Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Religion: Of the Bygones and Amnesia

Consider the following statements:

1. "Let us not get into the muck of the past lest we become the very thing we hate."
2. "Fundamentalists/fascists [...] will provide "lessons" from "history" as reason and justification for inhuman actions. So did Adolf Hitler and his crew in their Final solution to the Jewish question."
3. "If we do the same thing to those who have wronged us, what is the difference between us and them? Revenge is a very negative feeling and will not do anyone good."

These three statements are often heard among the moderate majority of Bhaarateeyas. So what is the common thread binding these three statements? History.

One fine day, something happened and because of that one thing, a whole population was asked to abondon some of its core values that it had been carrying for millennia together. Crores and crores of people had to wake up to something new called "secular India". Well, things dont quite work that way. People dont change suddenly.

In this context, lets consider a section of the urban middle class youth. These people have not yet realised the fact that the mindset and perspective of a people are formed as a result of centuries of interactions with the nature, with other peoples and within. Though these people have access to all kinds of information, they have not yet tried to access it. This new idea of "negativistic-secularism" (also called pseudo-secularism) foisted upon us is so much ingrained in them that they feel that it is the reality everywhere. Well, if its not, they simply extrapolate the current trend back into the past and dump every incident that doesnt concur with their thought into something very handy called "remote history".

They need to realise that their current pleasant conditions did not exist, say, a hundred or even fifty years ago, when there was hardly any urban middle class to speak of in the country. So is the case with this pseudo-secularism. It didnt exist before too long either. One can see that this kind of negativistic secularism goes well with the current trend of globalisation and reckless consumerism. It also goes with this urban middle class. So we can see that there is synergy among the three-- the urban middle class, consumerism, and pseudo-secularism.

Could it be that this pesudo-secularism is just a ruse by these people to avoid following those inexplicable, inomprehensible, and tedious religious practices? Or is it that they fell for that altogether predictable "political correctness" ? Or it may be that they are aspiring for that Utopian society that they suddenly see is possible when they look at similar people coming from different populations around them. There is no need to be sermonizing here, but these urban youth need to realise that they are, even now, only tiny islands in a sea of what is still good old Bhaarat as it has been in the last thousand years.

Each incident in the history of a people leaves its timestamp and does its bit in moulding the perspective of the people. In this sense, different peoples are always changing in their collective character over centuries and millennia. It is in this sense that studying history so important. It is not to take revenge but to understand the each population's current mindset, the origin of this mindset,the recent events that impacted this mindset, and the impact of this mindset on the rest of the country.

But those pesudo-secularists who do know some history, or the official (read concocted) version of it, find, to their immense profit, that dragging in Hitler automatically confers legitimacy on their argument of (pseudo-)secularism and the opponent is forced to first denounce Hitler and his deeds before making any argument to counter the initial argument. But then, we must pause here see if there is a similarity in what Hitler said and what Hindutva is all about, and whether we want to do same kinds of things to our alleged "enemies" that Hitler did to his. Blindly believing in those naive media campaigns has led us to find it obvious that there is a direct analogy between Hindutva and pogroms such as the Jewish one in Europe and other ethnic cleansings elsewhere in the world.

Let us consider each of the three statements in the beginning:

1. The first statement altogether ignores the role of history in the process of "perspective-building" of a section of people. It gives a whole new meaning to the adage "ignorance is bliss", just like how Tom (of 'Tom and Jerry' fame) blindfolds himself when he suddenly finds himself in front of an oncoming train that cant be stopped.
2. The second one implies that either we have taken wrong lessons from the right history, or that the history in question itself is not totally "kosher" (had to bring in the Jewish angle :)) or both. This statement is offered by folk who use incorrect analogies at unsuspecting and unlearned audiences to push forward their own arm-chair arguments. They are excellent theoreticians and great crowd-pullers, but probably have no idea on whats going on in their own backyard. And they see everything through their own (pseudo-)secular-tinted glasses to interpret plain facts as complicated conspiracies.
3. The third one actually accepts that injustice has been committed, but gives a totally negative connotation called "revenge" to any attempt at setting things right. Adherents to this one are deeply suseptible to general opinion about most things and dont bother to dig the facts for themselves. These are either too weak to bear the burden of injustice, or too shy to be pro-active in protecting the respect of our country's heritage and culture, or too busy in minting their own currency to bother about other things.

Hence, none of these three statements can be considered legitimate and such statements hold no logic for the Sanaataneeya.


Aakarsh said...

"Those psuedo secularists"!! oh, it is absolutely OK dude, rest assured, nobody is going to sue you..you are free to take the names of 'those' lesser-enlightened (by concocted reports) usual-suspects (or must be already culprits), who are busy minting money without being proactive in restoring our heritage.It is just a blog and you are having fun(what kind of fun, is a diff issue anyways) at your own expense... I respect literary freedom!

