Obviously I have not had much time to write on my blogs recently. But I thought I would pass on a casual judgement I have come to in regards to Indians, and particularly Hindus. Their mentality is powerfully shaped by the Other.
This is true of modern Muslims as well obviously. As Bernard Lewis would famously assert, the victory of the West over Islam in geopolitics in the 19th-century induced a psychic trauma which Muslims are still reacting to. Postcolonialism suggests that this is the condition of all non-Western societies. They can be only understood in their reaction to the West.
In general, I think postcolonialism is not helpful. Obviously, there is some truth in the framework, but most people don’t have a “thick” understanding of history, so they simply use Theory to invent “facts.”
But, it is clearly the case that modern Indian, and Hindu, Weltanschauung, whether “secularist” or “Hindutva” or something altogether different, is hard to understand without colonialism. But it is not simply Western colonialism. It is also Islamic colonialism and conquest.
The peculiar and curious aspect of modern Indian/Hindu mentality then is the double-colonial layer. That is, the long-term sublimation of the Indian civilization under the temporal rule of Other civilizations. One could assert that China was ruled by Manchus for 250 years before its quasi-colonization. But this analogy is clearly weak because the later Manchus became so thoroughly Sinicized that Manchus as an independent ethnicity have disappeared in modern China (Manchus today are those who have descent from Manchus, not those who practice a non-Han culture).
Basically, it’s always modern complicated in India…