to run, sustain and even further an already flourishing ecosystem (refer reason no. 1). So, the right is naturally at a disadvantage already. Having power will ensure ideological diversity (lets not call it supremacy) and will give the right the time needed to bring about the change they want to. But, power is a must at all costs and here is where, for the moment, we can give the right its due credit. 

How: Never take the electorate for granted! Remember what happened to Vajpayee's 'India Shining' in 2004. You cannot bring about drastic change in institutions, ideology and systems if you are in power only for five years. Focus on winning elections, retain power as the left did for so many decades in this country. For without power, and without how you use it to your own ideological advantage, the rightist cause may well be a lost battle. 

Comments

  1. This article creates too much confusion regarding Left and Right side of Indian politics. If we look historically, The political terms "Left" and "Right" were first used during the French Revolution and referred to seating arrangements in the French parliament. The original Right in France was formed as a reaction against the "Left" and comprised those politicians supporting hierarchy, tradition and clericalism. Throughout the 19th century in France, the main line dividing Left and Right was between supporters of the French Republic and those of the monarchy.

    Later, the word Right used for political ideology based on false idea of racial superiority. It's not hard to establish the fact that Slavery and Colonialism were direct consequences of Right Wing ideologies.

    We know that USA gained independence in 1776 but if we look at Asia, it's only in 1898 when Phillipines became first Asian nation to became independent on it's own. But it was not a White-Nation, so the independence of non-white nation being taken away by USA.

    I guess the Right Wing would have justified the rule of USA, in a same way many people think RSS was against the independence of India.

    Swami Vivekananda was supportive of socialist state but he was against any revolution which destroy more than it creates. From time to time he said the situation of masses and women will determine the progress of a nation. He criticized the caste system that exist in Hindu Society and blamed India's backwardness due to treatment of masses.

    Any movement that support masses is Left, but someone who creates gulf between section of society is not. Right wing refers to hunger for power where as Left refers to progress of society in long run.

    The politics can be understood very well by use of Behavioural Biology and Game Theory. Still it's getting as complex as human behaviour can be.

    Too much attachment can give rise to fundamentalism and as an intellectual it's necessary to do our own introspection from time to time. Otherwise examples exist in history which indicate dark side of political manipulation.

    European values were at it's peak in Germany but it was the same nation brainwashed by Nazi propaganda.

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    1. Dear LeftRight, Thank you for a detailed comment and putting things into perspective. I certainly appreciate that. But there are a lot of disagreements that I have with you. I have not written this article to clarify the concepts of 'right' and 'left'. This is not a theoretical or academic argument. So, if it created any confusion for you, cannot help. The post was written with the understanding that readers would know which side in India is the 'left' and which is the 'right'. This is very evident in both public and media discourse. So I don't think that my post will create any confusion. Another thing is: thank you for sharing the historical facts as per your understanding, but again, my intent was not to delve into history but into the current political and media discourse. In the context that you are talking in, the 'left' and the 'right' in its purest, original ideological form have never existed in India. Hence, the ideological debate ends there. My intention is not to give lessons in political ideology but to connect with masses, especially right-wingers who are abused and threatened by the left-wing ecosystem. In that sense, I have achieved my objective. The other point where I will disagree with you is your understanding of the 'left' as progress and the 'right' as archaic. Sorry, but there are innumerable examples available in history to prove how leftist ideology indulged in killing and violence and massacred millions of people. You have decided to think about these ideologies in terms of black and white which I don't agree with. Not everything is hunky dory about the left and neither is everything bad with the right. Those who are in tune with the current discourse in India have understood what I wanted to say :) Thank you for taking out time to comment.

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  2. I believe every person interested in Indian politics would look forward to this. As a fresher, I could relate to every stage that you wrote about. I get a clear explanation of my fear for confrontation, the reason behind it and the efforts I am supposed to put to overcome this fear. Enthralling, refreshing and fabulous, ma'am.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Rutvi, thanks for the comment. It means a lot more motivation to me to keep writing from the 'right' side of the political spectrum. As far as our ideological leanings are concerned, I believe that this is a testing time and we have to come out with flying colours :)

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