Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sense?

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Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sense?

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 07:37

Ever since the BJP as a political party became a force at the national level, opponents have translated "Hindutva" as "Hindu nationalism" and that word is usually applied by a large number of Indians (often educated and westernized) - to mean a particular type of Indian who is to be detested and hated.

Over the years, in my online interactions with people, I have said a lot of things. Some people (usually educated English speaking Indians of my social class and educational background) have accused me of being a "supporter of Hindutva" - as if I have some deep desire to cremate all Muslims alive and rip open pregnant bellies of Muslim women. In online conversations they usually illustrate any views they don't like with a linked online image of the stereotypical "Hindutva-vadi". The stereotype hated "Hindu nationalist" is typically a figure wearing shorts, a hastily smeared tilak (a messy patch of vermilion on the forehead), sometimes with orange flag or robes - with his fist raised and mouth open ostensibly calling for the killing of all people dubbed as non Hindu. In these days of photoshop the Hindutva-vadi of "Hindu nationalist" image shows dead people or burning buildings in the background

This is an interesting tactic that forces any Indian who claims patriotism or nationalism on the defensive, accusing him of being a supporter of genocide and a person who wishes to drive all Indian Muslims to Pakistan; to kill all Muslims and Christians. The fact that Pakistanis and evangelist groups purporting to represent Indian SC/ST groups do this is beside the point. Indians, who are Hindu in most ways and hold a different political view also claim that there is a separate form of suicidal, self destructive and violent nationalism that is called "Hindu nationalism" which needs to be suppressed and rooted out in order to bring civilization into India.

The idea that is being pushed is that there is "nationalism" which is OK and "Hindu nationalism" which is a murderous deviant thought process.

I argue here that this is utter nonsense and this smearing of Hindus for being "religious" nationalist and therefore bigoted by definition is part of the process that led to the partition of India. It is part of the process that seeks to pacify Muslim passions that post partition leaders were worried would be inflamed from across the border by saying "We Hindus are not like that and we will oppose other Hindus if they mention nationalism." (this is pseudosecularism). It is also a tactic used by Church groups funded from abroad to win more followers and prove the hatred of Hinduvta versus the love of more "civilized" religious beliefs.

For partition to occur on Muslim/non-Muslim lines, "Muslim nationalism" was created as a rallying point before 1947. One of the targets of Muslim nationalism that called for unification of a Muslim nation was the need to demonize a counterpart "Hindu nation" that was imagined as a mirror image that stood opposed to Muslim nationalism.

There is definitely a Hindu viewpoint of nationalism and I argue that India has held together as a nation primarily because of Hindu nationalism. It follows from this statement that this unifying Hindu nationalism is also not murderous or or expansionist outside the borders of a historic Hindu view of India. There is no religion that is banned or suppressed by the Indian state. No religious group has seen its numbers being reduced by coercion by legal sanction, and in fact Hindu numbers have been "poached" so to speak by conversion, is a grievance that causes some disquiet.

Before I speak of a Hindu view of India and Indian nationalism - I would like to point out that in our education we are taught two separate subjects called "history" and "geography" as if these are two separate watersheds. This is a typical reductionist view that finds useful application in science, but it causes confusion because history is a story of humans and the story of humans can never be divorced from geography. When people are taught history like "Henry the 8th did blah blah blah" it is assumed that the setting was England, not South America or France. When people are taught about George Washington, it is US history, not based in Japan.

The idea that Indians did not record history is again complete nonsense and I am irritated to see educated Indians believe this piece of misinformation in this day and age. The act of denying someone's history can only be an act of subterfuge that seeks to undermine a civilization. The fact that this has been done to India and continued by educated Indians is something that we Indians, who generally think we are very smart, need to understand. Indian history is recorded in its ancient texts and folklore. These texts and folklore have been shared in Indian languages and in Sanskrit. Just because YOU can read only English does not mean that those tales are rubbish or that they do not exist. The problem is yours, not that of India or its history.

Indian history is totally linked up with the geography of India. People names and place names are linked with rivers, mountains, valleys and seas all across India. There does exist a type of narrow North Indian chauvinism in the cow belt that consider their particular history to represent the core history of Hindu India, but that is a blinkered view of the fact that for people in Maharashtra, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Assam - there are place names and river names, mountain names and people-names and memories of events and kings that tie up all of India from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, from Gujarat to Assam. Of course Indian history also includes modern day Pakistan and parts of Afghanistan. Sri Lanka features in Indian history. But China is not part of India in Indian history. The far east, while being influenced by India, again is not part of Indian history. Persia and Greece find mention in later Indian history - in an era which is called "pre-history" in western terms. Neither Persia nor Greece are considered India, in the Indian mind that is informed by Indian history.

The point I am getting at is that the idea of India is not a "Hindu religious" idea based on a particular God, or a linguistic one based on any particular language, or even an ethnic one based on any particular group of people with common physical or cultural characteristics. India is India because it has been India in its existing borders for thousands of years. Not because its people speak one language; not because its people worship a single God; not because its people look and dress the same. This group of people are united by history recorded by Indians in India variously knows as the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata and Ramayana. Of course the obvious name for this history is "Hindu history". India is united by Hindu history. It is as simple as that.

Let me briefly digress into a related issue. I have used the term "Hindu history". If "Hindu history" is a "religious history" it is essential that we look at the histories of other religions to see if there is any commonality or any differences.

If we start with the history of Christianity - it started as a small group in west Asia and then expanded massively to cover all or Europe, North America and most of Africa. Christian history is one of expansion of geography, and has no specific attachment to geography.

Islamic history is almost exactly similar. It started in Arabia and expanded massively - mostly by force and coercion. Islam too did not have any love of a specific geography. Other than the life history of the Prophet and the Kaaba, there is no special attachment to geography within Islamic history. Islam is where Muslims are. Of course the idol worship of the area of the Kaaba and the sanctity of Makkah and Madina are more a Saudi Wahhabi construct that anything else - to the detriment of other Islamic historic regions like Iraq and Turkey.

So what is the similarity between Christian history, Islamic History and Hindu history? Let me see if I can tabulate what I think:

Does this history revolve around one single God and his followers?
    Christian history - yes
    Islamic history - yes
    Hindu history - no

Has the history been one of continuous and relentless expansion since establishment
    Christian history - yes
    Islamic history - yes
    Hindu history - no

Is the history inextricably linked to any geographic region?
    Christian history - no
    Islamic history - no
    Hindu history - yes

Anyone who looks at the above table will see that "Hindu history" is totally unlike the history of Christianity and Islam. The latter two are histories of religion. Hindu history is more one of geography and culture. The geography is intrinsic to Hindu history. Expansion and the requirement of following one God are both not parts of Hindu history.

It is Hindu history that unites India within India's historic confines
It is Hindu history that keeps Indian in India without expanding and occupying other lands by forcing the "Hindu religion"

Hindu nationalism is the acknowledgement of Hindu history that defines the geographic region and culture even while avoiding expansile and coercive conflict outside this geographic region, or the imposition of one religion or one God on all people in India . How would this definition of Hindu nationalism be any different from Indian nationalism?

