Ideological Impurities: BJP vs. the Republicans

Andrew Sullivan has a blog post comparing the Indian and U.S. political situations today, citing an anonymous reader. The reader’s main point is that the current infighting within the U.S. Republican party might be seen as resembling the BJP’s own internal chaos in India:

Perhaps the Democrats can look to India for reasons to be optimistic. At this time, the BJP is in electoral ruins, aided by their rank and honest fundamentalism. They’ve been smashed by Congress for two elections in a row and the report on Ayodhya is about as damning as can be. In response, the hardcore base is working to eliminate anyone who can lead them out of the wilderness. Just as in the GOP, this is done in a pursuit of ideological purity. The only difference is the religion being espoused. (link)

This seems like a viable parallel for a minute, but only for a minute. First, the recent report on Ayodhya, which I blogged about recently, doesn’t seem politically significant; it’s more of a symbolic event. As the reader continues, the parallel starts to seem really shaky:

The RSS, which provides the ideological grounding of Hindu nationalism, as well as a significant section of the ground game, has forced Jaswant Singh out for the simple act of praising the founder of Pakistan. They’ve warned all other moderates to basically shut up and toe the party line. No one seems to remember that the BJP became nationally popular thanks to a pragmatic program of economic growth, reducing corruption, and downplaying Hindutva. Again, the moderates in the party are bemoaning these trends, and warn that divisive communalism may lead to short term electoral gain, but will ultimately lead to total marginalization. No one is listening.

I question the reader’s understanding of what happened during the 1990s. Yes, the Congress Party was widely seen as deeply corrupt and incompetent after the disastrous decades of the 1970s and 1980s. But as I understand history, the BJP actually gained quite a bit of popular momentum in the late 1980s and early 1990s, specifically through communal rhetoric focused on issues such as the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and Shahbano. They may have also had another face, which appealed to educated urbanites focused on economic issues, but there were not enough such people to win elections at the national level. As I read it, for better or worse, it was the rhetoric of communalism that finally brought them to power late in the 1990s. Moreover, the communal violence in Gujarat in 2002 did not hurt them politically, in regional elections in 2002-2003. (Admittedly, most of what the NDA/BJP government actually accomplished while in power between 1999 and 2004 was related to economic policy. But that shift in focus happened after the election.)

Even in the U.S., one has to keep in mind that a big part of what enabled Republican dominance in American politics for more than a decade was a pronounced message of social conservatism focused on divisive issues (abortion, gay marriage) combined with belligerent partisanship. George Bush, though he talked about “compassionate conservatism” during his election campaign in 2000, embodied that identity.

In short, one could just as easily argue that the BJP is weak right now not because of infighting or the kind of ideological litmus test that led to Jaswant Singh’s expulsion. Rather, they simply haven’t found the “next” popular issue yet — their next Shahbano, Mandal Commission Report, or Ayodhya. I think they thought terrorism would be it in the most recent election cycle, but for whatever reason, the attempt to label the Congress Party as weak on terrorism didn’t seem to stick.

84 thoughts on “Ideological Impurities: BJP vs. the Republicans

  1. Good analysis of BJP’s fortunes! Also add that many voters have the suspicion that it was the Congress that fomented separatist movements in Punjab and in Kashmir in order to make the prevailing stage governments—which were not Congress—look bad.

  2. the problem with analogies is the set who

    1) understand american politics & 2) understand indian politices

    is VERY small. so who is judge its worth? the set who understand 1) american politics OR 2) indian politics, seems really small too, so even the utilization of an analogy to map from a source to a target seem bound to fail. most people are too dumb :-)

  3. They definitely benefited form the identity politics game through the 90s – I agree with you there, but I don’t see them being able to repeat it. I get the sense that the Hindutva shtick just doesn’t stir people the way it used to (please don’t consider Gujrat a barometer of India). And people definitely seem to be more wary of being played. The response on the Mumbai terror attacks was very muted in spite of the Sena getting all roiled up for example. As much as communalism helped the BJP during their ascent, there a ceiling to how far that takes you. It may mobilize a core base of support but it’s not very appealing to the majority. I think they realize that too – or they wouldn’t bother putting on the ‘moderate’ face on every issue. Vajpayee leaving really hurt them in this respect – he was perceived a statesman, Advani just sounds like an angry old fart.

