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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Skewed arguments in public domain

Before trying to address Hindu Bashing, a better understanding of dynamics of a typical discussion is essential. Here, the term world view is used to refer Hinduism, Christianity, Islam or Communism. While analyzing (or discussing) a world view, one of the following routes is taken to arrive at a conclusion.

1. A theoretically faulty framework need not be defended. It deserves to be discarded in favor of a better construct.

2. It is usually possible to suggest modifications to correct a faulty system. But then, the faultless edition is not the same as faulty version. For convenience and by consensus, both could be referred by the same name. If there is no consensus, such referece could create additional confusions. Insisting that they are same is seen as foolishness.

3.When something is wrong, either the understanding/principles are wrong or its application is done in a wrong way. Or both.When something goes wrong, associated theoretical framework is not immediately suspected / discarded. Typically, failure/faults will be attribted to implementation details. Simultaneously, the theoretical framework will be closely evaluated/analysed.

4.This approach is sensible as we should not be misguided by the undesirable results of a incorrect application of a good principle. But, stretching this approach too far by defending an unsound theory leads to undesirable results.

5. A fair principle, correctly applied may bring a situation which is not liked by the individuals involved. In that situation, it is not easy to see fairness of the principle by by those who are involved. Common good is achieved by disciplined individual adherents. Inability of individuals to follow principles may harm the greater common good.

6. On the otherhand, when a faulty system is followed strictly it creates a situation which is not desirable.

7. A system with many principles is typically viewed as a package. Either the package is accepted as a whole or completely discarded. Those who vouch for the package, selectively highlight or temporarily understate certain aspects to ward off attack on the package.

8. There is also a tendency to equate different world views, as a starting point as well as a conclusion of a discussion. Religious systems are considered by some as scientific. Some others dismiss these systems as unscientific.

Fairness demands application of above stated arguments in the same way to different systems (theories, value systems or packages). But unfortunately it is not so. The following is the summary of present day discussion around different world views.

Hinduism is considered as theoretically faulty because there are four varnas. Therefore there is no point in defending / following it. Excerpts from Manusmrithi is cited as a proof to show that women and shudras are discriminated. Untouchability is an inevitable consequence of Achara; shunning it, is the solution.

Soviet collapse, Chinese capitalism, Bengali underdevelopment, Naxal violence have demonstrated repeated failures of the Left. They are generally considered as implementation mistakes. There is not much problem in the theory behind it. Arguments are presented to blame caste feelings as an impediment to communism in its effort to establish a better society.

Inability to live harmoniously with non Muslims, inflexible world view, violent attitudes, Jihad and fatwas have created serious doubts about Islam; its theory and practice. But, Islam is portrayed as a synonym for peace and violence is viewed as a forced reaction from the Islamic society. Suggesting changes to Islamic way of life is a proof that they are pressurized by others. Their anger and revolt is a result of suppression of their identity.

Fixation over conversions, retrograde role played historically - during holocost, against scientists, persecution and colonialism, drive against condoms, women, controversies around child abuse, sex scandals are the challenges faced by the Church. But Church organizations are being appreciated for their leading role in education, health and humanitarian gestures. They are helping Dalits suppressed by Hinduism, When they are doing so much for the society, why should not they attempt to spread their world view?

Thus, the approach of analysis towards different world views (Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Communism) is skewed.

[Contributed by SS and VS]

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