25 October, 2020

Virtues Of Fallibility

Fluent, brave, knowledgeable, democratic, modernist and gently snobby about the Aggarwals and Sharmas.

Virtues Of Fallibility
Indian public discourse is dominated by an upper-caste male gerontocracy, for whom grand theories are far removed from everyday life and individual emotions. Good old boys swap windy ruminations behind closed doors and then wonder why things aren't improving.

Penguin's new series, Interrogating India, vows to create passion in public debate by rescuing it from venerable personages. And Mukul Kesavan's essay in the series, Secular Common Sense, is fluent, brave, knowledgeable.

Kesavan's a democrat and a modernist (and gently snobby about the Aggarwals and the Sharmas). He makes his preferences plain. He prefers the 'promiscuously plural' Congress to the 'chauvinist' Sangh parivar.

Kesavan is brave in that he mounts a strong critique not only of the rss/bjp, but also of all self-appointed 'secularists'. He accuses the latter of a bogus 'gallantry' and a patronising 'chivalry' towards Muslims; criticises them for being 'sectarian' and being 'out of touch' with facts like the tensions between Christians and tribals preceding Graham Staines' murder; and...



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