Why then should we have a situation where
1. Hindu history is dissed as non existent and worthless?
2. Those who speak of pride in Hindu history are dissed as violent chauvinists whose views need to be rejected?
3. Hindu nationalism is said to be an abhorrent monster?

Surely these views are only designed to destroy India as a nation and not unite.

If you got this far, thanks. I will read other opinions, whether i agree with them or not
Last edited by shiv on 10 Nov 2014 08:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby A_Gupta » 10 Nov 2014 08:25

Shiv,

a. There have been chauvinistic movements within Hindus, and this is where "Hindu nationalism" gets its reputation from. (Read history :) ) . I think you write above that "Hindu nationalism" is neither an ethnic nor a religious nationalism. But there have been such movements. So this is where "Hindu nationalism" needs to be reclaimed.

b. India may have its history, but it is not history in the form e.g., of ancient Thucydides or more modern works. It might be better to keep its name separate, as Itihaas, as it is rather different.

c. If Ramayana was a history (or a scripture) there would be only one version of it (or all the versions would try to cohere tightly together). Same with Mahabharata, Purana, etc. If you keep the "invariant" elements across all these versions, you will figure out what is important about what they say, and it is not history as understood in the West.

d. You seem to have forgotten that Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, etc., have Hindu pasts. For each of them, while they were Hindu, their area is the sacred area. E.g., Thais will tell you that Ayodhya is really Ayutthya, and Ramayana was originally Thai. I don't think they kept a longing for a distant Mecca or Jerusalem. As far as I know, each of these had their own sacred geography. The Buddhists may be different -- I'm not sure.

Mathura/Madurai - the north and south Mathuras - might be even the trace of local sacred geographies that arose in an ancient India.

-----

There is going to be a lot of debate about your topic, but I am going to try not to get sucked into it. Just remember, we are all ultimately what we do, not what we believe or profess - that is the Hindu philosophy.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 08:44

A_Gupta wrote:
a. There have been chauvinistic movements within Hindus, and this is where "Hindu nationalism" gets its reputation from. (Read history :) ) . I think you write above that "Hindu nationalism" is neither an ethnic nor a religious nationalism. But there have been such movements. So this is where "Hindu nationalism" needs to be reclaimed.

If those movements were no different from the violent expansionism and chauvinism of Christianiy and Islam, why is it necessary only to curb the Hindu trait without demanding a similar curbing of Christian and Islamic traits. Why would it be injustice or "extremism" to demand a level playing field? Why are Hindus "revisionist" versus innocent "religionsts" of other religions. It would be perfectly valid to point out that it is the aggressive expansionism of Christianity and Islam that seek to paint all of Hindu history as being marked by those movements that you mention, selectively forgetting the fact that more religions have arisen from within India and allowed to thrive than anywhere else.

A_Gupta wrote:b. India may have its history, but it is not history in the form e.g., of ancient Thucydides or more modern works. It might be better to keep its name separate, as Itihaas, as it is rather different.

History is a record of a people. Why should one people's record be less valid than another just because it belongs to a different tradition?


A_Gupta wrote:c. If Ramayana was a history (or a scripture) there would be only one version of it (or all the versions would try to cohere tightly together). Same with Mahabharata, Purana, etc. If you keep the "invariant" elements across all these versions, you will figure out what is important about what they say, and it is not history as understood in the West.
It may not be history as understood by the west, but it is a statement of culture that existed back then in various geographic regions that still exist today, as do the people who recall and practice that culture. It is a form of living history. All those "common, important" bits were spread across named geographic regions of India. These would be "Historically and culturally significant toponyms". It is the geography that I was speaking of when I mentioned the Ramayana and Mahabharata, not a claim that the stories are 100% true and consistent. It is the place-names of the Ramayana and Mahabharata that are so significant. Have you read detailed versions recently? They may be made up stories. But those made up stories speak of a common culture across a geographic region and the stories exist in some form or other across that region. That is why I made a point about history and geography being taken separately or together. History without reference to geography is meaningless. ignoring geography in the literary and cultural memes of a people is equally a sign of illiteracy and denial of history.

A_Gupta wrote:d. You seem to have forgotten that Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, etc., have Hindu pasts. For each of them, while they were Hindu, their area is the sacred area. E.g., Thais will tell you that Ayodhya is really Ayutthya, and Ramayana was originally Thai. I don't think they kept a longing for a distant Mecca or Jerusalem. As far as I know, each of these had their own sacred geography. The Buddhists may be different -- I'm not sure.

Mathura/Madurai - the north and south Mathuras - might be even the trace of local sacred geographies that arose in an ancient India.

Not forgotten. You have missed the reference. I have categorically stated that the far east was not considered part of "India". They may have been "Hindu" but they were not India (Bharat). They don't think they are Indian either.

This is what I have written:
The far east, while being influenced by India, again is not part of Indian history.


Your observation is an illustration that proves my point that Hindu nationalism is not religious nationalism, nor does it seek to expand beyond its set boundaries.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby member_20292 » 10 Nov 2014 09:10

Why does it matter to us what people opine and characterize and denigrate about our feelings?

IB4TL.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby symontk » 10 Nov 2014 09:23

mahadevbhu wrote:Why does it matter to us what people opine and characterize and denigrate about our feelings?

IB4TL.


Same question can be asked by a muslim or a christian from India. As A-Gupta mentioned most of the south and south east asia was hindu in the past. But why they are not now? Why is it boxed in India alone? It may not be due to any advantage, it could be because of some short comings. and what was that? Anyone tried to explore that?

Shiv mentioned that Christianity and Islam expanded in course of time, it can be considered both good and bad depending on how it was done

Hindu Nationalism was spoken in a pejorative sense probably after assassination of Gandhi, an avoidable mistake I would say

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 09:25

People seem to dispute the historic value of the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha. Arun has posed some of the questions above and I think I wil state some views on them

The Ramayana and Mahabharata are stories, it is said. Not history. There are so many versions, it is observed.

Both statements may be perfectly true but only an ignorance of the detailed texts themselves and an ignorance of the way these texts are dovetailed into other Indian histories creates these arguments.

As I said earlier the Ramayana and Mahabharat may be completely made up stories. All cooked up. All fake. They may also exist in a thousand different versions. But all versions hold the Vedas and dharma as sacred. Common across every version that I have heard of are the idea of a high, snow bound mountain range in the northm, reputedly the abode of lord Shiva, where the sacred river Ganga originates. There is also a sacred Yamuna river. There is a confluence of the ganga and Yamuna. There is mention of a Saraswati river. There are names like Indraprastha, Ayodhya, Mathura and Dwaraka. The rivers Kaveri and Godavari find mention. Lanka finds mention. The need to cross a sea before getting to Lanka finds mention. People travel east from Indraprastha to get to Dwaraka. They travel north to get to the abode of Shiva. They travel south to meet southern people and get to the river Godavari. And these geographic links with the "cooked up" stories are also common to the complete set of Hindu literary archives.

But since the stories are all allegedly cooked up, is the geographic setting also all cooked up?

