I woke up this morning to commentary on Episode 38:
We had a bit of a twitter exchange though I find it odd that Aashish zeroed in on V by claiming that she was misinformed.
I do not understand a community where the daughter is called Asifa Bano and the father Muhammad Yusuf are *not* Muslim. People who pray to Sai Baba retain Hindu nomenclature and would be understood to be Hindus.
To somehow *disregard* Asifa’s Muslim identity in an increasingly religiously identified India is irresponsible to say the least and to somehow only raise an ethnic angle is only part of the story.
Nevertheless post-podcast I’m beginning to understand the intricate layers. The new wave of Hindu intellectuals are dissatisfied with the Nehruvian settlement where Western secularism (with Indian characteristics) was imposed on the population.
Instead what they want is an Enlightened Society organised on Dharma and Hindu principles (to what extent is the Enlightenment based on Christian ethics). It’s an admirable position but MJ & Kushal were sort of confronted by Vidhi, who I would classify as a Nehruvian Capitalist.
She likes India fashion, food and culture but when it comes to a value system looks West. So this new India, to her, is something very different to what has come before and what she is familiarised with. Beyond just having a Hindu face/soul the new Hindu intellectual want India to also have a Hindu soul and mind.
This isn’t a necessarily bad thing since the argument also extends that Hinduism is so plural and encompassing (in contrast to stark monotheism) that the definition can be broadened to its original geographic conception as people East of the Indus.
I probably wasn’t qualified to host/moderate since these things are not intuitive to me but I’m learning as I go by.
I do have profound sympathies with what Kushal and MJ want; an Indian Civilisation but I also see they might be squaring a circle. However intellectually is it not important to at least try and see what the end result even if a billion plus lives are in play.
Not to dramatise the worth of this election (but if Modi wins an even stronger result, he will be the most powerful leader since the Nehru-Gandhis) however to some extent Indians are deciding the price of their soul.
This is an existential question that Muslims have been grappling with for the last half-millennia since the ascendancy of the West so once again Iran & Islam casts a shadow on India.
To what extent would this “Hindu identity crisis” manifest itself if Muslims were not 12-14% (or 20-40% as commonly believed) of the population and Islamic Pakistan was not the great enemy and Bangladeshi migrants sinking the Hindu North-East.
India is hemmed by Mountains and Muslims with her only outlet towards the Ocean and intelligent diplomacy would once again tie India to her Oceanic Network but that would reconceptionalising the Nation away from Bombay-Delhi towards Calcutta-Madras. Maybe if Bombay-Delhi win the ideological battle than Calcutta-Madras can steer the future geo-economic course and look South East towards the heart of Asia rather than North West & the lands of Islam.
Asabiyyah (the most overused word) is strongest when there is an imagine threat and Islam provides the immediate threat but it is Western globalification that is most corrosive to Hindu identity (if the castes go how does Hindu identity stand apart from vague spiritualism). Perhaps the BJP voter even as they vent their frustration at Muslims in the ballot box perceive a deeper and more pernicious threat from Western-style prosperity..
As a final thought: