I am not a Bhakt, I am a Proud Hindu! - ZorbaBooks

I am not a Bhakt, I am a Proud Hindu!

‘INDIA, India’

Irfan came shouting into my study, as Ronjoy and Amitabh were already sitting beside me discussing the funding strategy for their start-up.

‘What happened Irfan? Which match have we won?’I asked.

‘It’s not a cricket match Sanju sir, but a political tournament. And now the poster boy of INDIA will soon be seen in the parliament.’ Irfan explained with ecstasy.

‘I don’t think that it will make any difference to the election result. Because it is not India, but I.N.D.IA.’ Amitabh clarified.

‘But will it make any difference to the common man, if the government changes?’ I asked.

‘Definitely sirjee.’ Ranjoy screamed with fury, ‘Can’t you see what’s happening in our country? Every now and then there are incidences of violence in Bengal. And what to say about Manipur and Haryana riots!’

‘So do you think that the poster boy of INDIA will change that?’ Asked Amitabh.

‘He may not change it completely, but he will at least discuss the issues that really matter to a common man.’ Irfan answered.

‘I agree with Irfan, this time.’Ronjoy expressed.

‘I guess, you guys are not in sync with what the majority thinks.’ Amitabh opined.

‘Definitely, we are in the minority,’ Irfan replied with angst.

‘Don’t be emotional Irfan, it’s not only you, but all three of you are in the minority,’ I quipped.

‘What do you mean?’ Asked Amitabh.

‘Yes, you guys are from IIT, where the majority fails to get admission. So, you are a minority in this country.’

‘Sirjee, you are a genius. I really appreciate your out-of-the-box thinking.’ Ronjoy mentioned.

‘That’s why we are persuading you to join our start-up, right?’ Amitabh said.

‘Definitely’ Irfan nodded.

‘I have already informed my decision. I need some time.’

‘You take your time sir; we also need time to figure out the strategy to get funding for this start-up. But if an experienced professional with Ph.D. like you is by our side, our task will become easy.’ Ronjoy opined.

‘You may think so, but nothing in life is easy. And you guys are thinking about solving bigger issues.’ I replied.

‘Definitely. We do not want to be amongst the run-of-the-mill kind of start-ups’ Amitabh clarified.

‘But then you have to think above what the majority thinks.’ I replied.

‘I loved it sirjee. At least Amitabh should stop thinking like a bhakt’

‘What? I am not a bhakt, I am a proud Hindu.’

‘That is great! I appreciate that, but is that some qualification? I mean can you highlight it on your resume or your LinkedIn profile to get investor or even a good job?’ I asked.

‘Hahaha’ Irfan laughed out louder and Amitabh felt disappointed with my comment.

‘Sanju Sir, today Proud Hindu might not be a laurel, but looking at the things going on right now, it may become in some years and jobseekers may put it on their resume, as well.’  Ronjoy expressed.

‘Just like how some trolls are mentioning it in their names on Facebook and Twitter’ Irfan added.

‘It’s Meta and X now’ Amitabh corrected.

‘Yeah, but my point is can you get an offer with Meta or X by mentioning you are a ‘Proud so and so’?’ I asked Amitabh.

‘Of course not! But that is not the purpose to mention it.’

‘Exactly! Then why are you even mentioning it? I mean if you guys from IIT will also start thinking like uneducated morons on social media then how can India become Vishwaguru?’

‘Sirjee, for the social media trolls we are already a Vishwaguru, and UNESCO has already declared our PM as the best PM in the world.’Ronjoy expressed.

‘Hahaha! Seriously, UNESCO doesn’t have any other task than to declare the list of best PMs and best national anthems’ Irfan commented.

‘I agree that fake news and such forwards on social media are generally forwarded by the individuals who identify themselves as ‘proud so and so’. But you know I am not amongst them.’ Amitabh defended himself.

‘Yes, we know you are amongst the educated and rational lot, but most of the educated class is falling prey to such propaganda due to their confirmation bias.’ I clarified.

‘Yes, I read about this cognitive bias. We tend to believe in the information that confirms our preconceptions.’ Amitabh replied.

‘Exactly! So, you have a preconception about the ruling party being the protector of Hindu rights’ Irfan expressed.

‘Maybe. But that’s not incorrect’ Amitabh replied.

‘But is India only a nation of Hindus?’ Irfan asked.

‘Amitabh and many individuals like him think it is, whereas our constitution says otherwise’ I intervened.

‘And that’s the preconception’ Ronjoy said

‘Exactly! And it’s due to this preconception, bhakts support every move of the ruling party, be it NRC, CAA or Uniform Civil Code’ Irfan commented.

‘Actually, one of the supporters or detractors of UCC might have read the 21st Law Commission report, but our mainstream media propagates the preconception that the Muslim population is increasing due to polygamy allowed in Muslim personal law.’ I commented.

‘But the truth is that polygamy rate has declined a lot with time and as per the 2022 study,  it’s just 1.6 in Muslims against 1.3 in Hindus.’ Ronjoy explained.

‘But who is interested in exact figures when whataboutery is much more entertaining’ Irfan expressed.

‘Hahaha. You guessed it right, Irfan’ I commented, ‘Media be it mainstream or digital is spreading whataboutery than the reality and distracting us from the real issues like inflation, employment opportunities, technology development, and so on.’

‘And the majority like Amitabh believes in these media channels due to their confirmation bias.’ Irfan kept on firing.

‘I am not believing the media; in fact, I don’t watch any news channel’ Amitabh clarified.

‘But you still believe that whatever is happening in Manipur or Haryana is not a fault of the ruling party’ Ronjoy asked.

‘I feel the ruling party is at fault, it’s not the only reason’.

‘Amitabh, I would like to take you back to 2012, when a Hindu girl referred to as Nirbhaya was brutally raped and succumbed to her injuries. At that time the whole media and the majority protested the then ruling party and believed that it was at fault. Whereas an incident of the same gravity has happened in Manipur, but now the majority is divided. Some are protesting mildly and some are protecting the ruling party.’ I put forth my point.

‘It’s due to the confirmation bias of the majority. I remember that incident clearly. As I was a first-time voter in 2014, I voted against the ruling party because everyone believed that the ruling party was at fault at that time,’ Ronjoy added.

‘You might be right, but there are other aspects also to the Manipur issue like the opium farming and much more.’ Amitabh suggested.

‘Yes, it’s a complex issue. But is the combination of religion and politics less addictive than opium? Majority calling themselves as ‘proud so and so’ are consuming this addictive content on their cellphones and falling prey to their confirmation bias.’

‘You are right Sanju sir, few months back an old video of cow slaughter was passed on as a new incident from Karnataka after the ruling party there lost in assembly elections. And many educated people forwarded it an incident that’s a threat to Hindu beliefs.’ Ronjoy explained.

‘But the worst is yet to come. AI-powered deep fake videos will storm our smartphones and minds before the polls and you never know what kind of chaos will happen then.’ I expressed my concern.

‘I think we need to address this problem statement through our venture.’ Amitabh added.

‘Yes, you are techies and understand the issue better. You should take this up as a challenge.’

‘Sure, we are taking it up and we also want you to support us.’ Irfan requested.

‘Maybe, I will let you know that soon.’ I replied,’ Till then be a good human being than a ‘bhakt’ or a ‘proud Hindu’. Because the buzz is that very soon AI may replace humans.’


And my study was filled with laughter.

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Atul R Thakare