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On the boycott of Barkha, the Adarsh Liberal cabal, and Morality

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As an avid consumer of Twitter (though not prolific by any means as is evidenced by my tweets and followers count) for the past 7 years, I have seen the trials and tribulations of my RW (Right Wing) brethren. I have seen the struggle, the pain, the stupendous effort that went in to be heard, to be taken note of.

Ignored in the beginning by the twittering elite (Twitterati they called themselves, “Adarsh Liberals” are what we know them as), then reviled and mocked at and to where it is now – reviled, mocked still – but there is a change; they are wary of the RW. They feel that the scattered groups can coalesce and can be dangerous to whatever mishmash of leftist ideology they profess to.

However, this is an oft quoted line of thinking by RWs who are far more eloquent than I am and who have put it in words much better than what I have conjured here. There is good reason to recount this though, which I will get to shortly.

Somebody said sometime back that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. I will change that a bit – those who do not remember the past, will miss when chances spring up in the future. Learn from the past, so that the future won’t be a complete surprise. I have learnt a lot the past 7 years.

I have seen how the Adarsh Liberals work. How they tag team and make us follow their lead, how stories are whipped up and how it is always the same set of people who start and retweet and outrage. The pattern is unmistakable. This however is not the crux of this post. What we see on Twitter (or on Reddit) is the same modus operandi that our worthies follow in the real world. One person to innocuously report something, another to express concern and spur dissemination and a hundred other wannabes to outrage. And us, poor old us, we fall for it every time. But I digress.

I was pleasantly surprised however, when the SnapDeal boycott shaped up. We had evolved. From crudely formed insults to attacking their commercial interests (albeit in a non violent, perfectly civil way), we had come a long long way. Using the power of numbers is the one thing we can do, and we must continue to do. That is the biggest strength we have. This is something we must always remember. Snapdeal has backed off and I am sure Aamir’s celebrity net-worth is shaved off a significant amount. So it was sort of a victory.

Similarly, Dilwale and Dangal will have boycott movements. Which may or may not be productive, since not watcing a movie might be too much to ask of a majority of the RW (or indeed, any right leaning and thinking individual). But we must try. Success will come. I am also amused at what is happening to Barkha Dutt with respect to her new book. It is being panned by what I believe are both genuine readers and people who are just itching to get back at her (I sincerely hope Chaitanya Kunte took the time to do some dissing of his own – anonymously or otherwise).

This is good, although the Amazon review page for that book looks like a graveyard of insults for the ‘handsome’ author. She is predictably using the negative reviews for further publicity and is whining about Trolls or Bhakts or whatever. Which is good, because we can see that it is hurting, but are we hurting enough?

No, we aren’t. And panning it in the reviews is not going to make much of a difference to her (but the author of a similarly named book might be wondering which Hindu God he offended). The book will still sell. It may even be made compulsory reading in some ICSE or CBSE schools for all we know. That is how the cabal works. This is not good enough. Which brings me to the history aspect.

Some tweets of Barkha Dutt to Amazon India referred to David Davidar. The name seemed to be familiar. It brought back memories of something that happened a few years ago. In Canada. In a publishing house by the name of Penguin. David Davidar was a bigshot. He has three books to his name and has been in publishing for 25 years. He is currently the co founder of Aleph, which is publishing the book.

In 2010 or thereabouts, David Davidar was accused of sexual harassment by a female colleague (I presume, could have been male, not really sure). The details were scandalous. Alleged forced late night meetings, several propositions, inducements etc. the memory is hazy, details more so. I followed the case on and off. I remember the Adarsh Liberals standing up for David. “Why he could never!” they screeched.

The usual suspects (one currently a editor at yahoo, another a female author who owes a lot to Davidar and who [in]famously wrote and article about how The Ramayana and The Mahabharata were responsible for the Delhi Gang Rape). Take a moment to let that sink in. A woman, defending Davidar and calling the complainant a liar. But we’ve seen their depravity. So lets not go there. Anyhow, David was booted out of Penguin and the case was settled ‘out of court’. And left Canada as well. Which is basically an euphimism that somebody bought their way out of trouble. That is for the courts and their concience and what not. All this is a matter of record by the way, not something made up. I recount this to introduce a new angle to the entire boycott barkha’s book story.

The current boycott, downrating and so on, is purely out of spite for Barkha Dutt. Not on the merits of the book (although it is selling under the non fiction category, whilst we all know that Barkha is a specialist in fiction). That looks mean. It does more harm than good. What if it was made to be a case of morality? Barkha – the shrill feminist, protector of innocent mistreated women (never mind Bhanwari Devi), who led against and cheered as a YoYo Honey Singh concert was cancelled because of faux outrage by the feminazis; Barkha, whose moral lectures on TBSH and other panels are dripping with attitude borne out of sophistry.

Barkha, fearless journalist and Arun Jaitely interviewer par excellence – supports a person accused of sexual harassment, especially someone who settled out of court. She proudly writes a book published by a person of unclean hands. An alleged predator of women (since sexual harassment cases may not all be reported, the complainant may not be the only one). She thanks him profusely, he who is an alleged sexual predator.

Will Barkha do anything for fame and money? Will she even partner with an alleged sexual predator? Is this what Barkha has been reduced to? Yada Yada. You get the drift. This achieves better objectively than downrating out of spite. We boycott her, we show her up as a slimy character who is willing to partner with an alleged sexual predator, reduces the halo of morality that she wears and so on. This is the same Barkha who shrilly called for a boycott of Honey Singh, because she found him nasty and demeaning to women (although it was more of a ‘People Like Them’ thing). The same Barkha is proud to work with an alleged sexual predator?

Lead with this and the effects will be manifold. You’ll know why when you visit the website of Aleph and scroll through the authors section. Veritable treasure trove of Adarsh Liberal names. Some more known than others. That they lend their names to a Davidar backed publishing house even after knowing what his past may have been like, shows that these folks have not an iota of morality in them.

It’s not like there aren’t other publishing houses, but they went with Davidar’s. Somebody who has been accused of sexual harassment and never proven innocent. They choose to work with him. They who speak of woman empowerment and so on. They who espouse morals and other virtues. Strip them of their morality and show that our secular liberals aka Adarsh Liberals are nothing but opportunistic weasels who wouldn’t give two hoots about selling you – their ‘fans’ – to the highest bidder.

Do that and we’ll make a dent in the chink riddled armor of the Adarsh Liberals. This is a good opportunity to further expose Barkha, we shouldn’t let it go.

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