If you dismiss that literature as worthless you are essentially dismissing the known and recognized geography of ancient India which corresponds completely with the geography of modern India. By dismissing Indian memes as false or meaningless, one is dismissing the memories of Indian geography as non existent.

But this is only for scholars. The people of India are still steeped in the memories of Indian geography along with all those fake Rama-Yama tales. That has, in my view, contributed to the unity of post 1947 India. That is nationalism.
Last edited by shiv on 10 Nov 2014 09:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 09:27

mahadevbhu wrote:Why does it matter to us what people opine and characterize and denigrate about our feelings?

What does it matter to "us"?
Speak for yourself sir.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 09:37

symontk wrote: As A-Gupta mentioned most of the south and south east asia was hindu in the past. But why they are not now? Why is it boxed in India alone? It may not be due to any advantage, it could be because of some short comings. and what was that? Anyone tried to explore that?

I have explored that.

Hindu nationalism itself does not cover every area where Hindus are found. It covers geographic areas that have been associated with Indians for over 4000 years, in folklore and literature, long before the name "Hindu" was coined and long before anyone came up with the idea that there should be only one God who needs to be followed by all.

Hindu nationalism is not religious nationalism, or linguistic or ethnic. It is geographic based on the memories of a culture that has existed for over 4000 years. Associating Hindu nationalism with some drive to push other religions out needs to be viewed from the prism of the degree to which other religions have expanded to push everyone else out and impose one God or "one way only" on older pre-existing cultures.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby symontk » 10 Nov 2014 09:47

shiv wrote:Hindu nationalism is not religious nationalism, or linguistic or ethnic


That's the crux of the matter, whole set of people think otherwise and they may be right because all the pointers are for "Hindu Nationalism being a religious nationalism". Do you have any points otherwise? Saying that India's history and geography is mentioned in Holy texts Ramayana and Mahabharata doesn't cut it

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 09:55

symontk wrote:
shiv wrote:Hindu nationalism is not religious nationalism, or linguistic or ethnic


That's the crux of the matter, whole set of people think otherwise and they may be right because all the pointers are for "Hindu Nationalism being a religious nationalism". Do you have any points otherwise? Saying that India's history and geography is mentioned in Holy texts Ramayana and Mahabharata doesn't cut it



This is a complete no brainer.

If Hindu nationalism is dubbed religious nationalism because a whole lot of people say so, it will stop being called that when enough people say something different.

So I am person number one saying something different. I want people to read what I have said and start saying what I am saying. If they do, things will change If they don't things will not change. Obviously nothing I say will cut it for some groups of people. "Cutting it" and "not cutting it" hardly makes a difference if enough people subscribe to a particular viewpoint.

I have cast the first stone, so to speak... :rotfl:

QED

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby symontk » 10 Nov 2014 10:00

people who are themselves calling "Hindu Nationalists" mean it to be religious nationalism. It will take a great deal of effort to reeducate if thats what you are attempting

Good luck

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 10:03

symontk wrote:people who are themselves calling "Hindu Nationalists" mean it to be religious nationalism. It will take a great deal of effort to reeducate if thats what you are attempting


Everyone can learn, when exposed to the truth.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby svenkat » 10 Nov 2014 10:04

This debate imho started 130 yrs back when Bankim Chandra Chattopadhya invented modern Hindu nationalism.

The Leftists,the dravidians,the tamils,Ambedkarites,Akalis who have critiqued Hindu nationalism are not fools.Political parties like Akali Dal,DMK,NCP,SS,RJD,RLD,AGP,TDP,TRS,PMK,SP,BSP,JD(U),KRV,MES have not arisen in a vacuum.The savarna--avarna differences,the jati differences,the language differences,the class differences,boundary disputes,linguistic chauvinism,regionalism,linguistic sub nationalism,river water sharing disputes,the dam disputes challenge the narrative of Hindu nationalism.

The people who are nervous about Hindu nationalism are in the main hindus who acknowledge Hindu stream of thought(ie why they passionately defend Indian nationalism-without hinduism theres no India)but are conscious of the limitations of 'unthinking Hindu nationalism' as a template for modern India given there has never been a monolithic Hindu India without wars,conflicts,internal differences.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby Hari Seldon » 10 Nov 2014 10:11

Hindu nationalism is not ethnic, linguistic or even religious. It must be geographic nationalism then? For, certainly, it seems not to exist outside of India and of little Indias (Indian diasporas in the west).

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby SwamyG » 10 Nov 2014 10:14

A very good topic that is very relevant in today's world. There are scores of articles in the last couple of years that have been written largely written on the lines of mothers rationalizing (or threatening) their little children with dire consequences if they did not eat their dinners (like in tamil moms used to say: Seekaram saapidu, ilaina poochandi piddichandu poyyduvan - eat quickly else 'pooochandi' will take you away). The word poochandi itself is a loaded word quite germane to these discussions: http://gcmouli.com/blog/tag/poochandi/ But I digress.

I like to expand a little more on my thoughts a little later. But at a high level, Hindu Nationalism has the baggage from the 1920s and during the late freedom struggle in India. Hindu Nationalism was born in those days when Communism, Nationalism and Fascism were seen by the Western powers as the next evil. By the time the West, had imagined, that it had reformed Christianity of all its evil, and Islam was buried. Petroleum was yet to be found, and Arabia was just a land occupied by weird people who practiced Islam.

The European Invaders, like their predecessors the Islamic Invaders, saw Hinduism with all its warts and pimples. Because that is the first thing that anyone notices of another person - their ugliness. Unless one is extremely handsome or beautify (or perfect), people notice the flaws in others first before discovering the inner beauty. So the Christian Europe wrote tomes on the Hindu ugliness (there were some good books on Hinduism as well but far few), and Hindus became the brown people living in India worshiping all evil and false gods.

With the rise of nationalism, and the association of some the Hindu political leaders with the Germans, Japanese and other non-English countries, the West (the victors of WWI and WIII) shaped the conversation about Hindu Nationalism.

Hinduism when robbed of all its glory, was seen as an entity suppressing its own people primarily using caste equations. As Hindu Reformers rose, there was a section of Hindu reformers who saw these warts as things that stopped Hinduism and India from growing larger in the global arena. Some of them began to detest anything Hindu, just like the atheist in West hated anything related to Christianity. While others detested the homogenizing qualities of this new ideological movement, the perceived their local culture could be subsumed by this Big Brother.

So imagine in this landscape, an ideology already associated with the negative forces of Europe and shorn of all good things; it was easy for everyone to fear and hate it. The Hindus that hated these ideology used it to create fear in the minds of Muslims. Countless articles are written about Hindu groups burning Churches and rioting against Muslims. Godhra and Babri Masjid occupy the minds of the people. A few killings in Central India is spoken at length.

Mullahs and Missionaries hate and fear it, because this Hindu Nationalism is a threat to them.
Muslims and Christians hate and fear it, because they perceive Hindu Nationalism to be a threat to them.
Regional power structures hate and fear it, because they consider the homogenizing nature of Hindu Nationalism a death knell to their regional and lingual identities.
True Seculars hate and fear it, because there are a few Hindu fringe elements that truly act violently and act like they are really fringe elements.
Foreign powers hate and fear it, because it creates a rising power that is just another problem to have on its hand.

