Permanent Enemy

By Phyecon1 26 Comments

We in this country are at a fork in the road , the path we move from here can have lasting impact because the momentum carries over. It seems to me that the notion Hindus are internalizing about abrahamic religious people is of seeing them as rigid, inflexible, whom one can neither influence to change their views nor be able to bring them back into the fold. This leads to seeing them as permanent enemies. As opposed to seeing their beliefs as wrong and wishing to correct them on that or evolve society to one of civic nationalism where the more missionary zealtory can be dealt with by creating appropriate culture of education and public norms in negating such zealtory. Individualism, Secularism falls into this .

This leads to a mindset of siege mentality. Where persons lost to other faith are seen to be lost forever and soon joins the ranks of enemies along with their future descendants in perpetuity. Thus making Hindus an ethnic identity where faith is nominal and creating an ethnic state with permanent 5th column enemies to curse for all ills and use them as a bogey to scare people with to win elections. Hence moving away from egalitarian ideas which sees people’s belief as fungible and can be changed over time through engagement  to the model of caste endogamy where belief of the people is now a permanent feature of identity , where their individuality is of no consequence.

Recent article by Christophe Jafferlot points to this. As one can imagine, such siege mentality of seeing others as inflexible rigid enemies can be damaging to entire society and polity and makes it less stable over time. There are only 2 ways to deal with this, First is to believe that people can be won over. This can either be through “ghar wapsi” in a religious sense to bring people back into the fold and hence worry less about demography change or also through the change in normal civic norms to chip away religious impulse which has been used by the west and more clearly by France .The other is more regressive and dangerous path of colonial repression or fascist genocides . While one can reject the works of Christophe Jafferlot as being biased, one can simply check this empirically to notice the total lack of any literature one can point to on how they are willing to engage with large number of people of these faiths. What is the governing ideology under which these people can find themselves to be fully integrated citizens?. Where is the effort in education, where is the evidence of mass contact and engagement , be it either ghar wapsi or The leaders speaking about this governing ideology?. And offering basic services to people or even bringing uniform civil code or changing divorce laws for muslim women does not do much unless one enunciates what this new governing ideology of belonging is.

Jhttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/love-jihad-law-india-bjp-7067013/

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26 Replies to “Permanent Enemy”

  1. As opposed to seeing their beliefs as wrong and wishing to correct them on that or evolve society to one of civic nationalism where the more missionary zealtory can be dealt with by creating appropriate culture of education and public norms in negating such zealtory. Individualism, Secularism falls into this .
    This leads to a mindset of siege mentality.

    Maybe a deeper dive into this siege mentality & modes of compromises and ways around it though if you have the time and interest |

  2. “Thus making Hindus an ethnic identity where faith is nominal and creating an ethnic state with permanent 5th column enemies to curse for all ills and use them as a bogey to scare people with to win elections.”

    This is all ready happening. We are all just fellow travelers. The die is cast.

    1. Exactly. The die is cast. May as well also warn about religious violence in Pakistan, that horse has long since bolted.

      1. I am more sanguine abt Pakistan religious relations than India tbh. In Pakistan the equilibrium has been achieved. Nothing above Islam. And religious parties can be “handled” and their movement calibrated by the establishment. The fault-line in Pakistan seems more ethnic than religious.

        In India it’s too soon to decide where the pendulum will finally rest. And till it rests their will be charged emotions on either ( hindutva-secular) side

    2. I don’t know if that’s how Republicans work in the US, but that sure as hell isn’t how it happens in India.

      BJP isn’t that bothered trying to paint muslims as some sort of boogeyman as people think, muslims are doing it themselves. As long as cases like the riot in Bangalore and Nikita Tomar/Priya Soni happen, people will flip. As a matter of fact, as of late, I’ve seen tons and tons of Hindus feeling disappointed and let down by BJP and Modi because they almost never speak up for Hindus. I’m also seeing quite a bit of criticism of RaGa from the left.

      I didn’t know a single who’s who about Indian politics and didn’t care about religion at all until I had negative experiences with some average muslims around me.

