Subramanian Swamy Tells it Like it Ain’t

On July 16, Swamy, the leader of the Janata Party in India, contributed a shining example of vitriolic filth to DNA India:

Fanatic Muslims consider Hindu-dominated India “an unfinished chapter of Islamic conquests”. All other countries conquered by Islam 100% converted to Islam within two decades of the Islamic invasion. Undivided India in 1947 was 75% Hindu even after 800 years of brutal Islamic rule. That is jarring for the fanatics…

The first lesson to be learnt from the recent history of Islamic terrorism against India and for tackling terrorism in India is that the Hindu is the target and that Muslims of India are being programmed by a slow reactive process to become radical and thus slide into suicide against Hindus…

We need a collective mindset as Hindus to stand against the Islamic terrorist. The Muslims of India can join us if they genuinely feel for the Hindu. That they do I will not believe unless they acknowledge with pride that though they may be Muslims, their ancestors were Hindus. If any Muslim acknowledges his or her Hindu legacy, then we Hindus can accept him or her as a part of the Brihad Hindu Samaj (greater Hindu society) which is Hindustan (DNA India).

So to recap, despite the overwhelming diversity that defines Hinduism, and despite the glaring social inequities that find their roots in the religion, Hindus in India need to privilege their religious identity above everything else because the Muslims around them are being infected by the suicide bomb bug. Did I miss anything?

As nasty as it is, Swamy’s diatribe doesn’t stray very far from the body of work that defines rightwing Hindu nationalism. That last paragraph I quoted pretty much paraphrases M.S. Golwalkar from his 1939 book, We or Our Nationhood Defined:

The foreign races in Hindusthan [India] must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must loose (sic) their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment — not even citizen’s rights. There is, at least, should be, no other course for them to adopt.

Swamy is a long-time faculty member of the economics department at Harvard (he got his PhD there in the 60s), and he is teaching there this summer. Two Harvard students have started an online petition demanding that the university cut its ties with Subramanian Swamy. It currently has 223 signatures. An article in the Harvard Crimson published today contains more details about the story.

106 thoughts on “Subramanian Swamy Tells it Like it Ain’t

  1. I do want to add that I am not onboard Swamy’s rants. My reply is more about reports you read about Pakistanis trying to identify with the Arabic world than their own neighbors.

    I will add that my muslim friends from India(and even Bangladesh) know plenty about Hindu culture and the shared past. I was referring to reports I read about Pakistan. So it is all second hand info.

    • Ok. I’m not sure why you would have left that caveat out of your original comment. Also, if your impressions are formed by reports you’ve read, why not cite those?

  2. What gets your goat?

    That someone can make a statement like that as if it’s common knowledge when there isn’t a shred of evidence to prove it.

    …I know for a fact that about 75% of the non-Hindus would unhesitatingly say yes.

    Actually no, you don’t, but that’s not close to the point anyway. The point is that it’s totally unconstitutional to single out a group of citizens, ask them a question about their ancestry, and determine their future citizenship rights based on their answer. That’s what this says explicitly:

    If any Muslim acknowledges his or her Hindu legacy, then we Hindus can accept him or her as a part of the Brihad Hindu Samaj (greater Hindu society) which is Hindustan. India that is Bharat that is Hindustan is a nation of Hindus and others whose ancestors were Hindus. Others, who refuse to acknowledge this, or those foreigners who become Indian citizens by registration, can remain in India but should not have voting rights (which means they cannot be elected representatives).
  3. “Having lived in India longer than you have Vivek, I know for a fact that about 75% of the non-Hindus would unhesitatingly say yes. Swamy is also saying that being Hindu or having been one is a matter of pride, at least something to feel good about. “

    pride?????

  4. @Vivek, so does it have to be op-ed in an Indian newspsaper before you get all riled up? Not that there are not enough! Thanks to TOI and similar congress mouthpieces.

    Also Vivek, you deceptively pick and choose small, out-of-context portions of others post to argue against, while you wilfully ignore the meat of their repsonse. Ofocurse you do this because it does not suit you to really respond to them- becuase you really do not have any argument. For example, in reply to Jyotsna’s last post about the salient differences between Swamy’s assertions and action (and his faily background) as compared to your fellow comapnions in your outrage – Digvijay and Roy, you still just harp on some random portion of Swamy’s statement.

    • @Vivek, so does it have to be op-ed in an Indian newspsaper before you get all riled up?

      Good point. No, anything you like. Find me a recent op-ed in a newspaper somewhere in the world that you’d like me to get riled up about.

      For example, in reply to Jyotsna’s last post about the salient differences between Swamy’s assertions and action (and his faily background) as compared to your fellow comapnions in your outrage – Digvijay and Roy, you still just harp on some random portion of Swamy’s statement.

      This one cracked me up! Digvijay and Roy, my fellow companions! If you’re looking for me to praise Digvijay Singh, you’ll be waiting for a while. At the same time I didn’t really feel like traipsing around the internet trying to verify what jyotsana said about a book release, so what did I have to respond to?

      Maybe this is what you’re looking for:

      The Congress Party is rife with corruption, and some of its leaders mobilize communalism to get votes.

      Happy?

      And yes, sorry, I was harping on the original point the post actually made… you know, the collection of paragraphs at the top of the page.

  5. Here is the reality. In about 10 years, GDP will be #1 China, #2 USA, #3 India and #4 Japan. Top 3 out of 4 has high Hindu and Buddhist influence. Europe is already Atheist, US is quickly becoming one. Hindus, Buddhists & Jains can easily be considered Atheist. So embrace your hindu/buddhist/jain/atheist belief…your time is coming.

  6. What gets your goat? That someone can make a statement like that as if it’s common knowledge when there isn’t a shred of evidence to prove it.

    Vivek you are repeating your assertion after being provided evidence of communal misdirection Diggy Style. Mods do have privileges, I see.