And hence, all the above love and use Hindu Nationalism to their advantage. Almost 99% of the articles written on Hindu Nationalism, the authors never explain why they hate or fear it. They already assume it is shit and use it as shit. So question them on when a Hindu persecuted a non-Hindu; they will bring the communal riots, Godhra, Babri Masjid, Church burning, Valentine's day vandalism, oppression of Dalits and other backward people, regional suppression.

A quite a fascinating crisp and short paper on this topic. http://www.apcss.org/Publications/Ocasi ... nalism.pdf (a must read). And this is probably what Shiv is saying too (read the conclusion piece in the article).

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby Pratyush » 10 Nov 2014 10:27

Doc,

Am sorry to make a banal post in a cerebral topic. But why are you seeking to beat them in a intellectual manner. Why not discredit them with ridicule, before an intellectual assault is made in order to destroy them.

The same way SDREs was taken or internet hindus was taken.

What I am trying to say is why give them the legitimacy that comes from a serious engagement.

Or as is my way, I have missed the point that you are seeking to make?

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby SwamyG » 10 Nov 2014 10:33

It cannot be taken similar to the terms SDRE or Internet Hindus, because these are stupid labels that should not be given legitimacy. However, Hindu Nationalism rightly or wrongly can shape the World affairs.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby RajeshA » 10 Nov 2014 11:00

shiv saar,

"The Bharatiya - Identity, Vision, Agenda, Proposition" Thread is in many way is a precursor to this thread.

I am glad however that you have started a new thread, for one thing, it is important that the discussion be refreshed and rehashed, a living discussion is always better than an archived discussion, and secondly the Bharatiya Thread lacked a certain sensitivity towards the "other view" and also failed to give legitimacy to the other even as a dialogue partner.

This is an interesting and dear topic and I don't wish to disturb the flow of the discussion, by bringing in too much of what was discussed there. However I found that the Gordian Knot of Hindu vs anti-Hindu was best cut by properly defining various terms, i.e. based on etymology, by reclaiming them, and by deconstructing them.

Three (and a half) terms, IMHO, that I feel have been completely skewed to mean something else are

  1. Hindu (Ishwarvadi Ārya, recast as "Religion" vs Bharatiya Resistance to foreign ideological and physical onslaught; redefined by the West)
  2. religion (faith vs authoritarian control and subversion using faith; defined by the West)
  3. Ārya (A PIE speaking White people/race which invaded India vs a Civilization of "Noble" people; appropriated by the West)
  4. Bharatiya (Indian citizen vs Native cultural identifiier for Indian Subcontinental; appropriated by Secular Indian State)

Unless these terms are not understood in their proper perspective, there would remain a very wide gulf between Hindus and anti-Hindus.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby Neela » 10 Nov 2014 15:25

Another keeper Doc-ji.
Two differences I would like to add:
One - when people talk of Hindu nationalism, the assumption here is that other religions are somehow persecuted by inference. This stems from reductionism of Hinduism to monotheistic faith systems like Islam and Christianity. There is inherent equal-equal done here.
The second is that usurping power (though violence or through using political bodies) and monotheistic religions are invariably intertwined.
Whereas Christianity uses, by-and-large, political means, Islam relies on violence. The latter needs no explanation. For the former, I _guess_ European history is an example . Fast forward to modern day USA - large parts of southern USA's religious leanings determine who their political representatives are. And look at Germany - the the two biggest parties ( CSU, CDU) openly claim to be Christian.

As someone said in one of the other threads , we need to have a ICRR (Indian Council for Religious Rights) which indulge in all levels of debate - from writing esoteric papers to plain mocking monotheistic beliefs

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 16:39

Let me ask a rhetorical question. But it's a serious question and I would urge people to try and answer it if they agree with my premise.

Let me assume that nationalism is a useful and positive phenomenon for any country, encouraging loyalty and service to the state.

The second assumption is that Hindu nationalism is bad - an offensive characteristic among some Hindus that needs to be shunned and discouraged.

My questions are as follows:

India has a population of about 80% Hindu and 20% non Hindu. Given this state of affairs:
1. What sort of behaviour should the 80% Hindus of India display in order to be nationalists but not Hindu nationalists? What types of egregious behaviour must Hindus avoid in order that they can avoid being dubbed as "Hindu nationalists" - which an avowedly bad thing for Hindus?

2. What kind of nationalist behaviour is displayed by the 20% non Hindus of India that earns them the laudable reputation of being nationalists but not Hindu nationalists? What behaviour must Indian Hindus emulate in order to avoid the pitfall of being called "Hindu nationalist"?

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby A_Gupta » 10 Nov 2014 16:43

shiv wrote:
A_Gupta wrote:If those movements were no different from the violent expansionism and chauvinism of Christianiy and Islam, why is it necessary only to curb the Hindu trait without demanding a similar curbing of Christian and Islamic traits. Why would it be injustice or "extremism" to demand a level playing field? Why are Hindus "revisionist" versus innocent "religionsts" of other religions. It would be perfectly valid to point out that it is the aggressive expansionism of Christianity and Islam that seek to paint all of Hindu history as being marked by those movements that you mention, selectively forgetting the fact that more religions have arisen from within India and allowed to thrive than anywhere else.


Who is going to demand that but us? The West has written against Muslim expanson; but while some few Westerners have written against Christian expansionism, it is not a mainstream meme there. So yes, the question is, why have Hindus been silent for decades, centuries?

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby A_Gupta » 10 Nov 2014 16:46

shiv wrote:As I said earlier the Ramayana and Mahabharat may be completely made up stories. All cooked up. All fake. They may also exist in a thousand different versions. But all versions hold the Vedas and dharma as sacred. Common across every version that I have heard of are the idea of a high, snow bound mountain range in the northm, reputedly the abode of lord Shiva, where the sacred river Ganga originates. There is also a sacred Yamuna river. There is a confluence of the ganga and Yamuna. There is mention of a Saraswati river. There are names like Indraprastha, Ayodhya, Mathura and Dwaraka. The rivers Kaveri and Godavari find mention. Lanka finds mention. The need to cross a sea before getting to Lanka finds mention. People travel east from Indraprastha to get to Dwaraka. They travel north to get to the abode of Shiva. They travel south to meet southern people and get to the river Godavari. And these geographic links with the "cooked up" stories are also common to the complete set of Hindu literary archives.

But since the stories are all allegedly cooked up, is the geographic setting also all cooked up?

If you dismiss that literature as worthless you are essentially dismissing the known and recognized geography of ancient India which corresponds completely with the geography of modern India. By dismissing Indian memes as false or meaningless, one is dismissing the memories of Indian geography as non existent.


