WAKE UP, India's last line of defence is your Majestic Highness!
Let's start at the very beginning.
I understand you are very hurt. You are tired and angry at India's fair name being dragged through the mud all day long.
You don't have it in you to suffer this trauma anymore. In your better, clearer moments, you also acknowledge the hoary fact that our much-vaunted 5000 year old civilisation has completely gone off the rails. And you wonder how it came to be this way.
Allow me to shine some light on that problem my friend.
The problem as it happens is YOU my dear friend! You, with your defensive postures, your distaste for a good fight, your squeamishness at acknowledging the ugly underbelly of India's fractured society, and your fondness for conspiracy theories about the world getting together for no other reason but to malign us poor things.
What year is this now? 2020? Six years into Modi-Yug and a good 28 years in the post-Babri Masjid demolition yug. Between these two yugs there was the mayhem of 2002 amongst many other disasters. And a good part of all this happened in the pre-social media era. If you are 35-40 and still reading this, ask yourself how many times have you got sucked into the bogey of 'cultural nationalism' propounded by Advani and made acceptable by the likes of Swapan Dasgupta? How many times did you by your own admission share subtle Islamophobic messages by way of 'intelligent' conversation? How many times did you bat on behalf of real material evidence from the days of the Babri demolition to the Gujarat Tehelka tapes to the beef lynchings to the rampant fake news that is de rigueur in our times?
Did you ever bat an eyelid when hate for students and minorities became an instrument of state policy post-2014? Hell, how many times did you bat for Dalits even before 2014? When paid trolls took over, first, the comments section of respected national dailies, and then, almost all of social media's political landscape, did you at any point suffer from any pangs of guilt whatsoever? When a few vocal ones abused Muslims on the school whatsapp group, did you ever feel like taking up on behalf of that solitary Muslim friend who wanted to disappear into a hole out of a sense of betrayal? Did you?
Fact is, the undue haste with which you rubbish what's being said about us in international media (or the conspiracies you seek out with ISI or pseudo-seculars maligning this country in the gulf) is inversely proportional to the fight you should be putting in to take on the real world stuff.
We got here because so many of you, privileged, educated, well-traveled dudes just did not think it was cool to take on the hate-mongers. In trying to get defensive about the psychos or in shifting the blame through convenient excuses, or in making light of the heartbreaking seriousness of this 'hate pandemic', you gave them a bigger shovel to get us into a deeper hole. We got here because you dismissed them as 'fringe', and worse, quietly watched as that fringe became the mainstream.
They are now in the government. They are Chief Ministers. They are administrators in every department. They are our MPs and MLAS. They are heading government institutions, law and order, and the judiciary. And their most virulent strain is seen on every fb page, every twitter feed, every social media handle. They are amongst our film stars, our gold, silver and bronze medal winning sports celebrities. Are they not?
Try writing one line defending muslims on many of those pages and see what happens to you. It will take them less than two seconds to call you a mullah. So what must we fight here? Who is the bigger enemy? People who bring this to light? Or people who are at the centre perpetrating these acts? Why are most of you still criticising those who criticise them?
I can only think of one reason. A misplaced sense of nationalism or culture. Say if it is ISI behind a few fake handles, which I don't believe anyway but say if there are, so bloody what? Are we not seeing the hundreds of "Nation with Namo" pages where this hate is institutionalised? Where is the sense of balance? Have you not had the benefit of visiting some of these pages? I bet you haven't. Because most of you don't even like to see this ugly underbelly. But as someone who engages and wrestles with them all day occasionally, let me tell you I am blocked on most pages! Blocked! There are millions of Islamophobic comments on these pages, but they yet can't handle even a few to help restore the balance. Now does this have an ISI hand too? Have the beef lynchings been done by ISI? Hand on heart, ask yourself with a calm, rational mind that you feel so proud of possessing.
Until, the day YOU acknowledge this ugly reality without making light of its seriousness by merrily resorting to conspiracy theories, WE will NEVER be able to push them back. So, 'decent' as you are, it is when people like you step into this messy pit, by naming them, shaming them, calling them out, vilifying them, and blowing them out from every conceivable forum possible, as "Privileged Upper-caste Hindus" mind you, it is then AND ONLY THEN, that this tide will turn.
I have no doubt in my mind about this.
This has to be fought from within. People like me have only marginal agency as Indians now. Because (BREAKING NEWS), I happen to be a 'minority'. Every word I utter is now seen through that lens by these dullards. Yes, I have better agency than a Muslim perhaps, because I am seen as someone from a community that is in part loved, and in part so inconsequential that it does not really matter. But, it will also NOT change the fact that I am living on borrowed time here.
As for you, the biggest slur they will throw at you is only pseudo-secular and anti-national. But with us, it will start with robbing our identities as nationalist Indians and then from thereon to calling us foreigners or traitors - which will be a very small step.
Do understand that even your 'anti-national' will be sugar-coated, unlike ours.
This was unthinkable even ten years ago. While there were these loonies (and I know because I have been active on social media forever, much before fb there was Orkut) who hoped to shame us so, they were few and far between. But no longer. Today my Muslim friends in particular feel abandoned, totally lost, and have come to a point where they don't understand how they are supposed to go about their daily lives by ignoring so much hatred.
Who will step up to defend them? YOU, my friend! The Hodiwalas, Pathans or D'souzas are not in a great position to do so any longer. There are two Iyers on my timelines, who do this heavy punching all day long. But they are not enough. Not enough by far. We need them now by the gazillion. It will be people like you who will need to join this fight with heart and soul. Upper-caste privileged Hindu males will have to join this movement in droves and droves to reclaim the spirit and ethos of this country.
Duck longer, and this 5000 year old civilisation will be mud before you know it. And don't go looking for convenient scapegoats when that happens, because guess what, you won't find any.
But here's the thing, if and when you do decide to step up and I hope you don't leave it too late, you can rest secure in the fact that this will be one battle worth fighting. Perhaps the only one worth fighting, given the times we find ourselves in.