Saturday, July 9, 2022

Indian Politics and Hindu Nationalism

After independence in 1947, India’s political establishment, dominated by Westernized Fabian socialists and pseudo-secular nihilists, continued to regard the Hindus with contempt and suspicion. Their feelings for the Hindus is candidly captured in these lines spoken by Lily Chatterjee, a character in Paul Scott’s 1966 novel The Jewel in the Crown:

“And Hindu did not mean Congress. No, no. Please be aware of the distinction. In this case Hindu meant Hindu Mahasabha. Hindu nationalism. Hindu narrowness. It meant rich banias with little education, landowners who spoke worse English than the youngest English subdivisional officer his eager but halting Hindi. It meant sitting without shoes and with your feet curled up on the chair, eating only horrible vegetarian dishes and drinking disgusting fruit juices." 

Lily Chatterjee is right when she says, “And Hindu did not mean Congress.” India’s political establishment—led by the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and a handful of other dynasties—took the Hindus for granted. They expected the Hindus to vote for them during elections but they were hostile to Hindu aspirations. They imposed false secularism on the country to appease the minorities while making the Hindus feel guilty about their religion, culture, and history.

Hindu nationalism became a factor in Indian politics in the 1990s—in the aftermath of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement spearheaded by L. K. Advani and other rightwing leaders. The demand of the nationalists did not stop at cultural issues—some rightwing groups railed against the failures of Nehruvian socialism and campaigned for economic reforms. Hindu nationalism and economic reforms have marched in tandem since the 1990s.


Ajit R. Jadhav said...


> "They imposed false secularism"


> "Hindu nationalism became a factor in Indian politics in the 1990s"

Correct. Even a pretense to secularism was thereby done away with.

> "Hindu nationalism and economic reforms have marched in tandem since the 1990s."

Correct, once again, except for the conveniently ambiguous usage of "1990"s. There actually were two phases to it. The first phase occurred under P.V. Narasimha Rao, and continued, due to sheer momentum, for a while. It had a certain "Congress" character to it. The second phase began occurring under the BJP, and is still in progress. As to its character:

If the coin of secularism is denied respectability (if not very circulation) in the market-place of ideas, then wouldn't it be the case that the only economic reforms which are at all possible would be those that are rather favourable to the "bhaT-jee sheT-jee" class? the necessary compensation being in the ever increasing government controls in all other spheres? (You won't have the data on the percentage of government expenditure as part of GDP. Not at all unsurprising. It's part of the same overall logic.)

PS: I won't pray to "ViThThal" to give intelligent people like you "subuddhi". What is under the free choice of an individual isn't, by definition, under that poor fellow's control. If so, why trouble him?

Anoop Verma said...

@Ajit: This is a controversial subject. I am glad to have your perspective and as I can see you agree with at least some of the points that I have made.

Secularism is important but it is possible only if there is a strong law and order machinery. If the government itself is a breaker of laws, then secularism has no meaning.

The increase in size of the government is a major problem. At some point of time, this will lead to a huge economic collapse.

Ajit R. Jadhav said...