Intellectuals are fools, only Chetan Bhagat can save Ram Mandir and the world

Abhishek Sikhwal
Abhishek SikhwalApr 03, 2017 | 20:29

Intellectuals are fools, only Chetan Bhagat can save Ram Mandir and the world

I was making love to my Swarovski chandelier (as I do every Sunday), when Taimur, one of my 17 butlers, ran into the room and said, “Monsieur, the inevitable has happened... Chetan Bhagat has said something, er, obviously stupid again...”

I put on my trousers and took a sip of Hennessy. This was good news. We had all been waiting for something like this. Of course, we never have to wait long because Bhagat is always doing something interesting like writing “feminist” books where the female protagonist has the willpower of a pillow or delivering these books to celebrities as a sad PR exercise.


When he’s not writing melodramatic fictional books about Indians, he has frictional suggestions on making India AWESOME (by having AWESOME governance, AWESOME society, AWESOME equality and AWESOME resources) and on complicated political issues. I had to call an emergency meeting with CIEWDCBHI to discuss Bhagat’s latest brain gas.

“Taimur, let the Circle of Intellectual Elites Who Dislike Chetan Bhagat and Hinduism and India know that we will be meeting at the Round Table. Tell them that the password for this evening is Maharaja Mac.”

It was difficult to find parking for Aurangzeb, my Arabian horse, near the busy Jadu Babu Bazaar but a commoner agreed to keep him for Rs 40 (these Biharis are scoundrels). Our secret society always meets at Tripty Bar because its decrepit environs provide us the anonymity we seek. Soon the Round Table – named so because it’s the only round one among its square peers – began to be occupied by our members.

There was Harish, the avant-garde artist who is training Calcutta’s street dogs to paint abstract paintings that are wowing critics in Monaco. Devika, who runs a boutique store that resells items from other boutique stores, looked resplendent in the Fab India kurta she’s been wearing since 1996. Nicholas, an Anglo-Indian feminist with a penchant for dance bars, was busy stealing lighters (all elites are kleptomaniacs). Satrajit, a zamindar who loves animals so much that he has converted his inherited mansion into an illegal zoo, sat down with a galumph and ordered a large Royal Stag (his standards have fallen since demonetisation).


As we ordered our drinks, more members took their seat around the table. We were joined by Gorky (who runs a countercultural magazine read by anarchists and Fight Club fans) and Ananda (a rock musician who maintains that every band other than the Grateful Dead is garbage). Valay, the famous photographer who only takes photos of Milkmaid cans, was present. Devarsi, a film reviewer who hated 3 Idiots so much that he put his DVD player in the microwave, waltzed in late and blamed Calcutta’s bourgeoisie for the traffic. Last to arrive was Suman, an atheist graphic designer who regularly distributes biryani outside temples just to piss off Hindus (because the homeless prefer her biryani to their prasad).

Many of the members were missing but when you run a society of intellectual elites you have to make allowances. Someone is always buying a new Ferrari or going organic shopping or decorating the farmhouse. The only thing that brings us all together is shared dislike of Chetan Bhagat.

I started the meeting like I always do, by slapping a waiter. This got everyone’s attention and we officially began.

Monsieur Sikhwal: “Bhagat has written something dumb again. Even by his knobhead standards, his latest column on constructing the Ram Temple in Ayodhya is not just infantile but dangerous.”


Devarshi: “Yes, I read his puerile piece. Whenever I think The Times of India has hit rock bottom, they go lower. They’re the Kim Kardashian of journalism.” 

Harish: “He is making a gallimaufry of Indian politics. By making a Faustian deal with Modi and Hindutva, he is forgetting the awesome suggestions he had laid out earlier. What about awesome society and awesome equality?”

Satrajit: “Maybe we are in the wrong for expecting more from our fellow Indians. Maybe Bhagat, who’s obviously trying to side with Hindutva because he’s a spineless chameleon, has the right idea. Perhaps the time has come for us to become unscrupulous individuals like Bhagat.”

Monsieur Sikhwal: “I agree. Maybe we have been going about this the wrong way. The wave of nationalism across the world has an important lesson for us. People don’t want to hear that their opinions are wrong. Even if their racist, sexist and casteist opinions are obviously wrong and go against the basic decency expected of 21st century human beings who, literally, have the entirety of human knowledge in their hands.”

Nicholas: But UNESCO has voted India as having the best hands.


Devika: Everyone has become a sellout. Just look at Manu Joseph. How can an erudite writer like him suddenly start putting out such biased columns? I’m sure they kidnapped him and gave him a lobotomy. According to him, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way minorities are being treated across India. The open threats, the diktats, the bans, the attacks, the shady Finance Bill, the RTI stipulations… none of these matter. Apparently, the biggest threat to India is fake outrage and “whining”. He was one of us and now he’s acting like he’s been living in Gorakhpur all his life.