Who said that this literature is worthless? The point is that this literature does not belong to the category invented outside called "History". And as I said, to know what is valuable about the texts, look at what is common - invariant - across all versions. The things the various authors of the various versions did not take liberty with are the important things about those works, and they convey the message of the text.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby A_Gupta » 10 Nov 2014 16:47

RajeshA wrote:
Three (and a half) terms, IMHO, that I feel have been completely skewed to mean something else are

  1. Hindu (Ishwarvadi Ārya, recast as "Religion" vs Bharatiya Resistance to foreign ideological and physical onslaught; redefined by the West)
  2. religion (faith vs authoritarian control and subversion using faith; defined by the West)
  3. Ārya (A PIE speaking White people/race which invaded India vs a Civilization of "Noble" people; appropriated by the West)
  4. Bharatiya (Indian citizen vs Native cultural identifiier for Indian Subcontinental; appropriated by Secular Indian State)

Unless these terms are not understood in their proper perspective, there would remain a very wide gulf between Hindus and anti-Hindus.


+1

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 16:50

Neela wrote:One - when people talk of Hindu nationalism, the assumption here is that other religions are somehow persecuted by inference.

An accusation of persecution is the fundamental armament used both in evangelical Christianity and Islam to create martyrs and a sense of grievance. When anyone is accused by people of both these religions of being a persecutor it helps to ask if you are really a persecutor or whether it is a tactic used by those religions to claim that your existence as a follower of some other "false" God is being labelled as persecution for which you should repent.

It is only after spending decades of my life thinking that I belong to class of persecutors that I now realize that no matter how apologetic I get and no matter how much I discourage and fight real persecutors the smear on me that I am a Hindu fundamentalist will not go away. Any nationalism I display is by definition Hindu nationalism and therefore bigotry and designed to sound a death knell for non Hindus.

Here is an image from a beautiful museum in Shillong. Just look at the message. The image alomst demands that someone must die for Christianity and become a martyr because that is the "seed of Christianity". We know that Islam thrives on martyrs.
Image

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby A_Gupta » 10 Nov 2014 16:56

^^^ Look up "Devasahay Pillai" too.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby JE Menon » 10 Nov 2014 17:03

>>Same question can be asked by a muslim or a christian from India.

Not sure I understand this comment. With regard to whom in India can this question be asked by Muslims and Christians?

>>people who are themselves calling "Hindu Nationalists" mean it to be religious nationalism.

How do you know? The arch-nationalist Veer Savarkar was a self-declared atheist. Having said that, “nationalism” has negative connotations worldwide, again no doubt enhanced by the Nazi phenomenon. The question is whether Hindu nationalism should be seen in pejorative light given that such nationalism has been far more about lifting the Sanatana Dharma up from the ground where it has lain for almost a millennium than about denigrating others, on the basis of their faith system – a very important specific in my view.

Keeping that in mind, I suspect that what many Hindus in India actually mean - when they refer to Hindu nationalism or describe the feeling that others label as Hindu nationalism – is in fact something that may be more accurately classified as Hindu civilisationalism. If viewed from that perspective, perhaps it will change the contours of the discussion – moving away from comparisons with religion (specifically of the revelatory variety) to something more diffuse and less absolute.

It is undeniable that India is what it is primarily because of its Sanatana Dharmic underpinnings. Yet unquestionably, other civilisational influences (such as Christianity and Islam) have added layers and flavours to what is today our common Indian heritage.

The problem, however, is that Indians themselves – including people of all faiths - are largely kept in the dark about our own civilisational underpinnings with insufficient and incorrect information, often distorted and diluted by yet another civilisational influence (Marxism) which has had a disproportionate impact on our educational system and our vehicles for public discourse. It is important to note that this is not achieved primarily by the means of disseminating falsehoods, but rather (it seems to me) by the expedient of suppressing truths.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 17:05

A_Gupta wrote:Who said that this literature is worthless? The point is that this literature does not belong to the category invented outside called "History". And as I said, to know what is valuable about the texts, look at what is common - invariant - across all versions. The things the various authors of the various versions did not take liberty with are the important things about those works, and they convey the message of the text.

Arun you are repeating yourself. I have no disagreement with that invariant bit.

But look at it this way. If you read a bunch of stories in which one has aliens invading New York, another has criminals occupying New York, a third has maybe spiders or some animals taking over - it is obvious that the storyline is made up. but the geography isn't. New York exists no matter who or what is claimed to have taken it over in the story.

i am pointing out that another invariant feature of most versions is the geography and the descriptions of what is north, south east and west and the correspondence of those descriptions to what can still be found in India. I repeat, snow clad mountains to the north where the Ganga originates. Ganga and Yamuna meet and flow east. Dwaraka to the west. Lanka across the water in the south. Kaveri and Godavari in the South. Mathura. Do Thai and Indonesian versions of these tales have their own different geography corresponding to this? How many Indian versions fail on these counts?

The idea that these can or cannot be a part of history is completely imaginary. The great Witzel himself regularly uses "toponyms" to figure out history from ancient texts
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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby A_Gupta » 10 Nov 2014 17:20

^^^Well, there are things other than geography. IMO, geography as such is (where is Mount Meru?) one of the least of them. More important are the sense of a common civilization and the values expressed in the epics and Puranas.

Wiki: According to Puranic cosmography, the entire Cosmos is divided into seven concentric island continents (sapta-dvipa vasumati) separated by the seven encircling oceans, each double the size of the preceding one (going out from within). The seven continents of the Puranas are stated as Jambudvipa, Plaksadvipa, Salmalidvipa, Kusadvipa, Krouncadvipa, Sakadvipa, and Pushkaradvipa. Seven intermediate oceans consist of salt-water, sugarcane juice, wine, ghee, curd, milk and water respectively.


In Tulasi Ramayana, the adventures of the sage Kak-bhusanda are described. He sees thousands of worlds, some with humans, some with non-quite humans, but they all have their Ayodhya, Dasaratha and Rama. Call this "Ramayana-universalism". Neither actual geography nor actual historical time are relevant. (Someone will tell me, no doubt, "Valmiki Ramayana" is canonical. That may be a modern point-of-view. Tulasidas probably did not have this view, or else he would not have "corrupted" the Ramayana.)

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby negi » 10 Nov 2014 17:27

symontk wrote: As A-Gupta mentioned most of the south and south east asia was hindu in the past. But why they are not now? Why is it boxed in India alone? It may not be due to any advantage, it could be because of some short comings. and what was that? Anyone tried to explore that?
Well most closest analogy is that of a virulent strain of bacteria it grows faster and is more immune to antibiotics, the Abrahamic religions have grown faster than Hinduism for their ideological boundaries are very well defined and have zero tolerance or room for other faiths it is either them or others, with hinduism there is no such exclusivity clause that is why other faiths have found a home in India .

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 17:30

A_Gupta wrote:In Tulasi Ramayana, the adventures of the sage Kak-bhusanda are described. He sees thousands of worlds, some with humans, some with non-quite humans, but they all have their Ayodhya, Dasaratha and Rama. Call this "Ramayana-universalism". Neither actual geography nor actual historical time are relevant. (Someone will tell me, no doubt, "Valmiki Ramayana" is canonical. That may be a modern point-of-view. Tulasidas probably did not have this view, or else he would not have "corrupted" the Ramayana.)

