Imperialism Hindu Liberals
 
Imperialism’s Hindu Liberals: The Legacy that Remains

This article attempts to explore just one facet of the many psychological scars that India has endured, something that remains a part of our psyche as we progress into the 21st century.

The British may have left behind a violently splintered India in 1947, and the Portuguese were finally evicted in 1961, but their “rich legacy” remains.

Foreign rule in India has included a foisted narrative of our civilization, one full of obvious and blatant manipulations, and outright lies about the people, culture and history of India. These have mainly focused on the caste narrative, the “oppressive” social hierarchy, wily Brahmins or basically those teachers who stand in the way of a total emasculation of the natives, the continually debunked Aryan Invasion theory that was primarily intended to justify foreign rule, ‘martial races’ or “races” that the British employed for their army in India, and so forth.  These were meant to reaffirm the imperial as well as the church position that India should be grateful that its savages were so gracefully uplifted from the wretched to a new dawn.  None of this is being newly stated, and fortunately there are many articles [1] that expound on related facets well.

Controlling the Narrative

The first and foremost question to understand here is: who is in control of the India narrative now?  Our focus is drawn to those who dominate the Indian media, our most westernized Indians, the “Hindu Liberals”.  Indus Valley expert Dr. N.S. Rajaram [2], on reviewing the education of the new breed of westernized Macaulay-ed Indians starting from the mid-nineteenth century, had this to offer: “The government services, the educational establishment, the industry, the arts, and the media – all are now in the hands of a small elite that is the product of such an educational system. Since the British rulers whom it was created to serve are no longer here, this elite serves itself.”  What we have now is a new “…super-caste that has shut off opportunities for a very large segment of the nation’s population…”  These rulers may not be physically here, but their spirit is alive by proxy.

While these writers certainly are not going to be restricted to any particular party, it is already known that the Congress has been in control of the media narrative from independence, and even more entrenched since the 1970s “Marxist historians”.  Their primary role has been to whitewash the most cruel aspects of both Islamic as well as Western European destruction of India, to help the natives look to the future without learning any lessons from its past.

For these Hindu liberals, and many others who conduct their business and even homes primarily in the English language, one can even take lessons from Hollywood.  In the 2014 film The Arrival, the protagonist, as she starts to decipher the language of the aliens, begins to think, dream and have visions from the past, present and the future.  The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, states that “the structure of a language determines a native speaker’s perception and categorization of experience”.  Without getting into its theory, one can draw parallels that the more westernized Indian colonized minds have become, the more they think and sound like aliens in their own land.  Of course, it is not the sole reason why many westernized Indians sound and act like foreigners.  Nor is it simply that the Anglicized Indians have lost touch with their civilization that is the problem for both themselves and the land they call home.  It is that they have lost touch for generations, and have been continually discouraged and uninterested in reclaiming their roots.  For them to support the rights of their less “cultivated” or “vernacular” compatriots, who continue to hold up the civilizational continuum going back at least 5000 years, would be a surprise.

It can come across as one of the not unusual forms of Colonial Stockholm Syndrome among this breed.  These are often multi generation pencil pushers of the British Raj.  Many may rightfully claim deep loyalties in the past for fighting off the early Sultans, the Mughals, and the Western Europeans before finally succumbing.  However, in the modern context, they have truly morphed away into this new super-caste, with anyone not following their agenda as outcastes, regressive or some other disparaging label.  This new breed in high positions have become the most vocal even if unlikely representatives of an unusual “Hinduism”, which more could more aptly be described as “whitey with brown-face” and a little yoga or classical dance thrown in.  They also carefully sow the seeds for an ever increasing next breed of aspirants, often from the broader middle and working classes, who in turn become the most rabid and vocal anti India elements.

Seeking Western Approval

Many will aim to get their accreditations in elite US academia, and eventually plum foreign and domestic assignments, as “sane and objective voices of a new India”. Some will publish entire books on India and Hinduism, offering the standard condescending imperial trope in endlessly new packaging.  Devdutt Pattanaik is just one of many such examples, a pedestalised fraud that anyone with a somewhat beyond basic understanding of Hinduism will be able to identify.  A casual look at his tweets and posts to a mildly informed Hindu or even non-Hindu would suggest he has no idea what he is talking about.  Yet, he so confidently asserts and professes ideas on India and its “myths”, and is widely invited as a speaker and expert.  Even being caught not knowing what he is talking about has made little impact; this itself should help the reader sift out the historian from the propagandist.  For these “gurus” and many others, all rebuttals, however genuine, is simply “trolling”, and they pretend great conviction and courage while rising above it.