    More than that though, voting is generally driven more by economic issues (or people’s perception of economic issues) than any overarching ideological system. The BJP had some successes while they were in power and in some states that has continued, but as a general statement they failed a huge chunk of the population and then rubbed salt in the wound with the “India shining” bullshit. Also lost int he communalism angle is the fact that the Congress’ incompetence and the mass influx of crooks into politics under Indira Gandhi really drove a lot of people away from them. The Congress has reinvented itself in many ways while it was out of power. I think something major would have to happen (like major recession) for the BJP to make major strides against he Congress this time around.

  4. Well, the groups that formed the BJP originally gained from Indira Gandhi’s emergency and the BJP after it was formed gained from Rajiv’s Shah Bano decision. Congress had no real opposition at the national level prior to these two events. Thus, the BJP’s fortunes were influenced more by missteps by Congress and the infighting (VP Singh, Mamata, Pawar all split from Congress) in Congress following Narasimha Rao’s administration during the 1990s.

    If there’s a lesson to be drawn, it would be about not making mistakes and keeping all factions pacified when power is moving to a new generation in the dynasty.

  5. Good point, Razib. The group homomorphism between indian politico & firang politico is sparse in that the correlation matrix will have mostly zeros. To further your idea, the set who 1) understand american politics & 2) understand indian politices & 3)understand what a group homomorphism is & 4)can compute the adjoint of its correlation matrix

    can be counted on the fingers of my left hand.

  6. I dont see BJP’s fall as the fall of hindu fundamentalism, in fact au contraire, the bangalore incidents show how deep it has spread. Southern part of india wasnt too into these hinduist politics.

    I think BJP failed coz they didnt have a second rung leader to excite them. Congress will always have dynasty to back on. In my eyes congress is the worst news(dynasty – this crushes the real talents which an old party like congress def. has, corruption, divide and rule policy, populist policy at the expense of exchequer), a country could ever have.

    BJP isnt an alternative at all today.

  7. George Bush, though he talked about “compassionate conservatism” during his election campaign in 2000, embodied that identity.

    he gave us medicare pt d which costs gazillions, tripled aid to africa, expanded food stamps and called it “nutritional aid” to erase the stigma, and had defacto open borders, had one of the most diverse cabinets in US history, and was careful not to scapegoat Muslims.

  8. The comparison is silly.

    The BJP came to power while championing a set of ideas, considerably more radical than anything touted today, with leaders who were less moderated than today. It got re-elected in the background of a It got re-elected for taking a hard-line nationalist stance (Kargil)

    Once re-elected, it completely sidelined the leaders and issues that got it elected. Took a much softer stand (IC 814) on security. It took on more and more alliances without an ideological basis. Finally it emphasized economic growth (remember India Shining?). Ram Janmabhomi won the BJP an election. India Shining lost it one.

    Beyond that, Congress is backed by big business in India (50 years of controlling permits and who gets to do business pays off) and the left controls the media completely (a result of combination of decades of Radical left wing Liberal colleges and Govt control / patronage). And the less said about the congress leadership, the better.

    The republican party gets into minds by renaming everthing after Regan and creating a myth around him. In India this is done by the congress with (think of all the places / schemes named after MG, JN , IG RG, SG, and even KN.)

    The composition is also different between the two. BJP has very strong socialist (Swadeshi Jagran Manch) and union (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh – india’s largest union) components which would be unthinkable in the GOP.

    At the end of the day, the two countries have completely different political cultures and governing structures and anyone saying democrats = congress, republicans = BJP is just being lazy.

  9. i think there is limited value to an analogy – only in how the bjp is responding to its loss by trying to focus on the most radical elements of its ideology. however, even there, the mechanisms break down because of the absence of intra-party democracy or transparency (true of all indian parties), so the battles are being fought on the basis of personalities rather than ideology. the question is how the bjp will distinguish itself from the congress – in a country with a large population of poor and deprived people, all parties need to have a strong social justice component, so some pro-business mantra isn’t a helpful ideology, and all that is left is the religious nutbaggery.

  10. Ayodhya, whatever one’s thoughts on the merits, was brilliant political theater, designed to knock the guts out of the ruling establishment (not unlike the successful guerrilla campaign in Switzerland, which similarly discomfits the ruling elites).

