Global alliances and wheels within wheels

Over ten years ago I read Adam K. Webb’s Beyond the Global Culture War with some skepticism. In it, Webb outlined the future revitalization of non-Western societies and cultures and their ultimate face-off with global liberalism.  It’s a really strange book, which talks positively about the Iranian Revolution and Rabindranath Tagore.

But I think elements of the thesis are coming to fruition in ways I couldn’t have imagined. For example, the Western Left has a very strong animus against Hindu Nationalism. case in point, the Western (mostly American) feminist website, Feministing, has published a piece documenting a protesting a Hindu meeting in Chicago: Why These Activists are Protesting Hindu Nationalism in Trump’s America.

Here’s a thought experiment: can you imagine left-wing activists protesting an Islamic Society of North American meeting? Curiously, the atheist ex-Muslim activist Armin Navabi, who was at the meeting in Houston this summer, observed that the people who were most hostile to the ex-Muslims were not the Muslims themselves (most of whom were curious), but philo-Islamic Communist activists. These activists were apparently shouting Islamic slogans at right-wing anti-Islamic demonstrators.

Navabi even reported that the Muslim attendees talked to him and seemed disturbed and confused by the specter of hammer & sickle brandishing Communists, and could not understand why or how they were pro-Islam.

60 thoughts on “Global alliances and wheels within wheels”

  1. The primary motivation of global left is protesting western patriarchy-capitalism. Any group or body that they see as victim of the west is friend to them. India, by virtue of being a cohesive emerging global power, has graduated from being a victim of the west some time ago. Muslims, lacking any one representative power and because of all the trouble at heartland, mostly self inflicted, remain the perennianl victim.

    A very curious schizophrenia occupies mind of most Bangladeshi leftists. They are firmly opposed to America and West as expected. At the same time, because of experience of Pakistan period, 1971, Jamaat and other things, they are very opposed to religion in politics. They try to champion secularism but at the same time do not want to hurt the religious feeling of the people. Many of the old left have started to show personal piety, doing Haj, seeking blessing of religious leaders.

    Overall, I am convinced that seeking a coherent political philosophy that is empirically grounded, is the last thing in the left’s mind, everywhere. Just as most people do religion without thinking about it to regard themselves as good person, almost all leftists do left politics to convince themselves they are good members of the human species.

    1. How much are the Bengali muslim left affected by Bengali culture and civilization?

      What does Bengali muslim left mean?

      Many West Bengal communists go to Ajmer and Hindu Temples. They are fake atheists or fake communists if that. And some West Bengal communists are patriotic Indian heroes:
      Jyothi Basu was loved by many traditional Hindus, Buddhists, muslims, Indian Army vets, business people, Americans, Chinese, liberals and communists. Jyothi Basu was good at corruption, efficient governance and being pro business. He was my type of communist. Sometimes “marxist” is just a label.

      What does the “left” label mean for Bangladeshi muslims? Are some in practice very pro business and pro development? I don’t see why “left” and “religious” are not deeply compatible. Someone can be authentically both. Someone can be simultaneously deeply and authentically “left”, right”, pro business, religious, atheist, spiritual , rational and scientific. Someone can be authentically very religious in many different religions at once too.

    2. “they are very opposed to religion in politics. They try to champion secularism but at the same time do not want to hurt the religious feeling of the people. Many of the old left have started to show personal piety, doing Haj, seeking blessing of religious leaders.”

      Makes sense to me. They oppose Islamism. Someone can be a very religious practicing muslim who doesn’t believe in imposing their views on others and be leftist.

  2. How is the world Hindu conference “nationalistic”? It had Buddhist and Hindu delegations from around the world and was not an “Indian” affair. The Dalai Lama and many Mahayana Buddhists came. Along with delegations from many different Latin American, European and African countries. Lebanon also has a Hindu community that is over 3,000 years old. They believe that they date from 4400 years back when they helped construct and operate the Baalbek temple.

    Note that Tibetan Buddhists (Vajrapani Mahayana Buddhists) in particular have been members of Hindu Akharas for thousands of years and have significant influence on intra-Hindu affairs. Maybe because Tibet was close enough to India for the Tibetan Buddhists to send delegates to meetings. By extension this applies to all Mahayana Buddhists. But the ones in China and Japan were too far to be more than intermittently involved in day to day affairs in India. But they were involved.

    By Japanese Buddhists were significant stakeholders in the Khmer empire Hindu establishment and Angkor Wat.

    The beginning of this video on Angkor Wat describes deep continual involvement of Japanese Buddhists in Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese Hindu affairs going back to the sixth century AD:

    Many Jain delegations and Sikh delegations participated.

    Did Sufi delegations participate?

    I have heard that in prior years this conference hasn’t always had a spiritual or religious focus. Many use it for business networking, tech networking and partner networking (“romance” for home-gamers). But I don’t know about this year.

