Reverberations from the Pondy Lit Fest

Many binaries like those of Left and Right or national and anti-national have been imposed on people of Bharat who have been transcending such pigeonholes since the advent of civilization

Thanks to the systematic and strategic boycott of the Pondy Literature Festival by the illiberal braggarts of free speech, the amorphous and badly termed ecosystem of the ‘Right Wing’ had a field day celebrating letters and words in their true liberal glory without feeling the need to engage with the bigots, anyway.

 

 

 

 

This prelude can be adjudicated in digital Kafkaesque courtrooms as a ‘rant’ against the hypocrisy of the Left in Bharat who profess free speech and advocate free expression choking every voice that comes their way which differs in the route they take to advocate the very same principles. Sometimes the content is targeted, at others the articulation is aimed at and still at others the mode of articulation is darted. These reactive responses from the Left could have been defended and honoured in true liberal spirit if the essence of these insidious ways were to push the limits of the free speech debate to a purely ideational realm of free discourse.

Pondy Litfest The first Pondicherry Literature Festival was launched on 17th of August evening in a somber mood due to the on-going national mourning for the demise of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The central theme of the festival is “Bharat Shakti”. The Festival brochure says Years after her “tryst with destiny,” India stands, yet again, at new crossroads. Only this time, it is abundantly clear that until she reconciles the ideological frameworks that compete to define her svabhava, she will continue to suffer threats of political, economic, and social convulsion, remaining, in the words of economist John Kenneth Galbraith, a “functioning anarchy.” Indeed, if India has to realise her full potential and fulfill her destiny as one of the great ancient but still living civilisations, she must assert her strengths, re-conceptualise the narratives that define her, and vigorously but rationally answer her critics. This, then, is the broader task that “Bharat Shakti: The PondyLitFest sets out to address, aspiring to be different, if not unique, in the circuit of arts and ideas festivals in India and abroad.

Pondy Litfest

 

 

But when the sacred space of freedom is hijacked by a devious design of seemingly Godly devils to restrict free speech and expression within the confines of what they want to talk about, how they want to talk and why they want to, the passionate outrage becomes its own nemesis. The faux, specious narrative, therefore, is a Frankenstein’s monster which will swallow itself—same as how lysosomes consume themselves.

 

The entire ideological premise of the Left’s perennial state of destructive protest is based on the essence of what I call ‘anti-ism’ dipped in the chocolatey faux sense of love. This design is inherently and intrinsically soaked in a vitiated narrative of absolute hatred and the agenda to perpetuate this hatred in the veins and arteries of the Bharatiya social structures. The hatred for the State that exists as a running theme across the length and breadth of their campaigns’ content is an example of this case.

 

Beyond the Modern State

State is not an exclusive entity sans people, complexities and emotions. For Bharatiyas, State is Bharat Mata or a living Rashtrapurush—an amorphous identity like Shiva’s Ardhanarishwar avatar. Therefore, to hate this nation or State or think of it as an amalgamation of separated and bleeding entities is to psychologically chop off or mutilate various organs of Maa Bharati or the living Rashtrapurush.

 

 

 

(L to R) Anand Ranganathan, Makarand R Paranjape, Amish Tripathi and Vivek Agnihotri after a session in the Litfest 

 

To separate the Hindus, Parsis, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims of India into warring camps or to further divide the Hindus as Dalits, Pichhdas, Atipichhdas, Tribals is to do exactly that—chop off the limbs, gouge the eyes, slap the face and dismember the torso of Bharat Maa. It is to assault the partiarchal matriarch or the matriarchal patriarch (believe it as you may based on our gender politics) Rasthrapurush.

 

What kind of love it is for some if twisted idea of freedom and the vitriol in their alleged ‘love’ for these exact same people takes away the very essence of life out of them? In order to do good to the various children of Bharat Maa, the Left orchestrates protests and burns down and devastates the body politic of this living Rashtrapurush. While they want the rest of the nation to join them in their revolutionary act of purging, creating moments while building these iconic monuments in the name of carefully crafted sporadic causes—they psychologically alienate the people from their very constructions of ethics and values.

 

As a politically active student of politics surviving rather passionately in contemporary Bharat, I would still have given the Left the benefit of doubt despite my problems with their politics. But when I see their entire paraphernalia seeped in destruction without any constructive end in mind, when I see provocation replacing inspiration and when I see fissures being created and deepened where none exists, I know I need to be ‘Right’ to save my Hindutva Dharma.

The write-up evolved from the speech of the author as one of the panelists in Pondy Litfest.

(The writer is columnist and author)