Thursday, October 12, 2017
I happened to listen to a video-talk/lecture by a well-known media personality and Communist, going viral in the YouTube-Facebook circuit – virulent, frothing-at-the-mouth, bay-for-blood attack of Indian nationalism pejoratively described these days as “Hindu Nationalism”. His breathtaking ignorance of Hindutva did not prevent him from publicly loathing it. I was astonished and anguished not by the banality of his arguments that anyway defy reality, but by the lies spoken. Because, lies’ imply much more than just saying things that are false; they imply a deliberate intent to mislead. That was dangerous, coming from someone supposedly discharging “responsibilities” of media priesthood!
He was attacking a fundamental premise of the “Sangh Pariwar’s” socio-political philosophy – nationalism. He was against saluting the National Flag, against persuading citizens to stand up while the National Anthem was sung or played. After some gibberish about the irrelevance of Nationalism in modern times he went on to such replacing it with simple patriotism. I was reminded of Kim Philby (“father, husband, traitor, spy”) and other British Communists who shifted their socialist patriotism involving cultural attachment to the Soviet Union!
“Patriotism” which some people, mostly Communists, want to replace nationalism simply pertains to the individual citizen’s love for his/her nation. I know why they differentiate- because they incorrectly regard nationalism as a permanent factor in political behaviour. Their reading is perhaps that the French nationalism while promoting the cultural unity of the French nation, also encouraged a rivalry with Germany; German cultural nationalism of the Aryan type under Hitler took yet another more aggressive form, Russian nationalism under Communism in its unification mode suppressed several other older cultures in the Soviet Union and ended up in the destruction of Communism itself in its “Fatherland”! Communist leaders thought better not to recognise India as a nation but a conglomeration of several sub-nationalities, only upon realising their own incapability to grow to the national scale! That was some farsight!
Nationalism is just an ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation surpasses other individual or group interests, giving more importance to cultural unity including language and heritage, a generally recognized sentiment moulding public and private life and one of the great, if not the greatest, single determining factors of modern history.
Most of these Communists, and fellow-travellers had the pure Macaulay system of modern education and therefore are predictably unfamiliar with India’s cultural legacy, which was systematically made to stand aside to make way for their generation that was skilfully taught to either deny its existence or to forget it.
Hindu society has an unquestionable and proud history of tolerance for other faiths and respect for diversity of spiritual experiences. This is reflected in the many different philosophies, religious sects, and religious leaders. The very foundation of this lies in the great Hindu heritage that is not based on any one book, teacher, or doctrine. In fact the pedestal of Hindu society stems from the great Vedic teachings Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti -- Truth is One, Sages Call it by Many Names, and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam -- The Whole Universe is one Family. It is this philosophy which allowed the people of Aryavarta/Hindusthan (land of the Hindus) to shelter the Jews who faced Roman persecution, the Zoroastrians who fled the Islamic sword and who are the proud Parsi community today, and the Tibetan Buddhists who today face the communist secularism: persecution of religion. The Hindus survived the onslaught by Muslim invaders and rule by them for some 800 years of economic discrimination via the jaziya tax on non- Muslims, forced conversion, physical torture and death, which Will Durant called “the bloodiest period in the history of mankind”. The division of India by the Islamic two-nation theory, the after-effects of the partition, all I admit created a deep wound in the minds of Hindus who however, agreed to give their new nation a secular Constitution and equal legal status for all citizens. Which other country in the world has the majority given itself a situation in which their faith is still ridiculed, and where the others wield more political power than they do? I have felt that all the noise over Ayodhya didn’t testify to an atrocity, but to the enormous power of the pro-Muslim lobby to control not only our politicians, but our national narratives!
Please note, the community now considered to be in overwhelming “majority” was not a product of RSS or “Hindutva forces”; there was no “institutional Hindu supremacy” anywhere in India anytime during the civilisation’s long history. The concept of a “majority” alien to the sub-continent before the Indian Republic was formed. It is an outcome of the new Republic’s laws and certainly did not predate them. The “majority”, in other words, is a creation of liberal democracy under the watchful eye of the Constitution; just as the minorities were. There are sociologists who give credit to the Nehru government for creating a majority, and also for taming it!
In the first 15 centuries of the Christian Era, the ideal was the universal world-state, not loyalty to any separate political entity. Even now the Pope would love to harvest souls all over the world so that all the people are “saved”. Islam similarly has pan-Islamic ambitions and they don’t make any bones about it. The third “religion” in the category, Communism didn’t recognise the national boundaries as permanent and sand “Communist Internationale”- ’Tis the final conflict/Let each stand in his place/The International Union/Shall be the human race! The “Hindu Nationalists” have no such high ambitions or aggression in their program.
Hindus continued to suffer forced negation of Hindu history and factors that gave pride to Hindus even during what is called the “Brown Raj” by Congress. Hindu customs and traditions are mocked as remnants of a non-modern society, things that would have to go if India had to modernize like the West. The self proclaimed guardians of India, Communists and Congress wo/men who call themselves secularists, forget that it was the Hindu psyche that believed in secularism, the Hindu thought that had inspired the great intellectuals of the world like Thoreau, Emerson, Tolstoy, Einstein, and many others! Hindu Citizens of India, because there is no other nations where Hindus are in any significant numbers to stand up in defence of Hindu society, are forced to be nationalists.
Let us realise that our real Opposition are Commies who are, in utter disregard of the appeal of Islamism which led to the creation of Pakistan, and has fuelled the growth of separatist consciousness and fundamentalism, indulge Muslim communalism in independent India on the ground that this is the consequence of fear psychosis among minorities. There is universal resentment among non-Left circles over the superciliousness of the way comrades-controlled campuses and media are pinning communal problem on Hindus, stifling dissent by branding as communal those who don’t acquiesce into their agenda of mind control. Meanwhile, Commie leadership is undergoing extreme intellectual and political contortions for sheer survival, defending alliance with even the Congress party!
I go back once again to the lecture, recommending patriotism (something Communist party ideologues considered all along as a “base sentiment”!) to replace OUR nationalism. Almost as if it is a nose-pinching exercise - or a choice between two evils! Essentially, the divisive, polarizing tone of such rhetoric is cleaving a widening gulf, at this point between those who consider this land sacred and those who consider it just their transient abode, a lodging house! Communists consistently seek to undermine free speech by painting it as bullying or hate speech! I regard this as perhaps the one of the bigger hate speeches that had come from within their party! Communists quite literally regard the values that sit at the very heart of Indianness/Hindutva/Modi government – the rule of law applied equally to all, limited government, respect for all religions, and the free and open exchange of ideas – as “oppressive.” Contempt for these values is precisely what defines the Left generally. Such efforts to undermine our nationhood are a sign that the Communists are on the wrong side of history! Hence these “liberal-secular-Left” aren’t “liberal” – or concerned with liberty in any form at all. They are the very opposite of real liberals; they are the real FASCISTS!