    Google searched about the WHC. And found (and need to watch):

    I didn’t know that so many prominent Indian Americans and Tulsi Gabbard distanced themselves from it. Before the anti Hindu/Buddhist animus has mostly come from marxists, communists and post modernists but hadn’t seeped into the US political establishment and the US media. The last year is the first time I have seen this happen.

    Note that Hindus take great pride in Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs and see them as their own people. And while this view is shared by most Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs who live in India, Tibet, China and Japan; this isn’t as true in many parts of the world.

    In particular Canadian Sikhs often are offended by this view. How has this come about?

  3. sbarrkum, what do Sri Lankan theravada buddhists think about Hindus considering them as a Darshana inside Hinduism? How are Buddhist non Tamil Hindu relations in Sri Lanka?

    Would it be accurate to say that the LTTE (and Indira’s support for them) has muddied Hindu Buddhist relations in Sri Lanka? Or would this be inaccurate?

  4. Can you add this link to the article:
    I was surprised reading it:
    “However, to quote Representative Tulsi Gabbard — the first Hindu elected to U.S. Congress — it was a “partisan Indian political event.” Neither was the WHC merely a benign political event. It was, rather, a platform for modern India’s most extreme sociopolitical figures and organisations to propagate their supremacist ideology, Hindutva, which is a form of religious nationalism.”

    He wants America to pressure India on “civil rights”. Shouldn’t the US first pressure Scandinavian countries, the UK and France which have worse human rights records than India? In general Europe has a massive rape and under age girl molestation epidemic.

    He extensively quotes the RSS. In his quotes the RSS claims that people living in India are Hindus. Which means the RSS considers Indian muslims to be Hindu muslims; and considers Indian Christians to be Hindu Christians. He describes the RSS as India’s KKK. It is a very long article. The latest in a series of articles he has written about the RSS.

    Pieter Friedrich can write about the RSS. But if he chooses to do so, shouldn’t he spend several months inside the RSS, participating in their activities so that he can understand them? He misleading implies that the RSS wants Christians and muslims to give up their religion. I don’t think Pieter Friedrich is sufficiently familiar with the RSS or Hinduism to understand them.

    The RSS position of expanding the number of Darshanas in Hinduism to incorporate Sikhs, Zorastrianism, Taoism, Bon, Bah’ai does not cause much blow-back because the later are plural open faiths . . . and they understand Hindus having lived alongside Hindus for a very long time.

    The Sufis, twelvers, sixers and Ahmedis are willing to play along with being added as Darshanas of Hinduism because they want and need Hindus to protect them from Jihadis.

    For reasons that I don’t fully know, many Eastern Orthodox and Syrian/Mathews Christians are willing to let the RSS think they form a Christian Darshana inside Hinduism.

    Jews love being added by Hindus as a Jewish Darshana. Jews love Hindus and see them as natural allies. Plus Jews are very smart and know that letting Hindus consider Jews to be Jewish Hindus doesn’t affect Jews in any way.

    But conservative Sunnis and conservative exclusivist evangelical Christians find the idea of muslim and Christian darshanas inside Sanathana Dharma to be offensive.

    Do the RSS understand Christian and Islamic theology or their exclusivity doctrines? For example do they understand the Nicene creed? I am not sure they do. If the Nicene creed is read out to a Hindu they are likely to say:
    —“first class”
    —“bahoot accha”
    —“very good”
    —“agree completely”
    —“we believe same”
    They aren’t lying. They simply interpret the Nicene creed through a Hindu ethno-centric prism and believe it reinforces their own ideas of universalism and the celebration of the unity of God, love and all religions. The conservative Christian world view is so alien to their way of thinking, they cannot grasp it. This lack of understanding causes offense on the part of conservative Sunnis and conservative evangelical Christians.

    The RSS can add as many Darshanas to Hinduism as they want; and in time most Hindus will come to accept these Darshanas as authentic respected Darshanas on par with Samkhya, Yoga, Vedantic Darshana, Buddhism, Jainism, Chaarvaakaa and Aajiivika. However for Christians and Muslims alone (not for any other tradition), they should also understand that some Christians and Muslims do not want to be considered Hindu Christians or Hindu Muslims.

    The categories might be:
    –Hindu Christians for those who are okay with it
    –Bharatiya Christian or Swadeshi Christians for those who prefer this designation
    –Hindu Muslims for those who are okay with it
    –Bharatiya Muslims or Swadeshi Muslims for those who prefer this designation

    What are everyone’s thoughts?

    1. “What are everyone’s thoughts? ”
      Hi AnAn,

      Sorry this is going to be a drive by message, busy with work, an infrequent reader of this blog (I appreciate you and the other bloggers for making all the interesting varied content and output of articles, a pleasure of mine when I get the time).

