Who is being intolerant now? There is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had no problems in giving away the Ramnath Goenka award to author and Times of India senior journalist Akshaya Mukul. And there is Mukul who “cannot live with the idea of Modi and me in the same frame, smiling at the camera even as he hands over the award to me.” As if Modi were some kind of monster whose mere proximity would transmogrify the Great Secular Author into another monster!
Going by this logic, Modi must have corrupted a large number of people from all walks of life, for he is arguably the most active Prime Minister the country has ever seen!
The context of Mukul’s squeamishness further accentuates his intolerance—and that of his ilk’s. The award in question was for his book, Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India. He did not refuse the award, which was collected by Krishan Chopra, the publisher and chief editor at HarperCollins India. Mukul was not doing a Sartre; he was just being… well, himself, a true Left-leaning intellectual.
In the Leftist scheme of things, there are only two colors, black and white; there are no nuances or shades. Modi and all that he represents are black. Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India is the millionth attempt to enunciate this sickly, dichromatic ideology.
Everything about the book is wrong, including the title. Nobody made Hindu India; it has always been like that. India is not a Hindu Rashtra or Nation, but it surely is a Hindu country, Hindu civilization. Hinduism is the salience and the essence of India; there is no other way in which India can be defined except in Hindu terms. This, however, is not the occasion to critique this tendentious and malicious treatise.
Suffice it to just mention that the book disapproves of Hindutva, the RSS, the Bharatiya Janata Party, etc.—that is, everything Modi is associated with. It is not possible that Modi didn’t know, or was not informed about, the contents and the tone and tenor of the book. Yet, he had the catholicity of the mind and the magnanimity of the heart to honor the book and the author.
And look at the author? He exhibits pettiness. Instead of receiving it from the hands of the Prime Minister—unfortunately for Mukul, Modi is Prime Minister —he tends to score brownie points with fellow intellectuals and gain some cheap publicity.
Mukul surely has managed to impress the kindred souls. Leftists and liberals are lauding him for his audacity to take on the Prime Minister. But in doing so, they too are showing their proclivity for intolerance.