August 28, 2009

Ideology

Is anyone surprised about the goings-on in the BJP? This is a party based solely on mistrust, suspicion and erecting bogey-men; therefore, this a party with nothing to offer.

That's what we're seeing.

There's been recent talk about "not compromising" on the "core ideology" of the party -- this said when Jaswant Singh appeared to praise MA Jinnah and criticize Vallabhbhai Patel. Not having read his book, I'm uninterested in getting into that debate. But is this "core ideology" really based only on certain men being heroes and certain others being villains? Is that all?

Me, I first began wondering about this "core ideology" several years ago, in the lead up to Assembly elections in Maharashtra. Some members of the BJP and its family told us that in that election campaign, the main issue for them would not be roti, kapda aur makaan, but Hindutva.

(By roti, kapda aur makaan, they did not mean the hit '70s film.)

That is, Hindutva itself is not concerned with food, clothing and shelter, the basics of human existence. Which makes you wonder: what is it concerned with, really? What is Hindutva? What is this ideology?

Searching for answers, I've asked in this space and others too: what is Hindutva? The lack of any substantial answers tells me all I need to know. But the sneering and abuse tell me more.

I suspect Jaswant Singh is finding some of this out. The question is, why did it take him 30 years?

134 comments:

Neha said...

My first visit on ur blog Dilip..I have always been a firm believer of BJP...but recently, whatever is going on not only there, but everywhere is pretty sad...we are proving the saying "the country is going to dogs"...

the hindutva concept - as far as my knowledge goes - was started by BJP as our nation Hindustan was going thru a period when it was becoming very difficult for hindus to survive...especially places like kashmir where hindus were being killed was not acceptable... this gave a big boost to the party and other parties started voicing out their concern for other communities and other parties started opposing these parties...forget hindutva, our country is lost in this rat-race...

I know I have not answered your question because there is nothing left anymore..

and Jasawant singh book I am planning to read soon...

globalbabble said...

Hi,

Funny that you should question the concept of Hinduvta. Recently, a friend, who is from Singapore and has been living in Mumbai for a while, asked me what was BJP's stand on Hindu religion: how it should be practiced to avoid its numerous pitfalls, like say caste system?

Despite being a heavy newspaper reader for years, I was a bit nonplussed. I know, what their stand is on Ram temple, uniform civil code, Islam, but I don't know what their stand is on how we should practice the Hindu religion. It seems they are a party formed on the basis of what others should or should not do, not on how us Hindus should lead our lives.

The Jaswant Singh debate is just a sign of a party on a serious downward spin. It sort of reminds me of Congress in late 90s and early 2000 caught in a web of pettiness and accusations - or the Republican Party in the US.

Chandru K said...

The BJP has definitely tapped into a large segment of the Indian population's desire for more Indian symbolism, concepts, history and character. And their disgust at the pseudo-secularism of many people in India, not just the Congress. The kind of people who go out of their way to downplay or denigrate Hindu symbolism and character, while promoting Islamic or Christian. Often to show off or to win accolades from fellow-travellers, the international media, and of course from the minorities themselves.
As far as Jinnah goes, there is no doubt he was far and away the main driving force behind partition, and thus must take the lion's share of the blame for the horrific violence that accompanied it. Jinnah was really the dictator, the fuhrer, of the Moslem League.

globalbabble said...

Dear Chandru,

I grew up a Hindu studying text books by the so-called psuedo-secular marxists. I don't remember growing up with any sense of shame about being a Hindu - there was great emphasis on the ancient Indian civilisation, vedas, Hindu architecture, our advances of science, of the great Hindu empires like Vijayanagara.

Sure, it pointed out problems, but it didn't seem disproportionate to other cultures.

Nor socially did I ever feel like I was unable to assert my hinduism: I never felt that me or my family had to hide our religiosity. And I grew up travelling along the entire northern belt of India: Rajasthan, MP, Bihar and Maharastra. We visited temples, prayed at home, celebrated our festivals - durga puja, ganesh chaturthi, diwali - without feeling threatened or ashamed in any way.

There was no aspect of Hinduism that I felt I couldn't practice - privately or publicly.

So this notion, that somehow I was subservient in our own country, leaves me perplexed.

On the contrary, after BJP made Hinduvta into something political - it has made me more conflicted about my Hindu identity. Because I don't want my identity to be connected to riots, murder, systematic disrespect of other cultures, and destruction of historical monuments.

Manish said...

It is very easy to understand what Hindutva is. Let me say at the outset, that I neither subscribe to it, nor do I defend it, so if you have a problem with it, or think it is an inherent contradiction, go take it up with the BJP. You asked what it was, so I am telling you.

Hindutva = 'Hinduness, or a Hindu way of life'. It is the BJP's and RSS's belief, that everybody who lives in India should base their philosophy of life on Hinduism, because they believe it has an all-encompassing view of things. By all-encompassing, it means it provides you with a moral compass on how to live your life. It is meant to inculcate a sense of pride into Hindus to stop being ashamed and to get over their inferiority complexes of being ruled by some foreign power or another for the past 1000 or so years.
It is also belief, that essentially everybody who has been a part of this land (this land being India) for the past 1000 years or more or less, is essentially a Hindu first, and was converted to some other religion second. So, in their view, the people of India follow another religion should at least acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindu, and there has been a level of injustice perpetrated against Hindus over the milennia. You can contrast this with somebody who may say that I am an Indian, not a Hindu. A follower of Hindutva would argue that being Indian, means that you _are_ essentially Hindu. So , for example - that you now choose to believe in Allah & Islam is fine and dandy, so long as you:

a) don't kill cows,
b) partake in the Hindu festivals with as equal gusto you do your own
c) consider hindus to be your equals, and not some kind of lesser, misguided cretins,
d) and stop trying to convert people to your religion, as conversion is against the tenets of Hinduism.

Looking at things from their point of view - they believe that Muslims DO have a place in all of this - if they would only come around to acknowledging that there is nothing wrong with Hindus, Hinduism, and that maybe the Hindu paths to God are ok as well.

The same goes for Christians, so long as they stop converting people, and denouncing other religions.

It is the Hindu's unfortunate fate that most of the history of Hindusim is neither recorded on paper, nor has it been preserved even if it was. Why is this? Because the temples (which may, or may not) have held this information, have now all been replaced with mosques, or were burned down long ago.

The Catholics have the Vatican, The Muslims have their Mecca, and these places are unsullied by any other religious intrusion. There is no challenge on the K'abah. Nobody says it is the 'alleged' anything. However, when talk turns to Ayodhya, it is only the 'Alleged' birthplace of Ram.

Hindutva asks you - why is there this double standard?

Hindutva also believes in a strong Hindu nation. Be prepared to fight, to take up arms to defend yourself, for you have not done this very well in the past 1000 years. You have always been a victim.



I could go on. But these are essentially some of things that make up 'Hindutva'. There are more things.

a) I do not subscribe to this philosophy
b) I do not defend it

But that doesn't mean I can't understand it, or figure out what its root causes were.

The Real Azous D'Pilid said...

Wah Wah D'Souza, I have to admit, you're a stubborn old goat aren't you? While this Manish idiot has fallen straight into your trap (but tried to avoid it by pretending he doesn't support Hindutva), it is clear that most people don't do it. Why not? Because most of them don't possess the intellect of a babboon, like you. You want a nice set of rules to define Hindutva as if it is one of Newton's 4th Laws is it? Well if Hinduism itself isn't so easy to nail down, how can one say the same of 'Hindutva'. Can't wait for the next duffer to come along and try to define what Hinduism is, and for the idiot after that to strike him/her down with a new definition of Hinduism.

But you already knew that, didn't you D'Souza. It's easier to mock the spiritual beliefs of 800 million people than actually get off your ass and do something useful, isn't it?

(D'Souza goes: 'WHERE HAVE I MOCKED anything? I am just a naive innocent little schoolboy asking daddy what Hindutva means'.

And Daddy, as usual, has to reply with 'Nowhere, D'Souza, Nowhere'. Now why don't you go find a village idiot and teach how to dig some holes in the ground.

Manmohan Singh said...

Please hold on, Dilip, I must ask Sonia-ji what Hindutva is.

Dilip D'Souza said...

globalbabble, thank you for this: So this notion, that somehow I was subservient in our own country, leaves me perplexed.

It's amazing to me that the BJP gets support by selling folks a fundamentally weak-kneed image of themselves: "You and we are namby-pambies who are being oppressed in our own country, and if you don't believe that about yourself, if you have the self-confidence to stand up for yourself, you're not a real Hindu like we are."

Amazing, but it seems to have worked with enough people.

Chandru K said...

globalbabble, good response, and somewhat reassuring. Manish has identifies a large part of the problem: the unwillingness, if not downright opposition of the minorities, particularly the Moslems, to identify with Indian/Hindu symbolism, history, literature, ideas. Barring the odd exception like the former president Kalam. The Moslem League in the pre-independence era, of course, represented this behaviour in its most obnoxious, virulent form, and we know what the end result of that was.

globalbabble said...

Hi Chandru,

The only thing I understood from Manish's discussion is that Muslims should stop eating beef and start celebrating Diwali.

Since, Muslims have made no effort to convert us Hindus in India since Independence, the point is not meant for them.

As for respect, what can they do to show that respect? I am guessing, not eat beef and celebrate our festivals, right?

On beef:
When Hindus live in the US, they are perfectly fine with Americans around them eating beef. As long as they are not being forced to eat beef, they don't feel disrespected. Nor do American Christians feel disrespected because Hindus are not eating beef. So why does Muslims eating beef in India irk us so much? And why do we feel disrespected by it?

I specifically drew an analogy with America because BJP draws a lot of support from Hindus settled in the US.

On partaking in our festivals:
Again, as Hindus do we feel any enthusiasm for Id? And this is not a political act. I don't feel enthusiastic about Id because I have no cultural connection to it. Does that mean, I disrespect it? No. It only means that I don't connect to it. And the same holds true for Muslims.

Why do we want Muslims to do, what we would not be ready to do ourselves? Is that treating them as equals or respecting them?

Chandru K said...

I'm talking about more than beef and festivals, though you are probably right in that some elements within the BJP give those much importance.
It's more in identifying with 5000 years of Indian civilisation, in embracing that as one's own. Which means feeling easy referring to Kalidasa, Aryabhata, the Mahabharata, the Vedas, Khajuraho, Sushruta and Charaka, Vikramaditya and Rajendra Chola, Vijayanagar and many more.
Moslems, barring exceptions like Kalam, have enormous difficulty identifying with all this; Christians also have difficulty making Hindu/ancient Indian references. This matter goes to the heart of Indian spiritual unity.

globalbabble said...

Hi Chandru,

This is a very different argument than what you began with. However, let's take it further.

Do you really want Muslims to engage with our symbolisms or just pay homage to them? Because with engagement comes questioning, debating, playing with the ideas and taking them further. Are we mature enough to be able to stand up to such questioning and debate without reducing to childish abuse and threats.

When MF Husain tried to engage with our Hindu symbolism - and he was genuinely celebrating Hindu godesses through his art - why were we so enraged? After all, we are not enraged by Khajuraho that celebrates sensuality on temple walls? Or much of our literature, which is highly sensual in its descriptions of our gods and goddesses?

In that case, do we really want Muslims to engage with Khajuraho or our literature?

