The limits of Islamic reform?

As a lay Hindu, I can only observe and comment on movement within the Islamic domain; not hoping or caring to influence such movement as long as it does not conflict with Hindu national interests. Keeping this scope in mind, I would like to share my thoughts on a recent article by a courageous Muslima – Sadia Dehlvi.

My view on reform within Islam is simple. Unless the Prophet Mohammed is brought down from his very high pedestal and Muslims can learn to accept an inner spiritual quest (wherein they encounter and acknowledge numerous Gods and Goddesses apart from and including Allah) whilst rejecting outer material conquest – in terms of Lebensraum of land and living human beings, Kafir or Momin, for the Ummah; all this meaning unless Muslims can reject the Shahada of Islam, it is impossible for reform as non-Muslims would want it, to come. (I am also aware that there are well meaning Hindus who pin their hopes on reform within Islam without dwelling on such crucial factors.)

Sadia Dehlvi, while bravely standing up to a high priest from the land of the Prophet himself exposes this crucial weakness in a reformist Muslim when she holds fast to all the anti-septic Islamic austerity that keeps Islam spartan and Muslims ever ready to mobilize for Jihad. She in fact outdoes herself when she seeks to “preserve and promote the composite and inclusive cultural traditions of Indian Muslims…(while)…the Centre (IICC) has been trying to decode which cultural activities are sharia compliant and those that are not.”

– Namaste

The Center-Right dilemma

Readers of my blog are aware of my aversion to the Center – Right ideological position. I have made no bones about it. For a long time I have continually sensed its unnatural positions and artificial stances and deduced that perhaps those who espouse this ideology do so out of misplaced but good intentions. Misplaced because it will never get them nearer to the truths that any natural ideological position must; although it might leave them “feeling good”.

You can see the obvious physical contortions in the above illustration. That’s the Center-Right reality.

Recently, in a series of tweets, I attempted to analyze the dilemma of the Center-Right position. The analysis is sketchy but I think, sufficient to communicate the core reality of Center-Rightism within Hindusthan’s political arena and especially in relation to Traditional Hindu Nationalism.

I also take this opportunity to call for a debate with convinced Center-Rightists and ask them to test their ideological position against the end political-social goals they desire.

Ob 1 : Center-Right = Liberal-Right. Social views are Liberal whilst Economic views are Conservative.

Ob 2: Center-Right = Impractical ideology. Liberal Social views are incompatible with Economic Conservatism which demands small govt.

Ob 3: Center-Right = Unnatural. No human organism can exist at a perpetual 45 degree angle. Only option; reach out to Left as counter weight

Ob 4: Center-Right = Intellectual Dishonesty. This “reaching out to Left” manifests in Social Liberalism. No Center-Rightist will admit it.

Ob 5: Center-Rightism = Increased Left potency. This occurs because of its inherent anti-Traditional stance.

Ob 6: Center-Right=Weakend Traditionalism. C-R can be strong only if & when Traditional Nationalists naively buy into it.

Ob 6a: Center-Right=Weakend Traditionalism. Its Social Liberalism makes it the enemy of Traditional Nationalism.

Ob 7: Center-Right= Secular-Right.

Ob 8: All Liberalism must turn Left eventually. To shade it in terms of Libertarianism means nothing. The latter is an ingredient; not the recipe.

Ob 9: Hindu Dharma does not equal Liberalism.

Ob 9a: Hindu Dharma is Traditional. Builds on social experience & lessons learned in the path towards healthy & strong social & National life.

– Namaste

Thoughts on the Muslim Rashtriya Manch

Off and on one gets to hear about the Muslim Rashtriya Manch; an organization floated by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which it hopes, can bring Muslims into the mainstream of National life.

I haven’t come across any authoritative website or document that details the purpose and goals of this Muslim Manch except to read about it a bit in various publications.

A clutch of articles in no particular order give a flavor of the kinds of issues the Manch is seized of –

Muslim organisation slams Vande Mataram fatwa

“Our Muslim brothers should not follow the fatwa as Vande Mataram is the national song of the country and every Indian citizen should respect and recite it,” said Mohd Afzal, national convenor of the Manch.

No person could ask anyone to stop reciting Vande Mataram, said Afzal.

