Pseudo-Secularism

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.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

On ignoring history

By V.S. Naipaul

(This write-up is a compilation by Dr Dinesh Agarwal based on Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul’s views on the subject expressed at various fora.)

"How do you ignore history? But the nationalist movement, Independence movement ignored it. You read the Glimpses of World History by Jawaharlal Nehru, it talks about the mythical past and then it jumps the difficult period of the invasions and conquests. So you have Chinese pilgrims coming to Bihar, Nalanda and places like that. Then somehow they don’t tell you what happens, why these places are in ruin. They never tell you why Elephanta island is in ruins or why Bhubaneswar was desecrated.”

“People in India have only known tyranny. The very idea of liberty is a new idea. Particularly pathetic is the harking back to the Mughals as a time of glory. In fact, the Mughals were tyrants, every one of them. They were foreign tyrants and they were proud of being foreign.”

“India has been a wounded civilisation because of Islamic violence. Pakistanis know this; indeed they revel in it. It is only Indian Nehruvians like Romila Thapar who pretend that Islamic rule was benevolent. We should face facts: Islamic rule in India was at least as catastrophic as the later Christian rule. The Christians created massive poverty in what was a most prosperous country; the Muslims created a terrorised civilization out of what was the most creative culture that ever existed.”

“India was wrecked and looted, not once but repeatedly by invaders with strong religious ideas, with a hatred for the religion of the people they were conquering. People read these accounts but they do not imaginatively understand the effects of conquest by an iconoclastic religion.”

“India became the great land for Muslim adventurers and the peasantry bore this on their back. They were enslaved quite literally. It just went on like this from the 11th century onwards.” (source: Economic Times; www.economictimes.com).

“The millennium began with the Muslim invasions and the grinding down of the Hindu-Buddhist culture of the north. This is such a big and bad event that people still have to find polite, destiny-defying ways of speaking about it. In art books and history books, people write of the Muslims “arriving” in India, as though the Muslims came on a tourist bus and went away again. The Muslim view of their conquest of India is a truer one. They speak of the triumph of the faith, the destruction of idols and temples, the loot, the carting away of the local people as slaves, so cheap and numerous that they were being sold for a few rupees. The architectural evidence—the absence of Hindu monuments in the north—is convincing enough. This conquest was unlike any other before. There are no Hindu records of this period. Defeated people never write their history. The victors write the history. The victors were Muslims. For people on the other side it is a period of darkness.”

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.

On Hindu militancy and India’s secularism

“To say that India has a secular character is being historically unsound. Dangerous or not, Hindu militancy is a corrective to the history I have been talking about. It is a creative force and will be so. Islam can’t reconcile with it.”

On Hindu revivalism

“India was trampled over, fought over. You had the invasions and you had the absence of a response to them. There was an absence even of the idea of a people, of a nation defending itself. Only now are people beginning to understand that there has been a great vandalising of India. The movement is now from below. It has to be dealt with. It is not enough to abuse these youths or use that fashionable word from Europe, ‘fascism’. There is a big, historical development going on in India.” (carribeanhindu.com).

“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.”

“Indian intellectuals have a responsibility to the state and should start a debate on the Muslim psyche. To speak of Hindu fundamentalism, is a contradiction in terms, it does not exist. Hinduism is not this kind of religion. You know, there are no laws in Hinduism. And there are many forces in Hinduism... My interest in these popular movements is due to the pride they restore to their adherents in a country ravaged by five or six centuries of brutal rule by Muslim invaders. These populations, in particular the peasantry, have been so crushed that any movement provides a certain sense of pride. The leftists who claim that these wretched folk are fascists are wrong. It’s absurd. I think that they are only reclaiming a little of their own identity. We can’t discuss it using a Western vocabulary.”

“I think every liberal person should extend a hand to that kind of movement from the bottom. One takes the longer view than the political view. There’s a great upheaval in India and if you’re interested in India, you must welcome it.”

“What is happening in India is a new, historical awakening. Gandhi used religion in a way as to marshal people for the Independence cause. People who entered the Independence movement did it because they felt they would earn individual merit. Only now are the people beginning to understand that there has been a great vandalising of India. Because of the nature of the conquest and the nature of Hindu society such understanding had eluded Indians before.” (indolink.com)

“India became the great land for Muslim adventurers and the peasantry bore this on their back. They were enslaved quite literally. It just went on like this from the 11th century onwards.”

