“To exempt Dr. Elst from criticism because of a false sense of political correctness is to do a disservice both to him and to the Hindu cause. Dr. Elst is a mortal and like everybody else is a creature of his own historical development and upbringing. To ignore this is to engage in an abstract and an a historical frame of mind. Hence, his solutions and suggestions while they should not be rejected outright, they should not always be treated as the panacea for all evils.” – Dr. Vijaya Rajiva
It was refreshing to see some spirited defences of Dr. Elst (and that includes the editor of Bharata Bharati) which indicate that Hindus are not being smug or are indifferent (as alleged by the Elst articles)! However, some of them have missed the bus (forgive the mixing of metaphors!) in trying to be politically correct. Some are likely friends and camp followers. Some have even gone and called him a Kshatriya (a label which Dr. Elst himself might be reluctant to accept)! Others have attempted to say that only he has done a great deal of service to the Hindu cause and so on and so forth.
These reactions are to be expected.
Some rare exceptions have understood the point of the present writer’s arguments, which are not intended to be a racial or caste slur (as alleged). And it might be useful to clarify the situation immediately.
First of all the personal angle. The present writer is fully aware of Dr. Elst’s contributions to the Hindu cause. Criticising his recent articles is not a sign otherwise. However, his views are not sacrosanct and should not be treated so. And the fact that he is a non-Hindu is significant. This point has already been discussed in previous articles but may require further elaboration.
The real arguments can be clarified by asking why it is important that his being a non-Hindu may at this juncture of our history affect his view of Hindus not doing the heavy lifting that they should do (in previous articles I have indicated the actual work being done by Hindus, which if he were au courrant with them he would see that things are being done). The reason that the results are not showing as well or as fast as they should is because the asuric forces do not want them to. In such a context Hindus should continue on course, adopting a variety of methods, new and old and this is the tried and tested method that Hindus have used to survive the onslaught of the asuric forces for several millenia and which will ensure their survival in the future. A case in point is that of the traditional acharyas retreating into their mathams with their rituals and texts. Or another graphic example of priests fleeing with the sacred prathistas during the Ghazni raid. There are several ways of defence and attack in a battle. An outright victory cannot be assured.
To wish for that is to miss the ground realities and is unwise. We cannot have the charge of the light brigade!
While I disagree with the Radhakrishnan remark about Elst conducting a crusader’s battle against the Muslims on Indian soil, there is a grain of truth in this which cannot be forgotten. Elst brings his insights as a Westerner and does not escape his own history. An Abrahamic style of confronting the enemy may not be in the best interests of the Hindu nation. He cannot in his arguments against the asuric forces call upon the Veda as a source of his arguments. He would be laughed out of court! A Hindu can and must. The asuric forces will not listen to either, that is not the point.
The Hindu cannot let go of a valuable source of strength even while fighting present battles. In an article on Veda, Agama (and Village Agama) which was printed in Vijayvaani, and written by the present author, a respondent peevishly said : STOP this nonsense about religious Hinduism!
In an article on Shri Aurobindo ‘A Critical Examination of Shri Aurobindo’s Secret of the Veda’ (published in Vijayvaani.com) the present writer had argued that both ritual and Vedanta are the special blend of Hinduism. Aurobindo had downgraded ritual, if not actually denigrated it.
The point being made in my articles in Bharata Bharati which some readers have missed is: there is no need for Hindus to be stampeded into anything. A non-Hindu cannot understand the mix and will be impatient for the job of getting on with it!
Meanwhile, Hindus must continue to attack the past history of colonialism, the present attempts to exploit the resources of the earth and nations, masquerading as globalisation (one commentator found it irrelevant concerning the existence of caste as the basis of India’s retail trade! while Walmart is trying to enter the Indian market!), the white racism (under which brown sahibs and brown clergy can be subsumed) and the ongoing attempts by the generic Church to insinuate its way into the country by diverse means, and so on.
Hand in hand, there can be clear presentations of the caste system etc. (the previous articles have already mentioned some of the work being done).
In forging a specifically Hindu approach it seems to be already there, especially in the work of the Sangh organisations inside the country.
It is here that Dr. Elst’s foreign ancestry (he has himself said publicly that he has not travelled much in India) acts as a handicap. He has not seen at first hand the many organisations that work 24/7 in good causes. All of this adds up and it is mandatory that Hindus should not get side tracked from what they are already doing very well. Dr. Elst himself has said publicly that he is not a Hindu. While being a non-Hindu is not exactly a crime, it does inhibit the fullness of what is applicable in Hindu India and what is not.
To exempt him from criticism because of a false sense of political correctness is to do a disservice both to him and to the Hindu cause. Dr. Elst is a mortal and like everybody else is a creature of his own historical development and upbringing. To ignore this is to engage in an abstract and an a historical frame of mind. Hence, his solutions and suggestions while they should not be rejected outright, they should not always be treated as the panacea for all evils.
» The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university.
Filed under: caste, freedom of expression, globalization, hindu, hinduism, india, politics, psychological warfare, secularism Tagged: | caste, dalits, discrimination, elst, hindu cause, hindu defence, hindu traditions, hindu-bashing, hinduism, non-hindu, political correctness, politics, racism, religion, western academic