  11. Ayodhya, whatever one’s thoughts on the merits, was brilliant political theater, designed to knock the guts out of the ruling establishment (not unlike the successful guerrilla campaign in Switzerland, which similarly discomfits the ruling elites).

    … and irritating “side effects” be damned, i assume.

  12. I think the “side effects” are fairly minor in light of the political gains from the successful theater (hearts swelling with pride, etc.) and the archeological record. But I suppose reasonable people could differ.

  13. he gave us medicare pt d which costs gazillions, tripled aid to africa, expanded food stamps and called it “nutritional aid” to erase the stigma, and had defacto open borders, had one of the most diverse cabinets in US history, and was careful not to scapegoat Muslims.

    In return he got a chance to drop bombs on people who had nothing to do with 9/11. Heck of a deal brownie. More on Bush’s Aid to Africa: Link 1, Link 2

  14. But I suppose reasonable people could differ.

    yes. and unreasonable people also differ from reasonable people.

  15. Susanj, I don’t think you should downplay the “side effects” of Ayodhya. Yes, the archeological record reveals a former temple, but the destruction of the Babri Masjid unleashed anti-Hindu rioting in Bangladesh, and led to the destruction of numerous Hindu temples there. Not cool.

  16. I don’t think you should downplay the “side effects” of Ayodhya.

    that would be the unreasonable part.

  17. but the destruction of the Babri Masjid unleashed anti-Hindu rioting in Bangladesh, and led to the destruction of numerous Hindu temples there

    also pesky details of anti muslim violence through india, but who worries about them anyway…

  18. Southern part of india wasnt too into these hinduist politics.

    BJP is in power in Karnataka due to frustration about the corrupt, in-efficient rule by Congress & Janata Dal. If you are from Bangalore you will remember how long it took to construct the Domlur flyover (Cong & its sleepy CM, who can’t even speak Kannada properly were never even able to finish one small flyover). Kumar swamy from JD was way better but he fell because of his Dad’s (Devagowda aka sleeping PM) antics. One more thing that was in favor of BJP is the caste block voting. One of the major caste (Lingayats) voted for BJP since the current CM is a Lingayat. It is wrong to tell that BJP won because of Hinduist politics only.

    If you were never in that particular place in India you will never be able to tell why a party lost or won. We can’t sit in US & analyze Indian politics. For ex: If it does not rain properly and Kaveri issue happens then there is a high chance that the ruling party will lose in Karnataka. No Hindutva/Minority appeasement/ IT revolution will help.

  19. The voting happens like this in many rural areas.

    The voters will be lured by money, sari’s, TV’s (& muscle power in northern states). Before the voting day each party distributes boxes of liquor. People will be drunk and some even won’t know for which party they voted. Analyzing the outcome will be very interesting in this scenario.

  20. It is easy to make facile comparisons between US and Indian politics – in contrast to say Brazilian or Chinese politics. Much of indian political writing is available in english, and so it must seem to some folk that a quick speed-read and mapping to well known US templates is all that is required. Just plain intellectual laziness in its most basic form!

    The reality is that india and the US are fundamentally distinct societies (“two countries separated by a common system of govt”). Beyond the obvious issue of incomes and development stage, the US fought a brutal and protracted civil war to maintain a single nation and has a developed and clear definition of nationhood. In contrast, India is a near-chaotic federal union of multiple states with varying levels of democratic functioning. What it means to be indian is still in the process of definition and delineation. Low-grade challenges to state and locak govt abound, as well as essentially bankrupt governance in many regions. Yet the indian achievement is considerable, especially when the neighborhood is taken into account.

  21. Tough crowd here. A comparison (or an analogy) doesn’t have to be perfect to be useful though. India has learnt economic lessons from western countries with similar reasoning. Hell, our whole political system is based off other countries with totally different social structures. I mean, the guy does make some questionable assertions here, but you guys are making it sound like all comparisons between India and the US (or even analogies in general!) are fundamentally worthless.

