Apollo vs Dionysus: Being optimistic in darkest of times

The efforts to reclaim the resurgent, tolerant, vibrant India of previous decades must include country’s GenNext who are being brazenly misled by the lies, deceit and post-truths of the current regime

Apollo vs Dionysus: Being optimistic in darkest of times

Sujata Anandan

How well the BJP brazens it out! A leading member of the government writes an article condemning the dark days of the Emergency at a time when he and his boss preside over the darkest, gloomiest period India has ever passed through, even considering the Emergency of a few short months that had no lasting impact on the nation. The chief minister of a BJP ruled state who has made it a habit of getting FIRs lodged against everybody from journalists to doctors to former IAS officers for speaking truth to power laments how basic freedoms and those of speech and expression were denied to us during the Emergency.

Then two chief ministers of BJP-ruled states with multiple siblings speak of introducing the two-child norm in their states compulsory, perhaps because they preside over large Muslim populations and have forgotten that one RSS chief had wanted all Hindu women to produce at least five children in their lifetime if not more.

Then looking at the failure of the vaccination drive in the country, we get a data fudge with a gap of lakhs in the surge one day which falls back to its old, low levels the next. Then again, we are expected to believe there were no oxygen shortages in the country and doctors cried hoarse, patients died gasping only to bring a bad name to the government.

All this fudging and brazenness can only come from people who are uneducated, lowbrow philistines who believe just because they are in high places they can either fool or bully us into believing all their lies and bullshit.

Recently, bhakts have been quite overcome by a foreign journalist describing Narendra Modi as Dionysus and stating that all of India's troubles flowed from his Dionysian personality. Now, both Apollo and Dionysus were the sons of Greek God Zeus but while Apollo, the Sun God, was highly intelligent and intellectual, Dionysus, the God of wine, was a complete slave to his emotions and senses.

Now Apollo reminds me of Dr Manmohan Singh under whom India lifted millions out of poverty, gave the nation years when the salaried classes never had it so good and we were all set to be among the top economies of the world. Under Modi we are indeed slaves to our emotions and senses, allowing our dark side to gain precedence over the good and glorious. We have allowed abusive, violent molesters and murderers the upper hand in society and quite apart from intelligence or erudition, only base instincts prevail among the Dionysian bhakts in this country today.

But I am happy to note that all is perhaps not lost. The Apollos of this country are spread as far and wide as the Dionysuses who support the evil regime and there is beginning a concerted effort to reverse the surrender to the senses. I have already participated in two of these groups whose co-participants have formidable Apollian reputations – Ganesh Devy, Amartya Sen, Rajmohan Gandhi, Sam Pitroda, Ramesh Mhashelkar and many others who should actually by now have been sitting back and congratulating themselves about moulding and shaping a resurgent India of their dreams.

But over the past few years they have had to exert themselves again to reverse the losses we have suffered under a completely clueless, self-serving regime that is thinking only of itself and not of the future generations of this country. (Sam Pitroda is spearheading a group to reintroduce scientific temper in the country that will automatically combat the surrender to emotions and senses and Dr Ganesh Devy is battling what he describes as “ideological Coronavirus" in the country.)

But much as their efforts are laudable, I believe these forums need to be thrown open to and include the GenNext in this country who are being completely misled by the lies, untruths and post-truths of the current regime. For most of us, the commoners, Emergency only meant trains ran on time, we didn't have to bribe government officials for the most basic services due to us and no one who was not a very anti-government activist ever got slammed into jail – even Bal Thackeray, the fiercest of opposition leaders of the time was spared by the regime and his magazine Marmik, a cartoon weekly, was allowed to publish as usual.

Now students are slammed into prison, denied bail for months on end, several journalists jailed for merely reporting the truth. Some regions of the country have turned into police states, cartoonists are thrown out of their jobs for offending just one person, women and helpless young girls are raped with impunity with no action against the offenders in the BJP-ruled states, just being differently dressed or loud-spoken is looked upon with suspicion.

Corruption, even in the name of God, is the norm and completely ignored by the powers that be... I could go on and on until the Emergency seems quite a benign tumour beside this malignant cancer that is eating away the innards of the country.

What is now needed is a fearless, systematic and issue by issue challenge to the lies and untruths this regime heaps upon youngsters who know no better.

I felt terrible when I ran across a young girl I knew who had been working as a companion to a septuagenarian neighbour. When that lady died, Mangala, an orphan, had nowhere to go and married the first man who proposed to her – a carpenter who had done some work in the home of the old lady.

She now has six children (she has done RSS chief K Sudershan who suggested the five-child norm, more than proud) and when I ran into her, she was closely examining her passbook. “I just came from the bank,” she told me. “I have it filled up regularly but I never seem to get any money,” she said.

I thought her employers were diddling her out of her earnings but it turns out she is still waiting for Narendra Modi's promised Rs. 15 lakh. Poor girl!

(Views are personal)

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