What about Kalidasa and his most famous work, Shakuntalam. Suppose a Muslim decides to study it and write a thesis on the depiction of women in Sanskrit poetry. It may or may not be all laudatory. Will we be mature in debating it then. My guess is BJP will:

a) show no interest in trying to understand what his argument is (the way they are treating poor Jaswant Singh);

b) nevertheless, shower him with abuse, threats, and physical violence if they can help it for daring to question a great work of Hindu art.

BJP doesn't want any genuine engagement on the part of non-Hindus with our religion and culture. It simply wants absolute surrender. And my real pique is that it doesn't mind using physical violence to get it.

Anonymous said...

@globalbabble
Staying with the principle of engagement, I can only imagine what would have happened if a Hindu had done something like a Danish cartoon. Before the Muslims have had a chance, pseudos like Dilip would have had him....so much for your principle of engagement

Chandru K said...

Engagement doesn't mean mindless, drone like glorification. A big problem with Moslems( and Christians as well) is that they are barely even aware of such a heritage, and when they are told about it, they think of it as some 'Hindu thing', rather than being part of India's, and therefore their own, heritage. Kalidasa, Aryabhata, Chandragupta Maurya, etc really should be seen as the heritage of all Indians, regardless of present 'religious' affiliation. It's on this point that Moslems by and large fail atrociously, as do Christians.

Anonymous said...

GlobalBabble, you are a clever babbler, but not clever enough. Dilip's post specifically asked the question - what does Hindutva mean? But now you are trying to switch the topic and start talking about the BJP and its tactics.

Further, your reading comprehension skills seem quite poor - nowhere did Manish say Muslims should not eat beef - he said they should not kill cows. There is a world of difference.

About festivals - again - festivals like Holi & Diwali & Rakhi are a lot more about India, than they are about Hinduism. Id is specifically Islamic. It this very failure to realise how intertwined Hinduism and India are that irks the followers of Hindutva. And again it is about according respect to Hinduism - true muslims give it none. They tolerate the other Semitic religions because the Koran says to do so, but view Hinduism as being a pagan religion. It is going to irritate 800 people if you call them misguided, isn't it?

Dilip D'Souza said...

... identify with Indian/Hindu symbolism, history, literature, ideas.

All right, let's see.

For one, how do you know that someone else does not identify with these things? What will constitute proof that they do?

For another, if you ask others to jump through hoops, you need to demonstrate that you jump through them yourself. Therefore, please show proof that you identify with these things, that you "feel easy referring" (your words) to them. (Remember that whatever you offer will therefore be adequate for others to offer as well).

For a third, and most important, that your own vindication of your faith/culture appears to depend on others "feeling easy referring" to all of it speaks loudest of one thing: your own understanding of that faith/culture.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Dilip's post specifically asked the question - what does Hindutva mean?

Yep, it did. And it's only par for the course that the only person here who attempted a detailed, honest answer is Manish, who explicitly and twice says, "I neither subscribe to it, nor do I defend it".

Neha's was less detailed, but honest again.

The other apparent supporters of Hindutva on this page, it's evident from what they say: they themselves can't tell us what it is, so they fall back on quibbles and scorn.

Anonymous said...

My definition of Hindutva is this...It is a political reaction to the tendency of Muslims to rise above their religious dogma and work with Hindus to build a strong India.

Such a reaction all the more became necessary with the Congress feeding into the Muslim seperatism whenever and whereveer it suited its electoral propects. Nehru employed a different version of Hindutva during his dealings with Muslim League.

globalbabble said...

Hi Anonymous,

I don't understand how Diwali, Rakhi or Holi is more Indian festivals than Hindu festival? And Id is specifically Islamic?

My husband is a Hindu born and brought up in Australia. He celebrates these festivals, even though he feels more Australian than Indian. On the other hand, he doesn't put up a Christmas tree on Christmas just because he is Australian, and Australia has a Christian majority.

By your suggestion, he and his family were disrespecting Australian heritage all these years, because they didn't put up a Christmas tree and throw parties on Christmas. They used the vacation to visit their friends in India.

Festivals are cultural not national events.

As for eating beef, it is reassuring to hear that we have nothing against Muslims eating beef, provided they do so without killing the cow.

On Danish cartoons: Muslims are not going about demanding that we engage with their culture, and prove our interest in their history and culture. BJP is on our behalf - so it should be able to then engage in a mature fashion without resorting to bullying tactics.

Chandru K said...

The question how does one know whether other groups are respecting/acknowledging the shared( note the word) heritage of all Indians/persons of Indian origin.

Well, by long observation, inference, deduction, intuitive feel, the absence of positive examples etc. We know for a fact(and it's not a matter of clever posing of queries like Dilip's) that a huge section of Indian Moslems did not respect or acknowledge the Indian heritage of Mahabharata, Chandragutpa, Aryabhata, Kalidasa etc. We know it because they created, and violently, an entire separate country based on rejecting this shared inheritance. We know again positively that an entire Moslem majority in the Kashmir valley strongly denies this Indian character.
For the rest, to repeat, we can go by experience, observation and the absence of positive examples to the contrary. If one were to mention many of the intellectual and cultural achievements of ancient India to a large number of Moslems and Christians, they would be non-plussed, unmoved, baffled or otherwise totally in the dark. It's because they've been tutored, if not brainwashed, to disinherit that legacy.

Dilip D'Souza said...

long observation, inference, deduction, intuitive feel, the absence of positive examples etc.

All right, I'll grant you your intuitive feel. (Despite the plenty of so-called positive examples I can think of).

What about the rest of the questions?

What will constitute proof that they do identify with Indian/Hindu symbolism?

More than that, please show proof that you identify with these things, that you "feel easy referring" to them.

Chandru K said...

For Indians of Hindu background,like myself, identifying with the symbolism, as well as the literature, architecture, sculpture, history, intellectual achievements, has never been a problem at all. The problem is with the majority of Moslems and with large numbers of Christians. They have been tutored or brainwashed from an early age to disengage from, disown, disinherit that cultural and intellectual inheritance. Based on the utterly false premise that all these things are exclusively Hindu. But they're not. They belong to all Indians regardless of current religious affiliation. There are examples to the contrary, but you can count them on one hand. We know that millions of Indian Moslems in 1947, and the majority of Moslems in the Kashmir valley at present, disown it. It doesn't require proof or even 'intuitive feel'. It's before your eyes. The Noslem mentality by and large is to believe that history begins with the arrival of Moslem conquerors and Islam, in any given area.

Suresh said...

Following up on globalbabble's valid point that Hindutvavadis typically do not want non-Hindus to engage creatively with Hindu symbols, I cannot but resist posting the following from one of Ashis Nandy's articles. I apologize in advance for the length of the extract - Dilip, please feel free to delete the comment.

Some years ago, in the city of Bombay, a young Muslim playwright wrote and staged a play that had gods - Hindu gods and goddesses - as major characters. Such plays are not uncommon in India; some would say that they are all too common. This one also included gods and goddesses who were heroic, grand, scheming and comical.

This provoked not the audience but Hindu nationalists, particularly the Hindu Mahasabha, for a long time, a spent political force in Bombay. This city is now being dominated by a more powerful Hindu nationalist formation, the Shiv Sena. It is doubtful if those who claimed they had been provoked were really provoked. It is more likely that they pretended to be offended and precipitated an incident to make their political presence felt. After all, such plays have been written in India since time immemorial. Vikram Savarkar of Hindu Mahasabha - a grandson of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (1883-1966), the non-believing father of Hindu nationalism who thoughtfully gifted South Asia the concept of Hindutva - organised a demonstration in front of the theatre where the play was being staged, caught hold of the playwright, and threatened to lynch him. Ultimately Savarkar's gang forced the writer to bow down and touch Savarkar's feet, to apologise for writing the play. The humiliation of the young playwright was complete; it was duly photographed and published in newspapers and news magazines.

Though Savarkar later claimed that Hinduism had won, for he had not allowed a Muslim to do what Muslims had not allowed Hindus to do with Islam's symbols of the sacred, at least some Hindus felt that on that day Hindutva might have won, but Hinduism had certainly lost. It had lost because a tradition at least fifteen hundred years old (things might have been different in the pre-epic days) was sought to be dismantled.


You can read the entire article at

http://tinyurl.com/l5ado2

The fact that Hindutva - whatever it means - is not related to Hinduism and is, in fact, opposed to it has been made not only by Ashis Nandy but also by the very academic J. N. Mohanty who is one of the best philosophers to come out of India. He was a professor at the University of Calcutta before his migration to the USA. Those interested can look at Mohanty's slim volume of memoirs "Between Two Worlds: East and West" (OUP, India, 2002), especially page 108: "Even in Calcutta---where as students, and later as University teachers, we revelled in liberal socialist politics trying to combine Gandhi and Marx---I heard young students telling me that the BJP was showing the way: bring back the ideology of Hindutva. I shivered within myself, in disbelief and fear of the unknown. (The ideologists of Hindutva were not believers in Hinduism.)"

Suresh said...

Apologies for following up my own comment, but the following is even more interesting and revealing of the relationship between Hindutva and Hinduism. Once again from Nandy's article:

In 1990-91 I had interviewed at great length the chief priest of the Ramjanmabhumi temple itself, Baba Lal Das, a remarkably courageous, ecumenical man of religion who was murdered soon after the mosque was demolished. He told me that during the previous seven years of the movement in support of the temple, no major political leader of the movement had cared to worship at the temple, except one who had got a puja done through a third party without herself visiting the temple.

Dilip D'Souza said...

For Indians of Hindu background,like myself, identifying with the symbolism, as well as the literature, architecture, sculpture, history, intellectual achievements, has never been a problem at all.

Easy to say you have no problem. But why should I believe you just because you say so? You have given me no proof of your identifying with all these things -- which is exactly what you are asking of others. So since you ask it of others, I ask you: please give me proof that you identify with all these things.

Chandru K said...

Oh come on, if someone says that they identify with those things, and take pride in them as part of their cultural heritage, what grounds are there for doubting. Unless you take a lie detector test or something more sophisticated( if such a device/method exists) there is no way to show the opposite. I can safely say, with a clear conscience, that Kalidasa the dramatist-poet who wrote, among other works, the play Shakuntala and the poem Meghaduttam( The Cloud Messenger) is a figure in Indian history that all Indians/persons of Indian origin should take pride in, and at the least be aware of. The really puzzling and off-putting feature of most Moslems and Christians, is that they are totally oblivious and a few of them, proudly so, of characters like Kalidasa, works like the Mahabharata, architecture like Khajuraho and Madurai, scientists like Aryabhata and Brahmagupta, great political figures like Chandragupta Maurya. They tend to identify, to the exclusion of things Indian, with Arab/Persian or British/European if they are Moslem and Christian respectively.

Dilip D'Souza said...

if someone says that they identify with those things, and take pride in them as part of their cultural heritage, what grounds are there for doubting. Unless you take a lie detector test or something more sophisticated( if such a device/method exists) there is no way to show the opposite.

Well, you yourself have concluded "the opposite" about dozens of millions of Indians ("most Moslems and Christians" -- your words); you have found grounds for doubting them.

If you can simply say you identify with those things and expect to be believed, why shouldn't they also simply say it and expect you to believe them?