      I know you mean well, your vision is very kumbaya, but this could be offensive. My view is let’s respect’s each other’s right to believe, if we don’t do physical harm against each other or restrict each other’s rights, we don’t need special designations. As an Indian of Christian background, I don’t need anything but to be acknowledged as a native of my land, with equal rights, as much as any Hindu, and I don’t need to be Hindu-connected or any “darshana” of Hindu to do it. I’m Indian by blood, geography of family origin, etc. I’m no immigrant, this is my land and culture, I need not bow down to anyone’s view of how that should be. America is great in that immigrants or American converts to other faith are given such a minimum (basically respect everyone’s rights and civic liberties) to participate as full members of American life and discourse, no need to become a “darshana” of Christianity. My opinion is that the RSS is a smarter, more disciplined, media savvy “religious” version of the KKK/neo-nazi/white nationalists. Those of my brethren the Syrian Christians who want to be “darshana”, I can only comment on a few of those in the community I’ve seen who want to maintain some illusory “high class” caste/status who have imbibed the worst of Hindu practices in wanting to exclude others (meaning Christians of other “caste” backgrounds) and be some a-hole upper class group. Drive by completed, carry on…..

      1. Fully agreed. Indian Muslims should be accepted as citizens of India who practice Islam. There is no need for them to be labeled “Hindu Muslims” or anything else.

        This tendency to put minorities into the “Hindu” fold is very patronizing, even if not intended as such.

      2. ME, is there a disagreement between us on your point? Do Christians have an issue being regarded as patriotic Bharatiya Christians or patriotic Swadeshi Christians? Many Indian Christians serve with great valor and distinction in the armed forces, administrative services, Indian civil society, and India’s educational institutions. They enhance the glory and greatness of India.

        You support mutual respect. And this is great. My view is that Indians should not demand mutual respect. Everyone has the right to disrespect me, be try to be racist/bigoted/prejudiced/sectarian/hegemonic/exploitative/oppressive towards me. As long as they don’t break the law. I have to love and respect them regardless of what they do, because that is what human beings do.

        Syriac/Mathews Christians, and some other Christian Churches that have long histories in India (Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Catholic and some protestant denominations) practice mutual respect. However some evangelical churches do not. We need to love an respect them anyway.

        Why do you think Hindus want to exclude others? Isn’t the issue the opposite? That Hindus want to include everyone?

        Can you share more about the Syriac and Matthews Christians? Is part of the reason so many of them ally with BJP, Hinduttva and RSS because they feel disrespected by evangelicals and post modernists?

  5. The Armin clip was hilarious. Most American and Canadian (and I would add Indian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Turkish, Albanian, Kosovo, Bosnian, Moroccan) muslims are probably pretty moderate and accept atheist muslims and atheist ex muslims as their own people. My view is that they represent a much larger percentage of global muslims than most think.

    The people who don’t like atheist muslims, atheist ex muslims, reform muslims, liberal muslims and Sufi muslims are post modernists. But as Armin and Ali say; most of them are heavily confused. At least they no longer dislike twelvers and Kurds as much as they did circa 2004-2008 as most post modernists have forgotten the Iraq war. Post modernists are not that smart and have short memories.

    Should the post modernists be ignored? Or should muslims engage in dialogue with them?

  6. Very good observations. There is a strategic alliance between Leftists and Islamists. They are united on issues such as Israel, India , human rights of Islamists anywhere esp in western countries.
    One of the driving factors is electoral politics. In many British electoral constituencies Muslims are substantial and so the local politicians want to keep them in good humour by siding with them on any issue or indulge them with sympathetic noises.

    Another reason for western animus against Hindu nationalism is they are ‘informed’ by leftists in India , whose rhetoric and logic is more understandable to western leftists. Western leftists are informed by Indian leftists who quote western leftists . So, the charmed circle goes on, to the detriment of Hindu and Indian nationalism.

    The traditional base of western leftists like working classes has largely gone out of their hands. So, they are cultivating new groups like Muslim immigrants by taking up their causes. Muslim immigrants reflect the passions of their ex-Home countries (actually their ex-Home is more homely than their new homes) in an uncritical way . The only check on their taking up those passions are oppurtunism i.e. desire to enjoy the fruits of western economy – usually low lying fruits like ethnic restaurants, shops and taxis .

    From hindu PoV, the leftists (and feminists) have lost credibility by allying with medieval forces.

    A situation is arsing where countries like Russia , China and India are sick of leftists and their self-indulgent ’causes’.

  7. The story is about globalism. ‘Deep state’ (primarily in US) is forcing globalism. They don’t want to have national borders, they want seamless moving of their capital and to have states as empty shells without any essential decision making roles. Crisis in Yugoslavia in 90es was because of this. They saw Serbs as nationalists because they tried to escape from the colonial position within Yugoslavia imposed internally by communists. Cominterna since 1928. was working on destroying Serbian national corpus and this process lasted until 90es. US conducted unprecedented media campaign against Serbian national awakening plus bombing to give others example and prevent repeating this in other states. They are fighting any country in the world which intends to be independent and take care of their national interests. Because of this, even Trump was subjected to persecution from the day 1 because he intended to care only about American interests.

