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Monday, July 27, 2015

The Process Of Being A Chetan Bhagat

I never read Chetan Bhagat. I am not saying he is a bad writer but then he is far from being an average one, let alone good. When it comes to literature, I have a very strong and rigid taste bud. I never go by popularity but by the content. CB would always languish at the bottom if I were asked to come up with a list of writers that I prefer to read. Chetan Bhagat, who? Once I asked to a disgruntled fellow commuter when she tried to appear as the marketing manager of CB and his utterly awful books. And I didn’t say it for fun. My counter question to the lady genius was partly factual. I didn’t know a word about CB back then. Perhaps I never wanted to know. Barring the odd occasions when I find his books in railway platforms or at traffic signals where a child labour tries his/her best to sell me the crap, I never had the honour of going through his writings. And if I believe my fellow reader friends, the decision of mine to not venture anywhere near CB’s works is a judicious one.

Like his books, I never took CB seriously for his op-eds that come on TOI or elsewhere. That is because I never believe anyone who smells success in one field automatically becomes an expert in every other field, including but not limited to, psychology, politics, philately and believe it at your own peril, dancing and secularism as well. Like his books CB appear far below average with his articles in TOI or may be even worse. Since I never had read his books, I would strongly contest anyone who claims his books to be worse than his op-eds. For me the conclusion is - Nothing can be more childish and pathetic than CB as an op-ed writer. That said it is desperately needed that his latest blog on TOI must be analysed, not because of the veracity but because of the stupidity it carried.

I read a counter article of a critic who accused CB of only generalization. But I beg to differ here. Only generalization? CB appeared more like a disturbed and out of tune frustrated rant maker. This very frustration only led him to compare the entire support base of BJP as a bunch of non-English speaking male with high level of inferiority complex. When one goes ahead and equates an entire support base of the ruling party as males only, it brings down monolithic articulation to a new low. To top it, when one identifies them as weak in English it shows his frustration in not finding a better argument point to debate. So hopelessly sticking to mundane characterization of people whom you don’t agree come calling in your deliberation. The lack of ideas in his writing is further reflected when a pathetically predictable CB in one stroke called everyone a Bhakt, Internet Hindu, abusive and sexually frustrated souls. There is not a single line in the whole post where one can find any kind of logic in whatsoever way. But I still agree to one essential point in his two page long diatribe which in a way could be the gist of the post. At one point he says or rather writes – “India is a third world country with third rate infrastructure and few achievements on the world stage in science, sports, defence or creativity". Bingo!! I would say. I agree, we Indians love mediocrity. People like CB and many more thrive because of this foolish love of us Indians for mediocrity. That is perhaps the sole reason why a mediocre writer like CB can become a best seller which in effect casts a serious question mark on the collective wisdom and literature taste of a billion plus populous nation. Because of this mediocrity loving mass that a third rated writer is considered good enough to pretend like an expert and let open his vacuum brain for all to see. This mediocrity has propelled many third ratters to sky high in India and CB happens to be just one of them but surprisingly he seems to have a problem with this love for mediocrity.

His arguments attain even further hilarious heights when he stresses home the point that all the supporters of BJP and Narendra Modi have a serious flaw with their English. Because of this short coming the so called Bhakts find themselves at sea while talking to girls which according to CB catapult itself to sexual frustrations. What kind of logic is this? Am I reading a fraught drunkard who is trying to prove how beneficial drinking is for every one? For the first time in my life I came across a definition of democracy where good English and tremendous flirting abilities because of your good English becomes an important criterion. But I don’t blame CB or his ilk entirely. This is what happens to a mind-set cocooned by the 200+ years of slavery of the English louts. Look Chetan, India was a vibrant nation even before the language English took its birth and if the lack of this language knowledge with individuals paranoids you so much then you are either unaware of our rich culture or you don’t consider our own languages far above and richer than English. In either way you don’t deserve to comment on Indians and their English knowledge or the lack of it.

Even the political articulation of CB throughout the post is, well, in lack of a better word, horrendous. Taking a cue from the post, I got this feeling that CB wants us to believe, those who are English savvy, educated and non-abusing internet trolls follow the Congress party. I agree, he didn’t say it in as many words but the reference could be well drawn from the point that, he wrote, Congress would come back again at least three times in the post. I was expecting an erudite CB to have gone through the last general election patterns and the vote share that BJP got in urban areas. For some reason when Congress believes their vote mass to be there in the villages, which essentially are non-English speaking because they are easy to be fooled around, CB sees it the other way. This is just one of the many flaws that CB successfully managed to draw. Even if we let go our last general elections, every political expert worth his salt counts the urban vote base as the core voters of the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is not a rocket science to conclude that an average urban residence is fairly educated with descent command over the English language. Chetan’s logic even sounds more hollowed when he fails to explain why Congress is losing its grip in every pocket where the educated voters exceed the uneducated ones. If I quote a line of CB himself that he jogged out in an open forum a year and half back – It is the educated who ask Congress to furnish something better and more useful than a borrowed surname and a critically hopeless Rahul Gandhi. But alas!! A clever by half CB sees the ground realities in an entirely different spectrum now.

What could be the reason behind this sudden change of hearts, you may wonder. The answer lies in the question why a below par writer’s generalist views on a lot of people should call for such outrage. CB once happens to be one of the Bhakts. Not long back he had a view which he back then claimed of his own. Back then, the great CB always had a question or two against the very things that he tries to be intellectually critical now. For all the logic that can support this erratic migration of CB, I can only point at the lack of benefits CB expected from the present government as the primary reason. For reasons best known to CB he may had the idea that like what Congress does with its sycophants, he would be bestowed with all the goodies of the world without any preconditions. But that hardly happens with every government. And I don’t see why it should be that way even. Support for a political party or a leader comes with ideology matching. If the idea is to be a beneficiary for your support then chances are ripe that you end up bewildered like CB. Frustration even compounds further if you happen to be below average in your field but got to the limelight since the nation loves mediocrity. Bile flow is expected when this mediocrity loving mass makes you feel special. Along with bile it also blurs your thought process. A below par writer suddenly thinks he is too special to be ignored by the current dispensation for the things he is entitled to.

So one generous advice for CB – Wake up and see the reality. In want of a better writer or because of plain stupidity of our reading mass you are what you are. So trying to be an expert in fields where you have no idea is laughable because you seem to be no expert in the field that you think you are expert. So give everyone a break and stick to what you are best at, even if that is mediocre in global scale. Take a chill pill and concentrate on your latest trash that you could be writing now. 

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