"Rajiv Malhotra acknowledges in his book, inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi; Mahatma Gandhi used to sing in his public prayer meetings, "Ishwar Allah Tere Naam..."; Gandhi was a stalwart of the Independence Movement; so something does
not square up here, I request that the writer reconsider his logic."
Obviously this is not the first time such a proposal has come.
But it is fallacious. It assumes that if you reject position X of someone on a given issue then you must necessarily reject that person's position Y on a different issue. It is like a physicist (such as Arun) saying that since one disagrees with a particular theory of a scientist then one must reject everything written by that scientist.
I have been ... one of the first to point out in these egroup the fallacy of "Allah = Ishwar" and have mentioned Gandhi and many others for this flaw. I doubt he has read BD: In BD I
also name Baba Ramdev for saying that Aum = Allah = Amen, and I point out that as explained in Patanjali's Yogasutra, Aum is non-translatable. It is a vibration, not a concept that can be arbitrarily substituted with something else. So I definitely understand the falsity of equating such things.
Now my "use" of Gandhi is very careful, and by no means a blanket endorsement. (I do NOT given any human a blanket endorsement because I believe in making my own assessment on each claim on its individual merits.) What Arun needs to do
(after reading BD) is to point out specifically where and for what purpose I invoke Gandhi, and then criticize that per se. For instance, I give Gandhi credit for doing purva paksha of the British Empire in his 1909 book, "Hind Swaraj" that was one of the earliest works to launch the independence movement. I also cite him as an example of someone wanting to remain non-digestible into English language (so he coined a whole vocabulary of non-translatables like svaraj, satyagraha, swadhyay, svadharma, etc. in terms of which he explained to
his followers, rather than using the English substitutes), or his dress or eating, or his lifestyle amongst the Indians, etc.
"Not to forget that so many western-educated Indians have mixed feelings or relatively little attention for their creed. They are vaguely embarrassed by the "polytheistic", "idol worshipping" label and often take refuge in some sort of secular Buddhism or universal mysticism with few specific cultural characteristics. By the way this is also the way most Westerners feel about their own Christian birth-faith. Secularism has yielded this result in most parts of the world."
Ram asks searching questions:
"Indian academics in India itself and abroad, have not done more for the Indian cause and the Hindu cause for various reasons, of which the main one is painfully simple. They do not see it as their job to do something dangerous like reversing the gaze on their western teachers and hosts.
The academic's job is to advance himself by research and teaching within the accepted borders and parameters, and doing a purva paksha of the west or western models is not part of the game.
We Indians from the Caribbean (two million by the way) have been in the West a long time and have seen many of ours become academics and professionals since the fifties of the last century. We have been holding Indian conferences of academics since the seventies, and seen loads of papers, books and seminars taking place. I would say less than one percent, maybe less than one tenth of one percent. That's less than one in a thousand.
The next question would be even simpler. Why? We know the answer well- it's because academics are generally not brave people. They are not iconoclasts, questioners of the established order. They are conventionalists, system clones with no appetite for making waves. They are not keen to threaten their lucrative and high status posts by screaming out that the emperor has no clothes. Especially not for the sake of lowly and despised ordinary Indians, the pool from which they emerged. The academics, like the professionals, try to stay as far away from the ordinary Indians as possible, physically and intellectually and socially too. They have been digested by the academic establishment of the west and turned into the caricature coconut- brown outside, but white inside.
You would do well to expect little from them in the future, and you will understand why we have got so little from Indian academics in the past 60 years. But you will get attacks from them galore as they gaze with horror on us "unqualified" amateurs attempting to bring about social change for the downtrodden Indians and Hindus. We can say with conviction that Indian academics have played only a miniscule role in the many social, cultural and political movements among Indians, the ones that brought about significant social change.
In addition, academics tend to be fiercely loyal to the disciplines, the institutions and the countries in which they were trained, and would normally consider it heresy to even dream of "criticizing" the system that gave them their treasured status in life. Rajiv is fortunate indeed in that he is self taught, and escaped the institutional treadmill that creates so many useless (to us Indians and Hindus) Indian academics.
It's a fair question to ask: What percent of those academics have attempted anything remotely like Rajiv Malhotra?"
Mukund responds to Ram:
Mukund's response to Ram: What you are telling about Academicians is cent percent correct. They find their discipline more important (than anything else). This is mainly because they are blank in any of the other subjects/disciplines. That is the effect of Education System of Lord Macauley and developed by Descartes. The Education has been broken down in subjects and thereby your thinking gets restricted to the subject/discipline. You do not get knowledge since knowledge consists of integrated outcome of all (possible) subjects. That
is the problem with the modern education system.
How true! I just finished presenting my talk at the Vedanta Congress that is being held in Delhi. Did it via Skype. There was a lively Q&A in which the final comment from an Indian academic was precisely that my book fails to comply with established methodologies. I replied that his was a colonial mindset - to fence Indian minds into "sanctioned and approved methodologies of the humanities" each of which is imported from the west - marxism, subaltern studies, postmodernism, etc. I told him that I refuse to be
in a box defined by others, and that he should think of the methodologies I use (each chapter is almost a separate book with its own distinct methodology) as my original methodologies. I am under no obligation to comply with his kind of colonial mindset. I am told he is some senior/important professor so I might have offended him, but that's the way it goes. "
While I like the distinctions that Rajiv has defined to distinguish the Brahmanical philosophy from that of the Judeo-Christian, there may be another fundamental point of distinction: Cyclical (in the Brahminical) vs. Linear
Progression (in Judeo-Christian)
First, lets not call it Brahmanical as thats a colonial term meant to de-legitimize dharma by calling it the construction by some evil/wily brahmins. It would be like calling Christianity "Pope-ism" for instance. BD explains the shrutis are a-purusheya (authorless), hence not some texts constructed by brahmins. .... its already factored in chapter 2's notion of about history-centrism and the linearity of prophetic revelations, and contrasted with karma-reincarnation.