Gandhism, Post modernism and Hindutva

The Hindu nationalist political party, BJP has taken over the reins of government in India. Though they were in power twice before, this time they have a good majority of their own, and need not depend on non Hindutva parties for support.
modi sworn in
Today the brand ambassador of Hindutva is Narendra Modi, the new Prime minister of India. He comes from Gujarat, from a place near the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi. Is it surprising that muscular and intolerant Hindutva’s strength is coming from land of apostle of non-violence, Gandhi? Not at all. Many facets of Hindutva are closely related to ideas of Gandhi. Hindutva also derives it strength from western and Indian post modernist ideas and post colonial philosophies. Though this electoral victory is recent, the hegemony of ideas of Hindutva on Indian social and cultural milieu is present for last 2 decades and was greatly strengthened by Gandhians and post modernist Leftists.
A strong proponent of the above thesis is the scholar Meera Nanda, and this post is inspired by reading her.

Gandhism and Hindutva


Vision of Gandhi and that of Hindutva are similar in many areas.
See what Meera Nanda writes:
There is no doubt at all that Gandhi himself had no sympathy for the vicious anti-Muslim and anti-Christian sentiments that mark the muscular nationalism of Hindu nationalists. Hindu nationalists themselves recognize this difference, declaring Gandhi to be “too saintly” to fully comprehend the “evil” of Islam (Agarwal 1999).
But when it comes to the larger vision of a good society, the Hindu right wing’s relation to Gandhian philosophy is far from opportunistic. Indeed, the official philosophy of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the “integral humanism” of Deendayal Upadhyaya, is almost an exact paraphrase of Gandhi’s vision of a future India. Both seek a distinctive path for India, both reject the materialism of socialism and capitalism alike, both reject the individualism of modern society in favor of a holistic, varna-dharma based community, both insist upon an infusion of religious and moral values in politics, and both seek a culturally authentic mode of modernization that preserves Hindu values (see Fox 1987).

Gandhi was opposed to untouchability, but was not opposed to caste system per se. Modern day RSS takes the same view. Both Gandhi and RSS give importance to celibacy. Our new Prime minister, who left his wife for Hindutva work within weeks of his marriage, is an example of Hindu patriarchal thinking that women/sexual desires are an obstacle to performing useful work in society.
So it is not at all surprising that the Hindutva leader Modi is coming from near Gandhi’s home town.


Post modernism, Post Colonialism and Hindutva


It is difficult to define post modernism because it means different things to different people. Still it can be summarized as a philosophy which does not believe in single logical objective reasonable truth, but multiple subjective truths.
Post colonialism is a philosophy which tries to highlight and reinvent colonized people’s culture and portray it as opposite, equal or superior to Western culture.
Both did not believe in universal and culturally progressive nature of science. For a post modernist, science is just one of the several ways of attaining knowledge.
Thus a post colonial post modernist vision of India meant a new, non western model of development for India. They believed ‘western’ ideas like Capitalism, socialism, secularism, scientific temper, universality of scientific truth are not applicable in India. Main proponents of such a post modernist discourse included intellectuals like Ashish Nandy, Vandana Siva and Rajini Kothari. The Gandhian post modernists joined hands with ecological Marxists to fight against Nehruvian scientific temper
.
Meera Nanda writes:
The critics accused the Nehruvian promoters of science of disrespecting and insulting the ordinary citizens by daring to suggest that they need to revise their ways of knowing. True equality demands that ordinary people should have as much right to question science from their perspective. The most common example cited was that of astrology. Inspired by Feyerabend, the self-proclaimed defenders of the common man argued that astrology was the myth of the weak, as much as science was the myth of the strong. Scientists and those who dare criticize astrology as a superstition must take the empirical experience of the ordinary people as evidence, and rethink their opposition to it. Astrology stood for local knowledge in general.
modiramdev

