Hinduism,Hindus,BJP/RSS media, academia,politics; Whose fault is it anyway?

Interactions regarding this, with power being in hands of west to a larger degree has been the way over last few centuries, this has given a misplaced view among some Hindus that everyone are out to get them. There is some truth considering the influence of monotheism in culture in general and the fact that monotheism is bigotry. There are of course investments of various kinds, whether it be missionaries or left intellectuals, in India or outside whose nature of works is subversive at various times and not merely academic. This however is not to be seen in isolation that some of the best intellectuals, writers, actors ,philosophers have historically found positive interest in Hinduism . Julia roberts, russell brand among recent celebrities, Aldous Huxley infact wrote an introduction to Bhagvad Gita .George Harrison, one quarter of the famous “beatles” also found inspiration in Hinduism. Among scientists, Oppenheimer too was impressed by Bhagvad Gita and his choice of words are now immortalized in cultural memory. Schrodinger was another great physicist who also did find inspiration from ideas with in Hinduism.Among Philosophers, Schopenhauer stands tall, he too did find something of value in the writings of Upanishads.

So, it is not true to say this relationship was entirely negative. What is true is that it takes effort to build on the positive interactions and continue to keep building over that. And this effort must most certainly come from Hindus themselves and must be independent of politics through community effort. It is here that Hindus are found wanting. They have neglected humanities dept entirely and are now complaining of inherent malice.

They have not connected to the wider society through charity, education, tradition,literature & arts as other communities have done. It is also true that respect comes with power and wealth and India being poor compared to Japan or china had to face this. However here too they have no one else to blame but themselves for not distinguishing themselves economically from the left and make a reasoned argument for capitalism, distinguish themselves by standing for free speech and throw out rules engineered by congress govt under Nehru that bar free speech. By staying out of Humanities , they have allowed others to define them and have allowed the trajectory of Indian economy to be run by the left.This exacerbated poverty and all the faultlines in society . Even now, they cannot seem to make a case for why capitalism is better.When it is the greatest system for creation of wealth and helps mend faultlines and strengthen sovereignty .Nor do they seem to have a plan on how to mend the faultlines. To give an example, BJP govt has been in power in many states for well over 15 yrs, has been in power at the center for past 4 yrs, they have chosen not to give themselves autonomy over education in states where Hindus are minority nor have they spent much time over many decades to actually create avenues to rectify this lacunae by building institutions of learning and help them to mend the faultines in society tearing them apart or have regular events or meetings to bridge over faultlines. To even posit a future goal or trajectory requires a respect for intelligence which is not found in BJP/RSS but more importantly, there is no accountability asked by supporters of them either or by Hindus in general of all their leaders. The contempt for intellectuals is incredible and a good example of it is the Prime Minister India Narendra Modi declaring that “Hardwork is more powerful than Harvard”.This during the infamous demonetization which was carried out haphazardly & whose effects are being felt by citizens even now in form of cash crunch in various cities.

In general, it is those in power who can and should reach out to others, win over others. Come up with a more inclusive engagement with other communities, build trust and cultivate media relations that reflects this change. It instead seems as though a more cynical ploy is at play of allowing others to malign in hopes this will feed into anxiety of their supporters and unthinkingly get them to double down their loyalty and support them even further and carry forward this dynamic of tribalism that has helped them. To me atleast, it seems clear that for the BJP/RSS, they would rather have an electorate that never holds them accountable to anything and drive the anxiety of Hindus in general as it is politically useful to them. This is substantiated by the fact that they have no plan to ameliorate or redress any actual grievances. Nor transmute this anxiety by doing something constructive , whether it be in form of media ,literature, academia or any thing else. This leaves their supporters trapped.Which seems to be their only goal.

For Hindus in general, they need to ask themselves the hard question as to whether it is fair to ask others to stand up for them when they themselves chose not to do so for each other or hold their leaders accountable and blindly give their loyalty. The story of Bangladeshi Hindus is unknown to most Hindus themselves , how is one to make a case for it for world to hear?. It is not so that others are entirely biased for in others one find very many who know nothing or some have a positive interest, it is so that others do invest themselves at all levels and Hindus chose to not invest their own time or wealth and are calling others who they disagree with as being unfair because they do invest. Does it make sense to criticize missionaries or anyone else for courting dalits into their narrative if Hindus choose not to mend their own fault lines among themselves at a war footing with great urgency?. If they chose to not to share power through pre arranged power pacts among themselves first whose fault should it really be?. It requires investment of time, resources and activism to clear out even misplaced rumors.So lets not blame others even before we put our own house in order.

Transnational political campaigns, hacking the elections,organizing riots

In present day world, countries need to deal with technology ,social media, smart phone apps and their capacity to foment trouble in their countries by people outside and inside. This can be used very cheaply to organize protests, campaigns & even organize riots.

This begins new era of politics for democracies. The cry of russian meddling has atleast brought up this news to public conscience. It would be interesting to see how both the developed and the developing countries shall react to this. The targeting ads that companies have used can be turned into targeted campaigns, the algorithms used to keep people engaged can be used as well.

With this new big data, it might be possible to test out political slogans everyday, find the perfect slogans, issues both locally and nationally. If ad campaigns are useful, why is it hard to believe that targeted campaigns are not as effective ?.

The use of politics has come only after social media has successfully used ads as a way to generate revenue for themselves. Is this the beginning of the new era of hacking the human minds, both at the level of individuals and at the level of communities?. Can anything be done to arrest this development or control this partially?.

Will govt try to follow the china model and create own online & phone media agencies to control or will they demand right to monitor social media agencies and phones inside their own countries.

Will this hurt the social media companies like twitter or facebook?

Hindus/buddhists threat perception of christianity and islam.

This ofcouse was always the issue, which anyone in their minds would have known, but this is the first time someone mentioned it for what it was about.


Threat Perception among Hindu and Buddhist Nationalists

I am not quoting the text as I am not sure of the rules regarding that with this person and I am not too sure of the permission.


But I also think Western analysis (especially press coverage) of these movements sometimes misses a key aspect of how they see themselves – as defensive projects provoked by expansionistic, proselytizing religions while being subjected to the hypocrisy and double standards of bien-pensant elites. “

Freedom leads to freedom, not anything else

Since posts are being deleted, thought this response would be necessary.

Ambedkar himself admired ramanuja , advaita . He said in his annhilation of caste ” no foreign ideology is necessary…” . So, no, he didnt see Hinduism as without hope. As for moral development in India is concerned, Coming of Islam was a big factor in all round under development altogether. There are many more people in Hinduism who stood up on issues of caste and they were allowed to criticise religion in its entirety. Ambedkar was made chairman of constitution by Gandhi and congress whom he criticised a lot. He visited and praised rss in its service as well. One cant say that of Islam. Islam kills its critics. so, no, I dont hold the same degree of hope for thee. As for borg, that is more apt for christianity and islam. It is not Hinduism that seeks converts.

Islam comes into it just as british are brought into it to explain harmful effects of colonialism to understand the relative under development. Europe succeeded because of 3 things, science, printing and freedom to criticize, India was the pre eminent place for new math and astronomy, it allowed freedom to criticize, atheists existed in India till the coming of Islam. Ramanuja , was the second greatest theologian in last 1500 yrs possibly and he stood against caste discrimination and so did many others in past 1000 years. Without Islam to worry about, people would have possibly be worried about these issues instead. Atheists existed in India for longer period than entire history of christianity thus far or the entire peak period of greeko roman civilization. To understand the influence of Islam, one only needs to wonder, what would have happened to western civilization had it been occupied, its universities destroyed, oxford and Cambridge being replaced with taj mahal and qutb minar. It was knowledge that changed the west and it would have been knowledge that would have changed India too, and knowledge production under Islam in India was bad.

The extraction under mughals was one of the highest, this point with evidence was already made here before. There seem to be many people out there who seem to fail the most basic test of understanding how progress whether it be in science or moral issues are made.

There is only one rule that leads to progress. Disagreement. Allowing critics to live and voice their opinion .  This freedom is of course not absolute anywhere in the world.  But is the bedrock of all progress. With this freedom, all other progress can be captured with time, but without this, it isnt sure how much progress can even be made. Freedom leads to freedom, not anything else.

With this in mind consider this.



You can convert someone by appealing to their conscience, as christianity or islam do, or you can claim that a people belong to your fold (and they just don’t realize it), as brahminical hindus and their affiliates do, both are strategies to strengthen one’s identity group. The latter isn’t more compassionate. And if shudras criticize the hinduism of brahmins, it is not something that is permitted to them through enlightened reasoning, it is something that no one can do anything about and must endure. Weakness is not tolerance.
In some parts of India we are seeing shudras and others (who have force of numbers and willingness to take personal risk) aligning behind brahmins, and we are now seeing the so-called tolerance to criticize hinduism. Targeted assassination of writers, ransacking history departments, its all happening. Hindu exceptionalism is dangerous, the idea that we are uniquely peaceful and open to a multiplicity of viewpoints, and the Abrahamics are violent logocentric absolutists.
I’m not drawing a complete equivalence between all faith communities, there ARE qualitative differences, but we don’t know the history of dissent in hinduism. The people who used to get flogged for casting a shadow in the wrong direction or drawing from the wrong well, it doesn’t occur to me that their dissenting opinions on theological matters would be well received.”