Syed Hamidul Hasan, renowned Shia cleric, who was especially invited on the occasion to speak on Hindu-Muslim issues, said that Muslims were free to take their own decision regarding Vande Mataram, which everybody respects.

Sangh tradeoff ? – Sudarshan said Indian Muslims should not be called a minority, as they are Indians like Hindus and other communities. He also said that Vande Mataram was the national song and does not belong to any particular community.

Muslim Organisations Support Ban on Cow Slaughter

Endorsing the demand for a complete ban on cow slaughter, State convenor of Muslim Rashtriya Manch K M Anees-ul-Haq claimed that majority of Muslims in India had not touched beef in their life-time while some were only occasional beef-eaters.

He contended that Islam clearly asked Muslims to respect the sentiments of their neighbours. “Naturally, we support the call for a ban on cow slaughter to respect the sentiments of our Hindu brethren,’’ he said.

Karnataka State Union of Muslim League President Mohammed Usman Ali pointed out that cow slaughter was also banned during the rule of the Mughals. Muslim rulers in South India such as the Bahmanis too had banned slaughter of cows.

Sangh tradeoff ? – Will the RSS have a different view on the Mughals, Bahmani Sultans et al henceforth?  

Muslim Rashtriya Manch to hold peace rally

MRM convenor Mohammad Afzaal, who was present with a handful of Muslims at the RSS-run Vishwa Samwaad Kendra in Lucknow to announce the rally on Saturday, said: “While prices of essential commodities are rising, the Congress which first coined the word Sikh and Muslim terror, is now talking of Hindu or saffron terror. It is soft on terrorists but is trying to divide people for narrow political gains.”

Sangh tradeoff ? – Is it the Sangh’s view that there is no Islamic terror?

Training camp of Muslim Rashtriya Manch – Politics divide, culture unite – KS Sudarshan

 “British had divided the Muslims and the Hindus for their political endgame. We must understand that politics divides while the culture unites,” said Shri KS Sudarshan, former Sarsanghachalak of RSS. He was addressing a gathering of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch activists assembled at a training camp in Raipur on June 7. Workers from 15 states of the country participated in the camp. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh and RSS National Executive Member Shri Indresh Kumar also addressed the workers.

Shri Sudarshan asked the workers to spread the message of love and peace in the society and appealed to them to remember that they share the same ancestors, culture and traditions with their Hindu brothers. He also urged them to feel the unity in diversity and experience the inherent unity of mankind in the light of Islam and its tenets of peace and brotherhood.

He said that in true sense the Parsis, Jews and Anglo-Indians are minorities in India. The Muslims did not come from outside India and belonged to this land. They might have changed their way of worship some centuries, generations ago, but they share same ancestors, culture and traditions with the Hindus. He said if Islam means peace then how cruelty had entered into it? He said when religion ties itself with imperialism then it becomes violent. All sorts of bad qualities creep into it and it loses its original character.

Here is another very interesting piece on the subject from Two Circles

 –Varta–

What is the main issue?

Is it an issue if the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh makes overtures to Muslims in Hindusthan with the intention of ushering them into an as yet undefined national mainstream?

Or is it an issue if the RSS embarks on such a project on the basis of indefensible self assertions without contesting the Muslim position – within and without the Muslim Manch?

My own view is that Muslim distinction must be wholly recognized because they (the Muslims) obviously are desirous of it. The only caveat to such a recognition should be the delinking of a “National purpose” for such distinct minorities.

That National purpose must rightfully belong only to the National Society. The question one should ask the MRM’s sponsors in the Sangh is this –

Do you recognize a National Society and differentiate it from a distinct Minority? Because if you did, then you would not have to blow these very delicate soap bubbles that can’t withstand the slightest whiff of the truth.

Remember, a Minority cannot be denied its status by merely denying the truth of it being a Minority. A Minority cannot be risen to National status without diminishing the true National Society.

– Namaste

Evangelism and Hindu reaction

An interim glimpse of the Justice Somasekhara Commission whose mandate it was to look into the causes for and examine the acts of the various attacks on Churches and other Christian places of worship in Karnataka; has generated quite a spawn in terms of interviews, confessions, reports and opinion.  

In my opinion over intellectualizing the Hindu view in the manner of strenuously articulating a “defense against the Christian argument” is futile and has mostly proved to be fruitless. The reason for my saying so has been that no Church leader has really respected our stance with corresponding changes in behavior.

