“Dr. Elst’s major motivations are a highly developed sense of ethical justice and a certain type of abstract rationalism that prevent him from seeing that Hindus have their own methods in confronting the asuric forces. It would be useful if he could in various forums consistently continue to pursue the lines that he advocates that Hindus follow, namely actively propagate the work that is already being done and provide a well honed thesis of the merits of the caste system and its origins and its contributions to India’s prosperity in the past and even at the present time.” – Dr. Vijaya Rajiva
Dr. Koenraad Elst is well-known in Hindu circles for his service to the Hindu cause dating back at least two decades or more and it is with some hesitation that the present writer has embarked on a critique of his article “Dalits and Racism in anti Hindu Propaganda” (Voice of Dharma, 2007) now reprinted in Bharata Bharati (28 Aug. 2012). Like Mark Tully the well-respected British journalist (whom he quotes in the article) both are non-Hindus and it is difficult for them to understand why Hindus take the approach they do when countering the propaganda of asuric forces (they are not included in this group) concerning the so-called failures of Hindu society. Recently, there has been an accelerated focus on India’s violation of human rights by hostile groups in the US, in Africa and Europe, especially the question of Dalit rights and the attendant brouhaha about the Hindu caste system.
In order to clear the decks and so that we are not talking at cross purposes, we Hindus do believe that the Veda and the Agama (which includes the Village Agama) cannot be defeated (even though social reforms are called for). The present writer has written several articles on the subject in Vijayvaani.com. Now, Dr. Elst might consider this far-fetched, since he is not a Hindu and cannot speak about the Veda in the same manner as a Hindu does. He cannot declare that he considers the Veda as being apaurusheya (not of human origin). He would be laughed out of court, especially in the circles in which he carries on his defence of Hindus.
Hence too, he believes that Hindus are being smug in their convictions and also losing out in the arguments against the asuric forces. But this attitude may be flying in the face of facts. If he paid attention to much of the work of Hindu intellectuals in the last few years this false belief will fade away.
There have been innumerable articles in blog sites, publications etc. which are evidence that Hindus take the question of Dalit rights seriously (for instance). Less than two years ago Dr. Rakesh Bahadur (a Hindu in the diaspora) published his path breaking work Equality and Inclusion: Progress and Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes In Independent India (2010). Then there was the controversial HAF Report on Caste, which with all its shortcomings was a public attempt to reject the view that Hinduism endorsed Untouchability.
Part of the reason also that Dr. Elst castigates Hindus for being smug and self-complacent is that he is still in the confines of the controversies that erupted during the early period that he was writing in and in which he rendered yeoman service to the Hindu cause. It is in the interests of these circles that he unfortunately has to contend with to see that these outworn disputes are kept alive so that they can be used to whip the Hindus with. Having been unsuccessful since prior to the colonial period and throughout that period to defeat Hinduism, the Church has found new ways to enter by the back door as it were. One such method is to engage scholars such as Dr. Elst in worn out causes that will keep the Hindus distracted and demoralised.
The present writer has already mentioned another recent example of a non-Hindu trying to help out in the Hindu cause. In response to the article in Vijayvaani.com “Village Agama: A contiguous tradition with Veda and Agama” (18 Aug. 2012) a respondent who called himself/herself Vas, suggested that intellectual Hindus should propagate Yoga in the US so that the aliens could come to understand Hinduism better. While this is a laudable cause and many Hindus are doing just that, there are also Hindus who have distanced themselves from the Hindu roots of Yoga, thus inviting misunderstanding and misrepresentations of Hinduism. In addition, the suggestion had nothing to do with the main themes of the article.
This example has been quoted merely to highlight the difficulties that non-Hindu supporters present. While well-intentioned, they simply do not understand the Hindu ethos. In the case of Dr. Elst his major motivations are a highly developed sense of ethical justice and a certain type of abstract rationalism that prevent him from seeing that Hindus have their own methods in confronting the asuric forces. It would be useful if he could in various forums consistently continue to pursue the lines that he advocates that Hindus follow, namely actively propagate the work that is already being done and provide a well honed thesis of the merits of the caste system and its origins and its contributions to India’s prosperity in the past and even at the present time.
The family connections and links provided by this system is what makes retail trade in India so vastly important and which is the reason why the US wants a piece of the action. FDI in retail is a disaster for the Indian small and medium trader and is profitable for Walmart. Retail trade in India provides a greater share of the GDP than either the manufacturing or the agricultural sector (see the professional work of economist Professor R. Vaidyanathan of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India).
Dr. Elst’s advice to Hindus may be well-meant but fall short of the present realities. This suits the asuric forces who then use these statements with effect to demoralise the Hindus and gain entry by the backdoor. That their plans will not succeed (owing to the strength of the Vedic Agamic tradition) is beside the point. It will save both Dr. Elst a lot of time and energy if present realities are heeded. Social reforms are under way and the Dalit situation specifically has improved, though more needs to be done. The shocking existence of 3 lakh manual scavengers must not only be publicised as the Salman Khan film has done, but it must be addressed. And the Sangh organisations are continuing to do a sterling job in bringing the SCs and STs back to the Hindu fold.
If all this is not acknowledged and Dr. Elst continues to lecture the Hindus, what we have is a counter productive approach. And so, Dr. Elst notwithstanding, Hindus must continue to attack the injustices of colonisation, the economic imperialism of the West, masquerading as ‘globalisation’ and the realities of political subversion going on under the aegis of an Italian Catholic. These are not irrelevant.
» Dr. Vijaya Rajiva is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university.
Filed under: caste, christianity, civil rights, economics, ethics, globalization, hindu, human rights, india, philosophy, politics, psychological warfare, racism, religion, rituals, secularism Tagged: | caste, caste system, dalits, discrimination, hindu defence, hindu traditions, hindu-bashing, hinduism, politics, racial discrimination, racism, religion, scheduled castes, untouchable