Lutyens’ Delhi is not just a geographical location; it is a mindset. For 67 years this mindset has set the agenda for our nation. It has decided what is acceptable & high-class discourse, and what is low-brow & plebian.
The two mandatory requirements which control entry into the Lutyens’ club are impeccable English OR mastery over Urdu. Other qualifications like staunch secular/liberal/socialist beliefs, family tree, educational pedigree are also evaluated, but the ability to speak fluently in either English or Urdu is non-negotiable.
One just has to go through the Delhi weekend circuit – seminars, talks, cocktail parties, Urdu mushairas, Sufi nights – this is what our opinion shapers frequent. Events which fall outside this charmed circle automatically acquire a lower status – ‘traditional’, ‘vernacular’, ‘commercial’, ‘loud’ being some of the labels used to describe them by the Lutyens’ socialite.
So whether you are a scam-tainted Tamil politician & lawyer with a clipped English accent like P Chidambaram, an Urdu poet & Bollywood lyricist like Javed Akhtar, or a wheeling-dealing English-language journalist like Barkha Dutt, Lutyens will welcome you with open arms.
But if you are a Gujarati politician with Gujarati-accented English like Narendra Modi, a Kannada novelist like S.L. Bhyrappa, or a witty Haryanvi match-winning cricketer like Virender Sehwag, Lutyens’ doors will remain closed for you.
There is also a conditional access pass, without full membership, to this elite club. The brilliant, St. Stephens’ alumnus Arun Shourie was considered an outcaste till the time he was writing and working in support of the ‘communal’ Hindutva cause, but he turned halal the day he lashed out against the current NDA Government.
Given the way they have dominated public debate since Independence, members of the Lutyens’ club are bound to suffer from intellectual arrogance & delusions of grandeur.
Hence it is no surprise to see Javed Akhtar tweet like this, after an online debate broke out between DU student & AAP activist Gurmehar Kaur who claimed that “war, not Pakistan” killed her martyr father, and sporting icons Sehwag, Phogat sisters, Yogeshwar Dutt, actor Randeep Hooda (all from Haryana) who disagreed with this clean chit to Pakistan.
Akhtar’s condescending jibe at the Haryana sporting heroes, two responses from the actual target of Akhtar’s derision show just how much Bharat has changed in the last 5 years –
“I have been raising nationalist slogans (‘Bharat Mata ki jai’) from since I was a child, even before I started going to schools. Patriotism is not learnt from books
“We (athletes) slog for a lifetime to win medals for the country, and you dismiss us as illiterates in a second”
The Lutyens’ club is floundering and the nation is awakening. These self-appointed arbiters of public morality (prosecutor, judge & jury) are finding out that the internet and social media has created a level playing field in the battle of ideas.
Curtsey: HINDU POST