The argument for the right to Christian evangelism in Hindu society tramples upon the Hindu’s right to live in their traditions. This Hindu argument against evangelism is countered by accusing the Hindu of denying his traditions to some of his less fortunate brethren thereby denying “their right to freedom of religion”. The Christian claims to fill this void with his evangelism, his “right to propagate religion” amongst these less fortunate. Shortly, the Christian Church claims the right to fish in our troubled waters.

Liberals amongst Hindus buy into this argument of the Church and nudge Hindu protesters and ask them to “emulate the good that they(Christian missionaries) are doing”. These liberals on other good days berate politically conscious Hindus of “semitizing Hinduism by projecting attitudes and behaviors of the religions they fight against”. This is  plain and simple double-speak because the primary objective and God mandated mission of the Church is to evangelize – its various “services” are but important propellants it needs to move forward on its mission. The only way Hindu society can “emulate the good that they are doing” is by creating a similar evangelistic mission for itself. Such a thing is impossible unless of course Hindus “semitize” their religion.

The Church says salvation lies in accepting Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. The best Hindus can manage is to say salvation lies in the lights of each seeker. These seekers create many paths, some tried and trusted and some, quite novel to the seeker. Furthermore many Hindus may not seek at all but only behave well in society’s and their own interests. It is indeed difficult to see how such a society of Hindus can be semiticized let alone create the “service” props comparable to what the Church can command.

It is very doubtful that the Church’s methods can bring cheer to Hindu society’s less fortunate. If this was really the case and given Hindu society’s problems, Christian numbers would not have remained at current %ages. However, this creates a forensic dilemma (a veritable murder without a body) for Hindus who allege rampant evangelisation, a prime cause for the attacks on Churches. The Church points to this static growth and insists there is no “unethical” evangelism. Obviously it cannot claim against its grain that there is no evangelism. I’d wager that this puzzle will unravel only when reservations are announced for such sections as “Dalit” Christians.

It is difficult not to believe that Christian evangelism’s driving fuel is its financial clout only. It is this financial clout that greases its “service” props, otherwise called “commitment to serve humanity” required to drive its declared mission amongst the heathens. For the liberals amongst Hindus to push for such copy-cat behavior by concerned Hindu society; is akin to bringing upon ourselves a disaster. No two evangelising societies can live in peace within the same territory.

The Hindus are restless. They want to stop this evangelising machine but are ill-equipped to do it. Given their society’s framework and structure, they would not be able to build a comparable machine even if they could muster similar financial clout. For all this talk about “semitization of Hinduism”, they cannot even collectively stick with one God or Goddess long enough to make a difference. But these are Hindu society’s strengths; not weaknesses. The rush of evangelistic flood waters scatter and lose their destructive force when confronted with the compartments of Hindu social structures; its Jatis and Janajatis. Yes, some compartments will collapse and receive evangelistic ocean waters on impact but most others will remain impregnable. The Church cannot win unless it seeks out traitors who will open the doors of each compartment. In practical terms, this would mean the collapse of Hindu society’s middle classes, its “new elite” in the face of the charms of the Church.

Traditionally, Hindu States governing non-evangelizing Hindu societies have concerned themselves only with maintaining righteous Dharmic order. The Hindu State has never pushed a self-chosen theology down unwilling throats expect perhaps during its Ashokan phase. Diverse Hindu society which has never been short of its religious seekers and teachers has rarely clashed and physically fought over self-righteous dogma; let alone annihilated entire peoples in its holy missions. Hindu society has also by and large never gotten used to transgressions as instigated by the Church’s mission. However we know that any live organism will fight back to defend itself against alien and foreign behaviors. Hindu society being such a live organism seems to have chosen to bite and defend itself in its own way only because the State failed in its traditional duty to honor and defend righteous Dharmic order.

The case is not against lay Christians but the Adharma of the Church in its pursuit of an unholy mission of evangelism through financial allure couched in wishful theology. The case is against the dishonesty of the Christian Church that seeks to hide its sharpened dagger behind noble robes of service. The case is also against all such lay Christians who knowingly refuse to bring to bear their inherent decencies against the dangerous and unwinnable politics of Christian evangelism. The case is against those liberal Hindu elite who in their utter callousness play fast and loose with Hindu society’s concerns little realizing that Hindu society is already in search of a new elite that can know its mind and speak its language.

