RMF Summary: Week of November 21 - 27, 2011

November 22
Vert successful book events in Coimbatore
We have had 3 events in this city. 1) Amrit university - run by Amma, the famous hugging guru. There were 500 students and faculty and the q&a was excellent....

November 22
Book Review: Being Different - An Indian Challenge to Western Univer
*Book Review: Being Different - An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism* http://www.bizindia.net/news/News.asp?newsID=680&catID=65 Book Review: Being...

This is a very interesting post. Too bad it did not get more attention (perhaps due to BD ideas still be understood by readers). It appears that Sardar Patel's idea of "secularism" was based on Dharmic Integral unity, whereas Nehru's was based on Western Synthetic Unity [and a foolish DU prof appears to celebrates this !!].
November 27
Secularism & Being Different
Ravi shares:
"In interview excerpt attached below answer by DU prof Neerja Singh showcases the confusion in the modern Indian intellectual mind regarding secularism. Sardar Patels' inbuilt Dharmic unitive notion of secularism is being contrasted with the "imported but scientific" secularism of Nehru, and both are judged as equal.

To clarify this confusion, the Being Different book, in Ch3, clearly compares & contrasts the synthetic unity that Western philosophers cobble together, with the unity via first-principles that is built into the dharmic socio-religio-philosophic structure. (Western secularism is basically born out of contextual expediency where the Church's wings were clipped and it was removed from it's historical position of absolute power). See below excerpt:

BD:"..   Integral unity means that ultimately only the whole exists; the parts that make up the whole have but a relative existence. (For a more technical discussion of this complex point, see Appendix A.) The metaphor that has been used to illustrate the nature of this unity is of a smile in relation to a face: A smile cannot exist separately from the face; it is dependent and contingent on the face. However, the face has an independent existence, whether it smiles or not. ...

Synthetic unity starts with parts that exist separately from one another. For example, the parts of an automobile exist separately until they are assembled into a single vehicle. Similarly, in classical physics the cosmos is viewed as an assemblage of separate elementary particles. The problem then becomes how to make them cohere by outside forces (rather than seeking a coherence that is inherent). Given this starting point, it is no accident that Judeo-Christian religious practices such as prayer or obedience are focused outside of the self, because the self, according to these traditions, is independent and separate from others. The way to overcome this essential separateness is to find ways to bond with the other..."

Interview segment:

How would you describe their (Nehru & Patel's) ideas of secularism? Were there differences in perception of the idea of secularism too?

Patel was thoroughly secular, as secular as Nehru was. The difference was that Nehru believed in scientific secularism, that is, he did not give importance or preference to any one particular religion in secularism.

But for Patel the root of secularism lay in Indian traditions, in Bhakti tradition. Just like Kabir, who was also secular, right? Patel never disjointed religion out of secularism. His ideas, idioms, metaphors, and language, were all deeply rooted in the Indian tradition. But both were equally secular.

Nehru was able to articulate his views in a larger frame because of his worldly exposure; that was also his advantage he could put things in the perspective of world history. There was an aura of intellectualism attached to Nehru; he was multi-dimensional, whereas Patel was single mindedly focused on the consolidation of the princely states.

Patel's advantage was that he was very focused and was a realist. Nehru was never perceived to be identified by any one ethnic or religious group, caste; he was considered to be close to all social, religious, caste and cultural groups. Patel was identified closely with Gujarat.

Full interview."


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