This person cant seem to recognize, that west made strides of progress because of this very reason.Even if you were to credit this new progress in India due to enlightenment values in west, it would amount to the same idea.  As for history of dissent in hinduism, one can count the success of buddhism, ajivika, jainism, atheism in Indian history along with ramanuja, bhakti movement, veera shaivas among others,  eventual displacement from India of buddhism, atheism was not due to Hinduism either.

And one is infact thankful and should be thankful that people to a large degree are obeying laws of the land, constitution introduced under chairmanship of Ambedkar, with An atheist like Nehru being the Prime .This happened because  Gandhi built the social capital and entrusted it to them.   The chap seems to not realize,  without this social capital won and entrusted, which is what actually happened, the constitution remains but a piece of paper no one read. A formality. Without this trust if people had taken it upon them to destroy the social contract, massive amounts of damage could have been done . Especially if those people are the elites. So, yes, everyone must be thankful for combined cooperation that keeps the society working.To try to explain  this away by calling it “so called tolerance ” is outrightly moronic. It is a form of leftist delusion that has become all to common to see all progress as a product of forcible extraction. There is such a thing as win win deal or one earned through trust. One makes progress by making it so, otherwise, degree of fighting would lead to civil war as it happens in real failed states. People who make the above arguments live under delusion that things could not have been worse. No, they could have and could go south in future as well. One must make sure it doesnt happen so. And be appreciative therefore of progress made and one continues to keep making. The assembly that passed important bill on hindu code bill had many hindus of upper castes origin.

And one must look only across the borders to realize what freedom really means.  And one shouldnt make false equivalence even in partial way. And it is indeed right to praise polytheism to be better than monotheism on this issue. As for allowing dissent, it is the only freedom that counts, everything else is product of this one freedom. So, yes polytheism is most certainly more open for allowance of criticism. Infact I would argue that a world without monotheism would have developed far faster.  Even the success of the west is under girded on the knowledge and practices of hellenic and roman civilizations.


artilce in outlook on Islam & reform


…An Islamic prototype for free thought and action: Part of the unthought and the unthinkable in Islam is the lesson to be gleaned from the parting of ways between God and Satan, as described in the Quran. When Satan rebelled against God’s command and threatened to lead humanity astray until the day of judgement, God had the option of doing a Khomeini and deciding to finish off Satan once and for all (in the memorable words of V.S. Naipaul in response to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, ‘an extreme form of literary criticism!’). But he dec­ided to let Satan go and do as he pleased. In other words, God granted Satan absolute freedom of expression and action for eternity. As the Malayali Marxist intellectual K.E.N. recently stressed, the Quranic narrative about God’s decision to grant Satan full freedom is perhaps the best model for Muslims to emulate in matters of freedom of thought and expression. Once they do that, the prospect of a civilisational ascent, as happened during the days of the Abbasid and Andalusian glories, will again beckon.

(Shajahan Madampat is a cultural critic, writing mostly in Malayalam and English and occasionally in Arabic.)

Is Political Philosophy the key difference between west and the rest even now?


One of the reasons by which west has perhaps emerged successful is through political philosophy, philosophy is a method of discourse that seeks to corner the opponent into providing coherent answers that are not rooted in identity based reasoning. Western world has gone through incredible transformation over last 5 centuries and one of the key component of that transformation has been the political philosophy that emerged in parallel and its place in guiding their worldview.

Which is why one might observe and study the arguments and discourse of people in other countries in public and in parliament . One must check for the proliferation of enlightenment values in these societies . If it is tribal in nature with no understanding or value given to plain reasoning not rooted in identity or no active pressure by various levels of society, from civic rights groups to media to academics to politics & business to this effect, then one might conclude that they deeply value tribal identity as a means to be preserved without it being called into question(free speech), these societies are going to continue to be trapped in the said discourse without any recognition precisely as the political /tribal interests of various participants across different sections of society are rooted in identity .Civic groups, media, academics in those societies for all their pretensions of being liberal or secular are infact engaging in this tribal discourse.  Without enlightenment values, can these societies transform?.  I would have to say no. This brings us to the fact that progress measured merely in terms of benefits or poverty or maternal mortality etc can still accompany  illiberal politics. Any difference measured in these societies will be imagined only through identity and solutions will also be driven with regards to identity.

