The Goody Goody Feels of Indian “Multiculturalism”
In the light of events of the citizenship bill and NRC happening, wherein there are fears that Muslims are being targeted by the Indian govt with plots of stripping them of their citizenship, this supercharged up emotional post on Reddit says a lot about people or maybe in this case just about Indians, or Ignorant Indians or maybe it’s just something to do with the F***ed education? (see the multiple levels of problems?)
The comments show how people choose to ignore all the realities of philosophy, ideology, and beliefs just for the sake of their own feel-good emotions about oneness and “real India”. Not to say those things are bad, but one must always do the work of peeling back the layers of reality to understand what exactly is happening instead of just parroting a certain meme just because it suits them in the moment.
I remember very well how the ideas of “unity in diversity” and multiculturalism were fed to us with exactly such goody-goody emotional appeals and never with hardcore data about history, culture, politics, etc. about what actually was happening. And now I see the same played out on the internet, just goes on to prove the point that “the free flow of information” is doesn’t mean much without the work of thinking.
Peeling Back the Layers
Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism are currently the three major religions of the world. Each completely different from the other two.
Hinduism never really spread out of India, and they have always taken the moral high road on never converting others, or attacking other nations. While one cannot refute the claim, it’s funny when you notice that they probably never had a choice! The philosophy of Hinduism always preached what many IG “Influencers” are trying to make a career out of — “letting go”. Detaching from the material wealth and focusing on the breath until all your desires just pass by. They have been the “nice guy” of the religious market!
Will Durant explains;
“This is the secret of the political history of modern India. Weakened by division, it succumbed to invaders; impoverished by invaders, it lost all power of resistance, and took refuge in supernatural consolations; it argued that both mastery and slavery were superficial delusions, and concluded that freedom of the body or the nation was hardly worth defending in so brief a life. The bitter lesson that may be drawn from this tragedy is that eternal vigilance is the price of civilization. A nation must love peace, but keep its powder dry.”
― Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage
This inherent weakness of the Hindus attracted the Muslims first who ruled them for 800 years or so, then came the British who brought along the Christian missionaries. There wouldn’t be any Christians or Muslims in India if it wasn’t for these two major events. How do people just miss out on the whole point of Jesus being out there 10,000 miles away in Jerusalem and Christians churches popping up in India? Do people just chalk it up to them growing on the trees? Similarly, Islam started somewhere in the middle east for god sake and spread like wildfire because they converted and killed at the pace of one!
We don’t teach this to kids anymore in the state-controlled education system and hence adults going gaga on eating cakes from Muslim bakers as if that’s the way it’s been since time immemorial.
The point is to not to bring up old Hindu wounds about being a weak people, ruled over and converted, but understanding how we got here is a pre-requisite when deciding where to go next, as Yuval Noah Harari of the sapiens’ fame sums it up at the beginning of his book;
Studying history aims to loosen the grip of the past. It enables us to turn our head this way and that, and begin to notice possibilities that our ancestors could not imagine, or didn’t want us to imagine. By observing the accidental chain of events that led us here, we realise how our very thoughts and dreams took shape – and we can begin to think and dream differently. Studying history will not tell us what to choose, but at least it gives us more options.
The aim is not to perpetuate the past, but rather to be liberated from it.
― Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow; (not verbatim, full here.)
Nothing Indian About It
If you go by History then this multicultural cake eating wet dream is in fact — western. The ideas of enlightenment and renaissance in 15th century Europe which pulled the teeth out of all religions and gave us everything which makes this image possible — free speech, human rights, reason, individualism, separation of church and state.
Without it, these three religions are like sheep and two wolfs drinking water at the lake! Learning which one is which is a good place to start your own unplugging from organized religion.
Why Not Just Play the “Unity” Game?
Because then we just keep ourselves trapped in cognitive dissonance, we walk around with two completely different opposing realities in our minds. We keep lying to ourselves and everyone else that India is or was a place where all the religions come together and stay in harmony, the multicultural rainbow, we do this because it makes us look better and feel better and then the election results come in and everybody has just voted for their own supernatural color and we wonder why the roads don’t get fixed.
Why not accept the reality that if we were to live by ancient or modern Indian values then this picture would never be possible, that even today we seldom believe in individual rights or in the separation of religion and state. How many Indians would truly stand for free speech like enshrined in the American first amendment?
The Hindus take great pride in their tolerance but well that’s got limits, the proof is the hoards of “Hindu right-wingers” who are “pro-free-market” but also call for banning news channels from time to time and recently have suggested nationalizing private companies. Many want a ban on religious conversions and the famous blogger mediacrooks called upon Modi to fix the cultural issues in the nation over just focusing on the “economy, economy, economy ..”, the way he put it.
Then they call for the government to get out of temple management, end subsidies for the minorities, but do they call for it from the place of “separation of church and state”? If yes, how exactly does a BAN on religious conversion square with that?
Once the history is called in to testify its account, we see the direct chain linking multiple events which even enables our modern world, the long-chain is made up off links of the industrial revolution which enabled the massive production capabilities of mankind and ended the centuries of warfare for scarce resources, led to liberalism and the individual becoming the center of western society, spread those ideas to India and fortunately a few Indians grew up under the influence of some semblance of individualism and learned to respect other faiths and religions.
Just celebrating it as some default reality of “true India” is a lie, understanding that helps us to consciously choose values which would serve us better.
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