Pic.: Shankar Ramachndran
“From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.”
My dad was a massive fan of Indira Gandhi. Rather, he was a fanatic – an Indira Gandhi fanatic!
I remember those eerie days of Emergency (1975-77)… I was a college boy. The only source of information - national or international news – was the daily newspaper and, perhaps, the radio. My dad got it from the local Kannada daily and his friends, who huddled up, late every evening near our local naka. The whole village, most of our relatives and all my dad’s friends had begun to hate Indira Gandhi for the Emergency excesses… But, my dad – hundreds of miles away from Delhi, in this remote village called ‘Derebail’ – would defend fiercely his idol, whom Atalji once hailed as ‘Durga’… and my own dad as Mother Mary!
He was such a blind devotee of Indira Gandhi!
I would witness scores of bitter arguments, rather fights… yes over someone who my dad or any of his sons would never ever meet in their lifetime, leave alone befriend…
But, that’s how this madness called ‘fanfare’ goes… All kinds of fanfare - political, religious, showbiz, sports… all.
Fans are fanatics… This has been so, long before my dad lived and it is so, now… and, it shall be so, long after you and I will be gone…
Fans fight fiercely for their idols… and, they don’t mind making a thousand enemies along this process… Today, we have plenty of them, around us, rooting for their idols, from dawn to dusk… relentlessly, fiercely and blindly. The only agenda is to cheer their idol, glorify him or her… demolish and tarnish in every possible manner their idol’s opponents… Yes, the fan takes it as his personal mission to anoint his idol as a ‘saint’… and, at any cost!
Many of my friends – like my dad did – don’t mind losing me for their political or religious idols… That’s so, so important to them…
I really feel sorry for them!
True, “The fools and fanatics are so sure of themselves!”