    World forces which have globalist character: communists (i.e. leftists), catholic church, islamists, Rothschild and Soros, US democrats, Euroleftists, many globalist organisations (e.g. for climate changes, human rights, etc). For globalists media, always bad guys are: Putin, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, N.Korea, Orban, Mary LePen, Serbia and probably will be Indian nationalists as well, who are currently under the radar.

    1. Milan, I support globalization. I believe globalization will sharply lower global poverty and increase global material living standards. I also believe that in time national borders will become increasingly irrelevant.

      You are correct that many lobbies are operating globally. For example those who connect with ancient cultures and civilizations form a global lobby. Like both of us 🙂

      What happened in Serbia is more nuanced than globalization. Serbia was allies with Israel before the 1999 NATO/Kosovo/Albanian/Serbian war. Part of it was Serbia got demonized by the global Ummah muslim community. Perhaps by Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia? Indonesians, Malays, Indian muslims and others joined it because it was perceived as pan Islamic. Add to this old animus related to Greek Orthodox Christianity (in Europe at least) and old animus related to pre Islamic Arya pagan culture which was starting to sprout in Serbia in the 1990s. The Germans, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia had their own historic grievances with Serbia.

      The communists and post modernists didn’t like Serbian culture for their own reasons.

      And then there is the irrationality of the post modernist world view. It would have been better to view Serbs, Bosnians and Albanians as natural allies and friends and work out their differences with a positive win, win, win framework.

      And finally, the world in 1999 did not understand what it is like to confront Takfiri Jihadi Islamist terrorism. Israel and Russia did, which is why they allied with Serbia. India was sympathetic to Serbia–but was affected by the global establishment demonization of Serbia. Which caused India to become neutral–since India didn’t want to be perceived as an Islamaphobe. India was virtue signaling.

      In general, there is great fear around the world of being falsely accused of Islamophobia. A lot of people from everywhere do a lot of bad things to avoid accusations of Islamophobia.

      How would you deal with this phenomenon? Especially since most of the people accused of Islamaphobia are from muslim communities?

  8. Isn’t the explanation more mundane? That the raison d’etre of the left is to support the underdog (whether real or imagined), the minority over the majority, the weak against the powerful (again real or not). Hindus in India are known to be the majority, and Muslims are a very visible minority, and it’s too much to expect garden variety lefties to know much about India’s history. So Hindu nationalism is seen as similar to white Christian Republicans in the US, or (no doubt to some) akin to the Nazis.

    A second reason could be that Hindus are not a current target of ire of the right-wing in the US, while Muslims certainly are. So siding with anyone who the “power structure” opposes comes naturally to the left.

    If the Western right rediscovers its animus to Hinduism (which it had during the colonial era, and this animus is quite evident on alt-right forums), the Western left may well turn around to endorsing Hindu nationalism.

    1. Nah they won’t. There is an Abrahamic convergence when it comes to India being the last outpost of straight-up unapologetic polytheism. All the other tactical alliances of leftists with Islamists due to Muslim underdog phenomenon etc is within the Christian sphere. In heathen kafir India all militant mono/a-theists are bhai bhai.

      Hindus have no friends. Should not count on any future friends either.

      1. Hindus are natural allies with European enlightenment classic liberals. European enlightenment is a subset within the superset of the Chaarvaaka darshana of Hinduism. European enlightenment came from the study of the east. Plus the global new age movement, global Yoga movement, global meditation movement, global cosmopolitan movement, global business community, multi-denominational unitarian spiritualists, and the victims of Islamist Jihadi terrorism (such as moderate and minority muslims) are natural allies. Hindus need to communicate better to forge these global alliances.

        A young Marx wrote fifty articles about India and attempted to deconstruct and negate Hinduism/Buddhism/Sanskrit first. Later he tried to do the same with others. Therefore post modernists and communists see Hindus/Buddhists as their first enemy.

        In addition conservative interpretations of Abrahamic faiths find universalist open architecture ecosystem ideas as dangerous to their dogmas. Mostly because many Abrahamics are drawn to it. For this reason they find Hinduism/Buddhism threatening.

        Should Hindus be unapologetic about Sarva Dharma and universalism and let the chips drop where they may? Hindus have a lot of global soft power if they choose to use it. Should Hindus continue their claim that all paths reach the same goal and to celebrate and eulogize Islam and Christianity?

        1. European enlightenment classic liberalism may or may not be a love child of Hinduism or some warped path of folks from Christianized background seeking to find solace in their pre Christian roots in finding Greece/Rome and in that they find India as a repository since it survived the demise of Greece/Rome/Egypt etc. However I really don’t think Hindu civilization in itself has anything to gain from European enlightenment. The validity or rather currency does not extend bidirectionally.