    What evidence that would indicate that some such thing is happening Vivek? And what is Swamy referring to? Turning back to Suzanna/Manu/Pankaj mode (use the broad brush to smear) what is afoot, and how is Swamy misinterpreting it or failing to read it?

    Swamy quite clearly draws his conclusions from the Congress’s time tested method of vote banking, and calls for better ways to blunt it by building up a united Hindu votebank. In Gujarat the counter Brihad Hindu mobilization has worked so well that the Congress in the last assembly election did not nominate a single Muslim. And now it is the BJP that is nominating winning Muslim candidates at the provincial level, in Hindu majority districts at that! In Karnataka the slate of candidates that has drawn up to succeed BSY gives you an idea of the broad based Hindu coalition that Swamy calls for – two Kurubas, three Vokkaligas, two Lingayats and two Brahmins. In contrast to the Congress which fragments the Hindu vote by using the Hindu upper classes’ money and the lower classes’ votes to keep out the middle, the BJP attempts to bring together the middle classes across all communities. In the last Kerala election VS led the CPI(M) out of its soft dalliance with Muslim conservatives (secured in return for anti-GWB soundbites) and Christian landed interests (in return for turning a blind eye to the powerful landed interests of the Christian upperclass) and championed the general underclass consisting of the poor Muslims and Christians as well as the states Hindu majority (a slight one at that) that has been finding it extremely difficult to find educational and job opportunities in a state where the almost 50% of non-Hindu group derives great advantage in claiming minority status. VS almost won Kerala for the CPI(M) despite an edict/fatwa from both Christian priests and Muslim leaders/mullahs to vote against the CPI(M). Swamy is asking the Hindu to find a way to maintain their jati identiy, reject and abandon all discrimination and work together. The Congress banks on the possibility that a Reddy will not work with a Kamma and a Gowda will never work with a Lingayat and deliberately builds up one alpha group at the cost of the beta group and then gets the rest to share power with teh alpha group. This is playing with fire and is what has precipitated the Telengana crisis this time with the secondary Kammas (who are #3 with the Kapus and Rajus) breaking away from the Congress. In predictable fashion the Congress has roped in Chiranjeevi to rally the Kapus around, sending jitters through the top ranks of the Telugu cine veterans, because such communal play would rend the proudly pluralistic movie industry.

    In contrast to the Congress’s two-faced dishonest votebanking is Swamy’s open advocacy of a nationalistic Hindu theme. Swamy also leaves unsaid the results of the recent TN election, where for the first time the Congress allied with a loser. The Congress’s confidence was founded on the DMK’s certainty that the minority vote would turn out for it. Emboldened by sundry bishops, televangelists, and revanchist/reactionary who have several times in the past asserted that no party can come to power in TN as they hold the swing vote (8%?) because Hindus are always divided, the DMK misread the shift that has been underway in TN for a few years now. First the churches. In everyone of them, CSI and the several protestant breakaways (AG, ECI etc) and even in the Catholic Church, the laity have begun to revolt against the corruption. Following the lead of Justice (Retd.) Saldanha in Karnataka, TN laity as well have begun challenging the church management for its profligate ways, embezzlement and above all the exploitation of the churches’ most important asset – land – that has been given away in backdoor sweetheart deals. Similarly Muslim Tamizhans are beginning to shake off the stranglehold of the local aristocracy and jamaat that owed its dominance to its power to dole out education seats as well as Gulf jobs. The expansion of the economy and the cosmopolitanisation of Chennai and other towns in TN has brought youth off all communities together, which is why corruption had such a big impact on voters mind relegating religious identity to second place. The investigation of the high flying fake, Kanimozhi crony, Fr.Jegath Gasper Raj and his Rs.1000 crore “non-profit/NGO” as well as the waning sheen of televangelist fakes like Dhinakaran clan, dragged down the DMK alliance. In return a gradual rapprochement between dominant groups such as the Thevars and Nadars, the Kounders and the Naidus (both earlier Congress loyalists) and the Vanniars with everyone else simply hollowed out the votebanks of the traditional caste parties. Even if the BJP has gained nothing out of this realignment, other parties are paying attention to its message – a Jaya in TN and a VS in Kerala.

    Actually no, you don’t, but that’s not close to the point anyway.

    It is yes, considering MoorNam and I between us can forget more than the sum total that most SM posters know about India.

    The point is that it’s totally unconstitutional to single out a group of citizens…

    The constitution as I said is a document based on certain unquestioned principles, it is not a theory based on scientific facts, hypotheses etc. There are constitutions and constitutions. And then there are amendments – in India – some so trivial such as the one that passed to enable the election of the late Lakshadweep MP, P.M.Sayeed’s son to the Lok Sabha despite the fact that it was unconstitutional to have one like him not born in Lakshadweep represent that that union territory. Or that one that amendment that was passed to let Sonia Gandhi run India’s Super Cabinet, the National Advisory Council. The Indian Constitution has been amended >100 times. What are we talking about unconstitutional? The Supreme Court has ruled that even the 9th Schedule is not beyond its review. Swamy’s rant is that of an aggrieved Hindu and a tireless scholar, and a courageous campaigner against nepotism and corruption. After taking for granted for several years that India’s nationalistic assumption needed no questioning Swamy has turned inward and found wanting our most cherished notions. Rather than turning to the pages of the Crimson you are better advised to keep in touch with the ground in India. You’d be surprised how much Indians agree with Swamy.

  7. At the same time I didn’t really feel like traipsing around the internet trying to verify what jyotsana said about a book release, so what did I have to respond to?

    Vivek, it’s surprising (or maybe not) that you have no idea what the chief Congress spokesman/busybody/Pappu advisor/#3 Congress honcho Diggy Style has been up to. There are several India bloggers who could help you out. Offstumped, Greatbong, Acorn etc., would be a great way to start. You mayn’t want to engage with your posters. Mods have privileges, I see. Thanks for letting this double post get by. Cheers!