Hindu society without a Hindu State to represent it, will remain defensive and reactionary. This society is too large, too diverse and too widespread to be overcome by crusading missions of the Only God(s). In the meanwhile the crusading missions are being unravelled in their own games and their self-inflicted failures and disasters are becoming clearer to the people. Let us remember that the Church is actually fighting a two front war. One defensive front against such of its sheep that have grown brains, the other, offensive, in search of new unsuspecting flock. On the other hand Hindu society’s battles are waged on one front only. A defensive and reactionary front against the transgressions of its enemies. Our society is handicapped by the lack of its traditional State. But once it acquires such a State, it can only win the war.

The question is, how will such a Hindu State take form? Whilst perusing the Commission’s interim notes, one can find glimpses of such Hindu traits in its recommendations to the Government. However, I remain doubtful about their overall worth for the benefit of Hindu society. A later blog will try to analyze this matter.

– Namaste

I’m back!

Dear readers,

When I last moved my blog to the centreright portal on the 13th Sept ’10, I made myself and my readers a promise –

This, however, should not indicate any change in my Traditionalist Hindu stance and further, such a change has not been a requirement by my new hosts.

I kept my promise and my posts attest to this fact.

Unfortunately, my hosts could not, for some unexplained reason, keep to their end of the agreement and decided to drop my name from the list of their contributors. I was given no notice or intimation either in writing or verbally, so I cannot provide an exact date for their unilateral decision. It is however interesting that they decided to carry some of my posts on their front-page recently and touted me as a “CRI” contributor on twitter all the while denying me my place on the portal.

It was then that I finally decided it was time to shed this baggage of the “centreright” I was carrying around for absolutely no reason at all.

I’m glad I did it.

– Namaste

Minimum Age of Voting Vs Political QC

I’ve been wondering about the link between low Minimum Ages of Voting and its adverse impact on political leadership standards.

Most people will agree that we had a very high standard of political leadership when there was limited franchise and this trend continued for a time after we adopted Universal Adult Franchise set at 21 years of age; but couldn’t hold on much longer. Ever since we amended our Constitution to lower the Voting Age to 18 with the 61st Amendment Act in 1988, the quality of leadership has suffered much more rapidly. Of course we can’t see it so clearly because this was also the period of economic rebirth (I believe PVN Rao would never have been voted to Central power by young voters at the time, if he had stood) and the BJP’s tenure at the Center which would not have happened if it were not for the Sri Rama Janmabhoomi movement and the Mandal Commission. Therefore both these developments, the economic revival and the BJP in power, that were underwritten by high quality political leadership, were unusual in their circumstances in that these cannot be attributed to the lowering of the Voting Age.

The lowering of Voting Age is predicated on a strange argument and this is enshrined in the 61st Amendment Act itself.

Article 326 of the Constitution provides that the elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of every State shall be on the basis of adult suffrage, that is to say, a person should not be less than 21 years of age. It has been found that many of the countries have specified 18 years as the voting age. In our country some of the State Governments have adopted 18 years of age for elections to the local authorities. The present-day youth are literate and enlightened and the lowering of the voting age would provide to the unrepresented youth of the country an opportunity to give vent to their feelings and help them become a part of the political process. The present-day youth are very much politically conscious. It is, therefore, proposed to reduce the voting age from 21 years to 18 years.

So as one can see the basis for change was three fold. 1. That many other countries had made similar changes 2. That some State Governments in Hindusthan had adopted 18 years for local body elections 3. That youth were more literate and “enlightened” in addition to being “unrepresented” and therefore this lowering would provide them with an opportunity to “vent their feelings” and help them become part of the political process.

The fact that different countries have had varied political experiences different from our own did not seem to bother the amenders and those that supported the amendment. Local body elections and National elections were placed on the same footing and no serious implications from this Act to the latter seem to have been considered. Finally, what seems to have clinched the deal is that the Vote would help the youth “vent their feelings” – the more mindlessly vented the better for our politicians.