          It is like you have a pristine child-like soft-natured virgin who somehow has her virginity intact because she was hiding in a tree in the jungles. The other virgins got caught and raped by the rakshasas. Now the rakshasa-beeja has grown inside the violated virgins. Sex slavery may have completely dehumanized and demoralized the latter that she forgot how she was before her capture. One day she sees her old virgin buddy with virginity intact and it revives an old memory hidden deep inside her own like “hey I used to be child-like happy like that once”. The violated one thinks “if I do hymen reconstruction, then I will be as happy as her”.
          In this parable, the Hindu is the unraped pristine virgin. The Chrislamist dark ages of west Eurasia is the era of rakshasa rape. European enlightenment (under which Marxism falls as a branch) is the raped one coming up with hymen reconstruction to revive her virginity. Now, is the Hindu virgin going to gain anything from hymen reconstruction? Not really… should the virgin extend her moral support to the hymen reconstruction of her violated buddy? Sure. But what if the hymen-reconstructed one comes around pestering the virgin now that “hymen reconstruction is the way”? Does the virgin have a leg to stand upon and say “relax”?

          1. // However I really don’t think Hindu civilization in itself has anything to gain from European enlightenment. //

            I guess you need to read history to grasp why Hinduism & European Enlightenment are connected & are the part of larger process i.e. Creating, maintaining & diminishing the boundaries humans create as a process of social interaction.

            // It is like you have a pristine child-like soft-natured virgin who somehow has her virginity intact because she was hiding in a tree in the jungles. The other virgins got caught and raped by the rakshasas. Now the rakshasa-beeja has grown inside the violated virgins. Sex slavery may have completely dehumanized and demoralized the latter that she forgot how she was before her capture. One day she sees her old virgin buddy with virginity intact and it revives an old memory hidden deep inside her own like “hey I used to be child-like happy like that once”. The violated one thinks “if I do hymen reconstruction, then I will be as happy as her”.

            In this parable, the Hindu is the unraped pristine virgin. The Chrislamist dark ages of west Eurasia is the era of rakshasa rape. European enlightenment (under which Marxism falls as a branch) is the raped one coming up with hymen reconstruction to revive her virginity. Now, is the Hindu virgin going to gain anything from hymen reconstruction? Not really… should the virgin extend her moral support to the hymen reconstruction of her violated buddy? Sure. But what if the hymen-reconstructed one comes around pestering the virgin now that “hymen reconstruction is the way”? Does the virgin have a leg to stand upon and say “relax”//

            The same analogy can be applied to all ideologies, empires & nations using the human past. Is there any ideology or period throughout human history that has completely eliminated all of the human problems & sufferings even in a small region of the world ? The past becomes glorious because present & future does not bring the promises of better life to fruition thus it is not the gloriousness of past that attracts them but rather the lack of substantial change of present as well as uncertainty of future which forces them to identify with past & various identities {Esp. ascribed identities}.

            What you are missing are the need to bring the “blind spots {Intentional i.e. Orientalism aka Euro-centrism & unintentional ones}” into the picture of the one sided portrayal of human progress & interactions. It is not about any religion, ideology or anything else rather it is about writing most comprehensive portrayal of human progress & how it came to be in it’s modern form.

  9. Was a bit afraid to post here which is quite conservative, but:

    “On Friday, September 7th, six activists from Chicago South Asians for Justice stood up in the middle of the plenary panel of the World Hindu Congress in Chicago to voice their resistance to the Hindu nationalist political movement currently ascendant in India. ”

    SIX ACTIVISTS! I read that feministing article and watched the video on facebook. Everybody is quite orderly and nothing outlandish happened here. The 6 people appear to be Indians or at the best first gen kids. Can we not handle a protest from six people? I kind of get the argument against RSS and Mohan Bhagwat. The smaller splinter groups of BJP such as RSS and BD deserve protest.

    On the other hand, look at the protests against ISNA ;

    The equivalency between ISNA and the RSS also makes me a bit uncomfortable. ISNA is a students Muslim organization established even before I was born. Now it is claimed to have been infiltrated by, I would guess, Hezbollah and some Saudi-based mosque groups (correct me if I am wrong, anyone, I am weak on Islam)

    RSS and BJP are not the torchbearers of Hinduism and Indian nationalism. The USA has thousands of other Hindu organizations that hold annual, weekly meetings that are never protested. RSS and BJP-based fringe groups are not the Takedars of Hinduism. Hindu or Indian nationalism is not a binary, mirror image of Islam and Islamic nationalism. IT existed before RSS and after that, without any assistance or opposition. Leftist and SJW groups are quite tolerant of Hinduism; it is the evangelist, southern groups that are natural opposition to Hindu and dare I say Indian nationalism. We from South India, can barely follow the left against Hinduims binary. Secularism is not against Hinduism contrary to a thousand Internet Hindus.

    I want to end this diatribe on a more frivolous note: about 7 or 8 years ago, Kamala Harris was invited to Livermore temple and I could see her mouth repeating or following some of the chanting, but she denied knowledge of the verses when asked later. Now my dream is she elected president in 2020, and she opens her presidency with “Gananam tva Ganapati gum Havamahe. Kavim Kavinam Upamasra vastamam, etc. etc,” just to see heads blowing all over the US.