  8. Subramanian Swamy Sir looses credibility and much support when he imitates other politicians in the country with his writings. We should be thankful to Subramanian for bringing 2G scam before the country but dividing citizens on the grounds of religious fanaticism can’t be justified.

    Weakest LINK

  9. "Hindu fundamentalism"  and "Hindu fanaticism"  are bogies, if they are not oxymoronic.  One can see what is really happening.  Frustrated or overwhelmed by the danger and reality of Islamist terror in Kashmir and elsewhere in India, the average tolerant Indian secularist, wants to show at least  *some* strength, so that he can look macho in front of both Indian and international audiences, particularly the latter.  So he finds a suitable target in the so called Hindu fundamentalists. He lashes out at them, making them as much, if not more responsible for terroristic violence than the Islamists.
    

    In a way, it’s an easy escape or safety valve. Because these people know, in their heart of hearts, that the Hindu fundamentalists are 1) no real danger to India as a whole in terms of norms such as democracy/elections, theological diversity, linguistic plurality, and acceptance of agnosticism, atheism, women’s rights etc and 2) no real danger to themselves personally. At the very most, an aggressive Bajrang Dal tough or VHP rowdy may accost them, nothing more.

    By denouncing the Hindu groups, the average secularist then feels a sense of release, of satisfaction, false though it is. Until the next bomb blast, when he can do the same thing once again. And so it goes.

  10. Varun Shekhar

    After independence, between 1950 and 1970, the indian secular elite believed that hindu extremism was the greatest danger to the country. They may have been right then but they are certainly wrong now. You seem to believe that hindu extremism is no danger to the country. This is deeply wrong too. We have to look no further than some of the people in Bajrang Dal, Shri Rama Sena or even some of the riots in which VHP and their friends have played a role to understand that.

    And, yes, after 1970 a powerful and well funded form of islamism has arisen in iran, saudi arabia and pakistan. We need to be on our guard and honestly discuss their impact on india. We should have an intellectual and practical strategy to push back against these extreme countries and cultures. We should collaborate and educate the indian muslim population against these forces.They are our most powerful allies in this fight.

    Please take the time to actually read about the history of modern india and the challenge it faces. Ramachandra Guha has written very well about the threats from hindu extremists, islamists, communists/maoists and islamists in his works (eg. India after Gandhi). All have conspired against the modern indian state at different times and all three find democracy distasteful.

  11. 1. He bases that on the false assumption that a 1000 years ago “100%” of Indians were Hindus. Of course that is not true, and has never been true, and he is willfully lying just as he lied when he claimed that everywhere except India there was “100%” conversion to Islam within 20 years of being conquered by Muslims.

    Prema aka Gypsy as usual is factually challenged. Swamy is right on both counts, and your bluster doesn’t change that. What some of the more serious people on this blog (that excludes you obviously) are interested in is that what this implies for all of us. This week there was a very interesting article by Dr. Arshad Alam, Jamia Millia University

    Deoband Madrasa was established a decade after the failure of the 1857 revolt. Islamic scholars…rationalised…that the loss of Muslim power was Allah’s way of punishing Muslims of the subcontinent for straying from the tenets of Islam. It was felt that if Muslims started following ‘true’ Islam, power and glory would again be theirs…Deoband reasoned that in the South Asian context, pure Islamic precepts had become adulterated by the influence of Hindu ideas and practices. It was necessary to purge these Hindu accretions if Islam in India was to return to its pristine glory. Since most Muslims at the time were not literate, teaching them the true meaning of Islam became the fundamental goal of Deoband. In the years to come, hundreds of more madrasas came up with a similar agenda all over the country…This ideology served two purposes. First, it created a new kind of Muslim…preoccupied with a strange and nervous fear…of not being Muslim enough…Possessed by intense guilt, he started purging all the shared signifiers and the signified. Going to the shrine, the many customary practices, the sindoor, geet-sangeet, (practices that were anathema for Deoband) all were to be purged out of the system in order to assert a ” Muslim only” identity. It would be plainly wrong to understand Deoband as interested in preserving traditional life and learning. In fact Deoband inaugurated a new kind of politics whose vision could only be realised by vanquishing the old traditional life styles of Muslims. This vision, although primarily directed at ‘reforming’ the Muslims inevitably estranged them from fellow Hindus with whom previously they had shared their life-world.

    Indonesia and Malaysia are nominally Muslim majority nations. While Indonesia celebrates its Hindu heritage in so many incredible ways that are too numerous to recount, Malaysia has a state policy of oppressing its Hindus that borders on the macabre. Bangladesh too is a Muslim majority nation and despite all the violence that minorities face in some remote parts of the land, Dhaka hosts the nation’s official state sponsored Hindu Mandir as well as Church in addition to the national mosque. Of late a few scholars in Pakistan have urged the government to consider designating certain Hindu and Sikh shrines as national religious monuments – notably Nankana Sahib, Hinglaj and others.

    When Chief Minister Oommen Chandy declares “This temple [Padmanabhaswamy Kavu] is our state’s pride…and is part of our culture. Hence it is the government’s right and duty to provide the needed security to the temple,” he is not becoming any less Christian, even a shade. When Sonia Gandhi, Farooq Abdullah, and Manomohan Singh visit Tirupati they don’t become Hindus. When my mother asked for a taabiz from the fakir at local masjid, for my dying father, none of us became Muslims, and when my father did not survive that final illness and left this earth, neither my Mum nor I hated Islam and Muslims for that.

    • Prema aka Gypsy as usual is factually challenged. Swamy is right on both counts

      This stubborn clinging to obviously stupid, brazen lies is one of the reasons why you deceitful Hindu fanatic con men are bad news for India.

