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Idea of Bharatiya Exceptionalism- II

Idea of Bharatiya

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The Idea of Bharatiya Exceptionalism-I

Need to address and eliminate anti-narratives

Before understanding the Bharatiya narrative, it is important to disrupt the anti-narrative which is in vogue these days. There is a need to both reason out and eliminate anti narratives. If one wants to plant a flowering plant, it is necessary for one to remove weeds, pests etc. This constitutes disruption. The act of planting useful and flowering plants is construction.  We need a combination of both constructive and disruptive thoughts. It is not enough to just talk about positive things. In the absence of disruptive intervention (removing anti narratives), the positives die down.

The left in India is strong in the intellectual circles. I have analyzed and done purvapaksha of western thought. I have also analyzed the leftist ideology. Apart from this, I have analyzed the “Breaking India” forces in the book “Breaking India”. There it has been shown how there is a nexus of these forces with foreign inimical forces, religious multinationals, foundations, think tanks etc. Many Indians have joined forces with them and therefore are their sepoys. These sepoys work for money. Some of them have similar ideology with the foundations etc. But they are one in their purpose of breaking India.

At talks in the US, when I say I am representing India, or when I claim a certain idea to not be Indian, I am challenged by questions from people like: Whose India? Is it the Dalits’ India, Muslims’ India or the Brahmins’ India or the India where women get murdered? They are clear in their aim of dividing and breaking India. They will not accept that there is one idea of India. The term they use for this is “sub-nationalism”. Sub-nationalism means that there is no larger nation or a national identity at all but many small nations and sectarian identities. They also claim us to be wrong in imposing a single narrative on all those small nations. The studies of this nature are called subaltern studies and they seek to subdivide and break the grand Indian narrative.


Dialogue Between Rajiv Malhotra and Prof. R Vaidyanathan – Part B – Benefits Of Jati System

Dialogue Between Rajiv

(To read the first part of this dialogue,visit here)

Rajiv:Okay, so you mentioned the benefits of caste system are credit, market access and risk mitigation. Are there other aspects also?

Prof:Yeah. Risk mitigation, credit, market access and setting them up.

Rajiv:But weaknesses. They are not being acknowledged. Does this make you closed because you are only interacting with other people within the same community? So if somebody in China made a breakthrough, you don’t even know about it, you don’t worry about it, you think we are safe. Does it give you a false sense of security?

Prof:I would not say that because we did mention about China. Interestingly, Sivakasi is a place in Tamil Nadu whereNadarcommunity is one of the major business controlling groups. Two of their brothers went to China. And then they heard how these crackers are manufactured and used in China for their festivals etc. They came back, imported some machinery from China and set up their business.

Rajiv:So we’ll do some investigative work on competition and bring a lot of innovation.


Tolerance Isn’t Good Enough: The Need For Mutual Respect In Interfaith Relations

Tolerance Isnt Good Enough

Rajiv Malhotra advocates the term “tolerance” be replaced with “mutual respect.”

It is fashionable in interfaith discussions to advocate “tolerance” for other faiths. But we would find it patronizing, even downright insulting, to be “tolerated” at someone’s dinner table. No spouse would appreciate being told that his or her presence at home was being “tolerated.” No self-respecting worker accepts mere tolerance from colleagues. We tolerate those we consider inferior. In religious circles, tolerance, at best, is what the pious extend toward people they regard as heathens, idol worshippers or infidels. It is time we did away with tolerance and replaced it with “mutual respect.”

Religious tolerance was advocated in Europe after centuries of wars between opposing denominations of Christianity, each claiming to be “the one true church” and persecuting followers of “false religions.” Tolerance was a political “deal” arranged between enemies to quell the violence (a kind of cease-fire) without yielding any ground. Since it was not based on genuine respect for difference, it inevitably broke down.

My campaign against mere tolerance started in the late 1990s when I was invited to speak at a major interfaith initiative at Claremont Graduate University. Leaders of major faiths had gathered to propose a proclamation of “religious tolerance.” I argued that the word “tolerance” should be replaced with “mutual respect” in the resolution. The following day, Professor Karen Jo Torjesen, the organizer and head of religious studies at Claremont, told me I had caused a “sensation.” Not everyone present could easily accept such a radical idea, she said, but added that she herself was in agreement. Clearly, I had hit a raw nerve.


Dialogue Between Rajiv Malhotra and Prof. R Vaidyanathan – Part A – Benefits Of Jati System

Dialogue Between Rajiv Malhotra

Rajiv : I wanted to start by asking you about the Jati system. A very controversial topic, the moment you say Jati, people immediately jump on you and say oppression, ‘it’s very bad’, ‘Hindus are to be blamed’. Then Hindus get defensive and say no! But you have a very different view. You are saying that actually Jati structure is very good for the economy and it is not oppressive, it is actually protecting people. So can you elaborate on that?

Prof Vaidya: You brought up this interesting issue of the Jati system. I’ve always maintained two or three important things in this.