    1. You have clearly missed the author’s point. Even in your comparison of protests for and against religious gatherings in the US the different positioning of the AMERICAN LEFT stands out. They are opposed to one religious group and support another.

      1. The latest responses here seem to believe that what is posted in BP as something very difficult to comprehend. Everyone understands this proposed binary “the left opposes the “Hindu”, while not opposing Islam”. What is hard to understand? I saw the same response by another poster who claimed that what he posted was not comprehended by readers.

        I am saying that the binary is not true; RSS and Venkiah Naidu does not define “hindu”. ISNA does not define “Muslim”. The six people who were yelling at Chicago does not define the left. It is OK to protest anyone. Six people are not the left and six people are not a lot; hell I got 100 people to protest my factory groundbreaking 40 km from Chennai. A million Hindu events go on in US with no protesting left. If you define Obama or the democrats as the left, they have been quite welcoming of Hindus. People from many states of India do not view that RSS and Naidu as thakedars of Hinduism and Indian nation, while they are vigorously portraying themselves as the protectorate of the Hindu Nationalism. They get buy-in from the Hindi-speaking belt and may be Poona, but this clown college can stay away from the rest of us.

  10. Its hardly surprising ,considering that hindus dont fit the minority model of left. Its similar to how jewish nationalism is seen today by the left.

    One important thing is to make the distinction of popularity of Mein Kamp/Hitler in India and its relation with hindu nationalism. You can perfectly find Hitler supporting people in normal non hindu nationalist spaces. In India we mostly dont read/know much about WW2 (consider how India treats its WW2 veterans) , It was not seen a war which Indians own, unlike Pakistan. So most people dont really know about Hitler anyways and see him as a “german nationalist”. Thats why you have hilarious Israeli supporting (the hindu right supported formation of Israel unlike India’s official position )Hitler loving-hindu nationalist. The people who make this connection wrt to Aryan–>Hitler—>hindu nationalism know that exactly and also understand that to properly vilify hindu nationalism ,which still is not seen as much as “grave” threat as Islamism ,they use this trope in the west to gullible westerners. This gives their argument weight.

    1. Nationalism can be a problematic concept. In general, I think left-wing people recognize its dangers. “Jewish nationalism” aka Zionism is an exclusionary ideology which is based upon the denial of the rights of the Palestinian people. Hindutva is an exclusionary ideology based on the premise that only Hindus are first class citizens of India.

      Loving your country (patriotism)is fine. Believing in exclusionary ideologies not so much.

        1. Country-based nationalism is a localized phenomenon and its effects – good and bad- have the saving grace of being limited to local causes and effects. Pan-national religions (also include Communism in this category) result in curious phenomena like Nigerian students putting bombs in their underwear to avenge “injustices” to Palestinians and teach lessons to Americans and Jews whom they have probably never met. When you consider the butchering of young foreign tourists in Dhaka and Mumbai by these bands of faithfuls, RSS nationalism seems like child’s play in contrast.

          1. “Hindu groups have also committed terrorist acts. It’s not really a competition.”

            Are you referring to partition riots in 1947 by Sikhs and Hindus?

          2. Kabir, have your read the specific allegations? The number of incidents alleged are incredibly rare in a country of 1.36 billion people.

            Is there any evidence of something systematic?

            To better understand your methodological framework, can I ask a question? In America, African American (black Americans if anyone feels offended by “African American”) females are raped at more than five times the rate of Latino, Asian and caucasian females. Is this because of anti black “terrorism”?

            By Hindu terrorism you mean riots? If we use your philosophical framework, what terrorism caused the 1992 LA riots? Among those attacked during the riots were:
            —19 dead Latino Americans
            —About 3 thousand Latino owned businesses attacked
            —Over 2 thousand Korean owned businesses attacked
            —About 3 thousand Korean and Asian owned businesses attacked
            —About 3 thousand African American owned businesses attacked

            How do you define “terror” or “Hindu terror”?

            Are you aware of any “terror” that has been justified on Hindu theological grounds? For example when Gandhiji was assassinated by a Hindu, this was condemned almost universally by all Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. Including the RSS.

          3. I am not the one who came up with the term “Saffron terror”. The point is that the RSS has been involved in terrorist acts. Terrorism is not the monopoly of Muslims. You don’t need any fancy “methodological framework” to understand this.

            Riots are different from terrorism (bombings etc). If I meant riots I would have used the appropriate word.

            This thing about the number of incidents being “incredibly rare” is not an acceptable defense as far as I am concerned.

      1. Yes patriotism is preferable to nationalism. Abdul Baha advises us to be patriotic (to love ones own country) without being nationalistic (to the exclusion of a neighbouring country).

        1. i don’t get this semantic difference. love your own family, but don’t exclude other families? the very act of demarcating draws lines and excludes. the exclusion can be bigoted, or not. but it’s exclusion.