  22. Hi,

    Whether the US Republican to Indian BJP comparison is useful depends on what you want to do with it. If all you’re saying by comparing the two parties is that both are capitalist – religious conservative coalitions, the comparison is valid. On the other hand, the US military suppliers are a prominent and influential part of the Republican coalition and I don’t think India’s defense industry as anywhere near as powerful in India. Also the relative strength of the capitalist and religious conservative factions in the Republican party and the BJP are probably considerably different. The Republican party was arguably dominant in the US from 1972 to 2006, while the BJP hasn’t been running India, except for a brief period in the late 90′s and early 21st century. Finally, you cannot understand Indian politics without understanding the CPI(M) and various regional parties, which have no counterparts in the US.

    So the BJP to Republican comparison is less useful than it looks. But it can give a US reader a starting place in understanding Indian politics. This will allow him or her to be as surprised and confused by events in India as he or she is by events in American politics. There is no similar easy way for a US reader to start figuring out who is on which side in Chinese politics. So it is much harder for a US observer to reach the point where he thinks he understands the situation well enough to be surprised by events.

    This has gone on a while. If you want to read more from me I write a blog mentioned above. Whether or not you look at my blog, thanks for reading this.

    Ray,

  23. Hi,

    Whether the US Republican to Indian BJP comparison is useful depends on what you want to do with it. If all you’re saying by comparing the two parties is that both are capitalist – religious conservative coalitions, the comparison is valid. On the other hand, the US military suppliers are a prominent and influential part of the Republican coalition and I don’t think India’s defense industry as anywhere near as powerful in India. Also the relative strength of the capitalist and religious conservative factions in the Republican party and the BJP are probably considerably different. The Republican party was arguably dominant in the US from 1972 to 2006, while the BJP hasn’t been running India, except for a brief period in the late 90′s and early 21st century. Finally, you cannot understand Indian politics without understanding the CPI(M) and various regional parties, which have no counterparts in the US.

    So the BJP to Republican comparison is less useful than it looks. But it can give a US reader a starting place in understanding Indian politics. This will allow him or her to be as surprised and confused by events in India as he or she is by events in American politics. There is no similar easy way for a US reader to start figuring out who is on which side in Chinese politics. So it is much harder for a US observer to reach the point where he thinks he understands the situation well enough to be surprised by events.

    This has gone on a while. If you want to read more from me I write a blog mentioned above. Whether or not you look at my blog, thanks for reading this.

    Ray,

  24. But as I understand history, the BJP actually gained quite a bit of popular momentum in the late 1980s and early 1990s, specifically through communal rhetoric focused on issues such as the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and Shahbano.

    You are right about the Ram Janmabhoomi but in the Shah Bano affair, the blatantly communal actions came from Congress. Opposing it was the decent thing to do. And electorally sensible, as it turned out.

  25. They may have also had another face, which appealed to educated urbanites focused on economic issues, but there were not enough such people to win elections at the national level. As I read it, for better or worse, it was the rhetoric of communalism that finally brought them to power late in the 1990s.

    I disagree. The communalism got them a fair number of seats to be part of a coalition and form a government that lasted for 13 days. What really got them to power was indeed the image they were able to cultivate of Vajpayee as a very moderate statesman who could keep the extreme elements under control. This image was crucial in making the BJP a palatable alternative to the corruption and disarray of the INC. Of course, this moderate face alone wouldn’t get enough votes either, and the radical Hindutva was necessary to get them to a stage where they could be considered an alternative. But this moderate face was what came later, and what provided the all important decisive edge. To stretch the analogy, the Hindutva got them their base, but they needed this moderate image to get some “independents”. It is a smaller and dwindling base in the case of the BJP, but a base it is. The base is fanned by similar stuff in both cases: enemies across the border, jingoism, fear of culture being under attack, etc.

    Both parties are indeed turning further right, though it is a different kind of shift in the two cases. For the Republicans, the Bush-Cheney-Rove years destroyed the moderate votebank and the base is responding better to the Palins of the world than to the rudderless and leaderless moderate wing. In the case of the BJP, it is more a return to its RSS roots, and a sidelining/elimination of the more moderate elements.

    Also, the multiparty system + lack of primaries makes the political dynamics as different as they can be in two democracies, so this analogy is very limited in predictive power.

  26. The base is fanned by similar stuff in both cases: enemies across the border, jingoism, fear of culture being under attack, etc.

    Do you seriously think that Hinduism is not facing “enemies across the border” or that it is not culturally under attack?

  27. Do you seriously think that Hinduism is not facing “enemies across the border” or that it is not culturally under attack?

    yes, extreme prejudice is warranted.