This strengthened the hands of Hindutva forces as they were saying the same thing. Legitimacy was given to local, not scientifically tested “knowledge”. Foolish utterances of babas and swamis should be considered seriously as they form the local knowledge, which cannot be tested or known to modern science. No local inhuman customs, especially that of minorities and tribals (weaker sections) could be criticized as Universal human rights are a Western colonial concept. Science they said was a neo-colonial tool of multinational Corporations to continue control of colonies. It rapes the holy motherland and creates natural disasters.
Thus this anti-science movement saw a strange collaboration between Gandhians, Hindutva forces and some Leftists. Such an attack on science and secular liberal thoughts resulted in Indian society losing many of the progressive gains of the 50s and 60s. Identity politics based on caste, religion, language etc gained legitimacy. Superstitions became fashionable and spurious and dangerous remedies became popular in the field of health. Unscientific health care systems like Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, Sidha and Homeopathy flourished under State patronage. Anti vaccine movement gained momentum. Freedom of expression suffered as the list of holy cows that cannot be criticized increased enormously.
In short, Gandhians and post modernist Leftists have played an important role in elevating Hindutva forces to power in India.
A successful fight against Hindutva or any other communal forces needs a reaffirming of our faith in scientific method, as the only way to attain knowledge. We need to propagate scientific temper in our society. Democracy and Secularism are universal concepts essential for well being of human beings all over the world. Traditions, like anything else should be rigorously questioned. Instead of sitting on the fence, rational criticism of religion and religious superstitions/ common sense should come from science movements.
Secular polity should not accept religion/traditions as another method to attain knowledge. Whether it is minority or majority religion, hurt sentiments should never be accepted to absolve criticism. Caste based groups, even of the lowest caste, represents a regressive grouping and should not be encouraged.

A liberal humanist India is possible only with more science and less religion.

https://www.eastwestcenter.org/fileadmin/resources/education/asdp_pdfs/Prophets_Facing_Backward.pdf

http://www.sacw.net/DC/CommunalismCollection/ArticlesArchive/July2004Vedic_Sc_MeeraNanda.pdf

Ayodhya Verdict: a flawed attempt for political compromise by the Judiciary

December 6 1992

 The day when I felt most ashamed of India and its Government.
 The day on which glorious Indian tradition-of tolerance and respect for all-was torn apart by few goons.

Now with the Ayodhya Verdict of the Allahabad High Court I am feeling ashamed again,this time of Indian Judiciary.
The verdict has been analysed in detail both in Print and in Cyberspace.So without going into the details let me make it clear why I am ashamed of this verdict.

Role of Belief and Religion in a Title suit
This was a title suit. What role religion and belief have in a title suit? The court was supposed to look at the legal documents available and come to a verdict. Instead the Court tried to over reach its authority and came up with an  ‘illegal’ political compromise.

Condoning Masjid demolition
The ASI was able to excavate the site because of the criminal vandalism of Hindutva goons.What would have been the verdict if Babri Masjid was still there? Would the Judiciary give a verdict to partition it into 3 parts? By giving a portion to the criminals who demolished it are n’t they condoning the demolition? The Hindutva brigade will surely try to get immunity in demolition case citing this verdict.

ASI Report 2003
Findings of ASI after excavating the Babri Masjid site did not prove that the Masjid was build demolishing a temple. It was due to political bias that a wrong conclusion was given in its report by ASI. Many archeologists and historians have challenged this. Here is an extract from the statement released by SAHMAT, an organisation in which many renowned Historians are members.

One decisive piece of evidence, which entirely negates the possibility of a temple, is that of animal bones. Bone fragments with cut marks are a sure sign of animals being eaten at the site, and, therefore, rule out a temple existing at the site at the time. The Report in its “Summary of Results” admits that “animal bones have been recovered from various levels of different periods” (Report, p.270). Any serious archaeological report would have tabulated the bones, by periods, levels and trenches, and identified the species of the animals (which in bulk seem to be of sheep and goats). There should, indeed, have been a chapter devoted to animal remains. But despite the statement in its “Summary”, there is no word about the animal bones in the main text. This astonishing omission is patently due to the ASI’s fear of the fatal implications held out by the animal bone evidence for the temple theory.

….The bias, partisanship and saffronised outlook of the ASI’s Report takes one’s breath away. In almost everything the lack of elementary archaeological controls is manifest. The one-page carbon-date report, without any description of material, strata and comments by the laboratory, is meaningless, and open to much misuse. There has been no thermoluminescence (TL) dating of the pottery; no carbon-dating of the animal or human bones. No care has been exercised in chronology….

…It cannot be overlooked that the occupant of the office of Director-General was changed almost simultaneously with the High Court’s direction to the ASI to begin the excavations in early March. The signal given thereby was obvious; and the present Report should come as no surprise. Politicians gloating over it are precisely those who have got it written.
Location of birth place of Lord Ram
     At least 2 Judges of the High Court seems to have accepted that most Hindus believe Lord Ram was born at a place which fell under the Central dome of the Masjid. What was the evidence to conclude that most Hindus beleived Ram was born at that exact place? The truth is there were many rival places in Ayodhya which had claims to be the birth place of Lord Ram. Only in the 1980s with the advent of strong Hindutva movement that the Mosque was deliberately made the birth place of Rama. 

