7 habits ar
Jaideep A Prabhu
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (in India)
This article originally appeared in centreright.in. CRI content has now been subsumed in swarajyamag.com. The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of swarajyamag.com


Do you want fame and success in India? It is not that hard if you know what to do. Here are seven simple techniques that can make your career more fulfilling and make you more popular than ever before!

1. Become a socialist

If you have read Marx, that’s good. You didn’t have to understand him anyway – leave that to the capitalists! However, the new gurus you must quote are John Rawls and Amartya Sen. Remember – it is never wrong to spend someone else’s money, and the “rich” are only those who earn more than you. Key terms: veil of ignorance, inequality, substantive freedom, public reasoning.

2. Get in bed with the sub-alterns

Socialism is of no use if it cannot be targeted to certain groups. While socialism believes in an equitable distribution of misery, where is the fun in that? Search in your society for groups that you can champion. You are aided by the fact that the grievance of the group need not be real – it can be imagined or better yet, blown out of proportion. Race, class, gender, and sexual orientation are the best categories along which to plant/exploit faultlines. Your mission is not to seek equality but to position your chosen group above their fellow countrymen. Yes, we lied about the equality earlier, or rather, it was only rhetoric :-) The resentment this will create is serve future generations of highly effective people well. Remember, the sub-altern can’t speak – YOU must speak for him or her!

3. Ridicule tradition

It would be advisable not to see Hinduism as a religion but a culture  or tradition. It is much easier to talk about “real” Hinduism that way if you ever find yourself in a pickle and need to back-peddle. You must use every opportunity to mock traditions as superstitions and the oppression of millennia sanctioned only by bigotry. Thankfully, homo sapiens are a truly degenerate species (despite their wondrous achievements), and you can find examples of excess anywhere. Synechdoche! Use these examples as representative of the whole. You can surely find a couple of other examples, which will suffice in any conversation if not a proper study…we will get to those later.

4. Communicate to obfuscate

If you are using one word where ten could be used, shame on you! Do you have a graduate degree? From abroad? Use those GRE words you memorised – they were made for such occasions! Everything is a discourse and a narrative; do not be afraid to embed yourself in the dasein of the moment. See what I did back there? Use words from foreign languages strategically when explaining key points and your logic fails. It is unlikely that anyone in your audience speaks that language, and if they do, words like dasein, ding-an-sich, or eudaimonia. Not only will you appear scholarly, but you will be aided by two things: 1. even if someone does know these terms, they are ambiguous enough to merit an entirely different debate, allowing you to skirt the original issue, and 2. actual scholars also use such terms when talking to each other, lending legitimacy to the practice.

5. Denounce Narendra Modi

This is key. You have not made your bones, so to speak, unless you have denounced the chief minister of Gujarat. Like anyone, he has shortcomings, but that is not what you should focus on. Lavish your attention on the riots of 2002, or question his development record. Use numbers, like 1,000 dead, or a mere 5.6% growth. Few people are experienced economists to understand your arguments and numbers always add an air of veracity to your statements; they will appear empirical rather than subjective. What’s that you say? His record is quite good in reality? Look, do you want to be a highly effective person or not?!

To get back to the topic, your denunciation is easily lost in a sea of denunciations by many others like you and you will not be called upon to stand and defend your accusation. In fact, this will set you up for the next habit we will discuss.

6. Claim victimhood

Repeat after me – I am a victim. I have been wronged. I am misunderstood and maligned. I am a pinprick of an island of hope in a vast ocean of bigotry.

Undoubtedly, in the new era of social media, there will be someone who has more time than s/he should and will eviscerate you for your calumny against Modi. Do not respond, no matter the provocation. They are beneath you, remember. First, call them internet Hindus and dismiss them. Yes, I know it is a nonsensical term but it has gained traction so shut up and use it! If the person is anonymous, slam the handle for hiding behind anonymity. Tweet that you are being trolled. These things together will not only spare you from responding to a query but will also signal to your fraternity of highly effective people that you are one of them and they will come and rescue you through their tweets or columns.

If anyone asks – 66A is not a draconian law but one that ensures that we do not inadvertently hurt the feelings of each other.

7. Connect with vides

Despite 60+ years of independence, many Indians are yet to get over their fetish for white skin. You’d be greatly aided in your quest to be effective if you could somehow relate yourself to a foreign enterprise – a university, newspaper, or just gainful employment for a few years. The poor fellows in the West find India to be an excruciatingly bewildering place and this is exactly what you can exploit. Assuming you speak two or three Indian languages and the Queen’s English, Western organisations will be grateful for your expertise on that blasted subcontinent. There already exist a series of Potemkin initiatives to assist in this. Pontificating from a videsi altar will instantly gain you credibility and renown in India. Again, the existence of a few real scholars of India in the West will serve you as excellent camouflage to hide your mediocrity.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you can bring fortune into your lives. Unlock the secrets of highly effective people with these seven keys, and bask in the attention of an entire country. Congratulations on your choice to read these techniques and apply them to your lives; go forth and prosper!