Book Review: Operation Johar — A Love Story by Abhishek Banerjee

In S. L. Bhyrappa’s novel, Aavarana, there is a dialogue between a Leftist professor and his Hindu student, who converted to Islam. In this conversation, the Professor explains the path of the revolution.

“There are no predefined methods to achieve complete revolution. The path shows the method. The urgent need of the hour is to destroy the traditions of the Hindu society because it is the majority community. Equally, we also need to apply this to the Muslim society. You must view your “conversion” in this light. Lakshmi, for all its faults, Islam stands for equality—share whatever you have, equally. If a revolution ever occurs in religion today, it will be on these principles that Islam already embodies. Hinduism is just a feeble relic incapable of anything.”

In Operation Johar — A Love Story by Abhishek Banerjee, Jatin, an Urban Naxal, goes to the jungle to meet fellow “Gandhians with Guns.” One of the comrades, Rani, takes Jatin to the top of a mountain the jungle and shows a Ganesha, who she considers the guardian of the jungle. Later, the following conversation happens between Rani and Jatin

“You know we are not supposed to have idols and such, worshipping stones and trees and rivers. Those things are foolish superstitions.”

“Really? If it is just a piece of stone, how come you are so scared of it?

“I’m not scared.”

“Of course you are. You saw something of awe and majesty and you felt threatened. So you tried to destroy it.”

“That’s not true. I was just trying to destroy the superstition.”

“But you don’t believe in it, so why bother? Nobody else knew of the place until I showed it to you. No one else would have seen it unless you showed it to them. Were you scared that the stone idol actually might have power over you?” Jatin remained silent.

The ecosystem that is out to get rid of “superstitions” is quite a familiar one. There are the foot soldiers – the urban naxals, the students who falls in love with socialism and communism. Then there are the academics, who provide respectability and cover for terrorism. Money and foreign trips come via NGOs who provide reputation for these academics. These deadly activities would be considered treasonous in normal circumstances. Then we are not living in normal circumstances. If you watch intolerance speeches, the Communist attack on Sabarimala, the award wapsi drama, you can see how the left-wing Hydra co-ordinates their activities.

The main characters in the book are a bit unusual – one is a Somu who is studying for the IIT entrance exam and the other is Sangeeta who started her career as a doctor. Somu has a crush on Sangeeta, but Sangeeta is in love with Jatin, who was her classmate. Jatin, a fan of Che Guevera, is out to change the world.

Abhishek has a good pulse on the current system in place. He writes about Birsa Munda, who was never mentioned at his English medium school but was known to the masses, Then, this is exactly how we have preserved our history. This is exactly why discovering Kampilya did not raise an eyebrow while discovering Troy was big news.

There is a good analysis on how venom spouting Professors are able to get money and remain untouched by the state, even when they are exposed.

The folks at Insaaniyat have whipped up some conference for him to be here.” ‘Insaaniyat’ was part of the NGO umbrella that worked with them. They would provide cover for people such as The Professor to move around through a network of conferences and programs organized under their banner, as also to meet and involve like-minded individuals in intellectual circles. The bank accounts they operated in various states under different names also helped to move money around in times of need.

There is another discussion on why traditions are important and have to be preserved

“So, it’s the traditions, the epics of this land, the Ramayana and Mahabharata; this is how Indians of all ages can recognize each other throughout history. Imagine if you could be in a time machine and go back a thousand years into the past. They would still recognize you and me as Indians, because of this common thread of tradition.”

The characters talk about how Mao first tried to replace Chinese culture and how Deng Xiaoping changed it. They talk about how Israel revived Hebrew. In India, it is important for Urban Naxals and Communists to destroy this common bond that has been preserved for millennia.

Abhishek’s thoughtful and exquisitely crafted book demolishes the leftist narrative through a riveting story. If you have read Prof. K K Muhammad’s autobiography, you can see how “secular” historians operate when it comes to the Ram Mandir. S. L Bhyrappa writes about how Marxist historians erased Islamic violence from our text books. We know why we will never learn about Operation Red Lotus or The Lost River in Indian schools. In an India where cultural institutions are controlled by the left and a new elite is emerging by posing as a revolutionary vanguard, promoting ‘secularism’, the book exposes the relentless cruelty, wanton violence, abuses of unchecked power of NGOs, Academics and their foot soldiers. It is also a reminder that a nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.

[Buy from Amazon India, Flipkart, Amazon US]