Six months into college, gives you this particular head space to reflect on the enormity of mess you ended up creating and the morass of ideas you encountered first time away from home. Exposed to an intellectually stimulating cultural ethos which is sceptical about anything and everything, I came home a new man full of fresh ideas, perspectives and an updated socio-political vocabulary. Heart in my sleeve, I started debating about everything under the sun. During one such debate on communism in China with my brother, after half an hour of spitting out phrases from the Communist Manifesto ,he suddenly broke of, grinned at me and remarked “Pseudo intellect” .I was taken aback .But pondering on it for some time I asked myself, “Am I, Are we a generation of pseudo intellects?” .A ‘half baked’ generation which speaks of Marxism, fascism, atheism, feminism in the same breath. It led me to a more immanent question. Is being a communist, feminist and even atheist now more of a fashion statement than an innate ideological cause?
I attended the IFFK with a friend this year. It appeared more like a conglomeration of pseudo intellects , with walls washed with graffiti’s of Marx, people with unkempt beards flaunting Che Guevara t shirt,sipping black coffee and smoking bidis mouthing so called post -colonial thoughts, women wearing large Bhindis and larger ear rings immediately associating themselves with the new wave indie intelligentsia. Just one day into the festival, my friend returned a new man wearing a Hindutva kurta and green lungi stroking his non -existent beard every two minutes. I am not generalising nor do I by any means trying to reduce the importance of the proper hardcore ideological coterie who have imbibed the true meaning and essence of the ideologies they go by. The pseudo intelligentsia only reduces the relevance of the actual ideologues.
One of the most important facets of the whole of mankind is this tendency to individualise and stand apart. But we need to realize that any individualization without substantial base or knowledge is like a house of cards. No ideology or iconography came up as a means to show off to the world that you are progressive and rational. Reminds me of a scene in Malayalam flick ‘Munarriyippu ‘ where a 7 year old boy points to his Che Guevara t-shirt and refers to him as a legendary DYFI activist. Both feminism and atheism has grown to become resume points, with celebrities using it win brownie points and companies peppering their advertising campaigns with ‘feminist’ slogans (now known as Femvertising). The relevance of these lines of thought have turned superficial and reduced to levels of mockery.
It’s sad to see the rise of a certain breed of male feminists who shout out feminist slogans only to garner self attention. As a friend of mine told me,”Bro, Feminists are the new chic magnets!”. It is better to be a chauvinist than a pseudo feminist who vouches for women empowerment in class and go back and watch rape porn in their rooms. An ideology is like an underwear, only you need to know that you are wearing one and there is no need to make it obvious. They are not Baskin Robbins flavours that pop up every month and holds on till it its charm fades. ’Everyone is a Marxist till he is 25 and an atheist till the day of the exam’. We have become a generation that philosophizes and breaks stereotypes only in our classroom benches and Whatsapp statuses. Associating yourself with any particular ideology doesn’t make you a rebel nor does it deem you fit to be a post -colonial liberalist(another of the plethora of terms that we use!).It should come from vast reading , a profound world view and a rational conscience. But what’s behind this sudden surge? Should we blame it on the cultural gap and continuous identity crisis we face on account of being a sandwiched generation or on our education structure drawn up by alternating governments, coloured in hues of historical amnesia and deep- rooted socio -cultural prejudice? It’s high time to think about.