      Only a complete idiot or a completely shameless liar would insist that 100% of the population was converted to Islam in all lands ruled by Muslims, except India.

      Ditto for anyone who insists that India was ever, at any point in time, 100% Hindu.

  12. “ “1. He bases that on the false assumption that 1000 years ago “100%” of Indians were Hindus. Of course that is not true, and has never been true, and he is willfully lying just as he lied when he claimed that everywhere except India there was “100%” conversion to Islam within 20 years of being conquered by Muslims.”

    Prema aka Gypsy as usual is factually challenged. Swamy is right on both counts, and your bluster doesn’t change that. What some of the more serious people on this blog (that excludes you obviously) are interested in is that what this implies for all of us. “

    Jyotsana, how is Prema aka Gypsy or whatever you are calling “factually” wrong and Swamy right on “both counts”? Do you factually have proof that 1000 years ago 100% of Indians were Hindus?

    Kerala has had a Buddhist, Jain, indigenous/tribal religion past as well as close to under 2000 years of Jews (for them actually more than 2000 years), Christians and Moslems, so that is definitely one part of India that was never 100% (or whatever we presently think of as “Hindu”). Then we have the other parts of India that were at one time or another Buddhist, Jain, tribal and other, and the southern Indian religions didn’t become “Hindu” till Brahmins moved down to the south, establishing the caste systeme and appropriating, oops I meant assimilating the local gods and linking them to Vedic Hinduism (almost like what happened to greek and roman gods getting linked ).

    So let’s go by that adage, don’t throw stones when you’re living in glass house ;-)

    • Mani: Kerala has had a Buddhist, Jain, indigenous/tribal religion past as well as close to under 2000 years of Jews (for them actually more than 2000 years), Christians and Moslems, so that is definitely one part of India that was never 100% (or whatever we presently think of as “Hindu”). Then we have the other parts of India that were at one time or another Buddhist, Jain, tribal and other, and the southern Indian religions didn’t become “Hindu” till Brahmins moved down to the south, establishing the caste systeme and appropriating, oops I meant assimilating the local gods and linking them to Vedic Hinduism (almost like what happened to greek and roman gods getting linked ). So let’s go by that adage, don’t throw stones when you’re living in glass house ;-)

      Also, there was actually no “Hinduism” 1,000 years ago! The name “Hindu/Hindoo” was phrased during the Islamic or Christian migrations/invasions. You are right, Mani. The south Indians had their own pantheon of gods/goddesses whom the north Indians have never seen before, never heard of before, and to this day, unable to pronounce. Do folks in north India worship Murugan, Senthil, or Venkateswara? Probably not. These gods/goddesses were NOT mentioned in the Veda. However, some people believe that these gods “became” Shiva, Vishnu (and company), etc. These same people believe that Christ and Buddha is an avatar of Vishnu.

      One thing that I think that enhances the greatness of Hindus and Hinduism is that beliefs are (1) not canonized, and (2) they have evolved, (3) changed 180 degrees, (4) absorbed other beliefs, and the(5) adherents are much less tied to their beliefs than in other religions. For examples: (1) There are many “guides-of-life” that guide the thoughts and moral compasses of Hindus.
      (2) Vedic people used to eat beef and serve it to guests. Now, they are supposed to eschew it (as opposed to chew it). (3) I know Hindus here in Boston who manage McDonald franchises and Subways. They’re not supposed to eat beef, right?
      (4) Hindus baptise people like in Semitic religions. There are holy shrines/places like in Islam and Judaism, and these places were only made holy after Islam came to India. Hindus have a holy day that’s not Sunday (like Christians) or Saturday (like Muslims) or even Friday (like Jews, I believe). It’s typically Thursdays, but they also worship mostly on Sundays in the USA. So this is a syncretic quality of them, which is good. (5) I know a much higher percentage of Hindus who eat meat than Muslims who eat pork. I know many more Christians and Jews here in Boston who are doing yoga than Hindus (in absolute and not relative terms), but I believe that Indians only started to do yoga once again after it was re-introduced by westerners during the ’60s and ’70s. There is very little compulsion in Hinduism, I believe, and this is a great thing. It’s become more of cultural thing.

  13. Mani,

    What you say doesn’t make sense. Why would an egalitarian society want to make the change to casteism? Why would the south Indian populace want to take up a position inferior to brahmins? Why would Buddhists, Jains and tribals want to give up Buddhism and Jainism and adopt Hinduism?

  14. Kerala has had a Buddhist, Jain, indigenous/tribal religion past as well as close to under 2000 years of Jews (for them actually more than 2000 years), Christians and Moslems, so that is definitely one part of India that was never 100% (or whatever we presently think of as “Hindu”). Then we have the other parts of India that were at one time or another Buddhist, Jain, tribal and other, and the southern Indian religions didn’t become “Hindu” till Brahmins moved down to the south, establishing the caste systeme and appropriating, oops I meant assimilating the local gods and linking them to Vedic Hinduism (almost like what happened to greek and roman gods getting linked )

    First of all, India has no indigenous people, everyone is indigenous. Some are descendants of those who came 60 years back – the Tibetans; others 125 years ago – the Iranis, yet others descended from the ancestors of 500 years back and so on. Everyone is indigenous. It is utter nonsense to talk of an indigenous people of the Indian subcontinent in the same terms as one does of “Native Americans”, Euro Americans and African Americans. I believe anyone born in the US is a Native American, and others are Naturalised Americans, just as anyone born in India is Native Indian and others Naturalised Indians. The latter are more truly nationalistic as they have chosen their national identity, and were not just born with it. I also endorse Mohammad Ali Kasuri in Road to Sangam who says of Muslim Indians “We have never been in doubt. We chose India 60 years ago, it is now up to India to accept us.”