Political Compromise versus Judicial Compromise

Many well meaning Indians,especially the young feel that as every one have got something we all should be satisfied with it and the Nation should move on. Many believe that the Secular ‘fundamentalists’ are needlessly creating problems. I disagree.
If it was a political compromise arrived at by religious leaders all of us including me would have been happy to accept it. But when a High Court go back to the period of Panchayath Court system to arrive at an extra-legal compromise in its verdict, it spells trouble for India’s democracy and secularism.
Can we change history to justify the politics of present?

What happened in history, happened. It cannot be changed. But we can learn to understand what happened in its fuller context and strive to look at it on the basis of reliable evidence. We cannot change the past to justify the politics of the present. The verdict has annulled respect for history and seeks to replace history with religious faith. True reconciliation can only come when there is confidence that the law in this country bases itself not just on faith and belief, but on evidence
 Romilla Thapar, Historian

Let us hope that some time in future the Supreme Court will rectify this flawed attempt for political compromise by the Judiciary.

Links
http://sahmatnews.blogspot.com/2010/10/statement-on-ayodhya-verdict.html
http://www.sahmat.org/2982003.html  on ASI report
http://communalism.blogspot.com/2010/10/interview-with-justice-rajindar-sachar.html

http://communalism.blogspot.com/2010/10/interview-with-rajeev-dhavan-on-ayodhya.html
 http://communalism.blogspot.com/2010/10/in-name-of-faith-frontline-5-oct-2010.html

‘Love Jihad’.Fact or fiction?

Whom do you think a communalist hates most?

Many may feel that an Islamic communalist will hate a Hindu/Christian communalist most while a Hindu communalist will hate a Muslim/Christian communalist most.

But this is not true.

Whom they hate most are the believers of their own religion who try to have strong friendship and social contacts with believers of other religion.

That’s why Jinnah hated Maulana Azad most.
That’s why a Hindutva activist killed Gandhiji.
That’s why communalists of all hues and color hate inter-religious marriages,especially when the couple involved decides to stick on to their own religion.

Even if they do not stick on to their own religion,such marriages based on love increases the social contacts between families of different religions and should be encouraged if the conversion to the spouse’s religion is with out compulsion.

“Love Jihad”

Recently we saw an increasing number of news reports about love used for forcible religious conversion in South India,mainly Kerala. It has been alleged that thousands of Hindu and a few Christian girls has been trapped in to love affairs with Islamist boys and later forced into marriages and conversion to Islam. A newspaper in Kerala coined the term ‘Love Jihad’ for this phenomenon.

If you search ‘Love Jihad’ on google you will see a large number of furious Hindutva websites trying their best to raise the anger in the Hindu mind.The statistics they quote are mind boggling. It ranges from 1000 to 5000 Hindu girls already converted to Islam by this ‘Love jihad’.
Here is an excerpt from ‘Hindu jagruti”s website.

“Trapping naive Non Muslim girls (Read as Hindu girls) in the web of love inorder to convert to Islam is the modus operandi of the said organisation. Already more than 4000 girls have been converted to Islam by this Jihadi Romeos.



Special branch of Police started investigation when marriages of such large scales are reported within last 6 months. As per the instructions to recruits of this organisation, they have to love a Hindu girl within the time frame of 2 weeks and brainwash them to get converted and marry within 6 months. Special instructions to breed atleast 4 kids have also been given. If the target won’t get trapped within first 2 weeks, they are instructed to leave them and move on to another girl.”

Is this really true?

Most of the Hindutva websites reveal the source of their information as Police Special Branch reports. The Kerala High Court asked the Police to enquire about this.The DGP has presented a preliminary report in the Court on October 23.
The DGP’s affidavit said that apart from the 2 cases before the court there is no proof that such incidents are taking place. At the same time the affidavit said “there are reasons to suspect ‘concentrated attempts’ to persuade girls to convert to Islam after they fall in love with Muslim boys but no organisation called ‘Love Jihad’ has been identified so far in the state“. The affidavit said police had no evidence regarding the operation of love jihad and the source of money.

