Is Bachi Karkaria anti-Hindu?

By Sunil Kumar

In a few words – probably Yes.

Have met and seen Karkaria in many events across Mumbai- my U.K university event in Mumbai, organizing lit fests and an audience in plays etc.

According to me, she’s more of a social butterfly than being rabidly anti-Hindu. That distinction sadly goes to many more people in contemporary India. Her daughter-in-law is a Hindu Maharashtrian and she seems to have an off-handed Parsi approach to things.

You can’t expect serious and sincere analyses from the present-day coterie of establishment journalists who have been entrenched in privileged positions for decades.

Khushwant Singh who gave Karkaria her first job was quite similar – never one to challenge Indira or her cronies, he proudly claimed to be the best friend and ‘chamcha’ of Sanjay Gandhi. His sense of humour was wonderful though, along with the old-school fascination with history.

Karkaria- young probably when Singh hired her- is one of the oldest members of the Lutyens club that remains powerful to the present and probably resents the present government giving them short shrift.

Being a Parsi; she is the most vocal on issues related to her community. Her most famous recent work which I’ve read is ‘In Hot Blood’ (The Nanavati(Parsi) case); which aims to be objective. To her credit, she criticised her community for their sense of entitlement probably after the vocal Sindhis and nastily erudite Jethmalani had soundly ticked her off. She’s also in favour of the Parsis not impeding the Metro Lines in S.Mumbai- currently being opposed by a few of their religious leaders.

Regarding the Hindus – it’s quite fashionable to criticize the majority in India as nobody objects and any attempt at voicing resentment is buried under the ‘oh-so-terrifying’ mantle of Hindutva.

When it comes to the ‘Darth Vader’ spectre of ‘ISIS’ or calls against the Indian state, all of these people remain curiously silent. Genuine nationalism is dismissed as ‘jingoism’- and none of our eloquent columnists seem to be bothered by daily assaults on the army and the paramilitary. Politics in India is an opportunist swamp with filth, muck and crocodile tears anyways.

Bachi Karkaria safely treads this path with minimum fuss : her ‘Alec Smart’ jibes and short articles which latch on to popular trends. Rest assured, no Parsi in Pakistan dares to take on a religion that enforced jaziya on them, did not allow them to cross roads at the same time – and deported them en masse from Iran.

Note, I admire the contributions of noble Parsi philanthropists and freedom fighters to India and do not mean to disparage them, but at the same time – the community had many of the the most privileged lackey boys/girls and collaborators of the Empire.

Ruttie- the Parsi wife of Jinnah is probably responsible for the man’s sense of alienation and partition – an unforgettable crime and tragedy. ‘Mr and Mrs. Jinnah’ is an insightful glimpse into the man and S.Bombay society of the early 1900s- an event that would be very ordinary if it had not led him to destroy millions of lives across the subcontinent.

So, when columnists in the present day pronounce moral judgments on Hinduism and people who probably suffered and endured more for centuries, led and were murdered in the fight for freedom and the present ‘Indian’ state – it is extremely hypocritical and laughable. Most of them practically ‘brag’ about their latest trip to some ‘exotic’ destination and how ‘nice’ the people were, compared to the ‘squalor’ and ‘intolerance’ of India. Generosity of fully paid up press junkets. General comment at a large section of the non-introspective and inane Indian news media.

Karkaria also moonlights more as an agony aunt- with dollops of her pseudo-liberal feminist ‘gyan’ for life’s more pressing issues – relationships. So, yes- anti-Hindu to some extent.

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