This worrisome trend is universal and one is hardly surprised to find most vocal and organized supporters of low Voting Ages are liberals. The current trend is to lower the Age still further to 16. I’m almost certain we in Hindusthan will follow suite with contesting political parties salivating at bigger prospects of more youthfully “vented feelings”.

We live in times where we are told an undefined “youth” – not achievement, experience and shouldering responsibilities of life – represents greater wisdom. Elders are not merely supposed to “give ear” to the youth but also understand and comply with their wishes. The question of responsibility does not arise since that is always someone else’s problem. By lowering Voting Ages in direct proportion to the eroding values of our society, we ensure not just low quality political leadership, but high quality political and social disasters. Ironically, it is only the wily politician who realizes this truth, whilst the die hard liberal perceives it all quite differently as if on another planet.

– Namaste

Jati and Varna – What is the problem?

We seem to love running around in half circles on the question of “caste”. The HAF disaster is only the latest in a series of flip flops. Firstly, that’s the wrong term to use. Secondly and however, this term has been used by a number of Hindu scholars who should have known better. I have to wonder why so many intelligent folk thought it was alright to use “caste” interchangeably with Jati and even Varna; with the latter two not being the same as each other and wholly different from the former?

Caste is something rigid. Jati and Varna are not; in the sense individuals donning these robes need not don the same all their lives. Commentators have taken to saying “in the beginning there were just four castes and then they became so numerous”. This is fiction. When one realizes the substance of the four Varnas, they are striking in their relevance to any social milieu; even in modern times. Jatis on the other hand are endogamous groups built around similar occupations. One can rightly say “you can group some Jatis around a Varna because they correspond with that Varna or with those Varnas”. So when such groups stay together longer doing similar things, they develop unique habits, traditions and customs around the lives they lead which in turn lead them to feel comfortable inter -marrying within their Jatis. These are the inherited and practiced unique habits, traditions and customs that stay on even when members of a Jati switch occupations. Therefore, in this sense alone are they still members of their Jatis although their Varna might have changed. Sometimes, simply the conscious experience of belonging to a Jati in an individual is enough to be considered its part.

Some people think inter-marrying and inter-dining can break Jati. The supposition is that when different Jatis come into such close contact with each other, they can no longer defend their uniqueness. I think the argument is false. Marrying and dining within a Jati may be a consequence of the nature of Jatis but they are hardly the substance and life of it. There are mixed couples that simply choose to follow one tradition, or both with their respective extended families. Inter-dining happens all the time in towns and cities, but has never known to break Jati. Where else in the world will you find a wife who will cook meat for her husband but will not consume the same herself because it goes against her custom? So where is the problem?

I think the problem is in our modernist liberal conception of Jati and Varna as inherently rigidly evil because they seemingly deny “individual rights”. They are neither rigid nor evil. We often hear people say Jati causes negative discrimination. I don’t think it is Jati that causes negative discrimination. It is lack of education and being blind to or being denied opportunities that cause them. It is also a sense of “probable loss” that causes discrimination especially when the ecosystem has gotten used to getting economic benefits out a particular Jati in its current occupation. For instance, this is very true of scavengers.

Some people claim that the Dalit movement is anti-Jati. There can never be an assertion more false. The very basis of the Dalit movement is Jati mobilization. The so known “Untouchable” Jatis are mobilized for common purposes and goals, be they political power or economic uplift. Of course ideologies vary but Jati is the common factor. How can a movement built around Jati be anti-Jati?

In closing, I think there are some things we must think about –

• How do we get commoners and public intellectuals talking about Jati and Varna as they are and not how they have been beaten out of shape by interested parties?

• A positive aura around Jati and Varna discourse can only be created when we engage these very real concepts in our regular discussions. On the other hand, the more we ignore or hide it, the more we give way to ignorant, negative and anti-Hindu forces.

• How can we then use the undeniably real power that Jati engenders in Hindus constructively?

• How do we disconnect the intra-Hindu discourse of fighting against negative discrimination from taking on unrealistic and truly fictional anti-Jati overtones?

Most importantly, how do we politically empower Jatis and Janajatis (Tribes) and help them represent themselves in our Hindu National polity?

In Hindusthan, we need to contend with a dualism in any picture on social issues – one created by influential liberal modernists who are out of touch with the Traditional mass. The other being painted everyday by this very mass who have ceased to listen to these liberal modernists.

– Namaste

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