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Rajiv Malhotra’s article “Can Hindus Self-Govern Competitively? Lessons from the Nithyananda Scandal” was criticized in the previous blog for its adharmikata and indiscriminate admiration of ‘church’. It was also noted that the object of any study affects the student in subtle ways and that this may explain the considerable influence of ‘church’ in Malhotra’s positions, which, as per his article, has been the object of his study for over a decade.
The subsequent comments received on that blog reveals that intolerance to criticism, a hallmark of ‘church’, has been faithfully imbibed by the student alongwith other tools of subterfuge.
Instead of focusing on the adharmik positions he had taken in his article and introspecting, Malhotra starts off by questioning whether his critic wants to abandon what he ingeniously terms ‘tradition’, referring to purva-paksha.
purva-paksha has been explained in simple terms by a commenter Divya at unrelated discussions elsewhere on the web in the following manner-
“There was also an important concept of purva-paksha or studying your opponents viewpoint thoroughly before engaging in debate and thus the level of debates was very sophisticated.”
“About purva-paksha. This is a tool used within the various indigenous darshanas. While I seriously recommend that all hindus try and understand the nature of xtianity and islam, I also hold that no argument or debate is possible between the indic traditions and the abrahamic traditions since they are faith-based. How can you possibly argue with a claim that God made the world and this is true because the Bible says so and the Bible is the word of God? So I’m delighted that you remembered the point about purva-paksha, but it is applicable only within the indic traditions since a dialog with faith-based traditions is sterile from the indic point of view. The other point about purva-paksha to note is that this tool was employed with the purpose of winning a debate. If you are interested in purva-paksha it will only serve your purpose if you tackle the solid points of the philosophy and not just go looking around for stuff to ridicule.”
In short, purva-paksha is the arguments from the opposing side that a debater puts forth, which he then refutes using reasoning to consolidate his position.
Malhotra attempts some skillful jugglery to suggest that (a) his study of ‘church’ is for purva-paksha, (b) that by disparaging his study his critics may be going against traditions and (c) that his study is the sole means by which a proper response can be made to ‘church’.
Citing some ‘authority’ to justify their mis-deeds is a frequent technique of church people. The student here emulates his teacher, attempting to use ‘tradition’ as the authority, to justify his study of ‘church’.
What he fails to note is that whatever means he uses to justify his pursuit, the fact that he is considerably influenced by the church system, his object of study, evident in his article, cannot be wished away. That is the reality he has to face and remedy, which he fails to do when he instead chooses to launch attack on critics.
The study of the ‘other’ may be useful. What needs to be kept in mind is that at the end of it the student should not be so influenced that he loses his sense of dharma.
Guidance or monitoring by somebody who is not directly involved in the study may be necessary whenever such endeavours are undertaken, in order to forestall adverse results.
Further, at the end of it the student must let go of the others’ tools, methods and perspectives that he may have adopted during his study, in order to gain back dharmic perspective.
While the study of church system may increase knowledge of the student, the contention that it would help in doing purva-paksha of church position is contestable, because the church is built upon false claims to being the sole representative of one ‘almighty’ ‘god’. All their positions, floating on this lie, are chimeric and meant to mislead. Effective purva-paksha is not possible with such illusory positions.
Putting up straw man arguments and countering them is a deplorable tactic that the ‘learned student’ indulges in as he condemn what he calls ‘closed minded Indians, who have very little understanding of the external world discourse other than pop culture and superficial ideas heard through casual contact – from barber shops to TV news to desi parties’. He mentions what some such ‘supposed intellectuals’ had ‘felt’ regarding the study of others when he raised the matter at an event in Delhi. The learned student’s depreciatory efforts in that direction turns out to be a poor parody of purva-paksha.
Specific lines from Shri Malhotra’s article were cited in the previous blog to substantiate the conclusions there. Yet he refused to consider them and repeatedly asked for further ‘proof’ for the conclusions. Pakistan too asks for ‘proof’ perennially from India for their complicity in terrorist acts.
He also displayed deficiency in discernment by equating purva-paksha with competitor analysis that US and Al Qaeda does on each other and that companies do in the market. This tendency to relate totally different concepts to make fanciful connnections is peculiar to west-inspired ‘intellectuals’, who have been known to equate brahma and ishwara to the christian concept of ‘god’. This is similar to the mistake made by the blind men who concluded variously that elephant is like a rope, wall, tree, snake, fan and so on, depending on which body part of the elephant they put their hands on. This tendency also motivates some people to seek a counterpart for western concept ‘religion’, such as christianity, in bharatiya samskriti; and failing to find any, they create something called ‘hinduism’ which they then go on to consider as substantial, indigenous, authentic and representing bharatiya samskriti. Some of these people then go on to organize a stucture ‘Hindu Acharya Sabha’ which is then expected to pontificate and herd its hindu sheep like its source of inspiration-the popes of church. Deracination and western influence seems directly proportional.
Yet another western influence that Malhotra displayed in his comments is an apparent obsession with physical identity and unduly high opinion of himself. He feels that his critics may have complexes that manifest in jealousy towards him because he is doing things they aren’t. He also thinks that they may be disgruntled because he does not give them importance and that is why they criticise him- to gain a sense of self importance. This assumption leads him to overlook the merit of the criticism and to seek the identity of the critic in order to justify his imaginative reasonings. It also prevents him from understanding that the criticism is of his position more than of his person.
