Rajiv Malhotra informed The Chakra that many months ago he was approached by a journalist named Myles Collier from The Christian Post, who told him that their media wanted to interview him on his book Being Different. He asked that it be done by email, so that there was an accurate record and no misunderstanding later. This was accepted by his editors, and what followed was an email exchange in which Rajiv answered every question asked via email. Below is a complete list of all the questions and his answers. Rajiv was told that the interview would appear very soon and that he would receive the url, but never heard back after the interview. His prediction at the time was that once the senior editors saw his responses, they would not want to publish it, because one of his conditions was that any alterations in what he said required his prior written approval. Rajiv has forwarded all his responses in full and has allowed us to publish them. – The Chakra Editor
1. For those not familiar with your work what is the main thesis of your book, Breaking India?
a) The book explains the role of U.S. and European churches, academics, think-tanks, foundations, government and human rights groups in fostering divisive identities between the Dravidian and Dalit communities on the one hand and the rest of India based on outdated racial theories.
b) Its how outdated racial theories continue to provide academic frameworks and fuel the rhetoric that can trigger civil wars and genocides in developing countries.
c) The Dravidian movement’s 200-year history has such origins. Its latest manifestation is the “Dravidian Christianity” movement that fabricates a political and cultural history to exploit old fault lines. I refer to this as the “breaking India project”. Please see:
2. What kind of reception has your book garnered?
a) The reception in Indian think tanks and defence study networks has been very good. The book was launched by senior Indian retired security and military officials. See videos at:
b) There has also been a very good reception among the general public in both India and the US. The book has already gone through 5 print runs and become a national best-seller. Breaking India was quoted during the recent controversial Kodankulam protests.
c) The latest jacket’s endorsements are also self-explanatory–please see:
d) It has been translated into Tamil and the Hindi edition will soon be ready as well.
3. When specifically considering the situation of the Dalit’s Dr. Joseph D’souza describes it as the “greatest human rights violation in history” — is this an accurate portrayal?
a) Calling the situation of the Dalits the “greatest human rights violation in history” is an example of the sensationalist pandering and politicization that Breaking India explains. Anyone researching atrocities objectively must examine the following ones: White European Christian conquerors of America against Native Americans and Australian aborigines, Spanish Inquisition against women and native faiths, Portuguese Inquisition against Indians, Christian slavery of Africans, Christian colonization of Asia and other continents during which hundreds of millions were killed. In fact, Christianity was built by the sword ever since the time Emperor Constantine hijacked it and turned it into a dogma for state theocracy.
b) Joseph D’souza is trying to help cover up this White Christian guilt of perpetrating many of history’s worst atrocities. Non-White Christians like D’souza perform this cover up for White Christians, and for this they earn funding and career opportunities. I refer to such persons as ‘sepoys’, after the Indians who served under British rule and helped police and control other Indians. This role is similar to that of the Anglo-Irishmen who were used by the English to colonize Ireland.
c) Of course, all violations of human rights are to be condemned, and we must work hard to give dignity to every human across the globe. But one cannot distort history in order to open the door for Western interventions as has been their strategy for centuries.
d) There’s a long history of many Indian communities becoming poor and disenfranchised due to dislocation under Islamic and British oppression, and many of them turned into present day Dalits. This is not a “Hindu problem” per se as is the fashion to call it in the Christian press. In fact, Dalit Christians have litigated against the Indian Church for prejudices against them that are institutionalized within Christianity – including separate burial grounds, and bias in the allocation of funds.
e) Most Christian nations that were former colonies, such as the ones in Latin America, Philippines, etc. have far worse per capita statistics of crimes than India does.
f) Also, the Church remains racially very much divided even in rich Christian countries like USA: That’s why there are separate Black churches, Korean churches, Hispanic churches, etc. Even among Indian Christians in USA there are separate churches for Tamils and Malayalees, etc.
g) So human rights activism must begin at home – Christians must work within Christian society to solve internal problems, rather than trying to export cures for social maladies they are suffering themselves, and especially diseases they have spread elsewhere. The human rights record of atrocities by Christendom is woven deeply into the tapestry of world history.
h) The Church has no moral authority to intervene in other countries using the pretext of bringing them human rights.
i) India’s sovereignty and its internal institutions for improving the lot of all its citizens must be respected and strengthened.