    Buddhist and Jain traditions have existed in concert with Hindu traditions, and there are no clear lines that separate these. And no Brahmins did not migrate South, they have been around always in some form or the other, and FYI there are several priestly communities in the South, not just Brahmin communities, some of which hail from the scheduled castes. There are also no sharp lines between “tribal” and Hindu practices. If you insist there are such lines because “tribals” offer flesh and fowl while Vedic Hindus don’t, I will simply ignore it as an assertion of the ill informed. And OK I stand corrected. It is not 100%, it is closer to 95%

    • Buddhist and Jain traditions have existed in concert with Hindu traditions, and there are no clear lines that separate these.

      This is another one of your hindutva lies. There are very clear lines that separate Buddhism and Jainism from Hinduism, which is why they are considered separate and distinct religions. The former are shramanic religions that reject the Vedas, the Vedic sacrifices, the caste system etc, belief in which defines Hinduism.

      After Ashoka Buddhism was widespread in India. Jainism too was once far more widespread than it is today. To claim that Indians were all Hindus is BS. It is also irrational BS to claim that Hindus never converted others, how else could Hinduism have spread?

      There are also no sharp lines between “tribal” and Hindu practices. If you insist there are such lines because “tribals” offer flesh and fowl while Vedic Hindus don’t, I will simply ignore it as an assertion of the ill informed.

      More deceit and dishonesty.. Do the tribal religions have hereditary Brahmins performing Vedic sacrifices? And the Vedas is full of prescriptions for animal and even human sacrifices. It was the influence of shramanism that ended that barbaric practice in orthodox circles, though numerous Hindus still continue to sacrifice animals to Hindu deities to this day, especially in Bengal, Nepal etc. If the British hadn’t made it illegal many Hindus would still be offering the blood of human sacrifices to goddess Kali…

      • Gypsy: Buddhist and Jain traditions have existed in concert with Hindu traditions, and there are no clear lines that separate these. This is another one of your hindutva lies. There are very clear lines that separate Buddhism and Jainism from Hinduism, which is why they are considered separate and distinct religions. The former are shramanic religions that reject the Vedas, the Vedic sacrifices, the caste system etc, belief in which defines Hinduism.

        you’re right. There was actually a time thatthe two religions were antagonistic towards one another… Until Hindus accepted Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu. If you can’t beat them, join them.

        After Ashoka Buddhism was widespread in India. Jainism too was once far more widespread than it is today. To claim that Indians were all Hindus is BS. It is also irrational BS to claim that Hindus never converted others, how else could Hinduism have spread Hinduism.

        Good point. Also, Hinduism made a comeback in the 4th century AD. There was a lot of Jain and buddhist temples around that time. Even the man who introduced karate to China was a Buddhist missionary from modern day Kerala named Bhodi Dharma. Hinduism made a comeback during the 4th century and one reason was the rise if former barbarians who were sun worshippers called Rajputs who spread Hinduism to Nepal. Note: “Rajput” means “son of the king” and not “king” for a reason.

        There are also no sharp lines between “tribal” and Hindu practices. If you insist there are such lines because “tribals” offer flesh and fowl while Vedic Hindus don’t, I will simply ignore it as an assertion of the ill informed. Hinduism.

        “Hindooism” was a catch-all phrase used by foreigners to describe the liturgical practices is India. Anything appearing as polytheistic, pagan, animalism, or shamanistic was lumped together. Some Hindu fanatics now regard these tribal practices as being Hindu when jn fact, it’s not. These tribals don’t even read the Vedas or Upanishads. Their religion worships gods with an independent evolution but whose narrative was recreated.

        More deceit and dishonesty.. Do the tribal religions have hereditary Brahmins performing Vedic sacrifices? And the Vedas is full of prescriptions for animal and even human sacrifices. It was the influence of shramanism that ended that barbaric practice in orthodox circles, though numerous Hindus still continue to sacrifice animals to Hindu deities to this day, especially in Bengal, Nepal etc. If the British hadn’t made it illegal many Hindus would still be offering the blood of human sacrifices to goddess Kali…

        the answer to your rhetorical question is no. You’re right: there are human/horse/cow sacrifices in the Veda. There is even prescriptions if pouring molten lead into Sudras ears if they listen to Sanskrit prayers in the manusmriti. But to be fair, the Old Testament and Holy Qu’ran are also violent.

        We must accept the truth before we can advance and improve ourselves and we mustn’t fabricate excuses or strawman arguments because if our egos.

  15. These comments are very difficult to follow. People are referring to comments that have been deleted, you have to click on some posts to see them, but not others. This isn’t conducive to any sort of coherent discussion.

  16. “Indonesia and Malaysia are nominally Muslim majority nations. While Indonesia celebrates its Hindu heritage in so many incredible ways that are too numerous to recount, Malaysia has a state policy of oppressing its Hindus that borders on the macabre. Bangladesh too is a Muslim majority nation and despite all the violence that minorities face in some remote parts of the land, Dhaka hosts the nation’s official state sponsored Hindu Mandir as well as Church in addition to the national mosque. Of late a few scholars in Pakistan have urged the government to consider designating certain Hindu and Sikh shrines as national religious monuments – notably Nankana Sahib, Hinglaj and others.”

    Too much time spent among Hindutvawadis? Let me correct some of your points: Indonesia is an overwhelmingly Muslim nation. 88% of Indonesians are Muslims. Almost 9 out 10 Indonesians are Muslims. Indonesia didn’t celebrate “Hindu heritage”. It celebrated “its heritage” which did have some roots in Hinduism. However, Indonesian Muslims are unfamiliar with the many rituals Bali Hindus practice. I recognized as a Hindu you demand others to celebrate your culture but what Indonesians celebrate isn’t “Hindu culture” but their culture which has Hindu traces in it. If Indonesians were to travel to India, they would find themselves unfamiliar with the culture, religion (except for certain puppet show figures), and ethos of Hindu Indians. Among Hindutvawadis, Indonesia might be viewed as the “good boy, an outlier among the intolerant Muslims” but Indonesians, when they welcome Modi, for example, were not welcoming their “lost brother” but an Indian whose culture and religion they had not much idea about. Malaysia has preferential treatment for indigenous people who are Muslims, Christians and animists. If Hindus in Malaysia are treated with “a policy that borders on the macabre”, India’s treatment of Muslims should be considered as borderline genocidal. Please do read why the affirmative system was created. But I do agree, Malaysia surely can do more to make Hindus feel at home.