On demolition of Babri structure

“Not as badly as the others did, I am afraid. The people who say that there was no temple are missing the point. Babar, you must understand, had contempt for the country he had conquered. And his building of that mosque was an act of contempt. In Ayodhya, the construction of a mosque on a spot regarded as sacred by the conquered population was meant as an insult to an ancient idea, the idea of Ram, which was two or three thousand years old.” (The Times of India, July 18, 1993).

On the attire of the people who demolished Babri structure

“One needs to understand the passion that took them on top of the domes. The jeans and the T-shirts are superficial. The passion alone is real. You can’t dismiss it. You have to try to harness it. Hitherto in India, the thinking has come from the top. What is happening now is different. The movement is from below.” (The Times of India, July 18, 1993).

On the Taj Mahal

“The Taj is so wasteful, so decadent and in the end so cruel that it is painful to be there for very long.” (Outlook, 15 November 1999).

“You see, I am less interested in the Taj Mahal which is a vulgar, crude building, a display of power built on blood and bones. Everything exaggerated, everything overdone, which suggests a complete slave population. I would like to find out what

was there before the Taj Mahal.” (economictimes.indiatimes.com, 13 January 03)

On Islam

Naipaul says that Islam had enslaved and attempted to wipe out other cultures. “It has had a calamitous effect on converted peoples. To be converted you have to destroy your past, destroy your history. You have to stamp on it, you have to say ‘my ancestral culture does not exist, it doesn’t matter’.” (Guardian News Service)

“It is not the unbeliever as the other person so much as the remnant of the unbeliever in one’s customs and in one’s ways of thinking. It’s this wish to destroy the past, the ancient soul, the unregenerate soul. This is the great neurosis of the converted.” (The New York Times Magazine, 28.10.01)

“I had known Muslims all my life. But I knew little of their religion. The doctrine, or what I thought was its doctrine, didn’t attract me. It didn’t seem worth inquiring into; and over the years, in spite of travel, I had added little to the knowledge gathered in my Trinidad childhood. The glories of this religion were in the remote past; it has generated nothing like a Renaissance. Muslim countries, were not colonies, were despotisms; and nearly all, before oil, were poor.” (From his book Among the Believers, 1981)

“India was wrecked and looted, not once but repeatedly by invaders with strong religious ideas, with a hatred for the religion of the people they were conquering. People read these accounts but they do not imaginatively understand the effects of conquest by an iconoclastic religion.”

On non-fundamentalist Islam

“I think it is a contradiction. It can always be called up to drown and overwhelm every movement. The idea in Islam, the most important thing, is paradise. No one can be a moderate in wishing to go to paradise. The idea of a moderate state is something cooked up by politicians looking to get a few loans here and there.” (The New York Times Magazine, 28.10.01)

On formation of Pakistan

Naipaul considers Pakistan’s founding “extremely fortunate” for India as the “religious question would otherwise have paralysed and consumed the state”.

“The Iqbal idea that religion wasn’t a matter of conscience, that it needed a separate community and society, was a wicked and rather foolish idea.”

Naipaul calls Pakistan a “criminal” enterprise. “Here is a Muslim country which after its creation in 1947 promptly became a state of manpower exports. Lots of people came to Britain. The idea of a state for the Muslims began to undo itself very quickly.”

Naipaul’s advice to every Indian

Naipaul has advised every Indian to make a “pilgrimage” to Vijaynagar “just to see what the (Muslim) invasion of India led to. They will see a totally destroyed town.”

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1 Comments:

At 1/09/2006 04:45:00 AM, Blogger Vinayak said...

Hi !

While some of your views were extreme and I do NOT accept violence,

Your blog lead me to think of India and India's image in the world arena.

Leftists and their cohorts seem to be attacking and maligning Indians regularly. they want us look like a bride burning civilization

To counter this, do Indians lack organizations that promote India in the International arena, that boost our public image ?

India, a multicultural society, contributed immensely to Society (say our Dharma), Knowledge (right from Ship Building, Sashtras to Mathematics, Avaita), and political science (Arthashashtra for e.g.), medicine (ayurveda) over 2 millennium

However, thanks to the invasions and colonial legacy, we were stuck with a curry and snake charmers image for a few 100 years. Even now we seemed to have shaken that thanks to Info Tech and IT pros.

Be it politics or social issues, Why do Indians whip ourselves in public ? Look at the Ramdev Issue. We don't need Witzels and outsiders to smear us

Are we turning into a self hating civilization or is our media Left and anti Indian ?

More at
Gudia, a Muslim girl and Ramdev ji, a Hindu male !!


Vinayak

 

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