4. There are many organizations dedicated to helping and empowering the Dalit’s, yet you have made the claim that western influences actually hinder progressive movements and contribute to an ever hostile social environment—why is this?
a) India, like any former colony, has its own share of social injustices that need to be continually addressed and resolved.
b) But separatist forces supported and funded by external nexuses are constructing a dangerous and fictitious anti-national grand narrative. This has been forged specifically to alienate Dalits from their own culture and country by exacerbating societal divisions. This is the latest version of the old divide-and-rule strategy practiced by European colonizers everywhere.
c) All democracy-loving Americans should worry about the consequences of allowing narrow-minded Christian organizations to undermine the largest democracy in the world.
d) Dalit communities are not monolithic and have extremely diverse histories and social dynamics – so you cannot lump all of them in one box. Also, not all Dalit communities are at the same socio-economic level or homogeneously poor. Nor are they static or inherently subordinate to others. Indeed, there are several Dalit billionaires, top politicians and other leaders – a Dalit has even been the President of India.
e) While Dravidian and Dalit identities were initially constructed separately, there is now a strategy at work to link them in order to denigrate and demonize Indian classical traditions as a common enemy. This, in turn, has been mapped on to a newly manufactured Afro-Dalit narrative which claims that Dalits are racially related to Africans and all other Indians are “whites.” Thus, Indian civilization itself is demonized as anti-humanistic and oppressive.
f) This has become the playground of major foreign players, both from the evangelical right and from the academic left. It has opened huge career opportunities for an assortment of middlemen including foreign-funded NGOs, intellectuals and” champions of the oppressed.”
g) While the need for relief and structural change is immense, the short-sighted selfish politics is often empowering some individual leaders rather than the people whose cause is being championed. The” solutions” often exacerbate the problems. See:
5. What is your current feeling as to the situation created by outside organizations and the impact that has on the Dalit population?
a) Genuine grievances and injustices certainly do exist. There is no whitewashing here.
b) But the book shows how such existing fault lines are used by transnational forces to subvert India and brand Indian civilization as hopeless and in need of being replaced by a superior imported variety. This can make Dalits believe that their liberation lies in toppling India’s civilization and nationhood.
c) Politicized Christianity in India maps Biblical notions on to a Marxist interpretation of” class struggle”, i.e. Liberation Theology, even though the American sponsors do not support such ideology domestically where they live. So they are pulling the strings of society and politics half way around the world in an alien place without having any skin in the game. This is hypocrisy.
d) My research tracked the money trails from the West where funds are raised for “education,” “human rights,” “empowerment training,” and “leadership training,” but end up in programs designed to produce angry youths who feel disenfranchised from Indian identity. Already the Baptists have created separatist movements in India’s northeast region by converting the natives and shifting their loyalties.
e) Similar interventions by some of the same global forces have resulted in genocides and civil wars in Sri Lanka, Rwanda, etc.
6. There has been a great deal of discussion over the role of Hinduism in India and its propensity to keep “undesired” individuals oppressed, I was curious as to your thoughts about the role of Hinduism and the Hindutva in India?
a) It is ironic that Christians are able to make such assumptions at a time when Hindu ideas are being appropriated into Christianity to create a more benevolent theology for Christianity. Hindu metaphysics and praxis have been digested into Christianity for a long time, but very systematically for at least 200 years, into such diverse areas as: sacredness of the earth and the divine feminine; yoga and the human body as not being inherently sinful but being inherently divine; animal rights and vegetarianism; the inherent unity of consciousness as opposed to the dualism of Judeo-Christianity; etc.
b) I am writing a whole series of books on how major Christian thinkers have acknowledged Hindu sources for some of their most important rethinking on Christianity. Unfortunately, subsequent Christians like to dilute these Hindu influences and eventually forget them entirely, and replace them with Judeo-Christian sources, in order to hide the “Hinduism inside” that exists at the heart of much of today’s reinterpreted Christianity.
c) So, on the one hand, we have this very frantic appropriation going on, and the Hindu origins are being erased. Simultaneously, on the other hand, the very same Hindu sources are being abused as “oppressive”. How could Hindu ideas be useful to liberate Christianity from Christianity’s own shackles, and yet Hinduism be branded so vehemently as oppressive?
d) I am reminded of the way Greek thought was appropriated by St. Augustine and others in order to start Christian theology (prior to which Christian historians admit that the Bible lacked philosophical content), and yet the very same Greek society was condemned as “pagan” and finished off. I have referred to this as a form of arson: the arsonist robs the bank and then burns it down to hide the evidence. The Christian West has perfected this type of activity over the centuries: appropriate and simultaneously destroy the source.
e) I am amazed at the sweeping assumptions in your question. It is hypocritical for Christians to point fingers at the alleged “propensity to keep undesired individuals oppressed” in Hinduism, given Christianity’s track record on oppression of indigenous cultures, sexual abuse of children, persecution of great scientists and thinkers who did not accede to Christian dogma of the time, systemic repression of women and homophobia.
f) As for Hindutva, that is a specific political movement and you will have to interview its leaders for their views. I can only speak for Hindu dharma as an individual practitioner-scholar, and not for any institution.