Arun - this whole discussion of the epics can be taken on two planes.

One is the plane that you are talking about where their role as histories cannot be relevant in a western sense.

But in my mind, which works the way western logic and science have taught it to work, I am happy to take the line that these are not histories but they are tales. They are tales set in a very familiar geographic environment. One can come up with all sorts of esoteric symbolism about these epics, but for people living in India, for many centuries, it has been clear that the geographic places exist in the north, south, east and west of India.

It's a bit like Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh, which features in Dan Brown's "Da Vinci code". The story may be fake, but the chapel is real and attracts visitors, some of whom believe the story and some who don't So also Indian have been visiting Dwaraka, the source of the Ganga, Ram Setu etc for centuries. It is their history of their land. That is what adds to their allegiance to teh land. That is part of their sense of nationalism - not the desire to kill Muslims and drive out Christians.
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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby A_Gupta » 10 Nov 2014 17:30

Sigh, I got sucked in anyway. Well, my last words here - the Hindu-civilizational-cultural process makes a sacred geography eventually of anywhere that Hindus live.

You see the seed of a mighty tree, and you are looking for "history" and "geography" in it. But what is really interesting is the "tree-making ability" of this seed. This seed can stand in Thailand, and build a Thai civilization. It can stand in Cambodia, and build a Cambodian civilization. It can be in Java and ... well, I hope you get the point.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby Misra » 10 Nov 2014 18:22

This is an important discussion at this point in time.

JE Menon wrote:The problem, however, is that Indians themselves – including people of all faiths - are largely kept in the dark about our own civilisational underpinnings with insufficient and incorrect information, often distorted and diluted by yet another civilisational influence (Marxism) which has had a disproportionate impact on our educational system and our vehicles for public discourse. It is important to note that this is not achieved primarily by the means of disseminating falsehoods, but rather (it seems to me) by the expedient of suppressing truths.


RajeshA wrote:Three (and a half) terms, IMHO, that I feel have been completely skewed to mean something else are

  1. Hindu (Ishwarvadi Ārya, recast as "Religion" vs Bharatiya Resistance to foreign ideological and physical onslaught; redefined by the West)
  2. religion (faith vs authoritarian control and subversion using faith; defined by the West)
  3. Ārya (A PIE speaking White people/race which invaded India vs a Civilization of "Noble" people; appropriated by the West)
  4. Bharatiya (Indian citizen vs Native cultural identifiier for Indian Subcontinental; appropriated by Secular Indian State)

Unless these terms are not understood in their proper perspective, there would remain a very wide gulf between Hindus and anti-Hindus.


Language is key here. Elements of this same discussion in Hindi or another Indian language would perhaps appear much less weighty/urgent. Others (including Shiv) have previously pointed to the phenomenon of trying to fit square pegs in round holes, which is something that the author below has picked up, too:

https://www.facebook.com/newslaundry/posts/713712585385367

The article highlights an illuminating congressional hearing video. The fight for the true liberal space needs to be taken to the West and conscious NRIs have a chance to show the way. To be effective such an effort will need many of the ideas developed in threads similar to this one.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby RajeshA » 10 Nov 2014 18:27

A_Gupta wrote:c. If Ramayana was a history (or a scripture) there would be only one version of it (or all the versions would try to cohere tightly together). Same with Mahabharata, Purana, etc. If you keep the "invariant" elements across all these versions, you will figure out what is important about what they say, and it is not history as understood in the West.


In the Book "The Historic Rama", Nilesh Nilkanth Oak ji writes

Nilesh Oak wrote:What is Ramayana?

The Ramayana is the oldest epic of humanity, written in Sanskrit. Literally translated, it would mean ‘Rama’s Journey’. The epic consists of 24000 verses in seven Kanda (books) and 500 Sarga (chapters). The Ramayana is the story of royal prince Rama, whose wife (Sita) was ab- ducted by Ravana, king of Lanka (modern Sri Lanka)

Valmiki composed Ramayana. Valmiki is regarded as India’s Adi-Kavi - first poet, and Ramayana as India’s Adi-Kavya - first poetry. Not that there were no poets and poetry before Valmiki or Ramayana, however when it came to epic poetry, Ramayana is the oldest epic poem, at least one that has survived. This original epic poem is known as Valmiki Ra- mayana, to distinguish it from many of its variations that occurred over time.

The Ramayana is Itihasa, similar to the Mahabharata, and thus in- cludes a narrative of past events. The incidents described in the Rama- yana took place during Treta Yuga. The key incidents described in Ra- mayana took place at what is today called Northern India, Central India, Southern India and Sri Lanka.


Nilesh Oak wrote:The Ramayana Text

Many researchers create unnecessary confusion and big deal about the existence of many versions of Ramayana. Some of them insist on cleansing these versions, of course due to misunderstood notions about method and process of science, before undertaking research to deter- mine the timing of Ramayana. This is indeed an incorrect proposition.

All versions of Ramayana, as far as I know, recognize Valmiki as its original composer. Ramayana story has seen multiple variations among these latter editions – mainly due to prevailing beliefs of their compos- ers, predominantly guided by their religious orientation (Buddhism, Jainism, Islam), intent (devotional literature) or cultural influences (Ra- mayana versions from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, China, etc.). Multiple versions of Ramayana provide us with good illustration of how an historical tale may add flavors depending on who is re-telling it.

While these versions may provide a confusing mass to a student of Ramayana, for a researcher working on determination of the timing of Ramayana, choice of Ramayana version should not be confusing at all.

A researcher interested in determining the timing of historical in- stances in Ramayana has only one choice for his research – Valmiki Ra- mayana. Of course Valmiki Ramayana as it comes to us comes in multi- ple versions and I have used all available, available to me, versions of Valmiki Ramayana in determining the timing of historical instances de- scribed in Ramayana.


A_Gupta wrote:d. You seem to have forgotten that Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, etc., have Hindu pasts. For each of them, while they were Hindu, their area is the sacred area. E.g., Thais will tell you that Ayodhya is really Ayutthya, and Ramayana was originally Thai. I don't think they kept a longing for a distant Mecca or Jerusalem. As far as I know, each of these had their own sacred geography. The Buddhists may be different -- I'm not sure.

Mathura/Madurai - the north and south Mathuras - might be even the trace of local sacred geographies that arose in an ancient India.


Yes and there is a London and a Paris in Canada, and four Berlins in the USA.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby RajeshA » 10 Nov 2014 19:06

A_Gupta wrote:Sigh, I got sucked in anyway. Well, my last words here - the Hindu-civilizational-cultural process makes a sacred geography eventually of anywhere that Hindus live.

You see the seed of a mighty tree, and you are looking for "history" and "geography" in it. But what is really interesting is the "tree-making ability" of this seed. This seed can stand in Thailand, and build a Thai civilization. It can stand in Cambodia, and build a Cambodian civilization. It can be in Java and ... well, I hope you get the point.


A_Gupta ji,
this is not a rant against you. I would wish to use your comments simply to make a point.

If I may say so, this is a typical tussle between Hindutva and Hinduism.

