Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Hinduism and Indian secularism

Hinduism applauds diversity and consequently accepts that people of different temperaments, circumstances and levels of understanding develop different viewpoints and different forms to express event the same viewpoint.

The fundamental mistake of Indian secularism is that Hinduism is put in the same category as Islam and Christianity. The definition of "religion" which is implied when we call Islam and Christianity religions, may well not apply to Hinduism, and vice versa. Islam and Christianity are defined, by believers as well as by informed outsiders as belief systems; Hinduism is not so defined (except by incompetent outsiders and some of their neo-Hindu imitators who try to cast Hinduism into the mould of Christianity. Islam's and Christianity's intrinsic irrationality and hostility to independent critical thought warranted secularism as a kind of containment policy. By contrast, Hinduism recognizes freedom of thought and does not need to be contained by secularism.

Historically, Hindus have quickly recognized Islam and Christianity as mleccha, barbaric predatory religions, not as instances of Dharma to which any respect is due. Until Swami Dayananda Saraswati, they didn't even consider these religions as worthy of a detailed critique. Hinduism as a whole gives a place in the sun to all. It never was anti-logical nor anti-realistic; therefore, it never required people to muzzle both their rational faculty and their temperamental inclinations.

The Christian Church must be counted among Hindutva's most determined enemies. Much of the negative image, which the BJP has acquired internationally, is due to the lasting powerful impact of the Churches on the information stream concerning the Third World. In quarrels between the Hindutva forces and the Muslims or the secularists, the Christian institutions are invariably on the anti-Hindu side. There are also Christian armed separatist movements in Nagaland and Mizoram, which are openly supported by the World Council of Churches and by a number of Catholic institutions.

(source: Bharatiya Janata Party vis-a-vis Hindu Resurgence - By Koenraad Elst p. 9-10 and 105).


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