The fame, notoriety, and the money, is simply too addictive, for they do have bills to pay, and they have plenty of support in the imperial journalistic and publishing ecosphere of independent India.  They are ably supported by certain politicians who suddenly discover they are Hindu, and produce books and arrogate rights of Hindu spokesman-ship to themselves.  This obvious charade will be missed by a large section of the public, because these pseudo Hindus “make sense” and are “inclusive and tolerant”.  This is the effect of our western secular education system, producing automatons for hire to continue what is essentially a version upgrade of neo-colonialism.

These high flying Hindu baiters, as they get caught with their faulty positions, surprisingly do not show a hint of their embarrassment.  Some will continue to yearn for a “more tolerant” India, perhaps seeing themselves as the “dissidents” who just won’t leave for their utopia on foreign shores, with Canada being just one tempting future emigration destination.  There will always be a few that may be on their way back into the Indian civilizational fold for genuine reasons, but at the cost of their careers, this will be a rare occurrence.  Better late than never, yet likely too little too late.  For no matter what, these are our Anglo Super-Caste survivors, keen to always be on the winning side.  This game is hardly new, and these liberals wouldn’t be where they were without the imperial legacy they have benefitted from.  Like their predecessors a 100 years ago, they will try to mould a new India even more disconnected with its past, and if not, attempt to splinter it again and move on.  The reader will have noticed the sudden spate in “Dravida nadu” articles by such writers, trying to display a grasp of the unfair economics that may or may not affect some regions in India, but this is really their yeoman service for imperial plans to keep India “in its place”, at any price, including its self-destruction or Balkanization.  And it is for that reason that these professional Hindu baiters must be met with courage and some “tough love”, not a wait and watch attitude.  But who is to give them this tough love?  This is no easy task.

Western academia and mainstream media continually nurtures entire new generations of such writers to keep the fires burning.  This is done at the very best academic institutions, with apologetics and sanitized reinterpretations of India’s past Islamic and European rulers issued every few years from the Ivy Leagues, Oxbridge and other elite “left” institutions in India.  Debunking these are both time-consuming and high effort, and often met with silence.  Indian history departments and media houses have yet to build out the ecosphere across multiple languages to counter this, even though we are fortunate to see continual push back across generations by knowledgeable Indians.

We were ruled by foreigners.  Now foreigners with Indian sounding names and faces attempt to continue this rule by manipulating the minds of our next generation.  It is also worth noting that for a foreigner visiting India or living in it, and especially acclaimed resident western writers [3], it is these Hindu liberals who are their prism into India, their preferred interpreters.  The foreigner may only be getting re-affirmation of the imperial legacy, but they are not complaining.  The media and academia funding sources are well aligned in their direction so both the foreigner and their local side-kicks can comfortably reach into the pot.  For the westerner riding the India wave, this represents the continuation of their ascent up the social hierarchy whenever they descend onto a colony, as they are well-received at Lit Fests and socialite gatherings, and their views eagerly sought in mainstream Indian newspapers and channels.  Many foreigners with a half-brain magically have an India book in them, and the unsuspecting native will as usual receive them anyway.

The Feeder Network

It may come as somewhat of a surprise to see that even patriotically minded Indians remain accidental feeders to this ecosphere.   Many will willingly ship off their youngsters to western universities, and then onward to plum assignments in western run MNCs and NGOs, to be indoctrinated and steadily deracinated.  All this, while collecting fat paycheques in places where their efforts, labour and intellect are not directed to helping India, and in some cases, subverting their land as they attempt to infuse it with the next round of western liberal thought.  The educated aspirational classes, keen on social mobility, are also part of the reason this new breed continually expands.

Western elite academia, media and NGOs are now littered with foreign and Indian youngsters on a career path of being spokespersons, for ideals that have received very harsh pushback even in the west, leave alone India.  In the good old days, the alien and failed ideas including pseudo-secularism, communism, “anarcho-syndicalism”, “libertarianism”, even “(George)-Carlinism”; today it is “colour revolution”, feminism, LGBT-ism, Doggism.  Yes, that should be a new word.  Save our poor dogs, among the most gentle and affectionate anywhere on the planet, but please don’t be so regressive by bringing up cows and progressive ancient vegetarianism, unless, of course, it gets a proper stamp of off-season mesculin salad western approval.  We are to leave aside economic studies that prove that a cow alive, loved and taken care of till its passing is beneficial in a way that far outweighs slaughter, and also shows respect to an animal that is not just historically revered but deserves its place in the family.  The reader may not be aware that even countries like Japan were strictly non-meat eaters for over a millennia until the mid-nineteenth century, with European conquest being the key factor for the switch.  Let us not be fooled by the rash behaviour of some cow vigilantes who have gone overboard in targeting innocent cow traders, and have deservedly received harsh sentences.  It will be rare to see our activists ever bring up medieval barbarity towards ancient Indian rational traditions, with the cow being just one obvious reminder.  Nor will they bring up the continuation of colonial destructive behaviours, with Yemen, Libya and Syria being only the latest examples.  Not a word even as they suddenly project themselves as champions of the Muslim cause in India, while giving it lip service or completely ignoring it beyond our shores.  It is not in their script, and thus, an acceptable level of hypocrisy.