  3. The use of siege mentality is not appropriate in the context of LJ laws. It is the legal panacea that needed to be applied when two entirely opposing civil codes are in existence. The disparity between Hindu Marriage Act and Muslim personal law could not be greater. For women, its the difference between living in the 20th century and the 8th century.

    It is, but natural, that scrutiny of mixed-faith marriages will ensue. This mess is the inheritance that we received from the founding fathers. Not for no reason, did Ambedkar rail against Islam and Muslims so much in his writings and speeches. Muslims are the Gollums in Indian constitutional machinery. Expecting natural justice and sense to prevail is ok, but that was extinct since the time Indian liberals said it is ok for a man to marry serially.

    If anything this is the time for Indian liberals to step up and ask for a UCC.

  4. @ugra , At no point did I mention any laws with respect to that. The topic is bigger , the article was to give a point of view that makes similar points. And blaming liberals when BJP is in power for 6 yrs is the lowest excuse now, to be polite. Countries are not permanent, we had a violent history of partition ,there are many faultlines on caste,region and more aggressive missionaries as well. It seems the only vision now is electoral victory by various means including funneling insecurities of people. And the supporters lap it up and dont question anything. If liberals made mistakes, it can be corrected, this idea that we mock them but dont correct any mistakes and keep ratcheting up insecurities of people to polarize society to win the next election and the one after, this will have terrible consequences to society and to Hindus themselves because this method of bjp does not guarantee a demographic majority nor a meaningful solution to their insecurities. Consider the happy alliance of BJP and jagan in andhra for example and the riots in delhi. This path to electoral victory requires pot to be kept boiling , if people are not sufficiently insecure, they might not vote for them.
    @gaurav
    your can consider this.
    https://www.brownpundits.com/2020/09/12/broken-illusions-and-enlightenment/
    I always say this, I could be wrong.

    1. At no point did I mention any laws with respect to that.

      Well you let the cat in through the backdoor – by linking Jaffrelot’s article.

      And blaming liberals when BJP is in power for 6 yrs is the lowest excuse now, to be polite.

      I am saying that the BJP is now the doing the things liberals must have done – scrapping 370, legislating CAA, striking down Triple Talaq and legislating against LJ – restoring individual rights. In India – the conservatives are the progressives and the liberals are the regressives.

      1. when exactly did bjp mention individual rights?. Does it stand for freedom of speech or expression?. What is the governing ideology it enunciates for integration ?.
        stop the motte and bailey fallacy wrt the cheating in marriages.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motte-and-bailey_fallacy

        I linked the article because it makes the argument of Indian turning into ethnostate, of which forced marriages is but one issue. Everyone can read it and understand.

        1. By every action that they have taken in the last 6 years. They have restored the primacy of the individual over the collective rights of groups. Aided and abetted by marxists and liberals, previous political establishments have been favoring the group over the individual.

          Art 370 – Kashmiri elites as a “group” decided that other Indians should not be allowed to own property inside Kashmir. My economic rights as a individual had been curtailed. How can Kashmiris buy property in my state when I can’t in their state?

          TTT – Is there anything more insidious than this example? Where is the right of the aggrieved woman to her dignity? This was even legally allowed by an Act in Parliament!!

          LJ – You do understand that when you enter a zone of legal vulnerability, you have to be warned first (example: Miranda rights). When a Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Jain or Hindu woman marries a Muslim in provisos other than the special marriage act, then she is entering such a state where even courts cannot aid her. She is no longer a individual but merely the property of her man with rights far lower than their original religion. That man can marry another woman and another and another legally!! Liberals keep saying “oh…consenting adults” but the situation has legal ramifications for the individual.

  5. One thing BJP can do and is doing now is ensuring decent services to poor , that along with growth will play a big role in this solution, though in the mean time, they need a working governing ideology that can find supporters.

  6. https://thepoliticalfix.substack.com/p/friday-q-and-a-vinay-sitapati-on

    ‘Are there misconceptions about the BJP, or about Advani and Vajpayee that you find yourself constantly having to tackle?
    The first misconception is that they are fascist. I argue that, in contrast, they are defined by elections. They win because they’re popular and they’re popular because they’re obsessed about that question for 100 years. To say, oh, they’re fascists, let’s find some other way, that’s a fool’s paradise. The only place to beat the BJP is on Election Day.