    “When Chief Minister Oommen Chandy declares “This temple [Padmanabhaswamy Kavu] is our state’s pride…and is part of our culture. Hence it is the government’s right and duty to provide the needed security to the temple,” he is not becoming any less Christian, even a shade. When Sonia Gandhi, Farooq Abdullah, and Manomohan Singh visit Tirupati they don’t become Hindus. When my mother asked for a taabiz from the fakir at local masjid, for my dying father, none of us became Muslims, and when my father did not survive that final illness and left this earth, neither my Mum nor I hated Islam and Muslims for that.”

    Muslims and Christians do not become Hindus when they “visit Tirupati”, they become Hindus when they pray in that temple. You didn’t become a Muslim because you never believed what the Muslims believed in.

  17. Hi jyotsana

    So you say everyone is indigenous. Then what disagreement do you have with Gypsy?

    It’s good you’ve downgraded from 100% to 95%, but where is the “factual” evidence you were claiming that Gypsy was wrong of?

    I have no disagreement with you then, everyone should be considered indigenous, whether their faiths are Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and even Confucian or Shinto if they want, Indians are Indians!

    Tribal fish and fowl sacrifices and non-Brahmin priestly communities? Where in my discussion am talking about either of those? It would further prove that there were other priestly communities before Brahmins came, if anyting it strengthens my point.

    And as far as Brahmins migrating south, it is historically, genetically and even in Brahmin tradition (parasurama’s ax?) that they migrated from the north to the southern part of India, do some research, and you will come to the same conclusion as well.

    You might not even realize you’re doing this, but it’s get a little irritating for me when people start inserting straw man arguments or diversions in their responses (i.e. claiming I am saying something about tribal fish and fowl sacrifices and vedic so so), please just respond just exactly to what was said and do not put words in my mouth that weren’t said.

    Aside from that I thank you for civil response, I will talk to you soon.

  18. "Buddhist and Jain traditions have existed in concert with Hindu tradition.."
    

    Well said. Many people, including commentators in this forum, mistake the Indic/Dharmic religions and outlook, with the Christian and Islamic. It should be acknowledged, that though the several Indic religions( Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism) have a distinct individual character, they do not exist in water tight compartments. The adherents of the 4 Indic faiths/systems can and do easily attend each other’s places of reverence. And that too without the slightest apprehension or self-consciousness. Hindus seem to find it the easiest of the four. For that matter, they can also go to the “Abrahamic” places of worship without a problem. The same is not the case with the 3 major Abrahamic religions. It’s a major big deal for anyone of them to attend the other’s functions; they are full of apprehension, self consciousness and often outright bewilderment.

    • This is very true. This is why the idea of Hindu fundamentalism confuses me greatly. The tolerance of hindus for all types of faiths and the ability to celebrate all kinds of religious and holy days of all religions is a typical trait in Hindus, in my experience. Also, the fact that Hindus in general are so relaxed about their own religion and tend to not be dogmatic at all. The elephant in the room of course, is that Hindus don’t try and convert people! This is a huge difference between Hinduism and the other faiths.

      As I say, the idea of Hindu fundamentalism just seems silly, in my experience.

    • “Hindus seem to find it the easiest of the four. For that matter, they can also go to the “Abrahamic” places of worship without a problem.”

      Well I don’t know about that. Try bringing a statue of Lakshmi to your local mosque, it won’t last long ; ) But I understand the point you’re making. I think it’s for the reasons you mentioned that Westerns sometimes debate “Is (insert Eastern religion, usually Buddhism) a religion versus philosophy?” Because Abrahamic religions have a particularly narrow view of what constitutes religion, and that seeps into the way we define other religions too. It also explains why although many Hindus describe their religion as monotheistic, almost no Muslims or Jews would see it that way.

  19. “It also explains why although many Hindus describe their religion as monotheistic, almost no Muslims or Jews would see it that way.”

    There’s a nice description of Hinduism someone made: polymorphic monotheism.

  20. Islam is in its origin an Arab religion. Everyone not an Arab who is a Muslim is a convert. Islam is not simply a matter of conscience or private belief. It makes imperial demands. A convert’s worldview alters. His holy places are in Arab lands. His sacred language is Arabic. His idea of history alters. He rejects his own: he becomes, whether he likes it or not, a part of the Arab story. The convert has to turn away from everything that is his. The disturbance for societies is immense and even after a thousand years can remain unresolved; the turning away has to be done again and again. People develop fantasies about who and what they are; and in the Islam of converted countries there is an element of neurosis and nihilism. These countries can be easily set on the boil

  21. Gypsy: You’ve made an excellent point: A Muslim fanatic is a worse enemy of Pakistan than a Hindu fanatic is to India. Bravo, Gypsy.

    By the way, could I borrow some of your tears?

  22. Gypsy: You’ve made an excellent point: A Muslim fanatic is a worse enemy of Pakistan than a Hindu fanatic is to India. Bravo, Gypsy. By the way, could I borrow some of your tears?

    Why the sarcasm?

    I wrote that in my opinion they are both the worst enemies of their countries, but the Muslim fanatics in Pakistan are far more dangerous. I don’t see how anyone who follows the news can disagree with that assessment.

  23. For example, some of these fanatics – and they are excellent people, but just delusional – don’t believe that there is a concept of Dravidianism, except as it pertains to all things Tamil.