  28. As I read it, for better or worse, it was the rhetoric of communalism that finally brought them to power late in the 1990s.

    There are commonalities between the BJP and the Republican Party in that both combined a socially reactionary political movement with a political arm that focused on staying in power. However, I think you are right to question taking this too far because thre are differences as well, though in this vein, i think not the ones you point to. The BJP’s latter arm had to make a series of compromises in order to retain power within a coalition (they never had a majority govt) – and this is different from the Republican party and american politics in general which has the coalitions WITHIN the two major parties. As a result, while the rise of the BJP can in part be attributed to ultrareactionary communal politics, the ability to occupy power at a national level involved some concessions – and this is part of the broader balancing act between ideology / social base and the practical needs of power brokering and more generally staying in power.

    In terms of the fall of the two parties – I think you are right to ask whether or not both are actually ‘falling’ – the republicans have imploded and will continue to do so as a movement (though as a party they may make narrow gains here and there as they gradually shift their politics) – whereas the BJP in a very different context (an upwardly moving polity and economy) may be able to capitalise on a different approach. On the other hand, the prospects of an alliance of religious / communal mobilisation + pro-rich politics which links the two is dead, largely because of the failure of the economic model on global, national, and local levels that ‘trickles down’ to cause mass instability among the parties that most fervently promoted it amd can’t adjust quickly enough (e.g. see NREGA + war on maoists – congress initiatives).

  29. BJP’s down fall in India is a lot due to its untouchability status in some states.

    In Orissa, where I am from, it was in coalition with the local BJD party. The coalition was snapped months before this year’s election. Part of the reason given was the alleged involvement of Sangh Parivar in the killings and violence in Kandhamal last year. After that, in this year’s election BJP was wiped out in Orissa with respect to MP numbers and its MLA numbers reduced to 6. So its number went down from 7 to 0 in terms of MPs and 32 to 6 in terms of MLAs.

  30. The talk of a collapsing Republican party makes me laugh. It was only 5 years ago when people were ready to write off the Democrats for good when John Kerry lost and the Dems got spanked in the Congressional elections. And then came the Social Security debacle followed up by Katrina leading into 2006 and the spankee became the spanker all of a sudden invigorated by new blood and fresh grassroots support. It also came with new focuses on new issues and different ways of framing the current ones. That doesn’t happen without some soul searching and fractious infighting. Remember the Ned Lamont/Lieberman fight? The Deaniacs versus the rest of the Democratic establishment? That one Iraq Vet, beloved by the netroots, but whose name I don’t remember who then got dicked over by the state party? The gradual reinvention of the Democratic party had been going on since 1994 and it’s still kind of going.

    It’s called realignment children. It’s a long and complicated process that involves a lot of trimming fat and consolidating vote blocs. Trying to say the GOP is dead because a few nuts are hogging up all the media attention just displays an ignorance about the flows of history. The crazier the GOP’s fringes look, the easier it gets for liberals to overreach, freeing up room around the middle for a moderate conservative to dog-whistle the wingnuts and capture the median voter. It’s not likely to happen to Obama since the man is rather moderate himself. But it’s not outside the realm of possibility after he leaves.

  31. It only takes the next Godhra or some other issue to bring the BJP back with a vengeance. I mistrust both the congress and the bjp. Both parties will & have screw(ed) the common people in different ways.

    I guess India does deserve the leaders she has gotten by elevating them all to demi-god status….Sorry to be so pessimistic about politics in India….

  32. BJP’s down fall in India is a lot due to its untouchability status in some states.

    Not untouchability, but the BJP’s practice of coalition dharma has been a disaster. They had 18% of the vote in Andhra 10 years ago, but frittered it away by tying up with TDP. Orissa was similar, where the party has not grown in 10 years.

    in this year’s election BJP was wiped out in Orissa with respect to MP numbers and its MLA numbers reduced to 6. So its number went down from 7 to 0 in terms of MPs and 32 to 6 in terms of MLAs.

    This is again about the BJD gaining more from a coalition than the BJP. In terms of vote share, the BJD has grown in Orissa while Congress lost 6% (from 40) and the BJP lost 2% (from 19) of the vote.

    The common theme here is that unlike the Congress, the BJP has not yet figured out how the party to grow at the expense of the regional party it is in coalition with.