Philosophy must be therefore made a necessary part of education, specially made for law,media,politics and science .  This is so, because with freedom one can gain further freedom and make social progress on all measures, but society without freedom , even if it advances in some or all other social scores cannot be certain to preserve or gain further freedom .  I see lot of comparison being made between Islamist states or states with Islam given primacy and India or china/communist states and India. This is unfair comparison altogether, making progress while preserving freedom is harder than otherwise.

Should Hinduism survive?

I have read the annhilation of caste by Ambedkar in my teens,read Gandhiji’s Harijan ,one copy, where he answers to some perverse people who justify untouchability .I have read the horror stories of human sacrifices in parts of India coming from parts of Hinduism. And I have been revolted beyond measure and have at various times felt the sheer horror of it all. And I have abandoned Hinduism, I gave up my traditional faith, I have for various other reasons including personal ones come back to it, but in a different way. With more a sense of nyaya/vaisheshika, the need to rid oneself of delusions. I think untouchability, caste violence and violence in general against women, many of these are horrors we still live with and if One cannot get rid of these horrors in 150 odd more years. or not make very significant progress, then one must end it for it is not good and is not defensible. It has the right to flourish as that had been hijacked by historic forces. If it doesnt work in the end, then it must end too.

I once began reading the book of arundhati roy,” listening to the grass hoppers”, even after I had become atheist, I was in depression , and the book made it much worse, I didnt finish that book, I still have it somewhere. If there is nothing to be salvaged knowing all the worst there is, then there is nothing there to value any of it. But one shouldnt be ignorant. And make choices on that. There is something in its philosophies, if not vedanta, then nyaya, if not nyaya, then bhakti, if not bhakti, then yoga, if not yoga, then , karma yoga. Or may be a combination of many. It has a richness in its diversity, whether it be ramanuja who took a shudra as his guru,invited him to his home for meals and was not there when he did come, his wife served but later washed the home and bathed herself, and ramanuja on returning didnt like this, many such incidents pushed him to become monk instead tried to work to bring this to end.

There are problems in all people, in him and others as well, but this here points to atma stuthi(conscience) and sadachara( ethics of good people from all classes) , while these methods were hierarchically less in value compared to texts, They in time as more texts were written led to movements of various gurus possible.For ethical learning could happen with out the texts from the good people as well. This was the one good escape route for more general ethical learning that played a part in bhakti movement. While it is interesting that the earliest dharma shastra apastambha sutra was better than the later manusmriti, for it put mutually agreed ideas superior to vedas, for he considered “dharma and adharma do not fly around declaring this is righteous and this isnt, even gods and demi gods cannot declare so.”

As patrick olivelle says, apastambha argued that parts of vedas are lost and one can only infer from the behavior of people to find the true ideal dharma , so one must learn from customs of men and women. On the other hand manusmriti doesnt like reasoning to be the sole basis for declaring moral issues either. So while Hinduism over time began to value different opinions, it didnt find “reasoning” to be the primary source to discover this, Inspite of nyaya being a recognized tradition.

Islamoskepticism or Islamophobia

Religions have many aspects to it,what matters for growth is that it comes down to being able to take criticism. If criticism leads to complex arguments, then depending on the nature of those arguments one can make progress, provided they can atleast temporarily keep the religious side interested with the belief that they do have a chance to come through.  So there has to reach a (seemingly) stable equilibrium between the critics and the believers. If this isnt possible then religious believers might find it difficult to sustain belief.

Islam truly is poor in its resources compared to other religions, it is precisely for this reason for its comparative poverty in its expression. Because it is anchored to Mohammad. we need to first find a way to compare between different religions, our understanding of this phenomena of “religion” has been shaped  largely due to christian/western worldview and its impact on how other systems of belief are perceived.Reason why we have many new world isms (Shintoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Sikhism,Jainism, Buddhism). So lets compare instead by many making different criteria to see where they stand.A kind of card, too many red cards and that religion is the worst. On inequality, Hinduism is worst, on freedoms to criticize , Christianity/Islam are worst, on use of violence for conquest, Islam is again the worst with concept of “Jihad”,so is Christianity. political ambitions,theologically for expansion bringing them into conflict with others, Christianity,Islam are worst.Just look around for christian and Muslim expansion in last 1000+ yrs by both.   Finally we can come to the central pillars of religions which have founders, Jainism Mahavira,Buddhism Buddha, Christianity Jesus,Sikhism ,Islam Mohammad. Continue reading “Islamoskepticism or Islamophobia”