    The second misconception, which many intellectuals and scholars believe is that the BJP is traditionalist or conservative. It is not. It’s a radical right-wing movement, in that it is different from traditional Hinduism. At one level, it’s more progressive than traditional Hinduism on caste. And that’s another thing that people who are critics of the BJP have as a misconception, that it’s an upper caste party.

    At the same time, the BJP is far more anti-Muslim, or fearful about Muslims, than traditional Hinduism. Traditional Hinduism was socially hierarchical, but theologically, it allowed space for different religions and different sects. Historically, many Muslim communities in India are on the boundaries of Islam and Hinduism. The RSS doesn’t like that. But on the other hand, on caste, it is progressive.

    What makes the BJP very hard for opponents to beat and understand is this mix of being a progressive party for many Hindus, while being an exclusive party for non-Hindus. You have to see why somebody from a lower caste like Narendra Modi found the RSS as a way for social mobility. If you don’t see that aspect to them it’s very difficult to understand how to beat them. “

    1. Wow great read. I ll definitely order the book.

      Some more excerpts.

      “Today when you see the BJP having this kind of power, remember that for much of their existance, the party had no power, no money, nothing. I have a story in the book of Deendayal Upadhyaya in the late 1960s, basically holding a kurta in his hand, and he’s waving it in the wind to dry. And this person says, ‘What are you doing?’ And Deendayal says, ‘I have only two kurtas, and I dropped coffee on this one. So if I don’t wash and clean and dry it today, what will I wear tomorrow?’ The power of the BJP is that story. Not so much that the text of Integral Humanism has been lifted.”
      This struggle is what gives today’s BJP leaders the courage of their convictions. However the next generation of BJP leaders who haven’t done this hard work will be similar to Congress “baba-log” unless BJP comes up with a meritocratic plan of succession.

      “To give you an example, I really wanted to meet Nusli Wadia. You can’t make up the story of [MA] Jinnah’s grandson becoming one of the biggest funders of Hindu nationalism from roughly the mid-1970s to 2004. ”
      What the absolute heck!!! I did not know that Nusli Wadia funded the BJP from the 1970s. Jinnah’s grandson. How could we not know this?

      “The Hindu nationalists are always trying to ask the same question that Christian Democrats in post-war Europe were asking, which is, how do you reconcile the precepts of Catholicism with the demands of democracy?”
      I always thought that the best way to describe BJP to westerners is to bring up their resemblance to the Christian democratic parties of Europe. Glad to see that the BJP themselves think so.

      1. Another one. This author is really a clear thinker. A rarity in the jargon spewing, unoriginal and moronic Indian commentariat.

        “The biggest counterfactual I was pushing against is this idea that India is a Hindu majority country, therefore a Hindu party is inevitable. Because it’s true that 80% of Indians are Hindus. But you know, a large majority of Indians are peasants, right? Communists should have come to power by that logic. And 80% of India’s population are non upper castes, right? Kanshi Ram should have come to power.

        Why did Kanshi Ram get it so wrong? He’s a remarkable figure. I respect the RSS in so far as they have a deep understanding of Indian reality, so that they can change it. Kanshi Ram had exactly that. He understood the depth of the caste system and how it works at the local level. He said, look, you have these 20% upper castes holding everyone to ransom.

        His Bahujan Samaj Party was built as an anti-upper caste coalition. So he addresses Muslims, Christians, and among his second rung, he has of course Mayawati who belongs to the Jatav caste of Dalits, but he has Pasis, he has Muslims, he has Christians. So he begins with this idea that he can create another kind of majority, and he understands that you need multiple segments of society represented in your leadership.