Your Ignorance is Money

What the Hindu liberals bank on is public ignorance fuelled by media noise.  In the social media age, getting violent disagreement, or fanboy style agreement is more likely.  The ordinary or even well-educated reader often responds to the Hindu liberal writer positively when in fact, the correct response should be more inquisitive: “Is that true?” or even more honest “I have no idea”.  Yes, people who have no idea are among the most vocal supporters of the “sensible Hindu liberal”, completely unaware of the propaganda that they push, or the facts that they alter or place in the wrong context.  If the reader is told about the syncretic and tolerant Muslim Sufi saint, little do they realise that it would be a good time to pause and ask: “were they really tolerant or just a soft cover for iconoclasm and orthodoxy?” How would the average person even come up with this question? If there is an uproar demanding freedom of religion, this too “makes sense” to the layperson, when the question to be asked is: “why are only Abrahamic missionaries the most vocal proponents of “freedom of religion” in India?”  It is not for the reader to assume that questioning everything endlessly is the answer.  Rather, to understand why there is little import of the West’s reaction to liberalism, for there is a high degree of deliberately unreported western rebuttal to its own ideas, now pushed onto the colonies. Perhaps then might come the realization that Hindus aren’t particularly “regressive”, nor are these foreign ideals particularly “progressive”, and that the in-fashion labels are deliberate misnomers.

Another common refrain from the Hindu liberal writer is that they “are attacked so much that they just ignore trolls”. All legitimate questions are considered trolling.  And it is this wilful deceit on their part that brings them their biggest pay check while impressionable youngsters are led down this path of deception for years and sometimes decades on end.  What do they have to hide, one might ask? Although not all, a few will have to reveal the unpleasant fact that they are descended from several generations of the disease called “selling out India”.  The British, Western European, and Church hold over India would not have been possible without this breed of willing Indians who legitimised and still legitimise the cruel colonisation of India, much like their counterparts in Africa and around the world.  It is not just that the current education system that has affected this breed, but that it long ago infected their own families.  They might be the first to talk about casteism and Dalits, but you won’t be finding them anywhere inviting them into their fold other than to accentuate their writing, or as more fodder for “misery journalism”.

Giving cover to Islam’s imperialism is something they willingly add on to their offering.  For in that sense, they are still toeing the western line.  The strangeness of discovering that the Muslim aristocracy and elite ulema were critical in ensuring the British hold over India post 1857 is yet another deeper question the Hindu liberal press avoid.  It would entail admitting that blatant minority vote-bank politics has done little to uplift the minority, and may reveal their complicity.  When the “Indians are their own worst enemy” line is used, one must note that substitute Indians for Africans, Native American tribes, and so on, and one realises that the disease of being a sell-out is not an Indian affliction.  These Hindu liberals need to be steadily called out, and the reader must begin to understand that their favourite journalist’s biggest talent, given their mediocre intellect, is to repackage western Indology and give it a Hindu face.  It is not that these writers are particularly “mind blowing” but that they can get away with it as their followers are hardly in a position to call them out.

There do remain true and grounded Indian writers, and there is a genuine and rational reason why the Indian must remain rooted, not based on emotion but on a deeper knowledge of India that stands the rational test.  Yes, the rational test is critical.  Too much of our civilizational writing includes “helpful colonial insertions” and overwritten histories that seem bizarre, but this would be a separate topic by itself.  By this, we certainly don’t want to include embarrassing references to flying saucers and what-not that some over-zealous Indians offer, which the Hindu liberal contemptuously salivates over as example of what all of regressive India is.  What happens when the funding dries up?  They may find out how they are to be dropped like hot potatoes, although it is unlikely they will face this predicament for the next 20-30 years. And by that time, they’ll have continued to damage the psyche of our next generation, unapologetically, or will have moved on, after cashing in.

How would you identify them?

