Saturday, March 20, 2010

A possible deconvolution for the convoluted logic of RSS: What Mohan Bhagwat could have said ....

In a recent blog entry the chief of RSS, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat (MB) was criticised for saying: He who is an Indian is a Hindu and he who is not a Hindu is not an Indian.

A long and winding debate ensued. It was desirable to retain the informal notions related to the words Hindu and Indian, and yet certain specificity was needed for precision, unambiguousness and substantiveness.

Mr. Thammayya, in one of his comments, had asked: Hey, I have another suggestion. What do you think, MB should have told? Interesting to know this.

I have recently outlined an abstract version of Hindu-WOL (Hindu Way of Life), terming it, for various reasons, Sanatana Dharma. In light of this article, here is my take on what MB could have said:


One of the essential underpinnings of an open and free mind regarding religious truths is: There can be points of view regarding the Truth and the ways of attaining the Truth which are seemingly quite different from the ones I uphold but are equally valid.

Hindus pursue and practice such openness and freedom.

A belief in exclusive monopoly regarding religious truths and/or insistence on one's concrete details regarding the same, is inconsistent with this notion of freedom.

India, in our view, is a home-nation for Hindus. Those who are not Hindus are not legitimately Indian.



0. The term Hindu is not defined comprehensively here. And yet, whatever is essential for the political debate is captured in terms of the concepts of openness and freedom.

For example:
a. The term Hindu is free from geographical, racial, linguistic, regional connotations and overtones.

b. So there can be Hindus residing as citizens of other nations.

1. Similarly, India, although not defined comprehensively, is hinted in the last sentence, to be the current geopolitical entity, whose citizens we are. This suffices for the political debate.

For example:

a. The term India is free from racial, linguistic, and regional connotations and overtones.

b. Those, who are currently residing in India as citizens but do not honor this openness and freedom are termed illegitimate citizens.

This allows us to use the terms "Hindu" and "India" with specificity necessary for the relevant aspects of political debate, while retaining the same informal notions regarding these words, which most of us may entertain.

Nonetheless, this is still a tentative version, and is open to be improved upon. Readers' suggestions are welcome.

Interestingly, a Dutch Politician, Geert Wilders has said many things which RSS could have, and should have articulated long long ago. Some of these are, I have provided links obtained from the same wikipedia page: "not tolerate the intolerant", "Ban Koran like Mein Kampf", and "There might be moderate muslims, but there is no moderate Islam".

However, as I have repeatedly alleged, owing to intellectual lethargy among those who are supposed to provide India with political leadership, these things have not happened here in India.


  1. I have a comment to be made here. It is a known/agreed fact that Hinduism got its prominence in a geographical area which is in the subcontinent. Some of those prominent geographical entities are today part of Geo Political India.

    For e.g
    1) The birth place of River Saraswati which was once treated as the lifeline and famously known for the birth of the Indus-Saraswati civilization(It is said that Vedas have been written during its lifetime).

    2) Some of the excavated Sites of Indus - Saraswati civilization which are currently part of India-GP. Some of them are also part of today's Pakistan.

    3) Varanasi - Which is one of the centers of Hindu learning is currently in India-GP.

    4) Ayodhya/Dwaraka which are mentioned as places of historical significance w.r.t Hindu culture are part of India - GP

    Apart from the above points there are numerous historical and archaeological temples (more than 1000 yrs old) where still deities are being worshiped according to Hindu tradition.

    From the above examples what we can derive is that the land which is currently India - GP had supported the Indus - Sarasawti civilization which has been treated as the era when most of Hinduism related documentation has been done.

    I will come back with more details in the coming days...

  2. It is not advisable to tie the essential principles of Sanatana Dharma to current, and a provisional view point pertaining to history.

    For instance, if it turns out that the Patala of Puranas is in Latin America and a part of the Veds were composed there, then would we have to rewrite our understanding of the essential principles?

    I agree with samAlochaka's line wherein he has decoupled "essential principles" from wherever they were discovered or composed.

    One can, of course, have an investigation into the historical origins of Sanatana Dharma, and in that pursuit, Arya's observations would be important and highly relevant.

    Just to explain further: even though it is a fact that most of modern science as we know it was discovered and documented in "western countries", we do not associate "science" with "the west". It is conceded that there are anthropologists or social scientists, who associate "science" with "western social paradigm". However, it is also true that this is only one point of view in anthropology and sociology; and is not very relevant to the "understanding of principles of science" in itself.

    The appreciation of the law of gravity is independent of whether it was discovered in England, France, or by Newton or someone else.

  3. @Anonymous: I agree to the point that the contribution made either in Science/Sanatana Dharma should not be associated with the current, and a provisional view point pertaining to history.

    But there are certain fundamentals which were developed in India which require recognition. For e.g: Origin of Trigonometry can be attributed to the subcontinent. So in such cases it is necessary to give recognition to such fundamentals which were developed once in this geographical region. But it does not mean only we will be using or evolving trigonometry. It is open to entire world.

    Even today the subject of Trade Mark in IPR dates back to Indus Valley Civilization which is a fact to be highlighted to give recognition to the people who were part of that era.

    We can see similar recognition given to people/area of other countries where inventions/innovations have been happened.

    The need for recognition is there because of the conditions political/social that existed when the invention/innovation happened in that part of the area. The political/social conditions directly influence the on going work.

    Comments welcomed

  4. Arya,

    We are digressing here. I am not undermining the importance of History, or regaining/gaining pride in the "Indian" History.

    It is just that I do not want this aspect to cast a shadow on the understanding of Sanatana Dharma.

    Rajiv Malhotra and his The infinity Foundation are doing lots of work on this aspec, where "foreigners" have co-opted "hindu" knowledge and beliefs and have passed it off as their own.

    Samalochaka, incidentally has mentioned this cop-opting in regards to Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and so on in an other post "Hinduism, Sanatana Dharma, ... Truth Based Civilization".