        But you all know what happened, which is very soon he favors just one of his deputies, Mayawati, who unlike the BJP is not a team player. And that’s the answer to the puzzle of why the BSP has not won national power. Why does this grand party with this national vision become the party of one state and one caste? The answer is they don’t have ‘fevicol’ that the BJP does

        Had Kanshi Ram, and this is the counterfactual I give you, understood at a deep level that one of the reasons why Bahujans have been oppressed historically, is that they are turned against each other and if his ideology was premised on this idea that whatever happens, he will make sure that there is no infighting in his organisation, you would have a very different BSP today.

        That’s what distinguishes the BJP from the rest, which is a particular reading of history where Hindus are invaded because they’re disunited, and using that as an organisational form today. I call this ‘Hindu Fevicol’ in my book. In that sense, these counterfactuals are very important. And just to underline once again, the biggest counterfactual I’m pushing against is the inevitability of the BJP’s rise. “

        1. To me the best thing it does it to show what an opportunist Advani really was. Since he didn’t have his own vote bank , he just relied/created an even bigger vote bank AKA Hindu vote bank.

          To think of a sindhi whose own people live in Pakistan to be a genuine Hindutvavdi always felt a bit of a stretch to me. A bit like if u had a Dravidian Hindu nationalist or a Bong Hindu nationalist . It also shows how gullible the Hindutvadis of 90s really were, LOL

          1. I think you are mischracterizing what Hindu nationalism. It is based on a pan civilizational identity predicated on common dharmic past. Anyone of dharmic faith vould have started it, and it would still make sense. Granted, Advani was more incentivized to do so for the reason you cite. But it isn’t like it doesn’t make sense.

          2. I think you are getting the wrong end of the stick here. Noone in BJP (or the Congress until 1990s) has a votebank like Lalu Yadav or Mayawati have a votebank. The BJP and Congress are not caste parties. They are ideological parties. Caste matters but I don’t think it matters that much.

            Advani was someone who came along at the right time to politically cash in on the Hindutva’s century long project. He was an important cog in the wheel and as the interview shows his work and decisions has led to the BJP as it exists toady. That he was a Sindhi did not really have much to do with anything. You have Hindutva-vadis all over India where Hinduism present.

          3. Overusing the more hindu – less hindu framework can lead to false inference. Hindu nationalism is clearly one of them.

            I like the way the author is open to think outside box. But old habits die hard. He cant completely move away from what has been talked in journalism circles. check Print interview. Hopefully with time he will change.

          4. No one in India becomes a big leader nationally TILL he becomes the big leader of at least their people . Either community wise (Gujju-Modi), or caste wise (Yadav-Lalu) , what was Advani leader of ? Perhaps he could have won a municipality in Rajasthan or Mumbai.

            Let not drink our own kool aid and think that Hindu nationalism is some caste-neutral / region-neutral Utopia yet. It has the potential to reach there, it hasn’t reached there yet. And till it isn’t there, not everybody can lead it. The regions and the castes, which produce the maximum Hindu nationalism potential, will produce the leaders. And in that case Advani is the aberration, and not the rule.

            ….. And tht’s why he fell thru the cracks, because his heart wasn’t there , in Hindu nationalism anyways

  7. “No one in India becomes a big leader nationally TILL he becomes the big leader of at least their people”

    Who were Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sonia Gandhi’s people within India who they became leader of first before taking up the country’s leadership?

    The caste based leadership is one aspect of Indian politics just as a more inclusive idealogical leadership is. Overfitting on any one is wrong.

    “The regions and the castes, which produce the maximum Hindu nationalism potential, will produce the leaders”
    Yes and that is because electoral success defines who will take up leadership in BJP. Tomorrow such a leader could even come from Assam or Kerala, less Hindu regions according to you. The ideology of Hindutva does de-emphasize regional and caste barriers. They remain important but can be overwhelmed.

    1. “ Tomorrow such a leader could even come from Assam or Kerala, less Hindu regions according to you. The ideology of Hindutva does de-emphasize regional and caste barriers. They remain important but can be overwhelmed. “

      I don’t think even leaders of these regions have that much confidence. But we will see

        1. I think the next big hindu leader is tejasvi surya.

          He ticks all the boxes. Including learning hindi , the mother tounge of Hinduism 😉

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