      2. Nationalism can be dangerous, but i dont understand why the same criticism (by the left)of nationalism does not extend to sub nationalism/sub altern nationalism . In India and elsewhere sub nationalism is championed by the left and in many countries they are its allies (Catalan nationalism) . The left routinely championed pakthun nationalism and bengali nationalism is Pakistan , while in india it champions dravidian nationalism and caste nationalism . Surely these nationalism have a dark side to them too. But hardly much time/literature is spent on it.

        1. The right to self-determination is a human right. If a national government cannot keep a minority group happy, it is only proper that they be allowed to become independent. Territorial integrity is not more important than people.

          1. The issue with Israel is that it was founded on someone else’s land and against the will of the majority community of Palestine.

            I’ll leave it at that.

        2. I will bite.

          What is Dravidian nationalism?

          Which left party supported it? if anything, congress and the communist parties had been bitterly opposed to the Dravidian parties request for more state rights and self-determination. The dravidan parties dropped the request of self-rule in 1947, but have been firm on the need for devolution of more rights to states.
          For that matter, the response of Jan Sangh to Dravidan party requests for state rights and self-determination, also was not great. With reference to 1961 May 1 Rajya Sabha speech by C.N.Annaduria and A.B. Vajpayee’s responses, it can be seen that the right wing response was also a request for more laws for treason! In summary, the “nationalist” parties response for state rights, state self-determination, and more consideration for BC and SC/ST, have been always raising the flag of nationalism and patriotism.

          Not only to state rights, but also to requests for lesser state interference in the ability of people to conduct business. Reading Rajaji’s speech, and looking at responses from Congress, it is clear that the union is the enemy; to the states; to the people.

          1. Yes bro, everything is great with Dravidian nationalism, just like everything is great with Hindu nationalism.

            “Which left party supported it? if anything, congress and the communist parties had been bitterly opposed to the Dravidian parties request for more state rights and self-determination. ”


            “For instance in 1967, CPI (M) was part of the DMK-Swatantra party grand alliance that trounced the Congress in the State, while in the 1971 Assembly elections CPI was part of the DMK-led alliance that had then struck a deal with the Indira Congress after the major split in the All India Congress.

            Broadly, through the MGR-led AIADMK era in the State (1977-87) and later right up to 2004 LS elections — when both CPI and CPI (M) were part of the DMK-Congress ‘United Progressive Alliance (UPA)’ in Tamil Nadu, along with PMK and MDMK on a larger secular platform to take on the BJP-led NDA — the CPI has fought more elections with AIADMK and the CPI (M) has been largely a DMK ally.”

            I would characterize this as “support” but you are free to disagree.

            And lets not start on Rajaji ,the original “House Dravidian”, just like the many Hassans and Siddharths now trying to suck up . Unfortunately for him he was a brahmin, so no luck fr the original enemy in the land of Dravida. Always switching to and fro wherever the wind was blowing. It served him best that no one really wants to claim his legacy.

          2. Rajaji was a an intellectual conservative and free-marketeer. That is why he opposed what he called license-permit Raj of Congress and Nehru. He was a Hindu ideologue without being Hindu nationalist. His Indian nationalism was never in doubt. Just because he demanded free trade does not put him in the same boat as DMK which started as anti-nationalist party and it’s dropping of separatism was more opportunistic than ideological or intellectual.

          3. To Saurav

            VijayVan has addressed the Rajaji comment.

            In TN, the Dravidian parties have taken other parties such as Swatantra, Congress, Communist as juniors in every state election. They have not provided state level ministries to anyone.

            In the central election, they quickly realized the importance of representation and have been in every cabinet since the VP singh ministry, except for 2, the Narasimha Rao cabinet and the Modi cabinet. In return, they have elected a number of capable congressmen such as Subramaniam, Venkatraman, Mohan Kumaramangalam, and Chidambaram into Lok Sabha. The relationship is completely transactional, and will keep the centre supportive of the state. The lesson was learnt by 1980, when the centre will dismiss the elected ministry when the central government fell.

            The Dravidian parties have not been leftist or supportive of the left; at the best, they can be called populist. In any event, the southern states, by keeping away from the national stream on a variety of issues such as reservation, economy, literacy, has performed much better than congress or what we call the overarching statist bend. The criticism of the Dravidan polity was that they did not marry a strong industrialization and economic policy with their rule; this was what Rajaji (and Lee Yoan Kew and the Malaysian Mahathir ) provided. At its worst, the Dravidan policy was a Bhumiputra effort for Tamils, but for a substantial population.

            Kamal hassan is an individual; he can support Trump or Lenin for all we care. He does not represent a movement or people.

        3. >. The left routinely championed pakthun nationalism and bengali nationalism is Pakistan

          Because it’s not helpful to anybody to be as equally opposed to Pakistani nationalism as you are to Pashtun nationalism. At this point, apart from violent militancy, the only thing mobilizing Pashtuns against the free rein the Pak military had to bomb the hell out of the North West is Pakhtun nationalism and tribal unity, as petty and divisive as they are. I’m not really a fan of some of the PTM’s leaders and what they’ve said in the past, but I’m not going to say things at their expense when the only real beneficiaries are ghouls in uniform.