Here are a few tips.  Start with their accent and mannerisms; they bring a level of “sophistication” that fits better on the cocktail circuits of any western city, and cannot be learned overnight. They dominate the publishing business, mostly fiction writing.  Some are social justice warriors here to reassure you they are helping India progress and catch up with the rest of the world.  Who doesn’t want that?  Ask them for a reading list and expect them to have devoured the greatest books of all time in English, while they will have read very little of Indian authors and certainly would have name-recall difficulties of patriotic writers, gurus or anything remotely “native” or in a regional language.  Writing on Indian spirituality, the Vedas, the Upanishads – this is likely out of the question, or at best a superficial attempt to pretend a connection.  They have little idea how their civilizational continuum has remained unbroken or why.  They will have travelled extensively across the world and tell you how great travel has expanded their mind, when in reality, it has just made them more palatable for their colonial sponsors.  The “vernacular” sounding Indian embarrasses them.  India embarrasses them.  How India got to where it is becomes less relevant for them; it certainly isn’t like New York, London, Hong Kong, and the like, where they are most comfortable.

Picking on the Catholic and other church activities in India? Fuggedaboutit! Their funding sources would dry up quickly, their travel opportunities and career derailed.  Belittling Hinduism is easy as they have long stopped being Hindus, or are at best, gimmicky Hindus. Some of the Hindu liberals may even be experts in classical Indian art and dance forms, but that is an accident of childhood, and is just cherry picking acceptable kosher cultural aspects of their own traditions.  If in two decades, the script was revised that they must “defend all pagans at all costs”, then you’ll find them as our most visible defenders.  It is an amusement park, and you are the ride.

On the Islam question in India, they’d rather just move on, as they do have a token Muslim friend who also looks like a former Muslim, a new age moderate, or is a Dawkins atheist.  Some will tell you that loudspeakers in mosques have never bothered them, and must not bother you.  They are more likely to make bold announcements of how they like their steak cooked, to prove they are not “regressive”.  But occasionally might skip on announcing their love for pork vindaloo.  Don’t expect them to correctly state the statistic that 70% of India is at least near vegetarian or vegetarian.  Expect the reverse: that 70% is non-vegetarian, to show how they have “exposed India’s hypocrisy on the beef issue”.  One would need a basic course in understanding statistics to see how they manipulate conclusions using official data.  Except, many of our Indian liberals have elite PhDs, and do it deliberately!

Better not to offend their Muslim constituency.  Ask them about love jihad and they’ll tell you how great it is and that we should all just marry each other anyway.  They again display complete ignorance of the methods employed over the last 1000 years, and how certain legacy tensions affect the working classes that they are disconnected from anyway, but the reader won’t know.  At no point have they offered a path for reconciliation, something all of India would welcome.  This would entail revealing some uncomfortable truths with evidence, and instead, they have chosen the white-washing method.

They will tell you that it is not about family, it is the individual.   Or push the “a woman doesn’t need a man” that has infected our youngsters, without telling you how disastrous feminism has been in the west.  In short, their minds have lost the capability to be original and inquisitive.  It is why many of them were picked and encouraged in the first place.

These identifiers are in no means the only method to figure out if the Hindu liberal is a propagandist, as these traits could be shared with even genuine patriots who are not Hindu baiters.  The real test is in knowing and understanding the content of what these actors spew, and for that, a vast body of knowledge on India is required.  The uninformed lay reader’s bigger problem is how our educational institutions such as NCERT [4] and the media have systematically disarmed them since childhood, rendering basics on India as either flawed, or outright manipulations.  And social media with its catfights and trolling, along with the lay reader having a regular job, and family responsibilities, ensure that the propagandist continue to flourish in their careers, even collecting accolades and more funding.

Because for the Hindu liberal, their primary religion is not family or dharma, but themselves, which basically is the continuation of not the western pagan, gnostic or Greek ethos but its modern Christian ethos, essentially materialism and being on the winning side of conquest. They know which side of the bread is buttered, and that is side they have taken, in some cases, for generations.

Further Reading

  1. Battle for Indian history: A history in service of rulers, 27/9/2014; Battle for Indian History: A history cast in a mould, 28/9/2014. Virendra Parekh, Vijayvaani.com; Nehru as seen by a Hindu nationalist, 07/11/2017, Vijayvaani.com.  There are several more than can be listed.
  2. A Hindu View of The World, N.S. Rajaram, 1998, Voice of India
  3. How the West still views India through a colonial mindset, Sandeep Balakrishna, DailyO, 9/2/2015
  4. Brainwashed Republic, Atri and Sagar, 2017, Abhishek Publications
  5. Atul Kochhar losing his job for expressing opinion is bad enough, naked triumphalism of liberals far worse, Sreemoy Talukdar, 14/6/2018, FirstPost

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B.V.Rudhraya@ifrc.in'

B V Rudhraya is an independent researcher and observer of history, and writes under this pseudonym.