Guha, Jaishankar, Lifton, Trump and The Buddha

By Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar
18 March 2020 14:08 IST

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past” – George Orwell, 1984

Dr Jaishankar, the Foreign Minister of India, released a book on V P Menon – the Civil Servant and Constitutional Advisor and Political Reforms Commissioner -- who oversaw the partition of India, and tweeted that Jawaharlal Nehru did not want Sardar Patel in the first Cabinet and omitted him from the initial cabinet list and later included him only at the behest of Mountbatten.

Immediately historian Ramchandra Guha responded that the Hon’able Foreign Minister should not promote fake news. Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor also presented the solid historical evidence and date wise communications that Nehru, on his own included Patel in the first cabinet by calling him a “pillar of Indian democracy”. This inclusion of Patel was definitely not at the behest of Lord Mountbatten.

A book written by Frank Moraes, titled “Witness to an Era”, however suggests that Jaishankar’s view is correct.

Whatever the truth be, here, the struggle is to attain a control over the past. The struggle is to own the reality by owning the past and through that, the present.

Such a struggle for ownership of reality comes when one comes face to face with ideological Totalism. Most of the times, the ideological totalists manufacture a self generated or solipsistic reality. Ideological or political totalism is all about mental predation as per Dr Robert Jay Lifton – the pioneer Amercan air force psychiatrist who studied the Chinese thought reform and thus became the father of the research on mind control.

In his noted book “Losing Reality”, Dr Robert Jay Lifton says “ I have come to recognize that mental predators are concerned not only with individual minds but with the ownership of reality itself” In fact in his book he considers Donald Trump as a classic case of purveyor of a self generated or solipsistic reality. He further says “I came to realize that ideological Totalism and cultlike behavior not only blend with each other but tend to be part of a single entity”

In today’s world where everyone leads a life in the fast lane, how does one become enlightened and how does one remain vigilant to see that one does not lose the reality and fall victim to alternate reality generated by the mental predators in our midst?

After all, as Buddha put it, enlightenment is all about individual’s ability to distinguish the myth from the reality. Enlightenment is all about accepting the myth as myth and reality as reality.

Mindfulness, ability to do one’s own research with a scientific temper in the true spirit of inquiry and reform, seems to be the only way out to me – so that one does not fall victim to the mental predators around us.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

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