        1. My religious beliefs are neither here nor there. In any case, they are not based on hatred or exclusion of other people.

          1. you get to define islam now? i can talk to plenty of muslims who will say that the ulema are quite clear what islam excludes.

            your religious beliefs are here because you’re using language in a sloppy manner, and there’s no such excuse for you since that is your forte. you have no problems with some exclusionary ideologies and problems with others.

          2. There is a difference between religion and political ideologies such as Zionism, Hindutva or Islamism.

            It is true that Islam divides people into “believers” and “non-believers”. But it is theoretically possible for anyone to become a “believer” just by saying the kalima.

            In any case, I am a Muslim because I was born into a Muslim household. If I had been born into some other faith, I would identify with that.

          3. Razib, some people frequently audience switch. They also don’t have a whole of system framework where everything is interconnected and correlated together. Rather they have a lot of independent autonomous silos of philosophy and knowledge that are not interconnected and correlated together. They find any reference to connection or general principles to be changing the topic or of someone who is “scattered and unconnected”.

            I find communicating or collaborating with this type of person to be challenging. How do you do it?

            The “holy Koran/hadiths/Sira/conservative Islamic theology” and “post modernism” are completely inconsistent and contradictory. They can’t be integrated.

  11. On a side note, there was a book that released just a short while ago called “The RSS: A View to the Inside” by Walter K. Andersen (John Hopkins professor) and Shridhar Damle. I haven’t read the book yet, but I have been watching a lot of Andersen’s interviews about the book on Youtube, and he seems to have a very balanced approach about the organization compared to all the hysteria we constantly hear about.

    1. Have read it , its a bit on the softer side on RSS, it takes RSS on their face value and their gentle talk.

      1. “it is theoretically possible for anyone to become a “believer” just by saying the kalima.”

        LOL. It is ‘theoretically’ no harder to become a member of RSS.

        1. There is a difference between religion and political ideologies. I take the point that most religions are based on defining who belongs and who doesn’t, but it is possible to convert.

          Political ideologies like Zionism and Hindutva are based on denying other people’s rights or according them second-class status. That is what I find problematic.

  12. “There is a difference between religion and political ideologies.”
    For me religion, spirituality, science, secularism, rationality, atheism are all extensions of the same thing.

    I don’t know what “political ideologies” means.

    “I take the point that most religions are based on defining who belongs and who doesn’t, but it is possible to convert.”

    Is this true in eastern philosophy (10 Darshanas of Sanathana Dharma + Sikhism + Zorastrianism + Toaism)? Or is this more an Abrahamic thing.

    Jews do not proselytize.

    What is Zionism?
    What is Hinduttva?

    1. See the Wiki article on “Saffron terror” above. If you don’t believe that article, there’s not much I can do to convince you.

      I’m not all that interested in this debate. My only point was that Islamic groups are not the only ones who use violence for political ends. I find this defensiveness about extremist adherents of Hinduism to be very disingenuous. The RSS and its actions don’t represent the many normal peace-loving Hindus who are going about their own business just as Al Qeada doesn’t represent the majority of Muslims.

  13. Kabir, if you wish to comment about this, you should study the RSS and Hinduttva first. As far as I know the RSS has never been credibly accused of terrorism. The accusations of misconduct are against one or more of their many affiliates. The distinction is important.

    My understanding is that the RSS is not a religious organization and keeps away from religion. They are a type of patriotic public service organization with many affiliates (allies) who have their own separate agendas. The RSS, I think, does a lot of service to poor people.

    The RSS has many muslim members. What I don’t know is how many of them are twelvers, sixers and Sufis. And how many are non Sufi Sunnis. It is possible that muslim RSS members are defining the RSS’s muslim policies their own way and nonmuslim RSS leaders lack the understanding of Islam to know this. But the solution to this is to directly reach out to the RSS and India’s Sufi, twelver and sixer communities.

    The RSS has many Syriac and Matthews Christian members. A similar dynamic might be happening with respect to RSS Christians leading the RSS’s Christian policies.

    I don’t think the RSS’ Buddhist, Jain and Sikh members have the same issues since these communities get along well in the large Hindu family.

    “The RSS and its actions don’t represent the many normal peace-loving Hindus” The RSS distances itself from Hinduism and religion; and supports multi faith.

    Anyone with an interest in the RSS should read or watch Walter K. Andersen.

    1. Don’t tell me what to study. It’s extremely condescending. Thanks.

      The distinction between the RSS and its “affiliates” is not important to the point I was making, which is that Hindus have also committed terrorist acts or more broadly used violence in order to achieve political goals. In fact, people from almost every community have used violence to achieve political goals. But people seem to be inordinately focused on Islamic violence.

      I’m done here. I am not interested in defenses of Hindu extremist organizations, though you are free to continue defending them if you so choose.

Comments are closed.

Brown Pundits