7. How do you respond to those who would call the research found in your book sound, however claim that your interpretation and subsequent propaganda message is wrong?
a) This statement is too general to be possible to answer. There are many issues discussed in my works, and hence you have to cite a concrete example of what troubles you, so I may be able to address it. Breaking India exposes propaganda; it does not create it. It is the result of a fact-finding mission undertaken over decades and the result of rigorous analysis, not sloganeering.
b) I anticipated that my findings will trouble many persons who have a vested interest to defend a fabricated history, a fabricated grandiose notion of their own religious supremacy and exclusivity, and who are in many cases also sustaining their careers and lifestyles based on pushing ideas on behalf of powerful global nexuses.
c) If any objections to my research come from persons who do not fall in these categories and are based on primary sources, I will consider them respectfully and modify my views if necessary.
8. The Dalit Freedom Network and Operation Mobilization are two groups that are building schools which offer English-medium education with a Christian world-view perspective while also offering vocational training to help abused and trafficked individuals in India. If local programs are not offering opportunities for marginalized people why would it be negative for Dalit’s and other lower caste members to exercise choice and work towards a better future?
a) Mahatma Gandhi lashed out against Christian missionaries numerous times because they linked their social work to conversion. I agree with his posture. Christians who are genuinely motivated must provide unconditional help from one human to another.
b) To denigrate another’s culture is a form of himsa (harm) and violates the dharmic principle known as ahimsa. Christians must learn mutual respect for others and not use mere “tolerance” as a cover up of hatred. For more details on my principle of mutual respect and how it differs from tolerance, please see:
c) Regarding the groups you have named, I oppose their political projects and my book exposés what they are up to. DFN (with two directors from OM) uses the Dalit face to hide that it is a hardcore operational wing of American right-wing agendas in India. The Dalit label gives it the emotional appeal and aura of legitimacy to intervene in India’s affairs. DFN brings speakers and activists from India to testify before US government commissions, policy think-tanks and churches, with the explicit goal of promoting US intervention in India (Breaking India, pages 222-223).
d) What most of my American Christian friends are shocked to learn is that the kind of Christianity being propagated in India is often similar to the radical, medieval Christianity that was based on performing “miracles” and on hate speech. Most modern Christians in USA have rejected that Christianity, but the obsession for numerical growth in Christian population has become the evangelical obsession. The sole focus is on numbers, not quality or genuine religiosity.
e) There are also many good indigenous grassroots movements in India working for Dalit causes, which do not get the type of prominence or funding that Western-supported NGOs do. They are sadly underfunded because they lack the sophisticated fundraising and publicity machinery. Yet such indigenous organizations have a far better efficiency in the use of funds for making a
positive impact than the foreign ones do.
f) My American Christian friends are grateful to get informed about this, as it enables them to make better choices in philanthropy, and be more careful before they fund certain foreign missions. Since my book is beginning to impact the evangelists’ fund-raising in the US, they want Christian media like yours to poison the credibility of my work.
g) But any religious community must be open to external criticism and self-reflection in order to improve its religious standards. Given Christianity’s long history of abuses, it would be foolish for American Christians to fail to examine my findings with a receptive mind.
9. Can you explain your thoughts related to difference anxiety?
a) I coined the term “difference anxiety” to refer to one’s anxiety that the other is different in some way—be it gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age or religion. The alternative is difference without anxiety, and better still is celebration of difference.
b) To appreciate this very Hindu principle, one must start by observing that the cosmos is built on the principle of difference—in plants, animals, geographies, and even each moment in time is unique. So differences in culture, human cognition and worldviews are entirely natural.
c) It is interesting that westerners are so protective of the diversity of plants and animals, but the same emphasis is not placed on protecting civilizational and faith diversity. The reason is that Westerners are driven by the urge to control externally – control over other humans, nature, etc. Homogeneity based on fixed canonized norms helps one control; hence difference and especially flux are a cause for anxiety. Therefore, Western religions have traditionally pushed for monocultures.
d) Western Monotheism is more appropriately described as “my-theism,” meaning that my idea of theism is the only valid one.
e) In Hinduism, sva-dharma is the path for a given individual, the “sva” prefix literally meaning “my.” It’s like “My Documents” or “My Favorites” on your computer. God made us unique individuals, each with a purpose based on past conditioning, including experiences in past births, and each of us is equipped to discover his or her sva-dharma.
f) To prevent repetition of some of the worst organized, large scale atrocities in world history that were committed for the sake of spreading a uniform theology, it is time we respected difference. Please see:
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