But since you don't, I am applying the same metric to you. You doubt their identification, therefore I doubt yours. Please prove it to me, beyond just saying so.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a Hindu born and brought up in Australia. He celebrates these festivals, even though he feels more Australian than Indian. On the other hand, he doesn't put up a Christmas tree on Christmas just because he is Australian, and Australia has a Christian majority.

By your suggestion, he and his family were disrespecting Australian heritage all these years, because they didn't put up a Christmas tree and throw parties on Christmas. They used the vacation to visit their friends in India.


This is the most amusing thing I have ever heard.

1) Does your husband also believe that all Christians are pagan infidels?

2) Did people belonging to your Husband's religion tear down a lot of churches in Australia and then build Hindu temples over them?

3) Did people belonging to your Husband's religion rule over the Christians in Australia for a good 700 or so years?

4) Are Christian Australians the original inhabitants of Australia, or are they responsible for a shockingly gigantic pogrom against the original indigenous peoples of Australia?

5) Do Australian taxpayers subsidise trips for Hindus to make pilgrimages back to their holy places... oh wait - one of them had a Mosque on top of it, so that could never have happened.

If not, it is ridiculous that you even try to draw a parallel

I know this comes as a shock to you, but things have to be viewed in context, and in terms of history. It is great that you think you are ignoring History, but you are the very product of it. One has to ask why your husband migrated to Australia in the first place? Economic opportunity was probably one of them, and also the fact that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. You know what equal means?

It means a uniform civil code, for one - something which the BJP was fighting for. It means the same law applies to everyone.

Another one of the things that the BJP was fighting for was for Indians to hold their head up high, reject the propoganda of the West - which depicts us as a bunch of rabble and savages. And it is sad that you fall for it - please do look up the History of Australia - the 'White Australia' policy, the attempts at forcing indigenous people to become 'White' and all such other nonsense.

In that context - a Hindu not putting up a Christmas tree is not disrespecting 'Australian Culture'.

Note - a Muslim not 'throwing' a Diwali party is not disrespecting Hindu culture either. But a Muslim looking down on it as a pagan tradition is.

Yes, history and context matter. You, me, Dilip all of us are a product of it - there's no escaping that.

Anonymous said...

Well, you yourself have concluded "the opposite" about dozens of millions of Indians ("most Moslems and Christians" -- your words); you have found grounds for doubting them.

If you can simply say you identify with those things and expect to be believed, why shouldn't they also simply say it and expect you to believe them?



If they actually did say it, we wouldn't be here right now. But they don't. Do you say it Dilip? Are you comfortable with your Hindu roots?

Anonymous said...

Actually this problem has arisen, because our Christian convert D'Souza over here can only think in terms of Semitic religions. The ones which come with a fixed set of holy books, and one or 2 official spokespersons for the whole religion. There is no point in even trying to define Hindutva or Hinduism, because it doesn't have a fixed definition - it's an amalgam of a lot of regional beliefs consolidated.

What it comes down to is this - If we define a Devout Muslim or Devout Christian as someone who adheres very closely to the tenets of their religion - then they will be at odds with Hinduism, and Muslims will be at odds with India too - for the Koran does not allow you to recognise any other law or entity. Simply for being true to their religion.

However, does the same apply to a Hindu? It can't. There's Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj, and about a 1000 other different aspects of Hinduism. Do you HAVE to follow the Gita to be a 'Devout' Hindu? No. Does being a devout Hindu require you to convert everyone around you into a Hindu? No. How does one expect Mr. Christian Convert here to understand just how offensive it is to someone else when the Semitic religions preach what they do, and try to convert people? Hinduism is far more fluid and adaptable than the Semitic religions, and it is the Absoluteness preached in the Semitic religions which is the cause of most Hindus' paranoia.

The Real Azous D'Pilid said...

Sigh. When will you idiots learn. I ought to be able to make some money selling you morons aspirin after this debate is over.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Do you say it Dilip? Are you comfortable with your Hindu roots?

Yes, and yes.

I observe Holi, Diwali, Rakshabandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi and more.

I am willing to bet I know more about (picking one) the Mahabharata, and live its lessons more closely, than some who have mentioned it on this page.

But more important than those, I don't make conclusions about people based on their names, as some on this page clearly do. That I believe is in the best traditions of Hinduism.

I also don't hide behind curious monikers. I'm here making my case under my own name, unlike the guys who throw scorn and sarcasm about here but are too frightened to use their names. That courage, I also believe, is in the best traditions of Hinduism.

I could go on. But it is a waste of time, really, to go on among folks who:

* are persuaded, and believe it is their duty to persuade others, that they are the world's most persecuted people bar none (Anon 1034 above).

* decry the way people of other faiths (Christianity, Islam) apparently feel superior to the rest of mankind because of their faith, but see no irony in proclaiming their own superiority via a claim such as "Hinduism is far more fluid and adaptable than the Semitic religions." (Anon 1050 above, likely the same). (In case you didn't get it, the truth of that claim is not the point, the proclamation is).

* pronounce that Hindutva "doesn't have a fixed definition", but wants the rest of us to understand and appreciate it anyway. All really because they are too lazy to try a definition, or worse, don't even believe their own rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

Dilip,

"It's amazing to me that the BJP gets support by ..."

Why? Most everybody have this "we're victims, we're oppressed" thing going. If you do need to be amazed, please be at least mildly surprised at other formations attempting this with other target constituencies :-)

The BJP has had reasonable success at it with a majority community, thats what is surprising. IMHO this is because of a "fractured" and very diverse Hindu identity. There will be enough ppl who feel that this gets in the way of getting the vast hindu numbers "together" to bear on any issue... the 'majority with a minority complex' as somebody put it.

To my mind this is mostly a good thing, i think minority rights will get steamrolled otherwise. i hope things stay this way for another 50 yrs or so while we develop a sense of respect for constitutional rights esp minority rights.

rgds,
Jai

Dilip D'Souza said...

If you do need to be amazed, please be at least mildly surprised ...

Of course I am. But this is a discussion about Hindutva and the BJP.

But also, the point is that the BJP tries to craft an apparently virile, brave image of itself and the Hindus it speaks for by telling them they are weak-kneed and subservient.

Suresh said...

We know for a fact(and it's not a matter of clever posing of queries like Dilip's) that a huge section of Indian Moslems did not respect or acknowledge the Indian heritage of Mahabharata, Chandragutpa, Aryabhata, Kalidasa etc.

Let alone the unsubstantiated reference to Indian Muslims, what makes you think that all Hindus respect these things? Your name (Chandru) leads me to believe you're a Tamilian. Surely, you cannot be unaware of Periyar garlanding an image of Rama with chappals? More recently, how about Karunanidhi asking about the engineering qualifications of Rama during the Sethusamudram controversy? Do a survey of some Dalit web sites and see what they say about Ramayana and Mahabharata and Hindu religion in general - you may be enlightened.

The things that seem to constitute Indian heritage for you is a very selective list. Yes, they are a part of our heritage but there are far more things in our heritage, including I guess, things you don't particularly care. Similarly for others. One aspect of our heritage is learning to live with differences even when one doesn't particular like the "other" community. Presumably, that's one aspect of our heritage you don't care for, right?

gaddeswarup said...

Dilip,
Let alone Hinduvata, It is not clear to me what Hinduism is even though I grew up in a Hindu househlod. Recently I tried to find some books: I browsed through one by Amrtya Sen's father, and a translation of Rig Veda... Can you or somebody suggest a short book giving the essentials of Hinduism.

Suresh said...

Gaddeswarup garu,

Just a minor correction: if the book you refer to is "Hinduism" by K. M. Sen, then that is Amartya Sen's *grandfather*, not his father.

Given that "Hinduism" as a category is fairly modern, it is not surprising that there are not too many books on it and most of those are by Westerners. One book I personally found useful, not for understanding "Hinduism" as such but for understanding where many of the most common modern formulations of "Hinduism" (as articulated by people like Vivekananda, Radhakrishnan etc.) come from, is India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding by Wilhelm Halbfass. Note that this is written by a philosopher but still I found it very interesting and useful. Another essay I found very useful is by T. N. Madan titled In Search of Hinduism. It appears in a book of his called "Non-Renunciation."

gaddeswarup said...

Sursh,
Thanks. Both are new to me. Last time I was in India, I bought the seven volume series published by Ramakrishna Mission and read parts of them. I will try to find the books you mentioned. Thanks again.
Swarup

Chandru K said...

"Let alone the unsubstantiated reference to Indian Muslims, what makes you think that all Hindus respect these things?"

This devolution argument is understandable, but it goes nowhere. Yes, there are aspects of the Indian heritage( as in all heritages) that are unpleasant or unsuitable to modern life, and people are right to question and decry them.

But when virtually an *entire* minority, barring a few exceptions, thinks of itself as special, unique and far above other Indians, that is major grounds for disillusionment and dislike. Even those Hindus belonging to sections of society, that you refer to, will take pride in some of their heritage, while eschewing other parts.
The problem with Moslems and Christians by and large, is that they are ignorant, oblivious, dismissive etc right from the outset. Whether it is of the epics, drama, political history( pre-Moslem, pre-European) science, philosophy etc.
Malcontents like Periyar are oppositional to very specific( namely most perceived 'Brahmin' features of the culture) qualities of the heritage. Not to the heritage as a whole.

Chandru K said...

" This is the most amusing thing I have ever heard.

1) Does your husband also believe that all Christians are pagan infidels?

2) Did people belonging to your Husband's religion tear down a lot of churches in Australia and then build Hindu temples over them?

3) Did people belonging to your Husband's religion rule over the Christians in Australia for a good 700 or so years?"

Excellent points, Anonymous. India, far as we can see, is virtually unique in grappling with so much diversity withing a democracy. And with such brutal historical baggage such as invasions and partitions. Australia has had it easy. The only country India could draw lessons from, is one with a similar amount of diversity, and comparable history of invasions/divisions. Not qualifying would be Australia, Canada, the US, the UK, France, Japan or Brazil.

Prashanth said...

The problem is that we hindus are hypocrites of the worst kind. We try to defend what is not defensible and try to ignore things that can be defended.

Despite India being a Hindu Majority nation, religion has never been mixed to the extent its mixed elsewhere (both in developed and developing nations).

Obama has to go to considerable length to justify that he is a Christian and not a muslim.

Malaysia claims to be "Truly Asia" and still has Islamic Laws running concurrently.

Dubai tries to showcase itself as a cosmopolitan world city but has no qualms in having Sunday as a working day and Friday as a holiday.

A friend tells me that during the current month (Ramzan) no hotels are open during the mornings.

Here, we are told that breaking a coconut before a opening cermony means that we are mixing religion and hence we are not a secular religion.

Sanchar report claimed that Muslims were most backward. While a hue and cry has been raised, the problem stems from the fact that many poor muslims would rather send their wards to masjids for learning prayer than to schools.

Now is that the governments fault.

Hinduism has its many faults. But thanks to the fact that the government has framed laws to deal with many issues, we are far better. Other religions do not want any interference and hence their plight.

Just imagine for a moment that we did not have a Hindu Law and instead laws were dictated by some sadhu. Does anyone think that we would have been better off?

I don't see why BJP does not come out of its own shell and say that we are for hindus and that does not have to mean we are against some one else.