    I’m a low caste Tamil and I don’t believe in Dravidianism. There is no word called “Dravida” in Tamil till 1856 when the Christian missionary Caldwell introduced the concept of “Dravidian” group.

  24. The fact that many of the Hindus here cant seem to agree on the religion , its evolution, its coopting of other tribal practices, gods, and religion is a good reason to talk about better history teaching of culture and religion(from a historical perspective) in the south asian region.

    Is it reasonable to say that there are religions, gods in the Indian subcontinent that got lumped together as part of assimilation into one religion, or as a reaction to foreign forces which are more disparate than related religions like Christianity and Judaism?

    Yeah, it used to confuse me as a kid why Venkateshwara who is the main god for my family(well for those of us who are not atheists) and other families is a marginal figure for my north indian friends families. Shiva and Lakshmi seem to be one of the few gods/goddesses who seem to have a lot of temples in most parts of india. I find the whole Vishnu thing interesting. How they kept adding Avatars to incorporate another god.

  25. again, these religions/philosophies are not consigned to water tight compartments. hindus, sikhs, buddhists and jains can and do attend each other’s places of reverence. some commentators are approaching them as if they are christianity versus judaism, or islam against anything. It has never been the case. A few sectarian outbursts here and there do not alter the overall picture, which is benign.

  26. I think some of you sort of miss the point. Of course Buddhism and Jainism are fundamentally distinct religions. That’s not really the issue here. The point is more that since Dharmic traditions have on some level a shared commonality of experience and familial lineage, many individuals find comfort in participating in the traditions of their brethren. There’s a strong sociocultural component of Dharmic religions in general. That’s why you see a lot of Sindhi Hindus going to Sikh Gurudwaras. It’s why so many Hindu temples in North America have murtis of Lord Mahavira and why many Jains have religious ceremonies quite freely in many Hindu temples.

    I think to suggest that the difference between Hinduism and Jainism is equally sharp to the difference between Christianity and Judaism doesn’t really make sense and like i said ignores the strong sociocultural components of Dharmic traditions.

    Surely Gypsy will respond to this by saying something like “Hindus eat monkey blood and kill puppies for fun and Jains don’t so that’s the difference” but in reality for the South Asian diaspora, much of the Dharmic traditions intermingle and coexist amongst each other’s religious traditions despite philosophical and scriptural differences. This is not so true for the Abrahamic traditions.

    • Very well put. It makes absolute rubbish out of certain people’s( including in this forum) attempts to emphasise strong doctrinal differences between Hinduism on the one hand, and Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism on the other. The evidence is there right in front of you. Hindus attend, without any feeling of self-conciousness or apprehension, the temples/places of reverence of Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. They go there for devotion, contemplation or peace of mind. Blood sacrifices and caste system indeed! Doesn’t even enter into the picture.

      • Varun Shekhar: Hindus attend, without any feeling of self-conciousness or apprehension, the temples/places of reverence of Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains.

        The Hindus of Sri Lanka don’t attend the Buddhist temples of Sri Lanka (or vice-versa).

        Ditto for the Buddhists of Maharashtra.

        Ditto for the Tibetan refugees at Majnu Ka-Tilla: You will only see them at a Hindu temple incidentally, but they don’t want to amalgamated with the Hindus.

        Sikhs are a very open community (unlike some other closed faiths) that welcome everyone – caste no bar. However, Sikhs don’t go to Hindu temples that frequently, and if they did, it was incidentally (or maybe the langar menu didn’t suit their tastes that day).

        People here on SM seem to be trying to believe that Sikhs are a type of Hindus, but let me tell you this – they are not. Nor are the Sikhs jumping up and down about their ancestor’s fire rituals, and I know that they frown on that…as do Muslims…Jews…Christians…and Buddhists.

        • The point is, that the Hindus can, and do, without apprehension or self-consciousness( which marks the behaviour of the “Abrahamic’ adherents approach to attending each other’s places of reverence) attend Buddhist or Jain or Sikh temples or functions. Doctrinal differences don’t enter into the picture. It’s for the atmosphere, devotion, contemplation and cultural familiarity, that they do. I’ve seen Sikhs and Jains, at least, come to Hindu events without any feeling of being different, let alone significantly conflicted.

  27. For the record, Subramaniam Swamy has done extensive research on the entire shady history of the Gandhi family, and is the only one who can stand up to their legacy of corruption, scams and stop India from being taken over by their army of psychophants. This this is apart from his extensive qualification at IIT and Harvard. No offence to this joker Vivek or anyone else, but this blog is such a bunch of bull! I used to stop by, but this is it…..

    Most of you wasting your time here are delusional lunatics, as for me, this is the last time I’m stopping by this pathetic excuse of a blog…jeez.

    • For the record, Subramaniam Swamy has done extensive research on the entire shady history of the Gandhi family, and is the only one who can stand up to their legacy of corruption

      Subramaniam Swamy was very close to Rajiv Gandhi and was about to join his Congress Party, hoping to get a Ministerial post, until Rajiv’s assassination by a Tamil suicide bomber changed his plans. Swamy is a well known political opportunist.

      Swamy was also close to Chandraswami the corrupt tantric. There is something petty, personal and unbecoming about his obsessive vendetta against Rajiv Gandhi’s wife, Sonia.

      If you are looking for somebody to stand up to the massive, pervasive corruption in India, Anna Hazare is your man, not this political opportunist.

  28. @Rita

    By reading through the thread, I felt Gypsy and Boston-Mahesh have successfully refuted the facts in Dr. Swamy’s statements.

  29. It makes absolute rubbish out of certain people’s( including in this forum) attempts to emphasise strong doctrinal differences between Hinduism on the one hand, and Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism on the other. The evidence is there right in front of you. Hindus attend, without any feeling of self-conciousness or apprehension, the temples/places of reverence of Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. They go there for devotion, contemplation or peace of mind

    This is an absurd argument. Just because some Hindus are spiritual tourists or find more peace of mind in the sacred places of other religions than their own is no proof that those other religions are doctrinally similar to Hinduism.

