Are you a bhakt - or someone you know or love is one?

Sanjiv Krishan Sood
Sanjiv Krishan SoodApr 16, 2018 | 11:06

Are you a bhakt - or someone you know or love is one?

I have for long been thinking of chronicling the qualities of the modern day bhakt, who has a firm belief in the infallibility of the present leader of the country and his way of governance.


Circumstances connived recently to compel me to spend an entire day in company of one such person whom I can confidently refer as "param bhakt". Confined to a car, I had no alternative but to bear with him. The company went a long way in crystallising my world view of the "bhakt".


Encouraged by the experience I can confidently attempt to codify the manifest qualities that a bhakt can be identified by.

I have always felt that a bhakt is one who has divorced rational thinking faculties and fails to see anything good with dispensations prior to 2014, or anything wrong with the present one even though he might himself be hurt and may be seeing the hurt all around him. So, to paraphrase the words of Karl Marx a bhakt firmly believes that "bhakti is the opiate of masses".

Not that his bhakti is confined only to his political thoughts. A true bhakt fails to see anything good in other religions. He firmly believes and loudly proclaims that persons practising other religions, especially those originating in Middle East should be thrown out of the country. Practitioners of other faiths should follow.

Another quality of the bhakt is his total inability to converse softly. He firmly believes that a point can be made effectively only when backed by full lung power. Repeated requests to my company to lower his voice failed and after a couple of such pleas invited a retort "sattar saalon se to aise hi bol rahe hain, tabhi to aisa haal ho gaya" (For 70, years we have been talking softly and that is why we are in this condition today).


Fourth, any bhakt worth his salt would not let the other person speak without interrupting him. My company was an acute case of such verbal diarrhoea that we witness every day on TV channels from spokespersons of bhakts and their ideological parents. Suffice it to say that they are invariably loud-mouthed and love the sound of their own voice.

This brings me to the fifth quality of a proven bhakt. If by some miracle of God, the other person is able to utter even one word to put across his point of view, the bhakt starts referring to "pichle sattar saal" (the last 70 years).


He gets even more worked up if he is reminded that "sattar saal" also include four in which the present dispensation was governing the country and another six in which similar dispensations were in power. In such a situation, the bhakt accuses the "non-bhakt" of being oblivious of the larger picture and trivialising the discussion.

Sixth, a bhakt will never fail to accuse the non-bhakt of politicising an issue. So, non-bhakts are anti-national as they are determined to politicise the Unnao and Kathua rape cases.

Seventh, if you are not hypocrite, you are not qualified to be a true bhakt. For this, one has to be glibly able to justify the demand for resignation of the (former) chief minister of Delhi for the 2012 Nirbhaya case and in the same breadth condemn in no uncertain terms the demand of non-bhakts for resignation of chief minister of UP for the Unnao rape case.


Also, if Supreme Court justices raise the issue of opacity in allocation of work, they are driven by political motives and ideology which is contrary to that of bhakts. But they never fail to loudly proclaim the opacity of the collegium system.

So my dear bhakt what is wrong in a senior judge highlighting the opacity of the system? Interestingly, the same judge was a darling of these bhakts some time ago when he had given a dissenting judgment advocating transparency in collegium system. Similarly, the bhakts vociferously justify non elevation of the judge, who ruled against President's Rule in Uttarakhand on grounds that he is junior but justify supersession of two equally capable generals as Army chief. Suffice it to say that tunnel vision and dementia of bhakts enables them to justify contrary conclusions for two incidents having similar facts.

Another quality worth noting among bhakts is their attempts to distinguish between perspective and fact. In their world view, the opinion of non-bhakts is simply a perspective but their opinion is a fact.

Finally, a bhakt, if he is not able to silence the non-bhakt by shouting and browbeating, he will descend to silencing the latter by calling him "stupid, uneducated and anti-national". This happened to me too, but I held on till the journey ended and we went our ways on not too cordial terms.

bhakts have no respect for the rule of law and justify violence in no uncertain terms. The one in my company vociferously justified the encounters by UP Police and said that the criminals have no right to live. The death of several innocents who were also getting killed in the process was simply collateral damage for him. He was pretty sure that he could never be the target of such an encounter, which left me wondering whether it was due to him being a bhakt.

Despite this staunch devotion to the ruling dispensation, the bhakts, without exception, will tell you that they aren't actually bhakts. That's another characteristic which puts them all in the same bracket.

Last updated: April 17, 2018 | 10:28
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