A few days back, on twitter, some of the threads ended up as a discussion on the Nationalists writers on rediff of the early 2000s - https://twitter.com/RajeevSrinivasa/status/942200530301886464 and https://twitter.com/drisyadrisya/status/942976110345707520 for example . That sent me down some nostalgic memories.. I had in a previous post ( here ) touched upon some aspects of my early political learning and leaning, but here I attempt to fill a few more gaps.. By the way, I do not use the words right wing and nationalist in a US context.. its vastly different..
So it was when I was about 10 yrs or so, around the year 1990, that the Ayodhya movement got me interested in politics. It was also the time when election related stuff --> predictions and discussions before the election ; almost live coverage during the counting day ; and post-results analysis --> started on TV (DD at that time). I remember being glued on to many of them, immaterial of whether my party of interest would be there or not .. Till I got into IIT, (that is at 17+) the focus was much on academics, so politics was just a side interest - on and off..
cartoon from: https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/f/floppies.asp
IIT Madras changed me in many ways.. from a person who would take part in "individual competitions" only because I inherently did not "trust" team work, I quickly transformed into someone who learned the importance of "sangha" .. thanks to the voluntary organizations I was part of at IITM .. I still "maintained" my own activist-identify as well though, as I continued to do things even outside the organization, in an individual capacity .. some of them had a secretive nature too, which I enjoyed.. for example, I single-handedly did some "counter-propaganda" work, and would silently listen into the hostel-mess discussions "who dunnit" .. what I sensed at IIT was that there was an overall "tilt to the right" among the youth, but the ones who would really "do something" were rare -- partly the "self" being higher in priority, and partly perhaps the shyness of being labelled.
The lessons learned and in some sense the "training" received from IITM was of immense help for the almost 6 yrs (out of 7) of active volunteerism while in US .. I will not elaborate on the "ground work" -- suffice to say that when I look back, I feel happy, for I must be among a handful of Indians who would have gotten an opportunity to do that kind of work (in 3 "main areas" I would say).. Not to say that those 6 yrs (and the 4yrs at IITM) are "good enough" and I will stop working.. but I do tell myself, those 10yrs I have done so much, that I wont regret if I die this very moment.. and yes, I continue to do what I can -- the 9.5yrs so far, after I returned to India -- perhaps I have done work equivalent to may be just 1 yr worth of of the scale I did for those 10 yrs, but then I take it as a bonus
That was a bit too much bragging about myself :-) .. let me get back to the point of discussion of those twitter threads .. yes, those early 2000s when I was in US, I used to look fwd for those articles from Varsha, Rajeev et al.. those used to the "extra adrenaline"... It used to appear as a "losing battle", with almost 99% of main stream media towing a line that was not healthy for India.. (for a brief period, my housemates and I subscribed for Washington Post, and seeing Rama Lakshmi spew venom, I decided to not pay for it any more.. such pathetic articles were written about India .. indeed , the root was the Indian media outlets themselves which always used to paint a grim picture ) . Added to that was the feeling that a vast majority of the english educated youth did not care - be it in US or in India.. But years thence, looking back, it appears that there was a silent new generation itself being built up ..
A parallel stream to Varsha and Rajeev were the likes of Dr Kalyanaraman, Vishal Agarwal and so on (Rajiv Malhotra , in my opinion, for a long long time was too "academic", he got into an "activist" mode only recently) and the "voice of india" publications... Not to miss out on the "non-Indian" contributors there -- David Frawley, Koenraad Elst , Yvette Rosser and so on ... So where does "sangh" fall into all this.. Well, intellectualism is a world that sangh "office-bearers" are happy to take a back seat on... If I remember it right, there is a scene in Savarkar movie where Golwalkar meets Savarkar and says "Many things I thought in my mind, you wrote it.." :-) .... (FYI, I have my technical differences with Savarkar, like on "pitrubhu", but thats for another day). The sangh however subtly did the logistical help for dissemination, even when some of these right wing intellectuals did not fully agree with it --- it even raised funds during some of their ill health
courtesy: suneesh @Ksuneesh86
And now, after a decade of all that, when I try to get more active on twitter, I realize - it was not just me... across India, across US,.. across the globe, there were the pro-right Indians like me.. struggled through the apparent solitude (well may be not solitude, but an apparent disinterest in the vast majority that we were trying to "activate") at one time.. But all that effort is now paying off .. Every day on twitter I keep finding more and more twitter handles, not hesitant to openly declare their "RW" inclinations... some like me may still remain semi-anonymous (partly may be the subconscious impact of the kind of circumstances that I grew up where pro-RW meant inviting sharp looks... and partly may be simply because I like being a "voice without a form"...) .... And the interesting part is that many of those twitter activists are young.. and many are ladies/girls ..
And for this new generation, the means may be different, even the language may be slightly different -- but one can see, the core is the same..... same as of those handful yet powerful writers who inspired the "half-generation" after them .. and these folks seem to correctly realize that if they are not on the "right-wing" they could end up being "left-out" or even being on the "wrong-wing" :-)