An Open Letter to Sanjay Dixit

In the three years of this regime — and one uses the word deliberately — never has so much venom been spilt in bits and bytes.

Mr Sanjay Dixit responds to the Open Letter by former Bureaucrats, with a flurry of personal attacks. Or what he thinks are personal attacks. Little realizing that he condemns himself more in the process than those he wishes to slander.

He calls them the Award Wapsi crowd; berates them for losing their shirts over two lynchings (yes you read that right) ; launches into much what-aboutery with regards to the emergency, 1984 and other instances; then delivers his final insult by calling them the “intellectual elite.”

One has often wondered what people who hate the Intellectual Elite, would prefer to be guided by — The “Unintellectual Common?”

If yes – – then the BJP, the Saffron Brotherhood and India has got it’s wish. It IS being guided by the Unintellectual Common today. A tea seller, a soap opera star, a maker of horror movies – – these are the kinds of men and women in power. Frankly, with rare exceptions, for the last few decades these are the kinds of people who have always been in power.

The only difference between previous dispensations and this regime is that political power did not seek Intellectual approval. That the Sangh seeks intellectual approval should have been a good thing. Except that in the absence of such approval, it’s response is to snuff out intellectual dissent.

Which brings us to the only real gripe of Mr Dixit, worth addressing. The dominance of The Left in the humanities discourse in India.

He is right on that count. The Left has largely dominated Indian Academia – it is an undeniable fact. But what Mr Dixit counter-offers is not great scholarship from the Non-Left.

His own expressive flair suggests he is quite capable of being a scholar himself. He is alarmingly articulate and despite his apparent derision for the Intellectual Elite, one wonders where he situates himself.

He is described in  Swarajya Marg  as IAS 1986 batch in the rank of Principal Secretary to Govt of Rajasthan. Posted as Commissioner of Enquiries. He tweets  @Sanjay_Dixit

With 19 articles to his credit in that magazine alone, it seems Mr Dixit himself must be cast in the role of the elite he despises.

Yet, his counter to Marx is not Thomas Paine, Aristotle or even Jefferson and Voltaire. His counter to Marx is Modi.

The irony, is, both are “dictatorships of the proletariat.”

Just, different proletariats.

In the long term, both are just power grabbing structures and  “Dictatorships of the Power Elite.”

Given his current status in the Power Elite and his obvious intellectual capacity, surely Mr Dixit is aware of the inherent contradictions of his position.

What his ire and anger seem to suggest though, is the coming of a great purge. Not so different from great purges of the former Soviet Union.

He would love to close down all allegedly Leftist universities, shut down all Leftist scholars and speakers and get rid of all newspapermen he thinks are Islamist or left leaning. Siddharth Vardarajan and The Wire come in for a special mention.

Well, not on our watch sir, not on our watch.

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