What is the truth behind this?
I am very well aware that Islamists recruit many youths from the campuses in Kerala for propagating hate in name of Islam.
I am also sure that some inter-religious ‘love’ marriages have taken place and most probably conversions too. Most of those marriages were genuine.
Was the conversion forced? Is it really an organised movement by ‘Jihadi’ organisations to increase the number of Muslims in India? Even if it is so has this taken place in such a large scale as being alleged?

The Police special branch report the Hindutva websites are quoting is about complaints registered in police stations regarding missing persons.Police themselves say that most of those compliants have already been withdrawn as the missing persons have returned to their families. Only a few are yet to be traced.The statistics are grossly exaggerated to create bigger effect.

Read here from ‘The Hindu’ a story of alleged ‘love jihad’ from Karnataka

The ‘Love Jehad’ that wasn’t

When Anitha (22) of Barimaru village in Bantwal taluk, went missing this June, the rumour mills fed by several Sangh Parivar organisations claimed that she was forcibly converted to Islam by a Pakistan-backed, professional ‘jehadist lover’.



On October 4, the head of the Gurupura Math, Rajashekharananda, held a protest meeting where he alleged that Anitha had fallen prey to a terrorist ploy. The event, which according to top police officers, threatened to create a communally sensitive situation, led to the hurried constitution of a special investigation team.


In less than two weeks the team cracked the case: Anitha was poisoned to death by Mohan Kumar, serial killer arrested on October 21, who allegedly confessed to having murdered her and robbed 17 other women by luring them with offers of marriage.

On October 15, the Hindu Janjagruthi Samiti held a protest outside the Deputy Commissioner’s Office alleging that over 3,000 Hindu girls from Dakshina Kannada and 30,000 from the rest of the State had gone missing since the “Love Jehad operation” was launched by the “terrorists” a year ago. These figures, posted on the Samiti’s website, are now being quoted by other Hindutva organisations as well.

However, official statistics given to The Hindu show that in the three years ended September 30 this year, 404 women went missing in the district. Of them, 332 women have since been traced by the police.

At Wednesday’s press conference, the police said that now only 57 women were missing in the district.

According to Superintendent of Police A.S. Rao, several of these 57 women are suspected to have committed suicide or eloped. “Among those who have eloped there are several who are not Hindus. There are also cases where Hindu women have eloped with Hindu men,” he said.

In another incident Siljaraj a woman of 23 years who eloped with her Muslim boy friend told the Karnataka High court that she had willingly converted to Islam and is waiting to get married under the provisions of the Special Marriages Act and asked for permission to go with her boy friend. But surprisingly the High Court asked her to return to her parent’s home until the case is investigated.

Reacting to the order, senior advocate Ravi Varma Kumar said that it violated Article 21 (of life and personal liberty) and Article 25 (of freedom of religion) of the Indian Constitution. He cited Lata Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2006, in which the Supreme Court upheld the right of a person who had reached the age of majority to marry of his or her own choice.
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has said it would file a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Karnataka High Court’s order.


I feel that more than this alleged ‘love jihad’ being a threat to Hindu society [ are Hindu girls so dumb???], it has become a fodder for the propaganda machine of the Sangh Parivar to propagate communal animosity and there by helping them in trying to reduce all social contacts between Hindus and believers of other religions.
Muslim and Christian priests have also issued warnings to youth to be cautious of such inter-religious social contacts.
As I said above Communalists of all colors are the same.They hate social and religious harmony because then their very existence is questioned.

The issue underlines the need for high vigilance against communalisation of our society.

Karnataka Government orders special Poojas ‘for safety of Women’

The molestation of Women by activists of a Hindutva group in Mangalore on January 24th Saturday, is an example of how fascism works in India.It is a serious attack on the democratic functioning of the Indian Polity. Fascists are bullies who aim at soft targets like women, children, artistes,schools, cinema halls etc.
There was another interesting news from Karnataka the next day.Read this Hindu report.
Temples asked to do Shanti Puja
BANGALORE: In a communique here on Sunday, Minister for Religious Endowment Malur S.N. Krishnaiah Shetty said the agama pandits had opined that the [solar]eclipse portends bad times for the State. As per their advice, category A and B temples belonging the department, both Shaiva and Vaishnava, have been asked to do “Grahana Shanti” by performing Mruthyunjaya Japa, Mruthyunjaya Havana, Udaka Shanti Patana and Nakshatra Havana on Monday. “This is for the safety of people of State,” he said, and invited devotees to participate in the pujas. — Staff Reporter

So the Karnataka Government is beefing up the safety of the people of the State by special poojas.Will that include safety of Women from rampaging Hindutva hooligans?