Unfortunatey, they are making a mess of themselves and that is unfortunate.

Blueshift said...

"Anonymous said...
Actually this problem has"


"it's an amalgam of a lot of regional beliefs consolidated."


I am born in India..my ancestors have different gods they believed in which are different. I DO NOT think myself as hindu or in any way linked to Hinduism... we are aboriginal people of this country. Its insulting to us when you people decide we are hindus in fact we in no way connected to anything hindu.

Hindus as i see are the caste hindus who have their own temples,rules and philosophy.

Its very very insulting and hurting when you call all aboriginal people as hindus and have hindu ancestory and we must be proud of some caste hindus who has nothing to do with our religion and way of life.

For me hindus are caste hindus only.

Chandru K said...

Blueshift, sorry to disappoint you ;-), but the word "Hindu" essentially refers to faiths and modes of worship/reverence that are native or indigenous to India. So the various forms of the divine like Ram, Shiva, Ganesha, the 'tribal' representations, all come under the word 'Hindu'. "Hindu" is a very inclusive, not exclusive, term and mode of reverence for the divine. Multiplicity is its character.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Chandru K, you still have not demonstrated to me that you identify with all those things that you claim Muslims and Christians don't identify with. Please do so. Thank you.

Baby Vaijayanti and Puppy Manohar said...

Dear Dcubed

The Great (and venerable) Idealogy of Hindutva insists that

1) India is a Hindu Nation
2) Earth is a Chinese Planet
3) Sun is a human star (ah dhang you)
4) Universe = Hydrogen.

They also believe that essentially Human beings are nothing but water which "fellow travellers" (-chandru k) can drink to quench their thirst.

The Human being thus is a Universal Solvent ad almost anything including horse semen and cow dung can dissolve in it.

A human being is hence soluble in another human being. Thus this whole world which is also basically water, mind you, is one and we should all love each other.

Hindutva thus, figuratively speaking (just like genocide in the scriptures is a metaphor for victory over evil) is an idealogy of love a.k.a Lou a.k.a Lough.

regards,
Baby V.
P.S: I am an Iyengar. Trust me I know. Brahmins are the best. Prostrate before me, ye inferior being.


regards

Chandru K said...

Dilip D'Souza, I have mentioned literature, achievements and historical characters which constitute the Indian heritage. The very fact that I mentioned them shows that I, at the very least, am aware of them and view them as essentially good. The large majority of Moslems and Christians are ignorant, dismissive or oblivious to them. With Moslems, the conclusive proof is right before our eyes- the creation of Pakistan, and the ongoing separatism in Kashmir. With other Moslems and Christians, it comes down to experience, largely, and I stand by mine.

Dilip D'Souza said...

The very fact that I mentioned them shows that I, at the very least, am aware of them and view them as essentially good.

You're saying that if you just "mention" them, we must believe that you "identify" with them? That's all?

Well, plenty of Christians and Muslims -- I would suggest, all of them -- can also "mention" the very same "literature, achievements and historical characters" that you have mentioned. Plenty of them do mention all these and more -- I have heard them.

So applying the metric you apply to yourself, that implies that they too are "aware of them and view them as essentially good", and in fact identify with them.

So what's your problem, then? Can you spell it out, please?

On another note, I am hoping to put together some reactions to the other comments on this page, soon.

Anonymous said...

Dilip,

re. Virile brave strong BJP...

Isnt it perfectly logical that one needs to induce the weako feeling to create a demand for protection services? Its not a given that said weako-ness is entirely fiction. Rather I think its an amplification of some issue in many cases.

I see this happening across spectrum with all other identity-based parties/ groups.

rgds,
Jai

Anonymous said...

Dilip,

As a post-script: at a quick browse, "Chandru K" appears to bring to this table some serious ideological argument that underpins the BJP worldview and seems earnest and non-confrontational.

this is the closest i have seen to real engagement in a long time. Pls do not encourage BabyV etc. and drive this away. At the very least, "Chandru" appears to have taken your query seriously.

OTOH if you were calling for a round of fun and games send-up of BJPtva, please make that more explicit :-)

Thanks,
Jai

The Real Azous D'Pilid said...

Hmm note to self. If blog readership is flagging, or I've lost too many debates, choose controversial topic, wait for the Bigots to draw out their knives, and then, come across as a noble saint.

Interesting tactic. I ought to try it sometime. But then, who would look after your blog?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Jai:

1) To me, this party's message boils down to this: "We are weak, subservient and oppressed, and that's what makes us real Hindus; if you don't feel weak and subservient too, if you instead feel strong and self-confident in your Hindu faith, you are not a real Hindu." I find this crazy; plenty of self-confident Hindus I know find it the same.

2) In about 1992 I first had an ongoing argument with a VHP bigwig here in Bom, over his statement that Muslims and Christians "don't identify" with Lord Ram and other Hindu symbols/characters/literature, and that they should start doing so. (And that I should start doing so too). I asked him, as I've subsequently asked several others who say the same things, and as I ask Chandru now: what constitutes such "identification"? How do you know I (or anyone else) doesn't identify with them? But most important, how do I know you identify with them?

He didn't have an answer, as Chandru seems to have none now. It's not surprising there's no answer, because this is a hollow argument to start with. If they identifies with thing simply by mentioning them, well, that applies to the whole world.

The problem is deeper: these guys just want a stick to beat others with. Note how in every comment Chandru turns to saying "the large majority of Moslems and Christians are ignorant, dismissive or oblivious to them."

If this is a serious ideological argument, it doesn't persuade me. Which is why I ask what I've asked before: what is Hindutva, and why should it appeal to me?

Anonymous said...

Interesting study on sexual relationship between young people in Britain...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8230844.stm

Hope this serves as a lesson to the bleeding heart pseudos on this blog. These girls set out in the name of freedom and look what they got in return. As Lincoln said, freedom is in chains everywhere even in pseudo liberal discourse. At such an age they will not be able to distinguish between humans and animals who masquerade as humans.

Now , a question to Dilip...Do you think I fit in your interpretation of Hindutavawadi for highlighting this issue?. Does highlighting this issue enough to tag me as a hardliner?.

Anonymous said...

Thank God Anand Jon was tried in a US court. In all probability Shiney Ahuja will walk free of his rape charges with the full assistance of Bollywood, Macaulay media and the pseudo seculars.

Anonymous said...

Another one...this time at home...

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Jihadis-luring-Kerala-college-girls-for-love/articleshow/4956222.cms

Certainly Dilip can't call me as so many things on this. The college involved was a Xian institution and the policeman investogation this is a Xian. So it is secular all the way...

Anonymous said...

Or Dilip , does highlighting this makes me a hardliner....

http://www.tearfund.org/webdocs/Website/Campaigning/Microsoft%20Word%20-%20position%20paper%20on%20meat%20eating%20and%20climate%20change.pdf...

I think you might have caught my drift by now... change has to come but it should solve problems...not create more...the change, as propagated by Macaulay media, bleeding heart liberals, appears to be more of a choice between the the devil and deep sea. I don,t think it is commonsense proposition. And most of campaings of these entities have the intention of poking into the eyes of hardworking, Karma fearing Hindus rather than solving any problems. Now Dilip am I a hardliner for writing this piece?

Anonymous said...

So Dilip, my understanding of Hindutva is this...

Do not accept foreign ideas and culture just because they are foreign ( We Indians - or should I say Hindus are timid people. This is an indisputable fact. Our response to 26/11 is the latest attestation to this fact. There is no convincing evidence that Hindu converts have become assertive either. They are exactly as any Hindu just different in name and religion that's all).

Above everything else, apply commonsense before accepting ideas and culture.

Be proud of our heritage and ancient knowledge. Strive to understand and BUILD upon this knowledge. All the time fight the evils in the society.

Anonymous said...

I find it very funny why converts have to adopt foreign names. You can still be Kumar and practise Christianity.

A guy introduced himself with his surname Chatelier in Paris and
store fellow started off in French. Our guy has to cut him short and tell him that he is from Jharkand and doesn't speak French...the store fellow was confused and disappointed.

--SK

Anonymous said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8227443.stm

British look at Indian kids and go red with envy because most of our lot do not drink unlike theirs. So they speak to Bollywood and lo...a movie where kids drink and make merry and suddenly India goes cool leaving Dilip with a broad 'liberal' grin.

Chandru K said...

How can I prove that I identify with those things? I've mentioned them in a positive tone, and referred to that heritage as something shared i.e belonging to all Indians, regardless of current religious affiliation.
The proof that Moslems don't identify is right in front of us, though there are honourable exceptions like A.J. Kalam. When Moslems struggled for and obtained, a separate Islamic state, that itself constitutes conclusive proof that they sternly reject such an identification. One doesn't need scientific proof in the form of reading brain wave patterns. Kashmir at present is another striking example.
With Christians, it comes down to experience- of meeting, reading, interacting. The absence of making references at any time,under any context, to those individuals, events and achievements in Indian history constitutes the 'proof'.
Being strong in one's faith is not the issue here; it's the unwillingness or outright opposition of Moslems and Christians to identify with the 5000 year old culture, right at the outset. To repeat, for the broad mass of Moslems and Christians, history begins with the advent of Islamic and British/European influence on the subcontinent. And they tend to identify with those to the exclusion of Indian/Hindu influences.

The Real Azous D'Pilid said...

I have to say, some of the crackpots on this site make me look sane....

Dilip D'Souza said...

How can I prove that I identify with those things?

Exactly.

Therefore, please don't expect of others what you yourself are unable to offer.

B said...

one of the commenters on Rao's piece says the ideas there are inspirted by Narendra Singh Sarila's book (shadow of the great game). Anyone knows about the book?

Chandru K said...

My experience with Moslems and Christians is that they are oblivious or ignorant of the heritage that I mentioned. How does turning the argument against myself change that? I mentioned those things, which proves at the least, that I'm aware of them. You can't disprove that!

Dilip D'Souza said...

I mentioned those things, which proves at the least, that I'm aware of them..

You can mention them, sure, but how do I know you didn't read them on Wikipedia this morning? How do I know you respect and identify with them? Since I don't, I use your own metric and assume that you are oblivious to and ignorant of the heritage.

Chandru K said...

I've known about Kalidasa, the Mahabharata, Aryabhata, Brahmagutpa etc from at least 1983, long before the Wikipedia. Really, this line of argumentation is getting silly. One thing you cannot deny or disprove is that enormous numbers of Moslems violently rejected such a heritage when they formed Pakistan in 1947. And they are doing it again in the Moslem majority state of Kashmir.

Dilip D'Souza said...

You deliberately miss the point, don't you?

If you ask someone else to show that they "identify" with something, you should be prepared to be asked the same.

If your answer is "I mentioned Mahabharata", and that is to be taken as proof as your identification, the guys you ask can say "I mentioned Mahabharata" too, and that should be proof enough, because you yourself are offering it as prood.

Seems "silly" to you? No sillier than accusing people of not "identifying" with things.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Also, how do I know you have known about all this since 1983? It's only your say-so, isn't it?

Not forgetting that I have to wonder how much a guy knows about Brahmagupta when he can't spell the name right.

Chandru K said...