  33. “The only difference is the religion being espoused.”

    Well, it turns out that is quite a difference right there. Oppressed religious groups such as Jews, Zoroastrians and Tibetan Buddhists have found refuge in India, the land of Hinduism. India has never had an inquisition (well, except for when the Catholics set up a branch office of their Inquisition in the Indian state of Goa in the year 1600). Nor has India ever had anything remotely resembling the European Witch Hunts or the fratricidal religious wars that are also known as “the reformation”. Nor are there any known cases of Hindu religious leaders debating whether heretics should be garroted first or just burned alive. Etc. Etc.

    Christians like to comfort themselves with the lie that “everyone else does it”. But it just ain’t so.

  34. Nor are there any known cases of Hindu religious leaders debating whether heretics should be garroted first or just burned alive. Etc. Etc.

    and hindu political leaders on the other hand… well, they don’t debate it either….

    btw, your complaints about catholicism are not relevant to republicans and the dominant form of christianity they practice.

  35. “The only difference is the religion being espoused.” Well, it turns out that is quite a difference right there. Oppressed religious groups such as Jews, Zoroastrians and Tibetan Buddhists have found refuge in India, the land of Hinduism. India has never had an inquisition (well, except for when the Catholics set up a branch office of their Inquisition in the Indian state of Goa in the year 1600). Nor has India ever had anything remotely resembling the European Witch Hunts or the fratricidal religious wars that are also known as “the reformation”. Nor are there any known cases of Hindu religious leaders debating whether heretics should be garroted first or just burned alive. Etc. Etc. Christians like to comfort themselves with the lie that “everyone else does it”. But it just ain’t so.

    India like any other place has had plenty of fanaticism. If you are trying to peddle (especially to Indians) the simple and de-humanizing western view of India as a country where people sit around meditating all the time, refuse to be violent, and are all Brahmin priests, then you friend are an idiot and must believe everything that ignorant white liberals tell you when they are trying to be friendly. Sorry. No serious person who understands Indian history and culture would gargle up such nonsense.

    As far as the original post. Unfortunatley I think for the simple minded, if a Hindu, Sikh, Christian, or Muslim name can be associated with an event it becomes a religious one. Fanatics are not born out of religion. They are born out of political and social climates that allow them to prosper. I think what the original post was trying to compare was that the political right in the US has used right wing Christianity in the same way that the political right in India has used right wing Hinduism. Whats fascinating is that in both these cases the leaders are clearly using a religion to achieve political objectives that have nothing to do with anything that the religions themselves teach. Because of that fact, both right wing groups should be rightly labled crooked.

    If I want to borrow money from my neighbour and the only thing we have in common is our religion, then using religion to bond with that neighbour and borrow money is a lie. That is what many of the politicians described do except they not only want money from you they want your vote.

  36. “Christians like to comfort themselves with the lie that “everyone else does it”. But it just ain’t so”

    The problem with Indian history is that history as it is known in the west did not exist in India until Muslim rule. There is plenty of evidence of HIndu temples that are built on Buddhist and Jaina temples. Jews were not persecuted in India but neither did they flourish as they did in Muslim and Christian lands.

  37. “Christians like to comfort themselves with the lie that “everyone else does it”. But it just ain’t so” The problem with Indian history is that history as it is known in the west did not exist in India until Muslim rule. There is plenty of evidence of HIndu temples that are built on Buddhist and Jaina temples. Jews were not persecuted in India but neither did they flourish as they did in Muslim and Christian lands.

    Actually there were a number of great chronicles in the late ancient and early medieval periods in India–preceding the advent of Islam. The Harshacarita by Bana and the Rajatarangini (essentially a history of Kashmir) by Kalhana provide great historical insight. Regarding Hinduism and its offshoots, Buddhism actually continued to flourish in late antiquity, not only under Harsha but under the Palas and Senas (overthrown by the Khaljis) of Bengal and other dynasties in the northwest of the subcontinent. Hindu dynasties, such as the Guptas also patronized buddhist institutions, notably Nalanda. If you read chroniclers of Mahmud et al, there was special attention focused on buddhists…Interestingly the two areas of the subcontinent that were predominantly Buddhist are Bangladesh and northwestern Pakistan…So this historical fallacy of hinduism attempting to destroy buddhism is merely more tripe of the AIT quality…

