The much discussed and referred to Lutyen’s zone in Delhi is not in reality limited to a physical contour, it is actually a state of mind and of being. This state of mind and of being stretches much beyond the physical limits of Lutyen’s zone and its manifestations can be seen beyond as well.
One need not necessarily be a physical inhabitant of Lutyen’s zone in order to demonstrate one’s deracinated mindset or one’s disjointed sense of judgment of the realities of India. The Lutyen’s zone is a state of mind and those perambulate in it are, much like the streets, bungalows, gardens of the actual Lutyen’s zone – manicured, isolated, blinkered, dust-avoiding, cut-off and saddled with an overbearing sense of importance and responsibility while being closet haters of the subaltern or of the meek, who seek to assert themselves in their quest for a place under the sun.
This state of mind can actually be numbing and intellectually debilitating – some example may aid in establishing that argument. When he asked the Pakistanis to help him and his party get rid of a duly elected Indian Prime Minister instead of asking them to hand over Dawood Ibrahim, Congress member of Parliament Mani Shankar Aiyar, demonstrated that he was severely afflicted with the Lutyen’s state of mind. Aiyar, of course, has been an old inhabitant of this state; it was evident when he displayed his coarse and frothy hatred for a former tea seller who aspired to become Prime Minister of India after having proved his administrative and leadership credentials in the crucibles of state politics.
This state of mind was seen manifested in all those lawmakers who ganged up to sign a letter to the American President urging him to continue with the US administration’s policy of visa denial to Narendra Modi, then an elected Indian chief minister of an Indian state. Interestingly, so strong are the effects of the Lutyen’s state of mind that many of these MPs, Communists among them – who usually never let go off an opportunity to castigate the US as an “evil empire” and the US President as the exemplar of neo-imperialism and of capitalism – jumped to append their names to this abject and seditious appeal, forgetting their own parliamentary dignity and oath.
The expressions of this state of mind is not limited to those who live within the zone, they can be seen in people physically far removed from the area by making them resort to utterances that would shame any civilized thinking. Its manifestations were seen through the London based artist Anish Kapoor’s statement, which heaped calumny on the entire Hindu majority community in India by equating its members with the Taliban. Such articulations essentially arise from a deeply frustrated mind, a mind that has lost all deeper raison and joie de vivre and is itself deeply disconnected from the Indian ethos. Such a statement stems from a mind that has only thrived on a utilitarian and political relationship with its mother country bartering away her narrative at the altar of self-promotion and material benefit. What strikes as most ironical is that these reductionist articulators pass off in the West, as the proponents and guardians of the “idea of India.”
The Lutyen’s zone state of mind also manifested in Aligarh near Delhi, where Irfan Habib, a professorial relic with Marxist credentials and Communist party membership equated the largest cultural and social organizations of the Hindus, Rashtriya Swayamsevk Sangh (RSS), with the ISIS. So profound was this professorial relic’s immersion in the Lutyen’s state of mind that he negated the ISIS’s own documented and graphic interpretation of Islam, he forgot his own Communists party’s gory record in India and in other parts of the world and displaying an unhistorical spirit made the equation. He was of course silent on the Paris carnage actually carried out by Islamic terrorists owing allegiance to the ISIS and undertaken within a week after he had made that “historic” statement.
This state of mind also impels people and collectives to forget their own intolerant past and allows them to suddenly discover and articulate manufactured concerns for safeguarding liberty and freedom. This was evident when Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law and grandson repeatedly termed the BJP, RSS and Narendra Modi – all of whom who fought against Indira’s fascism – as intolerant forgetting or preferring to keep silent or whitewash Indira’s own fascist record of imposing Emergency or Rajiv Gandhi’s own shocking justification of the anti-Sikh pogroms of 1984.
The Lutyen’s state of mind makes people say strange things and makes them act in strange ways. Its manners and manifestations are charlatanistic. Those possessed of it are in fact the most dishonest, the most untrustworthy types – all bigots devoid of proportion, of truth and of balance.