Names, like mine, do not have copyrights and you can use them freely with any label,even if it can please one's senses or satisfy one's ego or even enhance the entertainment value.I'm defnly having a nice Laugh anyways(dont ask me why),for every post and I really mean it.

So trust me,no one will ever sue you.you have the license to indulge in little more literary freedom, for your own amusement (and mine too:) )!coz as i said,i dont mind it all, especially in a blog like this one! :)
will keep visiting!

Gandaragolaka said...

As I had already said in my previous posts, people are free to offer their opinions on whatever I write, because I feel that once something is written in a publicly accessible domain, it is no longer personal. It is for display and to be read and commented about. If it is wrong, it must get the treatment it deserves because the topic is of national interest.

I am always open for discussion. Constructive critism is always accepted. If I am wrong, tell me where.

Also, be assured that you, as of now, do not feature in my writings. I have used the comments made in this blog only to highlight the present psyche of the urban youth and not to denigrate anyone. You and me are but products of different mindsets and personifications of different ideologies. It is this contest of ideologies that I intend to highlight.

Feel free to object to any sentence in my posts. I have not attained perfection as well right! Just another traveller on my own way...

Vaidehi said...

"These are either too weak to bear the burden of injustice, or too shy to be pro-active in protecting the respect of our country's heritage and culture, or too busy in minting their own currency to bother about other things."

What are you doing other than blogging about it?

Gandaragolaka said...

Atleast as much as I understood it till a while ago, 'blogging' was, at the best, an art-form, and at the worst a personal stage for everyday rants.

It is no longer so.

The 'blogosphere' is a powerful driving force in spreading the news as they happen by people who saw it-- Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, you name it!

Brushing aside the reliability concerns (yes, one can still assume that all those horror stories from Iraqi blogs were just fiction sprung from the mind of some demented US guy aiming for cheap publicity), the blogosphere has become a dependable and unbiased news source, esp. since the corporate media has shown its bias so blantantly.

Now that I see so much importance being given to blogosphere even by the mainstream media (channels like NDTV frequently refer to the blogosphere and even take ideas from it), I see it perfectly natural to write in my own way, what I see is happening to the world through the medium of blogs.

Blogging is no longer just 'blogging'. I may as well print all that I am writing now as a phamphlet and circulate it to all the homes that I know and I still cant claim to have the reach of the blogs.

Also, there will be discussions, debates and arguments. And they will help me in imparting more clarity to my ideas. And more importantly, like-minded people will always join me on my way. And this integration is what I aim for.

Finally, of the 3 comment-specimens at the beginning of the post, I do not fall under any of the categories as of now. That itself would make your question void.

Gandaragolaka said...

On the hindsight, I do wish to know-- what else would you have me do to pass your test?

Vaidehi said...

Well, if my question was void, why did you bother to answer it?

Anyway, I am surprised that people who think international schools do 'nothing' to promote awareness place so much faith in the blogging world.Even if it is the best thing to do, blogging is still popular only amongst the intellectual/'literary-minded'( sorry if that word does not exist!)population. If you want to spread awareness to people who are ignorant about the things happening in the country, you would not want to hold discussions within your own circle of friends.Your blog still does not have many links, even to other political blogs for that matter. The cause does not show anywhere, even in the blog. So what is it that you are trying to do?Many times, blogging lulls you into a sense of false pride and achievement, where there is none. The TV was the most popular and happening mode of communication until some time ago, but we did not see many changes, did we?

I'm not easily satisfied, whether with myself or others, so there's no point. All i am saying is, when you really want to do something, arguments and discussions lead nowhere. Or only make it clear that just love talking about these things. :)

Gandaragolaka said...


Let me first understand where you are and what you are trying to say:

1) You say something needs to be done regarding the present state of affairs in India about which I am writing here.

2) You say that just blogging is not enough.

Hopefully, I am correct till here.

3) The third point about international schools-- well, since that forms the part of our offline discussion, we will consider it there stay on track. Perhaps I can get some more clarity on that and write a post on that as well.

Since I totally agree with you on the first statement, there is nothing to be said about it.

Even on the second one, I totally agree with you. Only blogging is never enough. But it is the first and the important step. Unless I subject my ideas to scrutiny by intellectuals (such as you :)), I do not hope to make any sort of progress when I get down to actual work.

So I do hope that I get enough positive criticism and encouragement from people like you in providing me with more clarity on what needs to be done, so that all of us can unite and move as a single unit to work for the greater good of our country.

Kumpal Madrasi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kumpal Madrasi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gandaragolaka said...

haha..nothing so secretive here. I dont write anywhere else other than my blog, atleast till now.

I have absolutely no contacts with any of RSS and other right-wingers. Perhaps yet to meet the right junta.

But thanks for your compliments. As you can see, not many are impressed by the rant.