Nineties signalled end of Hindu ethos
Posted March 9, 2006
(Vijay Times, 16 Feb. 2006)
The decade on the eve of the 21st century was a momentous one for India. This was the decade, which the true political consequences of the fragmentation of Indian society became firmly entrenched. The political protagonists of supposed Hindu interests unexpectedly came to the fore and just as quickly decided there was no such constituency and espoused the politics of being in power for the sake of power alone. Just as jihadis resplendently speak of dying for their faith Hindus overwhelmingly seek personal advancement and also apparently crave vacuous entertainment.
The nuclear tests in May 1998 marked an apparent f beginning of India s quest for a place in the high table of the international arena. But it proved a chimera in retrospect since it mainly managed to instil fear in Indian policy makers and hobbled their ability to act. The economy grow rapidly , but much of this advance was insubstantial because it has primarily been clever Indians hawking their intellectual skills and the rest remitting foreign skivvying abroad.
The real hard economy remained in the mendacious thrall of politicians and bureaucratic pilferers union thuggery . The rapid advance of the crucial manufacturing component of the economy that has ac success elsewhere remains hostage to the socialism of the few , squeezing a sore udder at the expense of the disorganised many .
Yet, this is clearly the decade in which the final denouement of Hinduism began, accelerating unprecedentedly. The clock ticking ominously for 12 centuries since the conquest of Sindh suddenly sounds fearfully audible. The deeply rooted self-doubt and self-destructive impulse of Hinduism has joined hands with the opportunistic Semitic paws that had been stroking their kill since time immemorial. They conjoined malignantly with the mundane imperatives of venal business greed that Indian politics unequivocally incarnates now. In this denuded world, children and grandparents, any country's future and the past, cease to matter. The melancholy historical fate of womenfolk being bartered in foreign bazaars becomes a resigned metaphor.
The rapid advance of centrifugal political forces in India is loosening central authority, now in constant negotiation with diverse explicit separatist demands. India's separatists have invariably formed relationships with India's external foes in the expectation of a fleeting moment of power and, as always, the prospect of personal enrichment. These foreign enemies of India are likely come to the aid of separatists by interceding directly at a moment when internal dissent rises to a crescendo, pointing to Indian help in creating Bangladesh for justification.
The likeliest scenario is the loss of domestic political legitimacy that incites individual states to declare sovereign independence. Tamil Nadu may be an unexpected candidate for this dubious honour since it's in most wilful and depraved politicians, exhibiting vaulting self-regard. Others likely to follow the clamour too Punjab, Assam, Bihar and West Bengal. Such awesome scenario is most likely in the context of prophylactic intervention by the armed forces during a growing phase of national collapse at the Centre. The moment that happens, all political legitimacy will evaporate The fiction of electoral politics binds India together , though in reality only serves to justify personal and parochial political ambition.
Alas, the historic Hindu world has long been a vale of tears, untold stories of countless enslaved women and children walking across desolate mountain passes to far away places. It is this tragedy that is being celebrated with scornful glee by the enemies of the Hindu people.
The single accusatory word, communal, demolishes all Hindu entreaties in the contemporary world. It turns them into utterly friendless creatures, much like the medieval auto da fe that almost invariably led to burning at the stake. Yet it is Hindus themselves who have made greed their predominant impulse, above all else. Even their worship of the divine is a mockery to facilitate material acquisitions while tragedy unfolds all around them No Hindus, with the sole extraordinary exception of Lanka's Tamils, have shown willingness to die for their beliefs. Of course, Tamil militants perish exclusively for their ethnic community and only incidentally as Hindus. Perhaps this is why Hindus are accused of lacking historical sensibility , a misfortune now surfacing as grim amnesia, though fortified by wilful self-denial. This is the fate of slaves since they do not possess legal personality and autonomy , consigned to an anonymous footnote in the history of their masters. Hindus like having masters, so many would not be serving them so earnestly.
At every juncture Hindus are fighting each other on behalf of imperialist intruders. In comparison, the discord between the Latin and Orthodox churches that the Ottoman conquest of Byzantium seems a household infraction. The nominally Hindu intellectual class is in virtual unison in their wish to crucify their past, embracing Christian and Islamic imperialism instead. The loathing to utter a single word in defence of their own heritage is surely remarkable on sociological grounds alone. Are there any other people, who find nothing in their history to celebrate, recalling it only as suffocating and oppressive? The recent near-unanimous chorus of a virtual who's who of Indian academics around the world, led without self respect by the nose by Harvard s Michael Witzel, against changes to the curriculum on Hinduism for California's schoolchildren is an apposite illustration. Many who signed the petition's scathing denunciation remained unfamiliar with the requested changes when they signed it, suggesting a classic instance of self-hatred. In stark contra not a single protest voiced from any quarter against many more tendentious changes demanded by other religious groups, some of them truly outrageous.
In comparison, the changes sought by Hindu parents and their supporters were on the whole were innocuous, at worst, prone to give a slightly positive spin on minor issues. But, they provoked the vehement ire of hundreds from the world's leading universities and all religious affiliations, including Muslims and evangelical Christians. It is an astonishing testament to the piranha-like feeding the smell of blood. The serried ranks of evangelicals and jihadis are truly lining up to deliver the coup de grace .
This is surely the decade that will be remembered generations to come, if anyone remains to write its history, as the one that signalled the final demise of the Hindu civilisation. Like many rich polytheistic cultures before Greece to Persia, the monotheists will have terminated them.
The ostensible defenders of Hindu interests turned out to be traders looking to make a fast buck while sacred hymns in feigned religiosity to divert attntion.
The treacherous intellectual tradition within it hoisted a banner to dwarf the skies, while senselessly proclaiming their own moral excellence. It will not last, since the celebration of ultimate triumph will be reserved for their victorious masters alone. Their temporary havens and rewards will be withdrawn and they too will find themselves kneeling before the enemy they served only too well.
A small band of the defeated will make their lonely passage to oblivion though they knew what was in the making, but could not bring their community along to do battle.
(The writer is a London School of Economics academi)