[I sent my favourite old boy Abhirup Mascharak, now a doctoral level student, some samples of the kind of ‘critical comments’ that I get on my blog now and then. He has written an essay in response. I reproduce it below exactly as he wrote it]
Everybody, I believe, has a democratic – one might even say God-given – right to dislike somebody or something, for reasons sound or silly. But those who have even a modicum of sense deal with this dislike by avoiding what they dislike. If I don’t like a person or a place, I stay away from him/it unless I absolutely have to talk to that person or go to that place. All sane, rational, decent, educated people do the same.
Unfortunately, there’s a sizeable number of bipeds to whom none of the four adjectives in the last sentence can be applied even in the broadest sense. These bipeds belong to that Golden Age when the birthday suit was the most prevalent form of clothing, grunting and squealing the only ways of communication, and the fist and the club the only imaginable ways of settling any disagreement or dispute. Externally, of course, these creatures bear little resemblance to their cave-dwelling ancestors, but culturally and intellectually, they cannot lay claim to the title of Homo sapiens: despite their flashy clothes and cars, credit cards and two-bedroom flats, pieces of paper that are called degrees and toys that are called iPads or iPhones or iWhatever, they remain, firmly, Cro-Magnons. Only, because they look like humans but behave like cavemen, they are all the more grotesque, the discrepancy being as hard to digest as the sight of an ape in an Armani suit sitting before a laptop in an air-conditioned room.
Lately, some of these still-stuck-in-the-lowest-rung-of-evolution specimens have singled out Sir as a target of their chattering. Reading the utterly uncouth, incoherent, foaming-at-the-mouth diatribes they have sent to Sir, two things are very clear: they hate him for the views he expresses on his blog, and yet, they are inexplicably drawn to it nonetheless. To repeat what I had said at the very beginning, if I so disliked a blog, I would simply stop visiting it. But these people do the opposite, their reason being that they love to laugh at the “jealousy” and “inferiority complex” expressed in the blogposts by Sir. In the process of saying these inane things, what they really reveal is this: that despite the lofty – and clearly false – claims of being “investment bankers” and such, they are actually jobless people who have way too much time on their hands: nobody who actually has some work to do, and certainly not real investment bankers who deal with billions of rupees and have to hobnob with crooks and honchos all day, have the time to so obsessively visit a blog they don’t like, and send long, abusive comments not only to the blogger but even to his students who happen to respect him. (Not that these creatures would be any more respectable if they really were investment bankers: as I have said, investment banking these days consists of little more than rubbing shoulders with cheats and frauds, and finding different ways to rob common people of their hard-earned money. No less a person than Barack Obama as President of the USA has blamed this breed of bankers for the 2008 economic meltdown when he publicly condemned the ‘infectious culture of greed’, so that ought to say it all).
So, behind the blatant lies of being “investment bankers” – which, of course, is their way of trying to appear respectable; to cretins who think money is everything, there cannot be any higher profession – what we have are living, breathing examples of disguised unemployment, and/or cybercoolies and other pathetic cogs in the machine of the private sector, slaving under the boots of their bosses who wield over their heads the metaphorical sword, treat them like scum, and pay them a salary that’s no more than a pittance. Sir, as a private tutor, earns far more than many of these “investment bankers” while living a much freer, prouder life, and this may well be one reason why they hate him so badly. Consequently, the lives of these creatures are ruled by a single feeling: frustration. Taught from an early age by their moronic parents that joining the IIT or the IIM – or at least, studying engineering – is the surest way to success, these specimens have now discovered, to their horror and dismay, that the world doesn’t really give a damn about the things which their parents said were so important. They haven’t found the pot of gold buried at the end of the rainbow. They are just some of the millions of nobodies (and let’s face it, ever since every other fellow started becoming an engineer or an MBA, engineers and MBAs have become nobodies) whom the powers that be use as punching bags or rugs to wipe their feet on. Devoid of any real talents or ambitions, they have condemned themselves to mediocrity. And when somebody like Sir points these things out, their egos are punctured badly, and just as a punctured tyre deflates with a loud hiss, they express their anger at being told the truth about them in the form of the crass diatribes I mentioned. Naturally the spit they aim at the sun lands on their own faces, but so complete is their stupidity that they fail, even, to realize that theirs is the face that has been stained with the spit. They do not realize that the joke is on them: that we laugh at their rants at the same way we laugh at Govinda’s buffoonery and a drunkard’s ramblings, for all that they say decisively expose them for the losers they are. And losers, of course, would keep insisting that they are achievers, just as a madman in a straitjacket keeps yelling that he is sane. Hence, as I said, the claims of being “investment bankers” and IITians. I can’t help but guffaw helplessly as I read these things: if I were to lie about my “achievements”, I would at least make taller claims. As my dad says, “Since the curry you are eating is all in your dream, you might as well add to it every spice under the sun. There’s no tax on fantasizing.” So, my dear Cro-Magnons, fantasize a little more. Claim that you are a billionaire senator. Or a NASA scientist soon to be a given a Nobel Prize. We still won’t believe you, of course, but at least we would concede that you have some real ambition (albeit without the ability to fulfill it). Being a wannabe-investment banker is not the sign of an ambitious man, it’s the sign of a retard. The fact that there are a whole lot of such retards out there does not make them respectable!