  38. Amardeep is both right and wrong. On BJP’s rise, he is right that it shot to national limelight based on issues such as Ram Janambhoomi and Shah Bano. But, he is wrong that BJP was the communal one in both instances. It was clearly communal on Ram Janambhoomi, and its goons took the extra-judicial step to tear down Babri Masjid, definitely a wrong thing to do. On Shah Bano, BJP was on the secular side, demanding same laws for everyone, and fighting for the right to alimony for Shah Bano. That was a totally right thing to do. On the other hand, it was Rajiv Gandhi and Congress who were communal, and divided the country along communal lines by overturning the judgement of Supreme Court, arguably one of the most secular institutions in the country.

  39. Harsha carita is a biography not a true history. Kalhana”s work is dated to the 12th century which places it after Muslim rule.

  40. plenty of evidence of HIndu temples that are built on Buddhist and Jaina temples.

    Could you provide citations? Thanks.

  41. plenty of evidence of HIndu temples that are built on Buddhist and Jaina temples.

    Could you provide citations? Thanks.

  42. Harsha carita is a biography not a true history. Kalhana”s work is dated to the 12th century which places it after Muslim rule.

    Actually, biographic chronicles and court histories are a critical element in providing historical accounts, just like the Babur and Akbar nama’s did in later periods. Also, Islamic rule did not take root in Kashmir until the 14th century—please do your homework. Kalhana and his Rajatarangini preceded that period by almost 2 centuries. Cavalier statements about buddhist temples and historiography do not make cogent arguments…

  43. Could you provide citations? Thanks.

    One example might be Hajo, in Assam. It is believed by Buddhists to be the site where the Buddha attained Nirvana. Today, however, the main temple is a Vaishnava temple.

    There would be many other examples, however.

  44. Could you provide citations? Thanks. One example might be Hajo, in Assam. It is believed by Buddhists to be the site where the Buddha attained Nirvana. Today, however, the main temple is a Vaishnava temple. There would be many other examples, however.

    Biharis would be distressed at that inaccurate statement. The Buddha is universally acknowledged to have attained enlightenment at Bodh Gaya in Bihari. That is why buddhists from all over east asia make pilgrimages to it. Also, that wasn’t a citation, and stating that there are “many other examples” doesn’t add any more validity to the statement. If you do have citations, please do add them as I for one would be interested in them.

    Regarding the temple issue, it might be more constructive to consider modern temple reconstruction in the context of Somnath and the relocation of the mosque there: http://www.newstodaynet.com/printer.php?id=15274 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somnath

  45. i love it when yajnavalkya just makes up shit to defend his ahistoric statements. always love it when the threads veer sharply to crazytown. the decapitated buddhist statues in the south, the history around evol of the gita, and immense evidence around rebuilding of hindu temples using material of jain temples etc in south, i guess, is irrelevant to yajnavalkya’s truthiness.

  46. One example might be Hajo, in Assam. It is believed by Buddhists to be the site where the Buddha attained Nirvana. Today, however, the main temple is a Vaishnava temple.

    I think that the main temple in Hajo was Hindu pre-Buddha (as well as post-Buddha). See P.K. Mishra, Studies in Hindu and Buddhist Art, p. 104. I think my motives may differ from Hamit’s, but I, too would like to see credible citations to Hindus building their temples over Buddhist and Jain ones. I’m told this is a Marxist calumny against Hindus, trying to whitewash (through relativism) the history of Islam in the subcontinent. I’m open to being shown wrong.

  47. i love it when yajnavalkya just makes up shit to defend his ahistoric statements. always love it when the threads veer sharply to crazytown. the decapitated buddhist statues in the south, the history around evol of the gita, and immense evidence around rebuilding of hindu temples using material of jain temples etc in south, i guess, is irrelevant to yajnavalkya’s truthiness.

    yes, far better to be fifth column and make fact-free one liners that offer neither insights nor links. So much evidence to your claims. So much credibility to your ad hominems. the more bombastic the insult, naturally the more valid it is… Well done sir…a gentleman and a scholar…oh wait, never mind.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harshacharita oof, so ahistorical, you got me there fifth-y

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajatarangini oops there I go again…just making it up as I go along…