"Hinduism", I fear as used by many Indians, especially NRIs, is basically a mechanism, riding on an earlier British project of boxing in Āryatva Sabhyata into a neat religion, whose purpose is to collect all that is good about it, package it all into abstracts, and escape into the West.

Then Geography doesn't matter, and Hindus around the world, don't really have to care about Bharat, because they are able to uproot all elements of Hinduism from its Geography, and bring it to where they live.

It reminds a lot like there is a riot in the city, so better pack your bags with all your valuables, and escape! So one can call Hinduism a life-boat or an escape-pod.

These "Hindus" want to be able to call their "Hinduism" as a pure faith/culture and pledge their allegiance to their host nation, not feeling guilty of having legacy feelings of patriotism for India.

Hindutva on the other hand basically tries to rebind Āryatva Sabhyata (Hinduism) to Bharat, nurturing the roots of both - faith/culture/civilization and nation.

Now this does not really sit well with the expat-Hindus, because they are then being told that if they want to be a good Hindu, they have to love Bharat über alles!

The solution is pretty simple!

Āryatva Sabhyata once extended to Southeast Asia, East Asia, Central Asia and even West Asia, and who knows may be even beyond. Nobody used to mix up culture with nationalism. Every nation used to look after its own interests and everybody was patriotic to one's own land.

But they did not use to call themselves Hindus either. That people of Bali call themselves Hindus is a new phenomenon.

Why can't expat-Hindus just leave the term "Hindu" to Bharatiyas as a national cultural identifier and call themselves "Ārya", and instead of using "Hinduism", just use Āryatva?

Disclaimer: I am myself an NRI!

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby KLNMurthy » 10 Nov 2014 19:39

shiv wrote:
symontk wrote:people who are themselves calling "Hindu Nationalists" mean it to be religious nationalism. It will take a great deal of effort to reeducate if thats what you are attempting


Everyone can learn, when exposed to the truth.

My political thought inspired by your political question is: it is spoken of in a pejorative sense because Indians don't own and control the discourse, and the owners have chosen to make it pejorative.

One meaning of ownership of discourse is control over what questions are asked. Even those trying to challenge the current state of affairs are forced to use terms line "Hindu" and "nationalist" both of which have default meanings in the not-Hindu-nationalist world only.

A consequence of the loss of ownership is the alienation of Hindus from modern philosophical tools that are meant for rebelling and reclaiming ownership--tools that broadly fall under Critical Theory. We might call this the pure intellectual Brahmin response. Taking this forum as an example, there are no such intellectual Brahmins among us. We are all Brahmins of a different kind: pragmatic thinkers who are in the material world: engineers, doctors, businesspeople. We have no training in how to shape and control thoughts and words. Speaking only of engineers, there is a term available in Telugu culture--maybe even in Kannada--the Viswa Brahmana or worshipper of Viswakarma, a Shudra who is a sort if honorary Brahmin who works with mind-stuff to the extent needed for defining architecture, crafts etc. I don't know the equivalents, if any, for doctors and businessmen.

I think you have asked a brahmin, nonlinear question, albeit expecting a linear, philosophically well-behaved answer as an doctor or engineer or businessman might--implicitly, you want a diagnosis so that you can prescribe an effective course of treatment, as it were.

But often there is no diagnosis or it is impractical to hunt for a proper diagnosis; even then, there may be no known treatment. In such cases a doctor might just treat the symptom and make it disappear. If the patient says, it hurts when I wave my left hand, doctor might say, ok then, don't wave your left hand, or, if you must wave it, here is something to make the pain go away.

This is a zen approach to the question that is asked: take an action so that the question itself is annihilated.

I urge everyone to pay careful attention to the current incipient revolution led by the Shudra politician Narendra Modi and his Shudra and Vaisya accomplices: it is an audacious attempt to refashion material India so that there is no more room for quesions like yours. The pure-intellectual brahmins of modern India--the ones with actual brains anyway--who also happen also to be traitors nearly to the last man and woman, have the tools to see what is happening with enough clarity that they are genuinely alarmed at the potential India in which the Brahmins don't control the Word(vaak) and makers of Meaning (artha) or material implementations, are the new owners of India.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby Atri » 10 Nov 2014 20:31

Critique on Savarkar's ideas - Hindutva in proper perspective

The original definition from his famous "Hindutva", for the consideration of reader, goes like this -

आसिन्धु सिन्धु पर्यन्ता यस्य भारत भूमिकाः
पितृभूः पुण्यभुः च एव, स वै हिन्दुरीति स्मृतः
One who considers this land from Indus to southern ocean (poetic way of saying entire Indian subcontinent, no need to take it literally) as "India" and regards this country as his "pitRu bhumi" (land of forefathers) and Punya-bhumi (difficult to translate this one), he is "Hindu"

About Fatherland - It is translation of original sanskrit word - Pitrubhumi (Land of Pitaras - forefathers). India is land of my forefathers. Ever since human being entered Indian subcontinent from Africa 1 lakh years ago, all my ancestors were from this subcontinent. So India is my pitrubhumi (Purkhon ki zameen in common hindi). All the places, rivers, mountains which I consider valuable and am ideologically and emotionally attached to, are in Indian subcontinent. Hence, India is my Punyabhumi as well. All those who share opinion with me are Hindus.

Julia Roberts may be a Vaishnavaite, but her pitrubhumi is somewhere else. She is dharmik, but not Hindu. Tarek Fatah and some Muslims like him (many are my friends) openly and proudly say that India is their Pitrubhumi and Punyabhumi, are Hindus. In their opinion, Mecca is just a place and over reverence to a place is non-islamic. On the other hand, culturally they are of this land and identify with Ayodhya, Kurukshetra, Ramsetu etc. They do not worship those places, but then nor do many Nirishwarvadi (non-theistic) Hindus. Whatever Subramanian Swamy said in his DNA article, is what Savarkar said in 1920s. Hindutva is Dharmarthik (socio-politico-economic) concept. It should not be made OR treated as an Adhyatmik (vaguely "spiritual") concept.

Hindu and Hindutva ARE geographical confined terms. Hindu comes from Sindhu and means Indian. With Muslim rule, it came to be associated with Indian faiths and with British rule, it was confined to Indian aastika faiths (segregating Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and tribals). GOI continued this. But people did not. Please do not think of Hindu and Hindutva as Adhyatmik terms. They are purely geographical and hence ethnocentric terms meant for describing Hindus of India. Those who have accepted some other land as their Punyabhumi and are interested only in adhyatmik traditions of Dharma, need not pay attention to what Savarkar says. It is not applicable.

These terms "Hindu" and "Hindutva" are for denoting dharmarthik aspirations of native brown Indic people from Indian subcontinent who consider Indian subcontinent as their native land and revered land. Hindutva is a subset of Dharma. Dharma is for entire humanity. Hindus (or the ethnic group which today is known as Hindus) are the last custodians and as well as originators of meme-complex of Dharma.

