Avoiding 5 common mistakes when defending Hinduism

The primary background to this thread can be found in this storify exchange between Rajiv Malhotra and Tavleen Singh and in this thread which captures the whole plagiarism issue which was raised with Sanjeev Sanyal and which has since been resolved amicably..

Rajiv summarizes five mistakes that need to be avoided when defending Hinduism. He says:

Mistake 1Dont criticize someone who is a "fellow Indian". 

This was cited by a supporter of Sanjeev Sanyal recently. However, Maoists are also fellow Indians, are they not? The kauravs/pandavs were fellow brothers, right? So how does defending dharma have anything to do with giving a free pass just because someone is a fellow Indian. Conversely, being a non-Indian does not make a person our enemy or a problem. Defending Hinduism is not about race. Hinduism is not racism.

Mistake 2As long as the person is anti-evangelists and pro-Hinduism we must accept whatever he says..

According to this logic, Moron Smriti and other leadership issues facing Hindus should not be discussed. After all, all morons and incompetent leaders do lash out against evangelists, and they do take pro-Hindu stands. I find many Hindu  forums only capable of discussing "positive" topics and want to stay away from genuine problem-solving.

Such a policy tolerates incompetence. It is precisely why we face such a leadership crisis - lack of quality controls on leadership. By far the largest part of my Kshatriyata workshops is on the epidemic of internal leadership rot, and not on external problems caused by others. Hindus have stopped challenging the incompetence of other Hindus, and tend to go long with whosoever leads them, as long as the person says a few standard "positive" things that make us "feel good". We run the risk of becoming a tradition of the morons, by the morons, for the morons.

Mistake 3Better to be ignorable, dont rock the boat; dont confront problems.

My entire writing career has focused precisely on issues where our own leaders are misinformed, or not informed at all. But there is resistance when one tries to educate Hindus about a serious problem they did not know. 

Example: Wendy Doniger was completely unknown to Hindu leaders when I started my criticisms of her cabal in the late 1990s. I heard all sorts of nonsense from Hindus who were disinterested in my work, or even asking me to stop it, like:
  • They are unimportant, so lets not waste time; truth will triumph anyway; we know the truth in our hearts; all path will ultimately lead the person to the same final goal;
  • Let us not stir things up, since we are doing so well in our personal careers; if we highlight such problems we will attract attention and spoil our image, maybe even get in trouble. (i.e. policy to remain ignorable.)
Same thing happened when I raised the Breaking India issues. In fact, the late B. Raman, who used to be head of counter-terrorism at RAW, had initially agreed to write the foreword to Breaking India. We knew each other and exchanged emails. He asked me to send him the draft when ready. But when he saw the draft he changed his mind. He also refused to attend the book launch. In fact, the publisher was informed at the last minute to remove his name from the program. Why? because BI was considered too sensational by him. Imagine such a top intelligence official being afraid to face the problems. I tried to convince him that he was free to be on the panel and disagree with my book. But he did not want to be linked to it at all. Almost as if Big Brother is watching us.

The slave APP downloaded in many Indians, triggers the desire to be non-confrontational, seeking the path of least resistance to deal with situations.

Mistake 4Distributing whatever limited knowledge we have is all important; serious R&D to discover and develop newknowledge is unimportant.

This means my type of work can suffer, but let the plagiarists not be discouraged because they are "spreading positive ideas". We need them no matter what. Such a posture shows lack of appreciation for the critical need to encourage fresh thinking. 

This mentality encourages leaders to be rewarded based on "hustling" and "networking" and "showing off". In my workshops, I give numerous examples of this syndrome. Most such leaders are ill informed of the major issues we face. Their subject matter expertise is abysmal, often to the point of causing us harm when they speak. They can at best copy-paste the latest statements that some serious thinker has made, and use it in their next speech or blog as their own idea. Fools leading bigger fools does not comprise a kshatriya army.

Mistake 5Support even those who might deeply undermine Hinduism by their intellectual positions, as long as on the surface they "say positive things about us", and make us "feel good".

People who facilitate digestion tend to say good things about what they are digesting. (You dont hate the food you want to eat.) Many of our leaders cannot recognize digestion and see it as a form of praise/support. The digesters have studied us well and learned to exploit these vulnerabilities.

Pollock represents a different sub-category. He is NOT wanting to digest. He is undermining Sanskrit in the deepest way that I have seen anyone do. Yet on the surface he is championing the revival of sanskrit studies, etc. My job is to first thoroughly understand his works, and then to simplify for my readers the arguments he makes, and my response to it. 

My biggest challenge here is to get people's attention span. All they care about is that he wears a dhoti with tilak on his forehead, quotes some sanskrit verses, says what a great language it is, and so forth. Applause! Awards! Funding!

Indians being starved for self respect, cannot hold back their love and enthusiasm when they hear this. Notice the huge success he has had in winning the hearts and pocketbooks of top tier Indian elites. Its their way to "feel proud" and remove the guilt they carry for betraying their dharma. He fills a unique void in their psychology.

Such Indians/Hindus see me as someone on the wrong side. They see me creating an embarrassment by criticizing their hero. Notice the reaction from Tavleen Singh, despite the fact that she and Ajit Gulabchand were extremely appreciative of Invading the Sacred. She wrote a great editorial on it after interviewing me. He was on stage when it was launched and gave a major speech.

My own policies:
  • Stick to the issues and ignore the personalities involved. If the substance of someone's work is wrong, it must be criticized regardless of what kind of person they are.
  • Look at the deeper layers and not the surface of a situation.
  • Do serious problem-solving, and do not see the work as a "feel good" psychotropic drug.
  • Be non-ignorable, audacious, willing to take the heat. (But only after doing a lot of homework to make sure I am on a solid foundation which I can defend.)
  • Reject offers of help that are likely to let me down somewhere along the way.
  • Most important, be rooted in sadhana, and let the prerna flow and be the driving force.
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