Ananda: It’s like the Grateful Dead sang in "Estimated Prophet", “My time coming, any day, don’t worry about me, no/ been so long I felt this way, I’m in no hurry, no/rainbows and down that highway where ocean breezes blow/my time coming, voices saying they tell me where to go”.

Monsieur Sikhwal: Great, Ananda is drunk again. But we should all be asking Chetan Bhagat how he can peddle egalitarian beliefs in his books and make such divisive, sycophantic statements outside them. In his column he writes that, “peacefully, but definitely, I support the construction of a beautiful Ram Temple in Ayodhya. It is frankly ridiculous that we have to beg to restore a temple at one of Hinduism’s greatest sites.”

Gorky: Why don’t we feed him to the crocodiles Satrajit keeps in his bathtub? We can even assassinate him by attaching laser beams on one of Harish’s street dogs.

Devarsi: It gets better. Elsewhere in the column Bhagat argues that, “Violence of any form, including the kind that happened in 1992, cannot be supported. It was wrong, illegal, unfortunate and should never happen again. I think the Muslim community, or the various leaders that claim to represent it, should give its blessing to the temple in any case. This is no ordinary site. As per Hindu faith, it is the birthplace of Lord Rama, one of the most worshipped gods in the religion.”

Monsieur Sikhwal: That’s the fundamental problem isn’t it? This buffoon is mistaking a mythological text for a historical one. We know Ashoka existed because he left edicts behind. Rama, on the other hand, remains a myth in lieu of any archaeological or historical proof.

Suman: What else can you expect from someone who says, “What do historians do? I am genuinely curious. This happened. Then this happened. Then this. Ok work done for the day”?

Devika: In the column he also writes that “build a hospital instead’ is the second argument made against building the temple. We should make hospitals, yes, but it doesn’t have to be at the same site! Hospitals should be located based on criteria like where do people need them most. They can also be made on any piece of land. Why on such a holy site? Frankly, why can’t we make a temple at the site as well as a great hospital somewhere else?”

Harish: Screw any sense of practicality. Who needs hospitals or schools? I find it rather hilarious how these nationalists and chaddiwallahs think their taxes are wasted on education subsidies but a temple or giant statue will fix everything and is totally worth the tax pinch.

Monsieur Sikhwal: He saves the best for the last: “The third argument against the temple is the modern ‘but God is everywhere, so why here?’ Related to this is: ‘But what is the proof Lord Rama was born here?’ Well, God is everywhere. But we still need places of worship. So that when we go there, we can focus on God and God alone. As far as proof of Lord Rama’s birth goes, there is none. But we do have proof that this site has been known as the birthplace of Lord Rama for centuries, and excavations have shown that there was a temple here before the mosque.”

Valay: Otherwise known as the “MANDIR WAHIN BANAYENGE” defence. Basically, turn mythology into fact and then claim religious rights based on these bogus facts. Even experts are divided on the site’s exaction findings. This human centipede needs to realise that the Supreme Court is sitting on the matter and will take the right call. They are even encouraging an out-of-court settlement between the religious bodies. Let’s not forget that kar sevaks, with the permission of a BJP government in UP at the time, demolished the Babri Masjid. The riots that followed claimed more than 3,000 Hindu and Muslim lives. It was a mortal wound to India’s culture of religious harmony. Everyone, including the Muslim body, is waiting for the Supreme Court to pass its judgment. Why the impatience? Perhaps because Sanghis realise that the SC resolution may divide the site equally and this would be a major blow to their vision of a "Hindu Nation". Common sense, like God, is everywhere but in Bhagat’s head.

Monsieur Sikhwal: So what can our Circle of Elite Intellectuals who Dislike Chetan Bhagat and Hinduism and India do to counter this?

Nicholas: We should just let him speak. The more he speaks, the clearer it becomes to people that he’s an imbecile. We shouldn’t interfere with anything that the right-wing does. Sooner or later Indians will realise that, even if we intellectuals are snobs and elites, we never stopped them from meeting their girlfriends. We never interfered with their diet. They will realise that, even if some of us use these key issues for virtue-signalling while maintaining a hypocritical lifestyle, more-politically-correct-than-thou is always better than holier-than-thou because the latter often ends up at your doorstep to check your refrigerator.      

Monsieur Sikhwal: Don’t hold your breath, Nicholas. Soon he’ll be asking the Palestinians to "adjust" and leave Gaza. He’ll definitely ask the Kashmiris to "calm down". He’ll tell Syrian refugees to swim back home and request that the Rohingya Muslims please behave themselves and not cry when their village is set on fire. I love the man for his Suppandi outlook on life. Let us all meet the next time Chetan Bhagat says something dumb. All you beautiful elite intellectuals give me hope that all is not lost. Please be careful with your belongings on the way out. Last month I bumped into a poor person and immediately ran to The Body Shop to get some essential oils and cleansers that could restore my elite glow.

Last updated: April 05, 2017 | 12:20
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