• kewal sethi

decolonizing the hindu mind

decolonizing the hindu mind

dr. koenraad elst

notes

(first written in 2011)

chapter 1

introduction

the write ups in the newspapers and magazines, by repeated use, give rise to a situation in which the words lose their original meaning and acquire almost new connotations.

hindu revivalism thus means many pronged drive to rejuvenate the religion subjected to domination by islam and christianity. it might mean getting rid of the evils that have crept in or acquiring of the new ideas.

- it perceives itself as the continuation of the fight for the cultural freedom as much as the industrialization was meant to end the economic slavery.

- centuries of domination has inducted the feelings of inferiority complex and an attitude of self reproach. this can be undone by discovering the old treasure from within.

traditionalism is different. it is going back to the old ways as if nothing has happened in between.

as against this vhp is trying to rejuvenate the hindu religion with respect for the old literature but not ignoring the new developments. rss is also more modern than the traditionalist.

hindu fundamentalism

- it is not that a hindu can not be fundamentalist. the move is to create a force which will stand up to other religions while bringing all the hindus on the same wave length.

- it is really the self assertion of the religion.

- arya samaj which goes back to vedic traditions is called the progressive movement because it does away with the evils that have crept in over the centuries. thus girls education, banned for long, is back

- fundamentalism in the muslim or the christian sense is absent.

hindu communalism

- the original meaning is relating to communities. as such it preserved the traditions of the communities and was a useful doctrine.

- it is a word used for those who totally reject it. those who advocates quotas for communities call themselves secularist and anti communal.

- this trend started in 20s when congress called all hindu parties opposed to it as communal. even when it agreed to creation of pakistan on communal lines, it was still the secular party and those who wanted akhand bharat were communal.

- the basis was probably that these parties said what they did in the favor of their co religionists.

- normal thing is to call a party by what it chooses to call itself. thus nazi party was the social nationalists.

- muslim league called congress communal because it believed in saying vande mataram and such like grievances.

- it was called the tyranny of the majority.

- this definition is now extended by congress for bjp.

- iran has even now representatives of armenians, jewish and zoroastrians in the parliament on the basis of separate electorates.

- it should be remembered that turkey when it was islamic had 30 % of population as non muslim in 1900. after the secular state came in. in 50 years., the proportion has been reduced to less than one percent.

hindu nationalism

- it is the name by which some revivalists will call themselves.

- nationalism is only one aspect of the programme.

- some hindu revivalists went so far as to call themselves internationalist e.g. brahmo samaj

- it is a form of cultural nationalism. it can include culture in the so called muslim and christian period.

hindutava

- now effectively a synonym of hindu nationalism

- hindu nation comprising of all those who have no extra territorial loyalty

the hindu right

- right and left are relative terms

- bjp or bjs described themselves as centrists

islam

- islam is the belief in one god and that mohammed is his last prophet

- unchangeable nature of instructions of quran

- islamic vs. ismalicate - latter includes all that islam has acquired and which are now identified with islam e.g. the architecture of the mosques (which really is byzantine) and the writing of quran on walls of mosques. by contrast mughal painting is not islamicate. nevertheless it is called islam contribution to indian culture.

- impurities do not detract from the islamic character since the fundamental belief remains the criteria.

- muslims vs islam - some believe that islam is great religion but muslims are problem

- others believe that muslims as individual are good but collectively they are a problem

macaulayism

- in 1835 macaulay initiated education policy to create men who were 'indians by skin and english by intellect'. he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams

- kipling attitude that white men were here to liberate the barbarians from themselves

- the new class is totally groomed in foreign cultural atmosphere and is unable to communicate with indians

- ram swarup says "above all, there appeared a class of hindu-hating hindus who know all the bad things about hinduism. earlier invaders ruled through the sword. the british ruled through indology. the british took over education and taught us to look at ourselves through their eyes. they created a class indian in blood and colour, but anti hindu in its intellectual and emotional orientation. this is the biggest problem india faces - the problem of self alienated hindus."

- its most conspicuous representative is nehru who is evaluated as 'the english gentleman who came to ruin india'. he was 'a combined embodiment of all the imperialist ideologies - islam, christianity, white man's burden and communism that have flooded this country in the wake of foreign invasions and interventions.'

secularism

- in europe secularism is an arrangement between clergy and rulers whereby clergy did not interfere in the government.

- indian constitution blindly copies it.

- this is not of much concern to the revivalist. hindus never did care for the governmental sponsorship.

- hindu society traditionally is pluralist and not against any beliefs however unorthodox. buddha was allowed to preach his doctrine without molestation.

- in india, religion did not exclude science. the priest was very often the scientist also. witness the geometry of the vedic altars

- there is no need for european secularism. there is no need to remove the religion from the public life.

- secularism vs. non secularism is a false problem. the real problem is pluralism, co existence

- islam. christianity and marxism believe in exclusivism. if they exist, none else should exist.

pseudo secularism

- it is a fashion to call oneself a secularist. even muslim associations do while pleading for exclusivism

- check reaction to salman rushdie book 'the satanic verses'. it was banned to please the muslims. the ban was not opposed by the so called liberals. the only one to oppose the ban was mushir-ul-hasan, pro voce chancellor of jamia milia. he was assaulted the student leader said after the incident 'we are secular. we will not tolerate any thing against our religion.'