Now, a few observations and musings on these waste products.
(i) I wonder if the reason these creatures behave like this is something as petty as the fact that Sir had once caught them cheating in a test in school, or had thrown them out of his class for misbehaving, or refused them admission to his tuition, or they had heard some salacious gossip about Sir that their mothers had picked up from the neighbourhood kitty party. People can get hostile for all sorts of reasons, so, I won’t be surprised if these abusers turn out to be the little boy who had his ear tweaked or the little girl who was admonished for skipping classes and going to a wedding. I remember some such people in my own batch at Sir’s, and I’m sure there are a few in every other.
(ii) Since they seem to think that being an IITian is something that one must have stamped on both his forehead and rear, they may be rather dismayed to know that Sir has a number of students who have studied in one or other of those institutions, and still hold that the most valuable lessons they have learned are those that he has taught them. Nishant Kamath, Ankan Saha, Abhik Chatterjee, Sayan Sarkar, Suvro Sarkar, Anshu Singh, Debmalya Panigrahi, Chirantan Chatterjee, Pritam Mukherjee, Saikat Chakraborty…these are just a few of the students of his who are IITians, and who still hold him in high and cordial regard. I shall grant these creatures some time to recover from this shock: when they do so, they may make an endeavour to understand that it is not IIT that Sir has any problems with, but with the mindset of folks like them, who think that getting into the IIT is the same as leaving permanent footprints on the sands of time.
(iii) One particular caveman, who hides behind the pseudonym ‘Soumik Roy’, claims that all IITians earn something like 1.5 crores a year, after paying all the taxes. Now, I don’t know which parallel universe this fellow hails from, but in the world I inhabit, IITians who earn in crores annually constitute a microscopic minority; only those who have reached the boards of directors, and are often related by blood to the proprietors as well. The average IITian in his late 20s is lucky to make anything much more than a lakh a month (as this link will show: notice it has been updated this very month!). At the other end of the scale, I know lots of engineers who still have to dig into daddy’s pockets when it comes to buying a flat or a car, because they earn considerably less than what a professor teaching English or History at Jadavpur University, my university, does. So let’s stop making the ridiculous claims, shall we? If you want to appear funny, go into stand-up comedy.
(iv) ‘Soumik Roy’ also enlightens us by saying that not everybody who “takes up” literature can become a titan like Sunil Gangopadhyay, about whom Sir had written in a comment on his blogpost titled ‘Market Societies?’ Very true, ‘Soumik’, and Sir never said that every aspiring writer becomes a Sunil. You can’t read at your age, that’s your problem. All he said is that somebody like Sunil, even if he doesn’t earn a lot of money, is still infinitely more important and valuable a person than all engineers taken together, and that is why his death is mourned even by presidents and chief ministers, whereas average engineers – and most engineers are average – go onto the pyre without anybody taking any notice. In other words, Sir was trying to point out who is a real achiever and who is not. I can understand if that’s too much of thought to be processed by your pint-sized brain, but in that case, shouldn’t you just shut up? Yakking curs aren’t particularly endearing.
(v) Are these creatures aware that the things Sir says about the boorish worship of money and ‘status’, the alarmingly diminishing attention spans of the people, the over-reliance on technology, the gross disrespect for language, the trivialization and vulgarization of education, and the lack of concern for one’s less fortunate brethren (among other things), are also what a lot of important people constantly talk about? The latest post on Sir’s ‘wanton whimsy’ blog has a link to a recent editorial in Anandabazar Patrika, which says precisely the things that Sir has been tirelessly repeating over the years, and many students have personally said to Sir that a lot of things Aamir Khan has said about the drawbacks in our education system in 3 Idiots bear a close similarity to Sir’s views on the same topic. So, given that people as diverse as the editor of a leading newspaper and one of the biggest stars of Bollywood have said the same things as Sir, would these creatures care to revise their views on him? Or are they going to come up with a sinister theory about Sir being so influential as to colour the views of Aamir and the editor of Anandabazar Patrika too? Which, in fact, would be immensely flattering: I am reminded of the joke where one Jew tells another why he reads the notorious anti-Semitic canard ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’: “It says that we Jews are very rich, very powerful, very clever, and would soon take over the world, dominating it culturally, economically, socially and politically. Makes me feel really important.”
PS.- Cretins, I can understand it entirely if you are clueless as to what anti-Semitism and ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ mean. These things lie outside the purview of software programming and the MBA syllabus, and since that’s all you have ever ‘studied’, your knowledge of more substantial things is about as expansive as Paris Hilton’s. My condolences.
