Thoughts in the atmosphere

Things of the world, and out of it.

Secular syncretism – half-baked patch-works

Posted by desicontrarian on June 5, 2009

Justice Katju has undertaken a cultural  initiative. He has started a Kalidas-Ghalib Academy to foster cultural understanding. It looks like a secular, Nehruvian mind-set to me, without an inkling of religious feeling behind it.

This is my reaction to it.

1. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”  (I wonder who said that).

2. a)The underlying axioms are invalid.

b) There was no Aryan Invasion of India. Aryans were indigenous to India.

c) Thus India has only historically recently become a “country of immigrants”.

d) This is typical of modern intellectuals, looking to define India as another America.

e) Similar false analogies are there between American black movements (black panthers) and Dalit movements (Dalit Panthers). Can these intellectuals never be original? Do they have to borrow all ideas from Anglos or Americans, even if black?

3. a) Ghalib was a worldly drunkard.

b) He was not in the same class as Omar Khayaam, Rumi and Amir Khusro.

c) Whenever he used the word Nasha, it meant alcohol-induced.

d) Not so with the others. They meant divine intoxication, caused by meditation practices.

e) This is the true unity of religions, authentic sufism is close to vaishnavism, sikhism and bhakthi movements.

4. a) However, the content on Akbar is interesting and largely true. Some new information is there.

b) My quibble is about calling him the greatest of them all, and founder of modern secularism! Secularism is about separation of religin and state, whereas din-e-elahi was about finding the One True Emperor!

c) What about Asoka, Vikramaaditya, Bhoja, Kanishka, Harsha Vardhana, Raja raja Chola, Krishna Deva Raya and so on? Such comparisons wiil turn out to be as foolish as Outlook and Filmfare awards for lifetime achievements.

5. a) Industrial development is not a satisfactory answer to the problem of poverty. It pollutes the environment.

b) We need to find other ways to get rid of poverty, perhaps by reducing the value of being rich?

c) The quality of living in out mega-cities is much worse than rural and semi-rural towns. Cities have much less time and much more stress than towns.

6. a) Divisiveness is a product of the competitive processes in a democratic setup.

b) Politicians, intellectuals & ideologues need to mobilize people on their behalf, in support of their views and agendas.

c) Dividing people into ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ is a time-honoured, universal way to climb the ladder of power.

d) The constitution of India was not organically developed from our soil. It is a foreign graft & is part of the problem, not the solution. It is not a good vehicle for the expression of our spirit.

7. The intention of the initiative is good, but secularists should be aware of the possibility that the opposite may be achieved, due to faulty assumptions and paradigms!


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