This is the thing with headlines. You use one because you think it fits and then along comes something else that makes you wish you had saved it for this.
In my roundup for today I’d touched on recent incidents at Benares Hindu University. I didn’t realize that the real WTF moment was still to come. The administration has put out a press release which, among other things, says:
In a media release, the BHU administration stated, “This protest was completely political in nature because it was timed with the PM’s visit, with the intention of soiling the image of the university.”
Apparently the molestation of a young girl does not stain the reputation; only the PM being put to some mild inconvenience does. Further:
Dismissing Friday’s reports that a woman student had tonsured her head in protest, the BHU Information Centre on Saturday released on its Facebook page screenshots of a student with her head shaved. The post mentioned her name and details and claimed she had tonsured her head last year. Stating that she was being “exploited” by “anti-national” forces, the university called the protests the “work of propagandists”.
It happens. Every single time. Incompetent authority, occupying a position that is a gift from the political masters, confront a problem. Rather than face it, look for and implement solutions, the instinctive reaction is to deny. To don the shroud of ‘patriotism’, the cloak of ‘nation’, and from that place to demonise those who demand answers, seek solutions.
If patriotism is, as Samuel Johnson said, the last refuge of the scoundrel, then it is at risk of being dangerously over-populated.