Now you are getting very silly, with pointing out typoos( ooops there is another one- maybe I don't know what a typo is either). When someone says that they've known about certain things for x-period of time, you have to accept it, unless you have concrete proof to the contrary. Just as when someone says, that a certain behaviour, violently creating an Islamic state, shows that the people who did that, reject Indian heritage, you have to show why such reasoning is faulty. Or concede the point.

Anonymous said...

I think what Dilip is asking you to understand is that you cannot prove your own identification with Indian/Hindu culture so you cannot say that someone else fails to do so.

...violently creating an Islamic state, shows that the people who did that, reject Indian heritage,

I would like to add that all Indians who committed the Gujrat 2002 killings and all those who supported/excused it violently rejected Indian Heritage and Hinduism since Hinduism does not support rape arson and killing of innocent unarmed men women and children.
Also all those residing in India who wear western clothes (shirt/pant) have failed to identify with Indian Heritage. Those who have fled from India to countries outside in search for material prosperity have also rejected our glorious land and its heritage. Actually all Indians have decidedly rejected Indian heritage by watching bollywood films.
This whole identify/failed to identify tagging of yours is silly and dangerous as well.

Suresh said...

When someone says that they've known about certain things for x-period of time, you have to accept it, unless you have concrete proof to the contrary.

This is too good to pass up. Dilip, may I say that I have known the proof of the Riemann Zeta Hypothesis all my life. Proof? Well, do you have concrete proof to the contrary?

Duh.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Anonymous 1041, thanks. Suresh, I've nominated you for the Nobel Prize in Mathematics.

But there's more.

when someone says, that a certain behaviour ... shows that the people who did that, reject Indian heritage, you have to show why such reasoning is faulty. Or concede the point.

All right, so now I'm saying that CK's behaviour on this page rejects Indian heritage.

Therefore CK has to show me why this reasoning is faulty. Or concede the point.

I wait to hear his choice.

Chandru K said...

You are turning this discussion into clever word play and semantics; I thought I was dealing with a serious topic: the resistance or ignorance or indifference of the broad mass of Moslems and Christians to the ancient Indian heritage of India. Part of the evidence is Moslems violently creating a separate Islamic homeland, devoid of non-Moslems, in 1947. And trying it again in Kashmir in the present. With Christians, the evidence is my own experience, which I'll have to admit does not include every single, solitary one of the 25 million or so Indian Christians. But from a fairly good sample, I can tell it's the truth. Here is just one mundane snippet: A Kerala Christian friend of my parents had never even heard of such ladoos as Berfi, Jalebi. Mysore Pak etc. Someone like that is not going to be aware of Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Chandragupta Maurya etc. On the other hand, they would have heard of the Pope, the book Da Vinci code, the singer Anne Murray(Canadian) etc. Nothing of course, wrong with knowing those things. It's the obliviousness to the Indian heritage that's at question here. Clever wordplay and queries can't hide that.

Anonymous said...

CK,

This is not some clever wordplay but a serious questioning of your perceptions and the metrics you use to base them on. Seriously do you think by spewing names like Aryabhatta and Chandragupta you identify more with Indian Heritage than your Christian friend who never had the good fortune to enjoy eating ladoos and barfi's. Digressing it reminds me of a time when I had no idea of the delicacy called appam and idiappams. I know way too many Indian Hindu friends of mine who are more comfortable talking about Obama and Michael Jackson than Manmohan Singh and Lata Mangeshkar. Luckily being born Hindu's their Indian'ness is not questioned.
You defined your own metric for calling names and tagging. You should be able to take it when the metric is used to disprove your argument.
As I said earlier all Indians have rejected Indian Heritage by watching bollywood/tollywood films. All Tamilians reject Indian heritage by not speaking Hindi and rejecting North Indian Heritage. You yourself reject Indian Heritage by only speaking of Aryabhatta, Chandragupta but left out our Moslem heritage of Akbar and Galib.

Chandru K said...

One can refer to the regional argument to make the point that the whole totality of the Indian heritage is not fully accepted by some groups i.e Tamils neglecting Hindi(I'm half Tamil, incidentally), or Biharis not being aware of Assamese cuisine. If it were simply on these terms, I wouldn't be posting these messages. No, it's the a priori position held by Moslems that something pre-Moslem has absolutely nothing to do with them, merely by being non-Moslem or pre-Moslem. You cannot deny that a big part of the Pakistani ideology rests on this sentiment. Moslems by and large believe that Indian history begins with the violent Islamic conquests and Islamic rule. What existed before than is irrelevant or unimportant.

Anonymous said...

My point exactly, Tamilians seem to have an apriori position that North India and Hindi is irrelevant and unimportant. You cannot deny that a big part of their ideology is based on that. Even now that they are part of India they continually choose to deny their Indian identity and heritage, just like Moslems you speak of who may choose only to identify with the Islamic part of our heritage. I do'nt see any difference in both positions. So why are you having different opinions regarding Tamilians?
Besides you have yet to prove that you identify with Indian heritage, before you even blame others of not being able to do so. Your "behavior" of not mentioning our moslem leaders, philosphers, saints shows disrespect of our Indian heritage. Seems to me you hold an apriori position that Indian culture and heritage has nothing to do with Islam and the anglo Indian influences. That they are not part of our culture and hence irrelevant and unimportant. You also hold the position that these people who identify with only Islamic part of our heritage should be denounced. I question your perceptions and positions. Please prove you identify with Indian heritage any more than anyone on this page and elsewhere or concede your point

Chandru K said...

More clever than sincere, to raise the Tamil engagement with Hindi, in order to score a point about Moslems and their failure to identify with the broader and older history of India.

The two are not really comparable. The traditional Tamil objection is not to Hindi per se, or its history, literature, exponents etc. Rather, to its imposition on the state of Tamil Nadu. That issue has more or less been successfully resolved. Modern Tamils from Chennai et al, have no problem identifying with the achievements of the Hindi heartland, historical or in the present. And that includes ancient figures like Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Vikramaditya, etc.

Anonymous said...

*Sigh* I can see this is not going anywhere! Modern or otherwise I know of Tamils who would not have anything to do with the Hindi (heart or kidney)land. That is not the point however. just as there are moslems who write poetry on Ramayna. But you are free to choose to call names that which you hate. This entire thread I had hoped would make you see how murky the metrics are by which you choose to vilify a community. I will desist from further posting however for lack of receptive audience.

Chandru K said...

Okay, then explain this: how was the Moslem League successful in creating, and that too violently, a separate Islamic state. You surely don't think those Moslems who agitated and rioted, accepted the Ramayana or Aryabhata or anything or anyone, Hindu. There is no comparable sentiment among Tamils, except an understandably strong sentiment toward preserving their language within the state of TN.

Dilip D'Souza said...

then explain this ...

On this page, you've been asked a question repeatedly, best summed up by Anonymous 215am above: Please prove you identify with Indian heritage any more than anyone on this page and elsewhere.

Please answer that before turning around and asking questions.

Chandru K said...

Oh, come off it. Moslems in the subcontinent have a bloody history (which continues in the present) of separatism and communal violence. And you're trying to be smart by throwing my question back at me(How do we know you, Chandru K., like Aryabhata?)
If I can't prove in this forum that I respect, appreciate and take some pride in Aryabhata, the Mahabharata etc, i can certainly prove that the majority of Moslems in the subcontinent positively do not. And the proof is in the creation of Pakistan and the ongoing bloody separatism in Kashmir. With Christians, it comes down to my own experiences, and I have admitted that I have not met all 25 million Indian Christians. You would have a point there, I concede.

Dilip D'Souza said...

I can't prove in this forum that I respect, appreciate and take some pride in Aryabhata, the Mahabharata etc.

You haven't. And that's the point. If you haven't and can't, please don't expect others to do what you can't.

That's exactly the question: how do we know that you respect and like Aryabhata, etc? You ask it of others, please be prepared to have it asked of you.

Your labelling of, and profound prejudice against, some 150+ million Indians of today based on what happened over 60 years ago is another matter. I'll be happy to deal with it once you answer this: since you ask others to respect a certain heritage, please prove that you respect it too.

Mention is no proof.

Thank you.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Just as a (repeated) addendum to the previous, and using your own logic and words from a comment above (Sep2 9:59pm):

I say that your "behaviour shows" that you "reject Indian heritage". So now you please "show why such reasoning is faulty. Or concede the point."

Blueshift said...

Chandru K

Do you have respect for Akbar, Babur, British Empire rule in India? They are part of "INDIAN history" if you dont then dont expect anything in return from others..

Chandru K said...

Blueshift, there's your fallacy. Equating Mughuls and British with the ancient Indian heritage, which is shared by all Indians, regardless of current religious affiliation. You are indirectly proving my point, that Moslems( and Christians) identify only with invaders and Moslem rulers, or with British and Portuguese respectively. To the exclusion-and this is the crux-of ancient Indian/Hindu references. It is highly, highly doubtful whether there is a correlation between Indian Hindus acknowledging Babur and Warren Hastings( leaving aside for a moment whether these characters have the same purchase on India's soul, or can in any event be equated with Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Panini, Kalidasa and Vikaramaditya) on the one hand, and Moslems and Christians acknowledging their Indian Hindu heritage, on the other. With Moslems, one can positively say there is no correlation at all; Pakistan, Kashmir and several other examples prove it.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Dear Chandru K,

Please prove that you respect Indian heritage.

Blueshift, this is not about Akbar or Babur. This is about any aspect of Indian heritage. Chandru, please prove that you respect anything at all about Indian heritage. Pick Aryabhata, or Chandragupta, or Akbar, or the British, or Chandrayaan. Anything, but plese prove that you respect it.

Because your behaviour shows that you reject every aspect of Indian heritage. Please show why this reasoning is faulty, or concede the point.

Thank you.

Chandru K said...

I thought I was raising a fairly weighty matter, namely the unwillingness or obliviousness of the majority of Indian Moslems and Christians, to awareness of the greater Indian heritage. And to Indian history that predates the arrival of Islam(or Europeans/Christians) on the subcontinent. It's a subject that speaks to the heart of Indian spiritual unity. A huge group of people from the outset, being hostile or indifferent to the vastness and antiquity of Indian history and culture. I thought this was serious. Silly me.

Suresh said...

Chandru - My God, you're tiresome. Could you be any more pompous: "I thought I was raising a weighty issue." No, you weren't doing any such thing. What you were and are doing is being an utter and total ass. You claim that Muslims and Christians don't "identify" with "Indian" heritage. First, you don't define what constitutes "Indian" heritage; second, you don't tell us how to distinguish someone who identifies with "Indian" heritage from one who does not. When pressed repeatedly by Dilip and Anonymous on this, you don't come up with an answer, just evasions. When pinned into a corner by Dilip and Anonymous using your own words, you accuse them of turning the discussion into "clever wordplay and semantics."

And finally, we get this: "I thought I was raising a weighty issue." Here's news for you: You don't think and worse, you don't seem to have the capacity to think. That is your tragedy. Our tragedy is that we have wasted time engaging with someone who doesn't have the ability to think. I am sure you'll come up with one more stupid response - you're one of those tiresome guys who simply *has* to have the last word - but I will take Anonymous' cue and not respond. Feel free to abuse me or whatever.

Chandru K said...

