Sunday, February 12, 2006

Shiv, on bharat-rakshak

This is my way of preserving his post:

I give Huntington full credit for admitting early on in the book that he knew next to nothing of the Indian civilization. He at least admits its existence - which is a far cry from western scholarship that does not even know.

This is seriously off topic here because knowing nothing about the Indian civilization is "normal" for Western scholars - but it also leaves huge gaps of ignorance in their world-view. Weterners see Muslims primarily as Arabs. That is so much like the story of the blind men of Hindoostan. But it is actually the blindmen of Inglistan in this case.

When you talk of Islam in this world and you leave out India - especially the little details - you will end up trying to fit the likes of Abdul Kalam into an Arab mould. India creates "Muslim Hindus" (or Hindu Muslims) that nobody else recognises or understands. A lack of acknowledgement of that leaves you wondering about what is missing. But if you don't know about Hindus - you don't stand a chance of even beginning to see the complexity of this world. India has had a civilizational impact on Islam that the West does not see as it preens itself celebrating its victoies over its own perceived foes.

Huntington IMO manages to set the civilizational thought process ticking - but his views and analyses are "traditional Western scholarship" - and I am seeing that as an impediment to real information.


Most people I know of do not speak in civilizational terms at all, and the "impact" of Islam on Hindus is, as far as I can tell "mostly" Hindus complaining of how their ancestors got their heads chopped. The use of words like "civilizational" became more fashionable after Huntington, and again "most" people have not actually read his book and many have not even read his paper.

Civilizations affect each other. Rarely does one civilization totally overwhelm and dominate another leaving no trace of the latter.

The Indian civilization watered down Islam and produced Indians who claim to be Muslims - but are a far cry from the mad Arab hordes. Muslims of this type in India live happily in India as Indians and do not need Pakistan - although the Hindu victim complex (your forefathers cut my forefather's heads off) sometimes affects these people. Leave alone Kalam. I was at a doctors booze up at a conference two nights ago and was talking to a Bangalore Sindhi and a Muslim surgeon from Tamil Nadu. We were offered chicken tikka on a plate and all of us picked up a piece each and the Sindhi remarked that the Pakistani surgeons attending the conference first asked if the meat was halal and later refused to eat it. The Sindhi (born in Sind) asked the Tamil Nadu fellow why he did not ask that. The Tamil Nadu guy said "Well I trust that God will look after me and make sure that it is alright for me"

This is an Indian muslim - a Muslim Hindu. This is warm, lush, green India that has rubbed off on a harsh dry fearful Arab faith from the desert and given it confidence, lack of fear for its survival and pragmatism totally unlike that paranoid sword welding faith that washed into India and then partially withdrew into Pakistan in 1947.

There is I believe a species called the Muslim Hindu. There are many Christian Hindus. They have no problem saying they are "Hindu". Their faith is Christian but they do not worry about not being "Hindu" like the fellow who breaks coconuts over Shiv's ling. If the fellow who breaks cocunuts and sprinkles kumkum over Shiv's Ling considers himself more Hindu than some of these people - his behavior - to my mind - is no different from the Pakistani who can never look at a person of another faith or sect as "pure enough". The same is true for Islam. There are Hindu Muslims. Their behavior, diet and appearance is as Indian as it gets, but his God is not what some Hindus may want to accept as God. Only by recognising the presence of this unique and totally Indian species of Muslim can we begin to understand the degree to which the Indian civilization has rubbed off on Islam.

But the average Westerner - who does not even know what Hindu is, will certainly recognise a Muslim of the paranoid Arab type. but not one of the Muslim Hindu kind. And within this ignorance, he will come up with theoies to explain his world, mostly to his kind.

Islam HAS been bent, invaded and changed. dar ul Harb is sitting firmly within dar ul Islam. The "Pure" sword wielding islam is now actually in a minority. Saudi billions and Pakiistani geopolitical sycophancy have given paranoid "pure" Islam a longer rope that it can handle. And I firmly believe that it should be hanged by that rope. The only question to my mind is finding the necks to hang. I believe those necks are those of the ulema.

And in response to ShauryaT's
Strangely, I see Huntington's hypothesis very applicable to India, even if he is not himself very knowledgeable on Indian issues. An example of an Kalam does not approximate to the true reality in India. The dismal socioeconomic indicators of the muslim population in India, the far from proportional representation of Indian muslims in government, defense, scientific or organized private sector. The overwhelming ghettoization of the muslim populace in urban India speaks volumes. Going back a few decades to the partition and a few centuries into the mughal rule presents a clear picture from the present to the near and distant past.

