India is still suffering mentally from British colonial hegemony, the Hindu Renaissance seeks to repair this
Stabroek News
April 10, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I write in response to your editorial note to my last letter captioned "More Fundamental issues are at stake than the temple itself" (19-3-2002). At the onset, I wish to state explicitly that if to believe irrevocably in the ineluctability of the resurgence of the Indian/ Hindu civilization, shaking off the thralldom of this neo colonial captivity that it has presently found itself in is to be 'Fundamentalist', I plead guilty. However, I am sensing a disturbing phenomenon where the word 'Fundamentalist' is being used rather loosely as part of an ad hominem scheme to deliberately obfuscate the issue.

The actual definition for Fundamentalism given by the Webster dictionary is "Belief in a literal truth and the rigid parochializing and peripheralizing of all discordant quarters". There can be no questioning of the notion that there has never been a construct of thought more antithetical to the above definition than the Hindu systems of philosophy. So the label ' Fundamentalist' certainly cannot apply there, but it appears that as the effulgence of the Hindu renaissance rises to repair the centuries of plunder and exploitation it suffered at the hands of enslaving forces, some sections with vested imperial agendas seem bent on obscurantism evidently with the stigmatization of words such as "fundamentalist", "ultra-nationalist", and "communal" that they seek inexorably to attach to this movement. How wanting to end a dirty legacy of humiliation and vilification of one's own heritage in one's own homeland by demolishing one of its many symbols can amount to fundamentalism is beyond me.

Your label of the present situation of secularism in India as " my interpretation" and " bizarre" reveals your gross mis or mal- interpretation of the complexity of Indian political history and more so its contemporary condition. One must understand the root of the concept of Secularism in the Indian context before one is able to comment. The present model of secular thinking that pervades Indian politics upon much contemplation is clearly observed as a direct fructification of Thomas Macaulay's (British Supreme Council of India 1835) imposition on Indian education encapsulated in his famous document ' Minute on Indian Education' the objective of which was dictated by imperial interests and served that purpose; stifling of the nation's genius and future, and the negation of human values. Here is an extract from that document, " We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of men, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect".

To further understand the phenomenology of civilizational conquest, we need to further understand the Macaulayite ideology. Macaulay was that true embodiment of the utter revulsion of the Christian/ European Empire towards the Indian culture/ heritage, a distaste Macaulay nourished in consonance with other prominent European thinkers: Hegel, Karl Marx, Max Mueller, Monier Williams and Husserl. Here are some excerpts from Thomas Macaulay's writings " I have no knowledge of Sanskrit but I have conversed with men distinguished by their proficiency in the Eastern tongues, I have never met one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European Library was worth more than the whole native literature of India. The dialects commonly spoken among the natives of this part of India contain neither literary nor scientific information, and are so poor and rude that, until they are enriched by some quarter, it will not be easy to translate any valuable work into them. The intellectual improvement of the people can at present be effected only by means of some language not vernacular amongst them. I would at once stop the printing of all Sanskrit books and abolish the Sanskrit college at Calcutta...Are we obliged to teach false history, false astronomy, false medicine, because we find them in company with a false religion. Assuredly, to encourage the study of a literature admitted to be of small intrinsic value, despite its inculcation of the most serious errors on the most important subjects, is a course hardly reconcilable with reason, with morality, or even with the very neutrality which ought, as we all agree, to be preserved... The superiority of the Europeans becomes absolutely immeasurable". "All the historical information, which can be collected from all the books which have been written in the Sanskrit language, is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgement used at the preparatory schools in England".

This was an important juncture in the continuity of the demoralization of the Indian psychic plane. As Rajiv Malholtra PhD Princeton University pointed out in his paper ' Language Hegemony and the construction of identity' "through control of language, this was planned hegemony over ideas and symbols. Over time, it became a force to conquer mentally, because it was planted within Indian minds, invisible and harder to fight than any physical dominance". Today India's political landscape epitomizes this affliction and the tremors of the civilizational emasculation are felt in every corner of the Indian Diaspora. Jawaharlal Nehru, the one chosen to lead the postcolonial movement summarized his entire mental framework with his famous statement " I am an Englishman by education, a Muslim by culture and a Hindu by accident", revealing what he really was: just another Macaulayite tool perpetuating the destruction of the Indian identity. Much in the same manner that other false Indian leaders (Cheddi Jagan comes to mind) have done in the wider Indian Diaspora.

Under the misnomer of or I prefer neo colonial deception of Secularism, the timeless traditions, the very quintessence of the land continue to be bludgeoned on the head in the name of impartiality. Take the proposal to make Sanskrit (the mother of all languages) compulsory in schools, "retrograde communalism' is the most fashionable response, or the push to make the Mahabharata and Ramayana, the true Indian gems of literature and philosophy thousands of times more majestic than Homer's Iliad and the Odyssey or anything else the West have ever produced, unsecular they say. Take the case of insanity where ministers would walk out when the Saraswati Vandanda is being played.