Okay, Suresh, here's the problem: There's an ancient civilisation that existed in the subcontinent, whose history goes back at least 4,000 years. My perception, and the perception of many people, is that Moslems and Christians don't identify with it, because they look at it essentially in religious terms. Even when there are so many features of that culture that are non-denominational. Even the 'religious' aspects of the culture, such as the scriptures, epics, sculpture and architecture, can be appreciated for what they are, rather than being associated with "the other religion". The epics for one have much secular wit and wisdom that can be digested by anyone.
There's no getting away from the fact that there is a history of India that predates Islam and Christianity, and hence Moslems and Christians. But the parochial, insular, stand-offish attitude of the majority of these communities prevents them from identifying and appreciating it. I, and many others, would love to be shown to be wrong on this score.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Okay Chandru, here's the problem. My perception is that you don't identify with the ancient civilisation that existed on this subcontinent. I don't know what it is, but something prevents you from identifying and appreciating it.

Using your own reasoning and words, please show me why my reasoning is faulty -- I would love to be shown wrong on this score -- or concede the point.

Thank you.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Actually, what am I thinking? Like Anon and Suresh, I've had enough of this futility too. There is no getting through some folks' prejudices.

Nikhil said...

Chandru
Your analysis is correct only when applied to Pakistan. This is a country that has erased its pre-islamic past and continues to arabize and subsequently radicalize its populace. But applied as a blanket generalization to Indian muslims is not true. Indian muslims by and large are completely at ease with India’s Hindu heritage. There are exceptions – like those who follow Pakistans destructive path or act on instructions from fanatic mullahs. The proof of this are people like the former president Abdul Kalam who derives his strength from ancient Hindu philosophy. Another are cases like Dr Rahi Masoom Raza who scripted the TV series Mahabharat or Mohd Rafi who has sung some of the best Hindu bhajans in film and non film songs. Even in the recent comedy reality series there was a muslim comedian (forget his name) who delivered his lines in sanskritized hindi and referred to himself as a ‘kavi’ instead of ‘shayar’. Even among ordinary muslims, there are people who regularly participate in Ganesh chaturthi etc. The same goes for Christians. My own Christian doctor is a practitioner of yoga and when I had a bad breathing problem, he recommended me for yoga as a cure.
However all of the above is in danger because of the following:

Secularists (including some worthies on this blog) have lumped everything under saffronisation including yoga etc and mock everything associated with the Indic way. Please check the archives for some of the comments and you know what I am talking about. Check their attitude against Kalam.

Fundamentalists among the above mentioned minorities deliberately advise them to dissociate from anything associated with Hinduism.

Cases : The Christian fundamentalists in the North east advising their womenfolk against wearing traditional Indian clothing.

Muslim hotheads threatening Swami Ramdev against teaching muslims yoga even though he only teaches exercises and in no way tries to push Hindu worship or anything remote.

When you see the above cases, one wonders if Indian muslims are also going through an arabisation phase.

Hence you can see your argument when applied to Pakistan is 100% true and even to J & K after the native Hindus were driven out. But when applied to Indian muslims or christians as a blanket generalization, completely fails.

There is no getting through some folks' prejudices

Standard reply when facing dissenting opinion.

Dilip D'Souza said...

delivered his lines in sanskritized hindi and referred to himself as a ‘kavi’ instead of ‘shayar’.

There you have it: how a TV personality delivers his lines and refers to himself defines his Indian-ness.

Must keep this in mind for when I have to renew my Indian passport. I'll just deliver my lines in sansritized Hindi and refer to myself as "kavi" and expect to have the little blue book handed to me.

Of course, this is also "in danger". Better, then, to renew this "kavi"'s passport at once.

Standard reply when facing dissenting opinion.

Do count how many times Chandru has been asked on this page to prove that he identifies with Indian heritage, and what he offers in reply.

Signed,
"kavi".

Nikhil said...

There you have it: how a TV personality delivers his lines and refers to himself defines his Indian-ness.

Must keep this in mind for when I have to renew my Indian passport. I'll just deliver my lines in sansritized Hindi and refer to myself as "kavi" and expect to have the little blue book handed to me.

Of course, this is also "in danger". Better, then, to renew this "kavi"'s passport at once.

Sorry mere kavi dost, but I have lost you. What exactly is your point?

Signed
Shayar

P.S: The name is Ehsaan Qureshi. Be assured - if this were a condition, my passport would be rejected. So chill.

Dilip D'Souza said...

What exactly is your point?

That i fully agree with your approving pronunciation of the comedian's Indianness.

I mean, it's about time we did away with such irrelevancies as address and police checks. If a guy speaks a few sanskritized Hindi lines and refers to himself as "kavi" rather than "shayar", he has proved he is truly Indian. So give him an Indian passport pronto.

Chandru K said...

Nikhil, good observations. You're probably right that it is too sweeping to say that all Moslems and Christians have difficulty identifying with anything that could be labelled "Hindu". And the example you've given, of the 'Kavi', is reassuring. But you're also right to point out the counter-examples, namely the state of Pakistan, which comprises people who are essentially converts. Same for Kashmir, whose problems are going on in the present, not 60 years ago. Let's not forget what transpired in the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad 60 years ago. Where a certain minority started a violent insurrection that had to be put down.That minority, one can say with confidence, did not identify with the pre-Islamic culture, history or people of the state or of the larger India.

Nikhil said...

I mean, it's about time we did away with such irrelevancies as address and police checks. If a guy speaks a few sanskritized Hindi lines and refers to himself as "kavi" rather than "shayar", he has proved he is truly Indian. So give him an Indian passport pronto.

I am not sure whether this is intended as sarcasm but it is a pathetic attempt. Try once again, Dilip - this only shows your silliness.
BTW Ehsaan is as much indian as maybe Kaifi (who writes in mainly urdu), Gulzar and Jagjit Singh (Sikhs but for whom urdu is the primary language) or Anand Bakshi (Hindu but uses urdu predominantly).
Alternatively please see the Paki requirements to get their passports- to be filled up by non muslims too and then go on yapping about identity etc.
BTW for me Feroz Khan, who stood up for his country in Pakistan is more indian than a Mahesh Bhatt who grovels in Pakistan.
For me anybody who loves his country and its heritage (which for me includes Ghalib along with Kalidasa) is a true indian
Not woolly headed liberals who will bracket things as human etc but will tolerate any nonsense by communal and genocidal neighbours.

Chandru - now see my point. Put a dissenting opinion here and see how Dilip and his bootlickers will twist your statements and abuse you.

Good day and good luck

Dilip D'Souza said...

On this page:

August 29 2009, 714pm, this observation: "a large part of the problem [is] the unwillingness, if not downright opposition of the minorities, particularly the Moslems, to identify with Indian/Hindu symbolism, history, literature, ideas. Barring the odd exception like the former president Kalam."

September 8 2009, 255am, this observation: "it is too sweeping to say that all Moslems and Christians have difficulty identifying with anything that could be labelled 'Hindu'."

Took ten days, but there was an evolution. (Am I right?)

Bravo.

Nikhil said...

Chandru
Thanks. Apparently you get the point I was making. It is lost on may of the blog worthies.

Good day and good luck.

Dilip D'Souza said...

anybody who loves his country and its heritage (which for me includes Ghalib along with Kalidasa) is a true indian.

Fine. No argument.

So are you a true Indian? If so, how will you prove to me that you love your country and its heritage? Please attempt an answer.

Nikhil said...

Prove something to you?
What is your expectation that needs to be proved? I mean you want me to prove something to you, please state some rules and guidelines or at least a framework on the type of proof that I need to provide.

Dilip D'Souza said...

What I said: how will you prove to me that you love your country and its heritage?

Please attempt an answer.

Suresh said...

Ok, I'll bite. What I want is the equivalent of a Turing test. Suppose you are introduced to a randomly chosen Indian. You are not told his/her name. However, you are allowed to ask questions and observe the responses.

Notice that this scenario corresponds to anonymous internet chat where we can't actually observe what each other is doing -- we can only ask questions and observe the replies.

The problem: Based solely on the person's responses to questions that you ask, how will you go about inferring whether or not he/she identifies with Indian heritage?

Can you give us such a test? If yes, tell us and we can then use it to verify that you identify with Indian heritage. Right now, we only have your own assertions. Indeed, we don't even know if the names you use for posting are your actual names or if you guys are actually Indians. Do you see our problem?

Perhaps the conditions for the test are too strong -- after all, one can argue that it's difficult verifying anything about a person over anonymous internet chat. (I am sure Dilip will point out that based on the internet is not exactly anonymous and most of what we do can be tracked.) Anyway, fine, let's relax the conditions for the test. Suppose we are talking about a well-known public figure so that we can observe what he/she says publicly and also what he/she does. What things will constitute an incontrovertible proof that the person does not identify with Indian heritage? What things will constitute a conclusive proof that the person does identify with Indian heritage? Care to enlighten us?

*Sigh* I know I'll get more evasions. But anyway, at least now, you two gentlemen (or ladies) can't say you don't know what we want.

Good Bye.

Nikhil said...

Suresh
Suppose we are talking about a well-known public figure so that we can observe what he/she says publicly and also what he/she does. What things will constitute an incontrovertible proof that the person does not identify with Indian heritage? What things will constitute a conclusive proof that the person does identify with Indian heritage? Care to enlighten us?

It is apparent you did not bother to read my post carefully. All the examples I have given there are public figures. If you read carefully I have stated the person who does not identify with Indian heritage.
Good day and good luck

globalbabble said...

Wow, wonders never cease. I have been following this blog discussion since the beginning. And I was convinced that no one could make Chandru K see Indian Muslims or Christians as anything but one undifferentiated lump of non-patriots. It is amazing that someone got him to at least admit that differences in attitudes and practices exist in Muslim and Christian communities as well. My faith in the ability of humans to reason is restored!

Nikhil said...

globalbabble
Chandru at least had the courtesy to admit that he might have been wrong unlike some other eminences who twist and misinterpret your statements to try and justify conclusions they have reached - sorry they have long before decided even before reading any of the posts.
The real wonder will be when they behave more like Chandru.

Nikhil said...

Suresh
Further to my earlier post, here is an example of people who do not respect Indic heritage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-J0mD8naAg&feature=related

Warning: This could damage your secular sensibilities.

Dilip please add this to your list of 'terrorist acts. Remember to continue to list it

Good day and good luck.

Dilip D'Souza said...

unlike some other eminences who twist and misinterpret your statements.

Who? Where? Care to be specific about your allegations rather than just flinging them about?

an example of people who do not respect Indic heritage

Fine, but Suresh did not ask you "Give me an example of people who do not respect Indic heritage".

Suresh asked, and I quote: "What things will constitute an incontrovertible proof that the person does not identify with Indian heritage? What things will constitute a conclusive proof that the person does identify with Indian heritage?"

Can you answer the questions you are asked instead of one you were not asked?

Suresh, you said: I know I'll get more evasions.

Have faith, sir.

Nikhil said...

Dilip
No evasions. See my reply at 11:05 am. You can see the reply there. Not that you care

Good Bye

Dilip D'Souza said...

See my reply at 11:05 am. You can see the reply there.

I did.

In it, you point to some folks you mention earlier as people (I assume) you believe identify with Indian heritage, and you also say you have "stated the person who does not identify with Indian heritage."

Fine, but once more, Suresh did not ask you "Give me an example of people who do not respect Indic heritage", nor did he ask you "State the person who does not identify with Indian heritage."