    This is also a typically dishonest Hindutva argument, for you deceitfully neglect to mention that many Hindus also go to Muslim shrines and christian churches for the same reason. There are probably far more Hindus who visit the shrines of Moinuddin Chisti and other Sufis than visit Buddhist or Jain temples.

    Thirdly, where is the reciprocity? How many Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians find spiritual peace in the Vedic yagnas and Puranic murti pujas that define mainstream Hinduism? Are they even allowed into Hindu temples?

  30. By the way it is funny that Swamy demands that non-hindus express pride in their Hindu past as a pre-requisite to Indian citizenship when even a prominent leader of the Hindutva movement is ashamed of a major component of that past:

    “The Vishva Hindu Parishad totally rejects the “Manu Smriti” as it has no place in a civilized society.” (Ashok Singhal, President of VHP)

    The Manu Smriti was the Hindu equivalent of Sharia.

    Hindus should also be ashamed of the Vedic animal and human sacrifices, as anyone in his right mind would be. The Vedic Ashvamedha, or horse sacrifice, involved not just the killing of the horse but also the simulated copulation with it’s dead body by the Queen! A human sacrifice, Purushamedha, followed a similar format. The horse sacrifice figures in both the Ramayana and Mahabharata as well:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashvamedha

    Any rational person would have to agree with the atheist Carvaka school’s judgement on this nonsense:

    “The three authors of the Vedas were buffoons, knaves and demons. All the well known formulas of the pandits, jarphari, turphari etc and all the obscene rites for the Queen commanded in the Aswamedha were invented by buffoons” :)

    So instead of asking non-hindus to be proud of their Hindu past shouldn’t he be asking Hindus to be ashamed of their past and instead look forward to a better future?

  31. Gypsy/Prema: “So instead of asking non-hindus to be proud of their Hindu past shouldn’t he be asking Hindus to be ashamed of their past and instead look forward to a better future?”

    All of humanity have unwholesome practices in the very distant past that they may in the 21st find distasteful. Only a hypocrite would single out ancient brahmanical rites. Other groups (in India even) have even more interesting customs. Do you know about them Gypsy. Did the university that gave you a PhD in brahmin hateology not require a a broad survey. Or is it that those other grunting cave dwellers don’t merit censure being nothing better than animals.

    Swamy is not asking one to be proud of negative aspects of a very old and dynamic culture. Societies grow and evolve. Hindu society has and there is pride in that too (unlike people of the book who get stuck in a time and place and context).

    • The non-Hindus of South Asia should acknowledge their Hindu roots to the extent that Subramaniam Swamy should acknowledge his urine-drinking, human-sacrificing, and racist past.

      • How about acknowledging their Hindu past first, then also acknowledging that there were good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant, features of that past. There were probably unpleasant things about their Moslem past as well, and certainly about the Moslem past in general. Claiming descent from some foreign Moslem country is distasteful and false.

  32. From your reaction, I suspect you are a brahmin. If that guess is correct, get used to people like Prema (Gypsy). She is merely doing what Ambedkar and Dravida Kazhagam did: study the Vedas, the Ramayana etc. just enough to present the contradictions. The real behavior of people is different from what intellectuals claim it to be. For some reason, Dalits, OBCs etc. are still in Hinduism, even though they have a choice to leave it. Many Dalits are not choosing to follow Ambedkar into Buddhism. Why do they do it? Why is Hinduism still so attractive?

  33. “This is an absurd argument. Just because some Hindus are spiritual tourists or find more peace of mind in the sacred places of other religions than their own is no proof that those other religions are doctrinally similar to Hinduism.”

    Are any of these actually “religions” in the first place? Having said that, given that the concepts of dharma, samsara, moksha, karma come from the early Upanishads (which are Vedic) which predate Buddhism and Jainism, then how do those religion not have similiar “doctrines”

    Also, can you please show the historical sources that say 1) Manu Smriti was equal to Shariah and was the explicit law of the state in ancient India

    “It didn’t seem to have occurred to Sir William Jones to ask whether the legal code, so reminiscent of the Code of Justinian, on the one hand, and the Five Books of Moses on the other, and thus familiar in concept, had recently, or indeed EVER, been applied by actual judges in India to real life. (Which was sort of the point of the exercise of digging it up and imposing it in the first place.)

    Apparently it hadn’t. And some of the actual familiarity of its contents to traditionally educated Hindus was due, not to pious consultation of “Manu,” but to big chunks of it appearing, in virtually identical form, in the Sanskrit epic “Mahabharata.” (The literary relationship of these passages is still open to debate.) This is made clear by Doniger and Smith and by Olivelle; although both focus on the work as an example of, and influence, in, the Indian cultural tradition.”

    Also, in response to a query of why non-dwija hindus would be proud of Hinduism…. as a non-dwija Hindu myself, I’ll answer it with a quote from Wendy Doniger (who, while I don’t always agree with her, is quite brilliant):

    “So I agree with a lot of Hindu mythology and theology, and I think Hinduism describes life better than any other religion. It has a vision of the universe that corresponds more closely to the universe I’ve glimpsed in my 68 years on this planet than other visions of the universe.”

    Given that most Hindus (even us low casters, which you and your buddy Boston Mahesh, for some feel the need to speak on behalf of in blanket terms) know their “religion” from mythology, I’d have to agree. I bet both of you are actually brahmins on top of it.

  34. Incidentally, on that Harvard Crimson article, the overwhelming majority of commentators support Swamy or defend him, and do not advocate any expulsion. There are just about zero comments about cow-worshiping, caste-ridden blah blah Hindus in that forum. What a contrast to this forum.