(vi) In all fairness, though, the worst that can be said about Hilton is that she is a moron. These specimens I am talking about are worse: in addition to being staggeringly idiotic, they are also downright inhuman. What other word can I possibly use about ‘Sutapa Dey’ (another pseudonym, of course), who says that Malala Yousafzai should have gone abroad and become a fashion model rather than campaign for women’s rights in Pakistan? According to ‘Sutapa’, Malala actually deserves the bullet that was put into her, for rather than opt for the ‘glamorous’ life of a model, she chose to raise her voice against the oppression of women in Pakistan, which was, according to ‘Sutapa’, silly of her. No change for the better can ever be brought about, she says, so we must accept that “might is right”, and flush out of our minds any thoughts of reform or protest. I wonder what kind of genes and upbringing create a monster like this. And wouldn’t it have been nice if we had a technology that could predict the future nature of a baby in a womb, so that if one discovered that a woman is carrying a ‘Sutapa Dey’, the child could be aborted straightaway? That way, the world would be free of pollutants like ‘Sutapa’. And I shudder to think what would have been the fate of the world if the great men and women actually held her views. Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi would both have settled for the ‘comfortable’ lives of an ICS officer and a barrister rather than fight for the freedom of the country, Florence Nightingale would have led the life of a trophy wife rather than serve the poor and the wounded, Che Guevara would have been just another doctor and not the revolutionary who fought to liberate the oppressed, and Leo Tolstoy would have clung firmly to his estate rather than give it all away to the poor. And without men like Rammohun and Vidyasagar, females like ‘Sutapa’ would still have been married at 11 and burnt alive as sati at 16. Not my idea of a perfect world, sorry.
Just an instance of how imbecilic these folks are, for all their big talk: ‘Sutapa’ writes, “I am sure everybody knows that the world does not care about any schooling from Pakistan. Neither it is Harvard nor Chicago nor IIT.” The abysmal and callous logic aside, this genius seems unaware, even, of the fact that Chicago isn’t a university; it’s a city. Despite the phonetic similarity between “city” and “university”, they are really quite different things, ‘Sutapa’. Check the dictionary to verify. A dictionary, just to help you along, is one of those big, fat books that contain the meanings of words. I am assuming you know what ‘book’ means, so ask in any bookshop; it’s available everywhere. In return for a fee, I might even teach you how to use it.
I don’t expect this piece of mine to bring about any change in these creatures, of course. You can bathe a pig in warm water, wash it with expensive soap, spray on it a costly perfume, and tie on its neck a bowtie, and it would, at the first available opportunity, rush to the mud pit or the gutter, and roll around in the muck or the excrement. For that is a pig’s nature. The likes of ‘Soumik’ and ‘Sutapa’ and ‘Shiladitya’ and ‘Molly’ and ‘Nandini’ and ‘Moumita’ are exactly the same. Tell them a million sensible things, and all you would get is the feeling of talking to a wall spray-painted with obscenities. If only they knew that to us, they are at best laughable, at worst worthy of lobotomy. If only they knew how pathetic they look when they keep visiting a blog even as they say that they hate it rabidly. If only they knew their attempts to change our minds fail spectacularly. If only they knew what they are doing is no different from the catcalls of the roadside loafers. If only they knew we see through each of their lies, including the false names they provide. If only they had the guts to come and stand in front of Sir and us and tell us what they write in the mails sneakily sent from false e-mail addresses. If only they were less envious and bitter. Hell, if only they were something even remotely similar to a human being!
This blog of Sir’s is (and should be-) read by people who: (a) have known him for a long time and closely, and can recognize and respect a learned, decent man when they meet one; (b) are well-read and sufficiently informed about the world to know what he is talking about; (c) have a sense of curiosity and a desire to learn; (d) enjoy reading things that stir their brains and make them think. Nobody, of course, is born with these attributes: they have to be cultivated over the formative years of a person’s life, by the person himself/herself, with the guidance of parents who actually know what parenting means (as opposed to those who are merely biologically qualified to birth a child) and teachers who approach their job with the idealism and hard work it calls for. Sir is both, and that is why today he has a large number of students whom he has helped become better human beings, and who reciprocate the favour with their loving company and the respectful words that one can read on this blog. And these students shall continue to do so: the attempts by a bunch of loons and boors to badmouth him won’t change anything, no matter how hard they try. Anybody who wants to write real ‘criticism’, let him/her learn some good manners first, and take a course on criticism. Sir has posted and replied adequately to a lot of critical comments on his blog. Morons can neither notice nor appreciate the difference between that kind of comment and their own brand of uncouth and irrelevant abuse: whose fault is that, Sir’s?
P.S.: Abhirup's email i.d. is firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S.: Abhirup's email i.d. is email@example.com