He also displays, by repeating the same questions/aspersions in different comments, the western approach of demanding answers in the format they are comfortable with or reducing the answers to force fit their limited perspective. Similar to the kupa manduka who demanded that the vastness of ocean be demonstrated within the limited space of his well.
Launching proxies and introducing false fronts to harass and gain more knowledge of opponents and to wear them down through attrition are well known techniques of war that church people have mastered and employed through the centuries. Malhotra also shows that he has learnt those lessons well by making use of apparent acolytes who come in the guise of a ‘desi’ who seems to be more videsh-influenced and a ‘Ms Jain’ who is obviously a dig at Sandhya Jain, editor of www.vijayvaani.com.
Since ‘Ms Jain’ has made the appearance, it is assumed that ‘Ms Rajan’ is not far behind!
The commenter Karigar then attempted to box in and label everybody for easy reference. So Malhotra got ‘pragmatic realism’ and other ‘claimants of Hindu intellectual leadership today’ got ‘idealism’. In the process he forgot that bharatiya samskriti has always chosen dharma over ‘pragmatism’/ ‘realism’/ ‘idealism’ or any other boxed in ‘-ism’.
Thereafter he ‘identified’ the ‘flaw’ that caused ‘foreign domination’ over India ‘twice’, which, as per the unanimous view of all ‘historians’ is due to “ignoring the developments in the rest of the world, being so wrapped up in their own sense of inviolable superiority”!
Having thus identified the ‘flaw’ he also appropriated the authority to preach to the ‘flawed’ people. He solemnly advises- “Ideals are one thing, and reality is another”.
This videsh residing desi thus took up the ‘white man’s burden’ of educating his country cousins. ‘anpad gawar desis’ who may consider brahma as reality and everything else as another thing has a lot to learn from this ‘learned person’.
Karigar’s complete faith in intellectual honesty of ‘his-storyians’ is commendable. Curiously though, he does not entertain similar notions about the intellectual ability of his desi country men.
He may like to console the everyday victims of terrorist brutality in India by explaining to the victims that they were victimised because they ‘ignored the developments in the rest of the world, being so wrapped up in their own sense of inviolable superiority’, not because the terrorist happened to be a ruthless, inhuman, barbarian with an AK-47 influenced by a west created system of insatiable self-aggrandizement. Here Karigar plumbs the depths that marxist apologists go to come up with excuse for inhuman acts of barbaric brutes.
He then observes that the ‘whole social / legal / political system in India today is based on western systems’, tilted in church’s favour, and that the way forward is to adopt church’s way of functioning. Now, that is telling the patient- “your disease is incurable, give up all hope of getting well and learn to live with your disease, come back for check up next week and pay the bill”.
Karigar fails to note that Indians have been following this exact ‘prescription’ for centuries now, adapting to ‘changing realities’ and ‘power structures’ created by adharmik people. It is precisely these ‘adaptions’, discarding dharmik considerations that have brought them to the depths of deracination seen today. Any further regress in the same direction will only make them lose whatever little sense of dharma they hold now. Inability to distinguish between right and wrong means only that their power of discrimination is hampered- unrighteousness will still remain unrighteousness, it will never form sufficient excuse for swapping right and wrong.
Before concluding Karigar makes yet another preposterous statement that to criticize Malhotra is to betray (a) lack of confidence in the strength of hindu thought itself, and (b) shows a certain preconceived ‘guilty as charged’ mindset before assembling theories to prove the charge”.
Freedom to criticise should not be stifled.
Shri Malhotra, who has in the past extensively, and correctly too, questioned the western hegemony in academic discourse, their cartelization tendencies and penchant to use power to impose their view on others, would be doing the correct thing if he takes criticism against his own positions wholeheartedly.
It is not the identity of the critic that should qualify the criticism, it should be its merit alone.
During the encounter with chandala, Adi Shankaracharya recognised the import of chandala’s words and accorded deserving respect regardless of physical identity.
There is the well known episode of Sri Ganesha winning a contest with his brother Sri Karthikeya by circumambulating their parents which is considered equivalent to going around the world. The point is that, study of your own culture and traditions, represented as parents in that narrative, is superior to study of the world.
Further, in chandokya upanishad, there is the story of Uddalaka who asks his son Swetaketu, who has just returned from a long period of study, whether he knows That by knowing which everything is known. Swetaketu answers in the negative and later goes on to learn about That from his parent.
To answer Malhotra’s question in the title of his article, self-governance is possible only by discerning dharma and upholding it, never by emulating adharmis. Discovering ourselves, taking guidance from our samskriti, is the way forward.
namaste and dhanyavaad
“Who’s a good Hindu ?” asks realitycheck
More relevant question is “Who is a Hindu” in the first place.
Is there any spiritual text that lays down who is a hindu and who is not ?
Did Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Adi Shankaracharya, etc., consider themselves ‘hindu’ ?
Why this affinity to this word that is not even a derivative of samskritam nor of this samskriti ?
If you want to identify yourself, identify yourself as bharateeya. Or maybe travel the path of ancient rishis who realized themselves as brahma.
Accepting a word given by people who were considered mleccha by the bharateeyas of the past is a sure indication of depravity that pervades this land at present.