First thing is, when we talk about Jati, it doesn’t mean we talk about Caste discrimination. These two are totally different things. People immediately jump and then, second is I think you’ve been writing also, you know quite well that this whole idea of Caste is taken from Portuguese language, prior to this we were not having it. It was not hierarchical, it was made hierarchical with the British in order to suit their own idea of how Bharat should be viewed, because they have this in the Government service in Britain, the A, B, C, D classification, so which is one. If I recall correctly, in 1881, the first to Census, brought in this whole idea of Caste enumeration and hierarchically bringing it. If my numbers are right, some 1300 and odd castes were listed at that time. In 1881, first Census of Bharat, prior to this there was no regular census.

Rajiv: But Jati was different.


The Idea of Bharatiya Exceptionalism

The Idea of Bharatiya

Editor’s Note:This is Part 1 of the transcript of a lecture given by Rajiv Malhotra in a seminar organized by Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal

Namaste. On this auspicious Mahashivaratri Day, I am honored to be invited to share my thoughts in the presence of eminent thinkers. I want to discuss the idea of “Bharatiya Exceptionalism”. So I will explain what I mean by this term – “Bharatiya Exceptionalism”.

I lived in USA for 46 years and it’s very important to understand that Americans are so proud of something they call “American Exceptionalism”. So I studied this, then I started studying Chinese exceptionalism, Russian exceptionalism, Japanese exceptionalism and so on. And then I started asking what would be the equivalent for us and thus came the idea of “Bharatiya Exceptionalism”. Now American exceptionalism means – we the American people are exceptional, we are the best. We are the best in everything science, sports you name it, we are number one.

This aspect is taught to every American child from a young age in schools. Also this is not about an individual exceptionalism. These children are taught that the system is such that exceptional people are produced one after the other.

So the system is exceptional, not some individual here and there. American exceptionalism is saying that Americansanskritiitself is exceptional. Now this is a very great claim. So note that in US, both left wing as well as right wing, both of them agree that there is American exceptionalism. The Christian Right says it’s because of Bible, we are chosen people and America is a chosen land. In fact a famous statement by Jesus Christ was called “city upon a hill”. It means the ideal city is upon a hill, it shines for the whole world. So they have this idea from the Bible that there is a city on a hill. So for them, America is that city on a hill which has been narrated in the Bible. And then many Americans said that there is so much greenery, this is the Garden of Eden. In this way the idea of American exceptionalism is very deeply rooted in the Bible idea.


Fundamentals of the Sri Ram Temple at Ayodhya

Fundamentals of the

It is well-established by GPRS-directed excavations done under the Allahabad High Court monitoring and verification in 2002-03, that a large temple did exist below where Babri Masjid structure once stood. – Dr Subramanian Swamy

True and devout Hindus believe Lord Sri Rama was born in Ayodhya, the then capital of a flourishing kingdom of the Suryavamsa dynasty. Rama is venerated as Maryada Purushottam, and worshipped by Hindus of the north. As an avatar of Vishnu, he was first propagated by Tamil saints Nayanmars and Alwars; the north later came to accept Rama, especially thanks to the saint Tulsidas. In that sense, Sri Rama was the first truly national king of India, supra region, supra varna or jati.

The exact spot where Rama was born has been and remains firmly identified in the Hindu mind and is held as sacred. This is the very area where stood from 1528 till December 6, 1992, a structure that came to be known as Babri Masjid, put up in 1528 by Babar’s commander Mir Baqi.

Baqi was a Shia Muslim, and hence he intended it to be a place for Shias to perform namaz. Today, interestingly, the Shia clerics have made it clear to Hindu organisations that they would agree to have the site restored as a Ramjanmabhoomi. It is the Sunni Waqf Board, which entered the legal dispute as late as 1961, that has been claiming the title to the land on which the structure once stood. I call it a ‘structure’ since it cannot be strictly called a mosque by Sunni edicts — because it did not have the mandatory minarets and wazu (water pool).

In Skanda Purana (Chapter X, Vaishnav Khand) the site is vividly described. Valmiki Ramayana also describes it beautifully. Less than two decades before Mir Baqi carried out the horrible demolition of the Ram temple, Guru Nanak had visited the Ramjanmabhoomi and had darshan of Ramlala in the mandir at the spot. Guru Nanak himself records in 1521 the barbarity of Babar’s invasions (in Guru Granth Sahib at p.418). In Akbar’s time, Abul Fazal wrote the Ain-i-Akbari in which he describes Ayodhya as the place of “Ram Chandra’s residence who in Treta Yuga combined spiritual supremacy and kingship” (Translated by Colonel H S Jarrett and published in Kolkata in 1891).


The Root Of India-Pakistan Conflicts

The Root Of India-Pakistan Conflicts

It is commonly accepted as an article of faith that Kashmir is the root cause of all problems between India and Pakistan. I disagree with this premise, and wish to demonstrate that the ‘Kashmir issue’ is itself the result of a deeper root cause, which is a clash of two worldviews: pluralism versus exclusivism.

(It must be clarified that neither pluralism nor exclusivism is the same as secularism, because secularism denies the legitimacy of religion, seeing it at best as exotic culture, and at worst, as a scourge. On the other hand, pluralism and exclusivism both recognize and celebrate religion, but in entirely different ways.)