- press council condemned the publication of some excerpts saying that this is against the ethics of self restraint.

- one commentator said 'i asked a washerman, a vegetable vendor and others and they had never heard of rushdie.' he concluded ' nobody cares a damn about rushdie. in a free country people have a right not to read him.'

- a supporter of the ban came up with the argument., 'let hindus demand ban on all books which condemn hinduism'. the solution then is ban all criticism of all religions. this is standing secularism on its head.

- this is what is called pseudo-secularism.

- vir sanghvi argued 'it will be liberalism not to ban the book. it would be secular to ban it.' here is liberalism vs. secularism whereas in the original meaning, they are synonyms.

- secularism then is not neutral position. it is loaded in favor of a particular religion.

- what is called secularism is the version of one of the sides, the other side never being given a proper hearing.

- shahbano is another case of the same genre.

gandhian secularism

- there is another view of secularism- respect for all the religions. a hindu attending an islamic festival

- in indonesia, the constitution talks of one god - be it allah, ganesha or budhha. it does not oppose religion. it supports them.

- (hindus alienated from hinduism have a typical psychology of self hatred, of trying to exorcise their hindu identity by striking anti hindu postures and joining hands with the anti hindu forces.)

- (this class is successor of the british administration. whereas the british had some patronizing sympathy for their colourful subjects, the nehruvian ruling class does not have any.)

marxism

- it is not a term of abuse but simply a description. there are still people sticking to their concepts of stalin. mao and lenin

- they are prevalent in the academic circle as well as the press.

- they regularly call all hindu revivalists as rss men and hindu fascists.

- to marx, hinduism was 'ideology of the oppressed an outworn society. he was skeptical of any notion of the golden hindu age.

- for him it was right to colonize india to rescue it, the question being who was more suitable to do it - the british, the czar or the turks

- his followers refuse to treat india as a national unit. romila thapar, in an interview said 'india won't be able to stay together'. yechury calls it multinational country.

- in every conflict, they have stood on the anti hindu side whether it is quit india movement, the razakars of hyderabad, chinese incursions or the ayodhya mandir issue.

- in other third world countries, the marxists have supported the cultural movements but not in india.

- after the collapse of the soviet union. marxism has lost its flavour and the marxists have turned to secularism and macaulayism. having been deprived of the grandeur of lenin and stalin, they now hang on to nehru.

- even so on some issues they can not help siding with the revivalists. shahbano case for example or the opposition to wto and gatt

the other

- it is argued sometimes that the europeans, in order to denigrate islam, conferred on hinduism the quality of tolerance.

- but it is a fact that hinduism never had intolerance as evidenced by the presence of parsis, syrian christians or the jews.

- but the missionaries christians are disliked because their declared objective is to finish off hinduism.

- hindu hostility to islam is also based on this aspect. muslims will like to finish off hinduism.

- others should accept the otherness of hindus.

siege psychology

- it is said that the hindu revivalists show a siege mentality in that they imagine that they are surrounded by enemies

- in this they are very much like muslims who said islam in danger for demanding pakistan

- the pseudo secularism does indeed mean that hinduism is surrounded a siege organized by nehruvians and pseudo secularists

- these forces are in league with powerful international forces who will like to impose their view of the worldliness on hindus

- there are attempts to form anti hindu alliance by calling on the so called dalits. in fact there are attempts to divide the society to defeat them. thus there is kham in gujarat

- the flow of money from the west asia to muslim institutions and from the western world to missionaries shows he international effort to destabilize the hindu society as such.

westernization

- to hindu revivalist, he is still fighting against the colonialism. it is cultural colonialism even more pernicious than the political colonialism

- we are politically free but are still culturally and mentally slaves

- the opponents in this are the macaulayites, the marxists and the elite of india who do not want to give up their dominance

- it is argued that the 500 years old culture can not be destroyed by the onslaught of a few tv channels. they miss the real point

- to them the only concept of progress is the western model. it has destroyed our culture without giving us even prosperity in return

- the indian press places premium on all that is modern and the western is . by definition, modern.

- the good is not rejected and the bad is not what we want to adhere to. lose our bad points and get the good points but what is happening is just the reverse

- slogan is modernization without westernization

- it is believed that in any discussions on merits the indian system will win over the western system

- unlike islam hinduism is never afraid of free discussions

- a return to the old roots is to be welcomed if that frees us from the clutches of the westernization

majoritarianism

- democracy vs. majoritarianism

- can the minority be given the right of veto

- will the western world accept a situation where the civil laws are subject to the approval of the minority

- it is said 'the true test of the democracy is the kind of justice the minority gets.' does it mean the majority has no rights

- tyranny of the majority is a danger but there is no alternative in the democracy

- will the opposition of the catholics to abortion prevent such a law if passed by the majority. will the catholics be allowed to have their separate law.

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