Suresh asked, and I quote: "What things will constitute an incontrovertible proof that the person does not identify with Indian heritage? What things will constitute a conclusive proof that the person does identify with Indian heritage?"

Can you answer the questions you are asked instead of some others you were not asked?

Suresh, keep the faith.

Anonymous said...

sorry didnt check this entire thread, way too long. Saw the last few comments on some kind of 'patriotism testing'.

Are we referring to the Tebbit test?

I remember sometime in the past Nasser Husain was pretty upset with Brit Asians only supporting their countries of origin and jeering the Eng team. More recently the Eng team remarked that they felt like they were playing an 'away game' at some home venue and this spurred them on to win against the Indian team.

rgds,
Jai
PS: Even from the quick browse, I'd say Chandru isnt going anywhere. Regret earlier comment on engagement & such.

Nikhil said...

I posted an answer for you yesterday. But it has not been published. Can you please publish it?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Each of the few times I have chosen to moderate comments for a while, there has been someone who pops up and says "you have not published something I have posted" -- even though they have posted nothing.

One more such, I see, immediately above.

There are no comments on this post that I have held up. Every single one has been published. I know you are lying when you say you have "posted an answer" that "has not been published".

It makes me wonder what kind of ideology it is you hold on to that needs lies to support it.

It tells me you have no answer to the questions you've been asked, just a need to find ways to evade answering them. This, you think, is one such way. (Two previous ways were to answer entirely different questions).

Nikhil said...

No lying .
I did post a comment answering to the best of my ability. But I am reproducing the post here:

Suresh and you are just aasking one question:

What things will constitute an incontrovertible proof that the person does not identify with Indian heritage?

To anwer the above question:

What things will constitute a conclusive proof that the person does identify with Indian heritage?"

Let us lay some simple rules first.
Irrespective of religion, do we respect our common Indic heritage that yoga, Vedic maths, Ghalib etc.
Else - do we simply mock these or still lump them (esoecially Hindu) under saffronization?
By this, we do not mean that all muslims need to start practicing yoga or all hindus need to memorize Ghalib etc. But let us pride ourselves with all that our country and its heritage has to offer.
The attitude of some commentators can be seen below. Now by no means am i saying that sanskrit is the best possible langage, but the biases are obvious:
https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8070362&postID=2673529629847673134

Remember your article against Rajeev S when he mentioned about showing Anand Patwardhans films. Forget about Rajeev's column - some things written there were in poor taste, but the question was not answered. Why did Anand Patwardhan have to show his films in the US?
Was he not trashing his own country overseas all the while even as he retained his Indian citizenship?
Look at your own example here:
http://dcubed.blogspot.com/search?q=church
When the pastor said all sorts of things about Hindus wanting to eliminate Christianity and other assorted nonsense, did you rubbish him?
No your reply was a very safe and general
Religion, I reply, makes people do some horrible things.
Why did you not reply with a 'This is an isolated case, but India is a place where both catholics and protestants are not at war with each other or where conflict has not reached the level of Lebanon and other places.
When our PM met the Pak pm, why did he not do the traditional Indian namaste, which even Indian muslims have no problem doing but does the adaab - did he feel ashamed about his Indian heritage?"

When Karunanidhi said all sorts of things about Lord Ram, is he in any way identifying with Indian heritage?


Why even our first PM Nehru said he was a Hindu by accident.
Is this any respect he shows for his own heritage?

Contrast this with Pakis who wear their Islamic traditions on their sleeve and are not ashamed to show this.
To show proof of people who identify with Indic heritage:

Resul Pookutty when receiving his award spoke about the power of Om. This is a case of a person who identifies his own heritage irrespective of religion. Such times are when Pakistan gets slapped as they can see how Indian muslims can be muslims but can identify with Indic heritage.

Other examples of people standing up for their own country are there.

You are welcome to post this or censor it. It is your blog. Else please twist any of my statements and accuse me of lying. It is your blog and choice.

Good day and good luck

Dilip D'Souza said...

This is the first time I've seen this comment from you. Thank you for "reproducing" it.

Actually Suresh was asking two questions, not one. You have not answered either: What things will constitute an incontrovertible proof that the person does not identify with Indian heritage? What things will constitute a conclusive proof that the person does identify with Indian heritage?"

I have personally never had a problem with yoga or Sanskrit or Ghalib, etc. I practice yoga myself every now and then. My son studies Sanskrit, is doing well at it, and sometimes chooses to speak it to us at home; all of which make me proud as any father would be.

But some people circulate a lie: that Forbes in a 1987 issue called Sanskrit the best language for computer software. To the best of my knowledge, there is no such issue of Forbes.

Yet when I point out this simple fact, you (yes you) say I have "trashed" Hindu heritage.

In that post I even pointed to the article (which I read when it first came out in '85 -- it was not in Forbes) that did make the connection between Sanskrit and AI, remarking on the profound lessons Sanskrit grammar had for AI researchers. It made sense to me because I was doing some AI stuff myself at the time, and could see the lessons.

But the writer, Rick Briggs, said nothing about it being a "suitable language" for software. Nothing. (Read the paper yourself here).

By pointing this out, by pointing out that Forbes had no such article, have I trashed Hindu heritage? Is Hindu heritage to be founded on lies? Is anyone's pride in it to be founded on lies?

Anand P's film was no trashing of India. It was a critique of what people call Hindutva, and of the damage it has caused to India. If this shames us, then I think the right response is to attempt to fix the wrongs, not prevent foreigners from seeing them. Or: If violence and hatreds in India are OK for Indians to watch happening, then they are OK for foreigners to watch happening.

The pastor in Montana? That annoys you? You have no idea of our conversation. For various reasons, including what the man asked me to keep private, that's all I chose to write about it. (I did hint at the rest of our conversation in my mention of "accusing" and the long silent look he gave me before driving off).

That's all I have the time for now.

Suresh said...

To add to Dilip's comments:

1. "Vedic Maths" is, from what I can see, a collection of "rules" for doing fast multiplication, division etc. (I had a dekko at a book by that name in Motilal Banarasidass' showroom in Chennai.) There's no explanation for why those rules work. As such, it is neither Vedic nor Mathematics and I don't know any mathematician who subscribes to it. I have no problems saying I don't respect it: presumably, by your logic, I don't identify with Indian heritage.

2. Helen Suzman was once accused by a minister in the apartheid era South African parliament of asking questions that "embarrassed South Africa." She responded "It's not my questions but your answers that embarrass South Africa." You might want to remember that in the context of your gripe about Anand Patwardhan showing his films abroad. As Dilip says, if his films embarrass us, then it's up to us to do something about it. Hiding problems doesn't solve anything.

Frankly, I respect any country that has the courage to deal with embarrassing problems in the open rather than hide them. If others want to laugh and feel "superior", then that's their problem. But you suffer from such a deep inferiority complex that you'd hide problems away rather than have it out in the open and actually try to do something about them. I've noted this inferiority complex on the part of guys like you and Chandru -- indeed, most of the Sangh parivar -- before and frankly I don't understand it. Care to illuminate us?

3. Making disparaging comments about anything connected with Hinduism amounts to not identifying with Indian heritage? Where does that leave Dr. Ambedkar? He had far harsher things to say than anything Karunanidhi or Nehru ever said. Try looking at some Dalit web sites and see what they say about Hinduism in general. Do you even see how ridiculous you are?

4. You don't seems to realise that your alleged "identification" with Indian heritage amounts to a selective parroting of some names - Veda, Ghalib and so on. If put to the test, I am fairly sure you won't be able to answer much about the Vedas or Ghalib.

Anyway, since you seem to like throwing names around, let me ask - how much do you know of the heritage of the Mundas -- a people we [the elite] dub "tribal"? Their heritage was rich enough for a christian missionary (John Hoffman) to compile a 16 volume "Encyclopaedia Mundarika." Are you aware of a person like Jaipal Singh (Munda) who captained the Indian hockey team in 1928 and was later a distinguished political leader and participant in the Constituent Assembly?

How much do you know of the rich heritage of all those people we dub "tribals"? Of the heritage of the Irulas, Todas, Badagas, the Kondhs, the Dhurva, the Oraon...? Are you even aware that in the course of 60 years of "development", we [the elite] have, intentionally or otherwise, destroyed a significant part of this Indian heritage by destroying their habitats?

Given the diversity of our country and the longevity of our civilisation, the amount that anyone knows about "India" is probably dwarfed by what that person doesn't know. As such, given a person, it is not very difficult compiling a set of questions that can't be answered by her/him. In your case, probably easier than most. Do you see the futility of trying to "prove" or "disprove" that someone "identifies" with Indian heritage through their knowledge of some random set of facts? Probably not.

5. At the end of it all, you have not answered either question that I asked you though I appreciate the fact that you've tried to do so.

6. This is an exercise in futility, so I'm not going to engage any further. Dilip, many thanks for indulging this so far and for supporting me. I would have lost my patience a long time back. Apologies for the long comment.

Dilip D'Souza said...

When our PM met the Pak pm, why did he not do the traditional Indian namaste, which even Indian muslims have no problem doing but does the adaab - did he feel ashamed about his Indian heritage?

Is Indian heritage embodied in the form of a greeting?

I would have thought that the real Indian heritage is in the fact of greeting someone -- more broadly, in our hospitality to others. It is also in the fact of respecting and observing others' traditions.

But since you seem preoccupied with gestures, is the adaab any less part of our heritage than the namaste? How so?

Suresh said...

And a final point, Nikhil. You write:

Contrast this with Pakis who wear their Islamic traditions on their sleeve and are not ashamed to show this.

There we are. In spite of you guys claiming that you dislike Pakistanis and what they stand for, you actually admire them and want us [meaning Hindus] to be more like them. As Ashis Nandy has noted on more than one occasion and I've alluded to here, there is a deep sense of inferiority affecting all Hindutvavadis. You guys think that Hindus are "soft" and "weak" [unlike, presumably, the Muslims] and you want to change all that. That's what Hindutva amounts to, isn't it: this desperate urge to show that Hindus are also "manly."

As a Hindu myself, all I can say is No Thanks. You are welcome to your "Islamized Hinduism" but you will forgive me if I don't subscribe to it.

Anonymous said...

Nikhil,

"...real Indian heritage ...is also in the fact of respecting and observing others' traditions. "

Is it your point there are people who dont do this: respect and observe others' traditions, and that in so doing, they are not upholding the Real Indian Heritage?

Or that some people are expected to 'respect and observe other traditions' more than others are expected to observe and respect theirs?

Like if some people disrespect and anti-observe some tradition of "others" maybe they are only creatively engaging with such tradition... and such creative engagement is not any violation of Real Indian Heritage.

Not accommodating such creative engagement OTOH is clearly a violation of this heritage.

rgds,
Jai
PS: just trying to get into the drift of this here; left to me, I wonder if there even is any such thing as a single "real" Indian heritage.

Chandru K said...

It's not a question of displaying "manly Hinduism". It's a question of far too many Indians going to the other extreme and denigrating, ignoring or dismissing the Indian heritage, based on some missionary text book, hyper-critical comments by the likes of Karunakaran or Ambedkar, and the feeling that doing this makes one feel 'cool' and 'modern'. There is positively a Hindu hurt coming from history with invasions and destruction of temples etc. It can't be( and moreover, won't be) dismissed with recourse to arguments about caste or sectarian issues within Hinduism.