Remembered following quote from the film Good Shepherd (a fantastic film to watch, BTW)

Joseph Palmi: Let me ask you something... we Italians, we got our families, and we got the church; the Irish, they have the homeland, Jews their tradition; even the blacks, they got their music. What about you people, Mr. Wilson, what do you (WASPs) have?
Edward Wilson: We have United States of America. The rest of you are just visiting.


Here "we" are "hindus". And "we" have and ought to have "India". Rest are welcome, but are just visitors. In future when this Nation-state based polity will crumble and the very concept of "Nation-state" will fade, "Hindu" tag will fade along with it and so will "Hindutva". So, in another words, Hindutva is also one of the few Indic responses to "nation-state" concept imposed upon India by Brits after 1857.

Until nation-state exists, Hindus (brown indic people of Indian origin living in India and considering India as their native land and revered land) will have to ensure that their traditions and models (dharmik, aarthik, Kaamik and mokshik) are protected and implemented and their population well-versed with these traditions and models in geographical confines of "nation-state", that is today's "Republic of India".

I hate to speak in terms of skin color (too simplistic for my mind), but this will be the last time I will use this just to make myself and my understanding of Savarkar clear.

Native Indic Indian people believing in integral India as their native land and revered land, are Hindus and the nation-state of India (with her establishments, institutions, constitution and outlook) should be built as per the traditions, values, customs and four-fold Purushartha models of Indic origin. This is "Swa-Tantra" (self system). And this is what Savarkar's Hindutva (or anybody else's Hindutva including RSS) demands.


Hindutva is India's adaptive response to nation-state based polity. When polity based on nation-state will collapse, so will the dharmarthik ideology of Hindutva.

Why is it spoken in pejorative sense? Simple - it is a response which other civilizations have failed to develop in response to nation-state which preserves the core within thereby preventing complete digestion of everything that Indian civilization stands for and means. Its a hindrance for those forces which would like to digest us. hence hatred.

shiv
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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 20:55

Hindus may have a thousand and one reasons for being nationalistic. But why is it that only opposition to Muslims or other non Hindu minorities is dubbed as "Hindu nationalism"

To me this accusation appears to stem from a strategy to demonize the Hindu and make him "the other".

But surely, such a tactic gives Hindus a good excuse to demonize non Hindus in return. And in fact this is exactly the conflict that is sought to be created. It's Hobson's choice for Hindus. Heads you lose, Tails they win. if Hindus don't protest, they are smeared. If they do protest, it proves the accusation and creates those all important martyrs.

One important reason I had in my mind while starting this thread is to get people to think and ask what they have done to earn a label of bigotry for no reason. Why should a Hindu who considers his land sacred be smeared and accused of being a minority hating bigot with epithet "Hindu nationalist"? Can you be a Hindu and a nationalist simultaneously and not be a Hindu nationalist? What if you have very Hindu reasons for loyalty to the nation (eg you simply love the Ramayana and its geography and have visited all the places mentioned) Does loyalty to your nation make you a minority hating bigot?

If you are a nationalist in India, do you have to be ashamed of being Hindu lest you be declared a Hindu nationalist. Do you have to openly mouth some insincere platitudes simply because you want to show you are a nationalist but not a Hindu nationalist who is a bigot?

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby Atri » 10 Nov 2014 21:02

SHiv ji,

they very identity of "Hindu" came into existence as opposition to abrahmic monotheistic marauders. Before that there was no such identity - there was shaiva, vaishnava bauddha, jaina etc. and there were jaati based identities.

The very term "Hindu" came into being as a rallying umbrella term to organize and strike back at Islamism (and Christianity). So it is natural that opposition to muslims (in fact it is opposition to Islamism which on street level manifests as opposition to local muslim person) is important (and bulk) portion of what constitutes as "hindutva nationalism" or whatever other names attributed to this socio-politico-economic movement.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby SwamyG » 10 Nov 2014 21:18

shiv wrote:India has a population of about 80% Hindu and 20% non Hindu. Given this state of affairs:
1. What sort of behaviour should the 80% Hindus of India display in order to be nationalists but not Hindu nationalists? What types of egregious behaviour must Hindus avoid in order that they can avoid being dubbed as "Hindu nationalists" - which an avowedly bad thing for Hindus?

2. What kind of nationalist behaviour is displayed by the 20% non Hindus of India that earns them the laudable reputation of being nationalists but not Hindu nationalists? What behaviour must Indian Hindus emulate in order to avoid the pitfall of being called "Hindu nationalist"?


My answer to #1 based on how people get their panties in a twist is, when a non-Hindu is called Hindu based on the Hindutva ideology. Indian Constitution leaves Sikhs, Baudhas and Jainas in the Hindu fold. However, some Baudhas do not like to be called Hindus. Definitely when Muslims and Christians are called Hindus, many goats start bleating and acting as if they are going to be sacrificed. An extrapolation is that Muslims and Christians, do not like to be reminded of their Hindu ancestry either.

So based on the above observation, if a Hindu traditionalist or nationalists, were to be a strong Hindu but did not expect
1) Muslims and Christians to acknowledge they are Hindus based on Hindutva definition, or
2) Muslims and Christians to acknowledge their Hindu ancestry.

....then half the takleef would disappear.

Answer to #2. A non-Hindu nationalist (let us assume one who is a true one and not some pseudo variety) would swear by the Indian Constitution alone, and not be worried to remind others of India's Hindu past. It is not that the Hindu Nationalist does not adhere India's Constitution, it just that he is in the face reminding people of their Hindu past.

Until every individual in India becomes a true nationalist without special privileges on the account of their religion, Hindu Nationalism is means to pull the rabid Muslims and Christians to the center and trust only on the Indian Constitution without lip service.

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Re: Why is "Hindu Nationalism" spoken of in a pejorative sen

Postby shiv » 10 Nov 2014 21:20

Atri wrote:they very identity of "Hindu" came into existence as opposition to abrahmic monotheistic marauders. Before that there was no such identity - there was shaiva, vaishnava bauddha, jaina etc. and there were jaati based identities.


Atri, klnmurthy said this
My political thought inspired by your political question is: it is spoken of in a pejorative sense because Indians don't own and control the discourse, and the owners have chosen to make it pejorative.


There is a big difference between what he says and what you have said.

klnmurthy says that the terms ("Hindu" and "nationalism") are not owned by Indians and the owners are doing what they want

You are saying that the term Hindu was coined specifically as a reaction to invaders.

In klnmurthy's viewpoint "hindu nationalist" is pejorative because others choose to describe in in whatever way they like

But according to you, Hindu nationalism is anti-Muslim/Christian and this corresponds, for example, to Wendy Doniger's viewpoint

The implication from both meanings is that you cannot be a Hindu and a nationalist without admitting to be anti-minority. For example we dissect statements from Muslims and ask if they say "I am an Indian" first or whether they say "I am a Muslim first" A similar choice is being offered to the Hindu. If he says that he is Hindu first, then he is anti-minority. He has to say "i am Indian" first unless he does not object to the anti-minority tag.

In other words, for Indians, nationalism has to come in different flavours for different people. But the choice of being Hindu and nationalist is removed for all Hindus unless they admit to being anti-minority.


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