In recent times an alarming trend seems to be gathering momentum, in order to thwart the vigour of the nationalistic surge the so called secular element have bent on tarnishing the Hindu rise. There is all the palaver about "Aryan invasion", the continued filibustering with regard to the reconstruction of the Ram Mandir at Ramjanmabhoomi, incessant attempts at ridiculous minority appeasements and even attempts at tampering with historical records to show that Vedic Hindus ate beef, as absurd as that is. Dr. David Frawley, an American oriental scholar captured this most eloquently in his book ' The crisis in the psyche of India', he wrote, " The elite of India suffers from a fundamental alienation from the traditions and culture of the land that would be less poignant had they been born and raised in a hostile country. The ruling elite appears to be no more than a native incarnation of the old colonial rulers. This new English speaking aristocracy prides itself in being disconnected from the very soil and people that gave it birth. There is probably no other country in the world where it has become a national pastime among its educated class to denigrate its own culture and history, however great. When great archaeological discoveries of India's are found for example, they are not a subject for national pride but are ridiculed, as they represent only the imagination of backward chauvinistic elements within the culture". Frawley goes on to further exemplify this crisis " The dominant Indian intelligentsia cannot appreciate even the writings of many great modern writers, like Vivekanand or Aurobino, who wrote in good English and understood the national psyche and how to revive. It is as if they were so successfully brainwashed against their own culture that they cannot even look at it even if presented to them clearly in a modern light". How powerfully prophetic indeed was Macaulay's words. And what is India getting from this? A society which apes in subservience the aridity and virulence of Eurocentrism and Westism. A society which would be a faithful copy of the West: liberal, atheist and gluttonly materialist. Millions of western clones who wear a suit and tie, obsessed with Oprah and Dr Phil and swear by liberalism and secularism to save their country from doom. A generation of youth, whom you meet in Delhi's swank parties, who are full of the MTV culture, wear the latest Klein Jeans and Lacoste T shirts, and who in general are useless parasites.

Such is the havoc being wrought by the Macaulayite system of thinking perpetuated by this "Nehruvian brand of Secularism". Foreign domination has been a veritable curse, subject to which there was the continuous series of oppression and persecution under organized and well-planned brutality for long centuries, but this colonial mentality that hides conveniently beneath the veneer of pseudo secularism is having a similar if not more eviscerating impact. No wonder Naipaul titled his 1964 reflective and semi autobiographical account of a year in India as "An Area of Darkness" and his 1977 travelogue as " India: a Wounded Civilization". What does freedom mean? Is it only the freedom of the land from foreign domination, or is it the freedom of the people from slave mentality- freedom from the domination of foreign ideas and culture.

As I have indicated in my last letter, there is a mighty revolution boiling in the making with regard to the Indian psyche. Naipaul alluded to this in his more recent work "a million mutinies" and more directly in his article for the Los Angeles Times in 1996 he wrote "But every Indian knows precisely what is happening: Deep down he knows that a larger response is

emerging to their historical humiliation. The new Hindu attitude, the new sense of history being attained by Hindus, is not like Mohammedan fundamentalism. Which is essentially a negative, last-ditch effort to fight against a world it desperately wishes to join" and "In India the talent is prodigious, really, and it increases year by year. And in sheer numbers, in another 10 years, India will probably be one of the world's most intellectually gifted countries. The quality and the numbers are extraordinary, and I think this makes India extraordinary. But India shouldn't have fantasies about the past. The past is painful, but it should be faced. We should make ourselves see how far these old invasions and wars had beaten India down and how far we have come. I would say that India in the 18th century was pretty nearly a dead country. India has life now. India is living".

India, Hindu India, is eternal: conquests and defilements are but instants in time. Dr. Anne Besant founder of the International theosophical society and one of the world's greatest thinkers had this to say " Many are the religions and many are the races which are flourishing in India, but none of them stretches back into the far down as Hinduism does. Everyone might pass away as they came, and India would still remain. But let Hinduism vanish and what is left of India? A geographical expression of the past, a dim memory of the perished glory. Her history, her art, her monument all has Hinduism written across them. India lived before their coming. India would live after their passing. But let Hinduism go -Hinduism that was the cradle - and in that passing would be India's grave. Then would India, with India's religion, be but a memory as are Egypt and Babylon. India would remain then as a subject for the antiquarian, the archaeologist, a corpse for dissection, but no longer as object of patriotism, no longer a nation".

"All Obstacles and afflictions become eliminated by habituation to their contraries - energy follows thought" is what Patanjali teaches us in his aphorisms. It is directly driven by this conviction that the lion of Dharma is being re- enlivened, wherein the foxes of imperial deception will have to flee the peripheries of the Indian psychical condition. For much too long, Hindus have remained like a sleeping leviathan. India of the ages is not dead nor has she spoken her last creative word, she lives and has still something to do for herself and the human people. And that which we must now seek to awake is not an anglicized oriental people, docile pupil of the West, but still the ancient shakti recovering her deepest self, lifting her head higher towards the supreme source of light and strength and turning to discover the complete meaning and the vaster form of Dharma.

Yours faithfully,

Amar Panday

Editor's note

Naipaul appears in the second quotation to be celebrating the quality of education and of scientific achievement in India both of which are well recognised. Do they not spring from the secular tradition that Mr. Panday deplores?