I think, many look upon Huntington's hypothesis as a dangerous prognosis that can only lead to conflicts and wars. My view is an understanding of this hypothesis can lead to a better understanding of how to manage the underlying differences.

ShauryaT - I believe that a lot of under-empowered Muslims of India were that way even in the glory days of the Mughal empire. They converted for various reasons - but the only thing they got from that was the knowledge that Allah is going to give you only so little and you had better accept that, and that all is going to give the Sultan a LOT and you had better accept that too.

Ghettoization is an inbuilt mechanism of islam, and it is the failure of that mechanism that allowed in kafir influences like vaccination and antibiotics and other population increasing mechanisms. It is failure of that ghettoization that produced Muslim Hindus.

The degree of ghettoization you see now is a mark of success of Islam. If pure Islam must succeed all muslims must have NO external influence and must live by the Quran and Sura alone in ghettos that gradually increase in size and ultimately coalesce to form one huge dar ul Islam

Guess who is trying to achieve that?

I repeat - it is the ulema/mullahs who are trying to achieve complete ghettoizaton. But (and I repeat again) irreversible changes have taken place on earth to cause an almost inextricable mingling of humans and human thoughts so that civilizations are rubbing off on each other. New conflict zones will be produced - but they are unlikely to be the pure old conflict zones.

"Western" thinkers like to call the adoption of "modern science technology" as an adoption of "their' way of life. But these are people who are missing the civilizational forest for the trees. The west does not know how much it is getting counter-affected by what is NOT western civilization.

Nothing succeeds like success. And success of what is seen as coming from the West has been touted as the great victory of the last couple of centuries, with little heed to what has happened in centuries before. Completely OT for the thread - the "West" for example has no inkling of what direction a resurgent Indian civilization will take - because for Western thnkers (blinkers?) - that civilization did not exist and does not appear (to them) to have a particularly great impact on the world. Huntington leaves this out completely.

For all the cursing we (Indians) do of the horrible Islamic hordes, many of us seem not to acknowledge the similarities the "hindu/India civilization" has with the Islamic hordes and how these similarities are against much of what the "West" stands for.

The Indian civilization today shares with "islamic hordes" many cultural similarites that make it easy for the two groups to mix culturally. "Family values" and a collective or group psyche is rampant across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and right across the Middle east up to Egypt. The concept of a "home role for the woman" is equally rampant across "Hindu" and "islamic" civilizations. The idea that women should tend to be better covered up than men is a powerful feeling that is visible right across india - all the way across dar-ul islam. When a cleavage is shown in india the VHP and Islamists sing a simultaneous chorus asking for the cleavage to be covered up. When the BJP gots its first term that lasted just a week - the first thing Sushma Swaraj did was to ask women on Doordarshan to cover up. Blackened "vulgar" posters in India may be blackened by the VHP- but they get a mention on here only when intolerant Muslims do it - because this is the islamism thread and not the VHP thread. It is no surprise or accident that bollywood is popular right across dar ul Islam but a failure in the West.

The only difference is that the Indian civilization is more open to outside influence and more tolerant of differences. It is certainly less prone to violence because of mere differences - but that is hard-coded into Islam and probably not a societal norm.

So when the "West" compares itself with "east' - it often looks at Arab muslims squirming or at the Chinese. They see themselves as ascendant over both and strut about like maharajahs. And India does not get a mention. But it is there - and its behavior is not Chinese, not western and not islamic either. India shares attitudes with the Islamic civilization but is not against Western civilizational norms.

It is different and it is. It will behave in its own way, and if it is not factored in - Huntington's hypothesis cannot be complete. It can only be a guideline.


Sab-ki-chachi said...

Very wonderfully put. Permission to quote this on my blog, or atleast point to it?

Arun said...

Credit it to Shiv on the bharat-rakshak forum, that's all. No permissions needed.

Yogi_G said...

well written..

Honestly, in my opinion, it does not matter what the West thinks of India, after all when early Indian civilization was busy involved in city planning and metal sculpting, the so called "West" was busy improving their subsistence living techniques like hunting and gathering. In 100 and 200 years you will see India and China back in their rightful place and the West relegated to the dust-bin of history.

Neel said...

Nice! There is similar website dedicated to creating awareness about the defence forces of India. I found it quite impressive! It is called Project Agya.