Nikhil said...

But some people circulate a lie: that Forbes in a 1987 issue called Sanskrit the best language for computer software. To the best of my knowledge, there is no such issue of Forbes.
Yet when I point out this simple fact, you (yes you) say I have "trashed" Hindu heritage.

I have not said anything against your post. My reply was against the attitude of some of the commentators that was visible through their replies to this post. I am sorry if there was a misunderstanding.

Anand P's film was no trashing of India. It was a critique of what people call Hindutva, and of the damage it has caused to India. If this shames us, then I think the right response is to attempt to fix the wrongs


I agree that we should correct the wrongs. No issue for me if Anand Patwardhan showed his movies in India – In Dadar, New Delhi, Mohd Ali Road, Aligarh etc.


not prevent foreigners from seeing them. Or: If violence and hatreds in India are OK for Indians to watch happening, then they are OK for foreigners to watch happening.


How exactly are these people sitting in US, Europe, Australia or anywhere else going to help in fighting communalism? Invading us or by passing sanctions? Has Patwardhan made his films to educate Indians on the dangers of communalism or simply to show to the world what evil people we are? As I have stated above, there is no problems in showing the films in India.
Historically Indian or Hindu society has always attempted to fix the wrongs in society.
But there is a difference between people criticizing the mistakes in society and reforming it like a Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Anna Hazare, Rammohan Roy versus people who call in the foreigners to ‘solve our problems’ like Jaichand, Najib Khan, Mir Jaffar etc.Even you did hint at an invasion of India to solve the communal problem Leave to readers to decide in what league Patwardhan falls in.


The pastor in Montana? That annoys you? You have no idea of our conversation. For various reasons, including what the man asked me to keep private, that's all I chose to write about it. (I did hint at the rest of our conversation in my mention of "accusing" and the long silent look he gave me before driving off).

Missed out the hint. Sorry for that. But the zeal of how you defend something dear to you (Newspapers, NGO’s etc) when it is criticized by somebody was missing in this post. The generalization was missing.

Nikhil said...

To Dear Suresh
There's no explanation for why those rules work. As such, it is neither Vedic nor Mathematics and I don't know any mathematician who subscribes to it.

Please do not exhibit your ignorance in public.

" You might want to remember that in the context of your gripe about Anand Patwardhan showing his films abroad. As Dilip says, if his films embarrass us, then it's up to us to do something about it. Hiding problems doesn't solve anything."

I have already given my opinion on this. To both Dilip and Suresh, Selectivity is not the way to solve any communal problems.

"But you suffer from such a deep inferiority complex that you'd hide problems away rather than have it out in the open and actually try to do something about them. I've noted this inferiority complex on the part of guys like you and Chandru -- indeed, most of the Sangh parivar -- before and frankly I don't understand it. Care to illuminate us?"


Please see my reply to Dilip above. How have you deduced my inferiority complex? You do not know me nor do I confide in you? See the point – how you have decided and labeled me a member of the Sangh parivaar. I cannot and do not want to speak about the Sangh parivar
Dilip Now see how you and your friends stick labels. But you willingly engage Suresh and trash my arguments here. – Just because we offer contrarian opinions .Easy to spit and scoot.

"Where does that leave Dr. Ambedkar?"

The usual nugget- Bring Dr Ambedkar to give a guilt complex. My take is: Ambedkar lived in a different time when discrimination against dalits was a much bigger problem than today and there were sub-human conditions for them.

continued

Nikhil said...

Anyway Ambedkar was a maverick. Anyway all seculars ignore an important work of his about Muslims and Pakistan. Given his recommendation, we would have been Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan.
Coming to Karunanidhi, has he faced discrimination compared to Ambedkar. He is just a bigoted, senile and corrupt politician. Ambedkar was against the caste practices but he was not against a particular caste. Karu is just against Brahmins and keeps on abusing them.
"If put to the test, I am fairly sure you won't be able to answer much about the Vedas or Ghalib."

How do you know this? Again you have just spat in anger.
Dear Dilip – can you quote Confusicous to poor Suresh here?

Do you know anything about these to test me? Not that I need to be tested by a twerp like you.


"Do you see the futility of trying to "prove" or "disprove" that someone "identifies" with Indian heritage through their knowledge of some random set of facts? Probably not."

Tsk Tsk. Where was I trying to prove anything? You and Dilip were screaming, ranting and asking for proof. I had rebutted Chandrus assertion that Muslims and Christians do not identify with Indic heritage. That’s all. It is apparent that you did not bother to read my post. Hence my earlier comment on ‘yapping’. See ?

"I would have thought that the real Indian heritage is in the fact of greeting someone -- more broadly, in our hospitality to others. It is also in the fact of respecting and observing others' traditions."
Put it in reverse. Did the Pakis ever try to respect our traditions. Now as per you, all the above is part of our heritage and we also do all the above and yet Dilip still thinks of Indians as equal or else inferior to Pakis.

So Dilip-saab please show some consistency. Anyway nice to read some positive piece on Indian traditions at last from you.

"you actually admire them and want us [meaning Hindus] to be more like them."

One thing I do admire about Pakistanis. How they regularly succeed in making ‘chutias’ of guys like you, Dilip and al whole lot of bleeding heart pinkos.
Where do I want Hindus to be like them? I would like if they become more like us. But wait as per Dilip, they are same as us or we are worse then them.

Hindutvavadis. You guys think that Hindus are "soft" and "weak" [unlike, presumably, the Muslims] and you want to change all that.

Again you have exhibited your stupidity and doing the thing that is the last refuge of all scoundrels when they run out of arguments. Bring up Hindutva and try to make people defensive.

Good luck and Good Bye

Nikhil said...

Here it is folks - this is what life is for minorities in Pakistan

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Fearing-Taliban-Pak-Hindus-take-Thar-Express-to-India/articleshow/4992774.cms

Yes Dilip we are the same if not worse than Pakistan. Can we have some Anand Patwardhan documentaries on this?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Sorry for the delay in posting comments and replying, I've had scanty net access for several days while I was travelling.

What a long strange path we've taken from a post about the BJP's ideology. Yet perhaps there's a lesson here.

More to reply to, but just one quick point for now:

I have not said anything against your post. My reply was against the attitude of some of the commentators that was visible through their replies to this post. [this denial, when I pointed out that you said I have "trashed" Hindu heritage.]

All right. Easily verified. Your comment in question here.

Verbatim quote from it: "Dont you know the rules of our typist here? Anything good about Hindu heritage etc has to be trashed."

This was not "against my post"? This was not a comment on me, but on "the attitude of some of the commentators"?

How is it you can't even stand up for what you yourself say? And since you can't, what does that say for whatever it is you are trying valiantly to defend?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Suresh: thank you for mentioning Jaipal Singh. One of our unsung hockey greats, apart from being a widely respected political leader.

His son Amar Singh was a family friend. Among other things, he used to play cricket at Haverford Univ outside Philly.

Dilip D'Souza said...

How exactly are these people sitting in US, Europe, Australia or anywhere else going to help in fighting communalism?

When someone sees a film they are automatically enlisted to "help in fighting communalism"?

It's just a film.

Even you did hint at an invasion of India to solve the communal problem.

Ah yes, of course you had to trot out that old piece of paranoia. For guys who can come up with no argument, it must come easy to pick out one line from a thought experiment (explicitly called that, as well as "hypothetical", but why let that stop you?) and use that to label me a traitor who's calling for the invasion of India. And to go on doing it for years.

My response is that same as it was when this first happened: the article is out there as it always has been. The guys who will read evil into it are the guys who have no answers, as you have convincingly demonstrated over and over in this space. Please go ahead.

That's right, no answers. What, for example, did you make of Suresh's mention of Jaipal Singh? What about his two questions: What things will constitute an incontrovertible proof that the person does not identify with Indian heritage? What things will constitute a conclusive proof that the person does identify with Indian heritage?

Suresh said...

I'll take my final post on this thread to say something about "Vedic Mathematics." I refer here to a book by this name by Sri Bharati Krishna Tirthaji who was the Shankracharya of Puri from 1925-1960.

It is distressing to note that "Vedic Mathematics" continues to be around even though no mathematician takes it seriously. Some have written articles debunking it but somehow it refuses to go away and once in a while some politician even talks of introducing it into the school curriculum. It reminds me of the fact that "creationism" [in various guises] refuses to go away in the US and Europe even though no scientist worth his/her name takes it seriously. In the US too, periodic attempts are made to have "creationism" or "intelligent design" taught alongside the theory of evolution in schools.

Anyhow, for those intrigued by "Vedic Mathematics", I can recommend Professor S. G. Dani (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) writings:

http://www.math.tifr.res.in/~dani/

Look at the publications at the bottom of the page. Please note that Professor Dani is not only a mathematician but also knows a lot about India's mathematical heritage and is thus well-qualified to write on the subject. One of his short articles is Vedic mathematics: a dubious pursuit and the title more-or-less says it all. It is worth quoting from the conclusion of this article. After refuting the idea that "Vedic Mathematics" has anything to contribute to mathematics education, Prof. Dani goes on to add:

Heritage of Vedas, like other heritages down the ages, is a precious endowment. It should not be allowed to be corrupted through misuse or misinterpretation at the hands of vested interests, whether acting for pecuniary gains or for fulfillment of one or other chauvinistic urge or agenda. We should respect it, propagate it and learn from it in a rational way.

For those interested in knowing about Mathematics from the Vedic period - as opposed to "Vedic Mathematics" - Professor Dani's article gives a couple of references at the end.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Dear Suresh,

Thank you for exhibiting your ignorance in public. Also for exhibiting SG Dani's ignorance in public. Don't you know he is a bleeding heart pinko who is making chutias out of us all?

May there be more such ignorance.

Chandru K said...

The context of the Patwardhan film is important. Why would a film about Hinduism start showing the Ayodhya controversy? That's absolutely ridiculous. The American institution that showed the movie, should have carried films depicting controversies and conflicts involving Christianity and Islam. But guess what, they didn't!

Anonymous said...

it was not a film abt hinduism. it was abt hindutva. pls get ur facts abt da movie correct n dont spred wrong stuff.

Chandru K said...

But in an American museum, why choose to highlight Hindutva? Was the same museum showing Islamic terror and Christian aggression over the centuries? Why was it that the one exhibition where Hinduism figured at all, was about the so called Hindutva groups? Very strange.

Anonymous said...

why *not* highlite hinduvta?? r u ashamed of it?? i thot hinduta-vadis describe it as somethng of restored honour, and demolition of babri mosque was "redemption". if so, whats ur problem??

ur comment is equating hinduvta to "Islamic terror and Christian aggression". r u sure? (i agree)

globalbabble said...

Hi,

This thread has been elongating for a while, but I still wish to add something to it.

Here is an article from the New Yorker on the Alfred Dreyfuss affaire in France of 1890s. It discusses things like nationalism, prejudices, religion and heritage - and the wrongs that can be perpetrated in their name.

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2009/09/28/090928crbo_books_gopnik

It might be interesting to analyse our own reactions through the prism of history and experiences of other cultures.

Dilip D'Souza said...

GlabalB, sorry for not mentioning this earlier, but thank you for that wonderful essay on the Dreyfus affair. I read it and felt such a number of echoes from this country.