Understanding the Nupur Sharma phenomenon

EducationWorld July 2022 | Expert Comment

The story of Nupur Sharma is presented as a case of bad behaviour necessitating quick correction. But when one traces the genealogy of the forces ranked behind her, a different story surfaces, writes Shiv Visvanathan

Expert Comment

Foreign policy in the age of Trump and Modi is no longer a sedate, ritualistic, rational affair. Bad behaviour and calculated arrogance are its hallmarks in an era when mob mentality and majoritarianism dominate the collective mind. In the media, the story of now suspended BJP official spokesperson Nupur Sharma is presented as a singular case of bad behaviour necessitating quick correction. But when one traces the genealogy of the forces ranked behind her, a different story surfaces.

A typically brash BJP politician, Sharma is a frontstage player of an insolence machine who can insult the Prophet because she feels she embodies the collective arrogance of the BJP and larger sangh parivar. She is well-connected and knows she will be reinstated eventually, perhaps even sanctified. The BJP leadership is well-aware that hate mongering brings in the popular vote. Sharma senses that even if she is formally dismissed, like a modern Padmini of Chittor, she will be allowed shades of martyrdom. There is almost something filmi about her brashness, her born again patriotism. However, what we must examine is not this BJP spokeswoman, but the organisation that produces and encourages such people.

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