With the Ram Mandir now re-establishing truth as the basis for India’s re-emergence as a civilisational-state, one of the most important priorities for us is to reclaim the language of discourse from the clutches of the Left and “Orientalist” lobbies in the academic West and in India.
Words like “majoritarian”, “fundamentalism”, “Islamophobia” and “fascism” have been used to describe Hindu (or Hindutva) assertiveness. So scared has the Narendra Modi government been about criticism from the Left-illiberal lobbies of Lutyens Delhi and global academia, that it has effectively moved away from even trying to rewrite our textbooks for fear of being accused of “saffronisation”.
Words like “communal” are being used as opposites of “secular”, when communal merely refers to something that relates to a community or group. The word “secular” – separation of church from state – is irrelevant in the Indian context, where religious and other forms of pluralism have been part of the warp and weft of Indic civilisation. We need pluralism, not secularism.
Varna and jati are two different things, but under Western, Abrahamic ministrations, they have been reduced to one idea – caste. This is not to defend caste bigotry in any way, but just to point out the difference between using the outsider’s terminology to view ourselves. We could perhaps have dealt with the inequities of caste better if we had reformed it in our own way, but then that time is probably gone.
Similarly, when we rewrite our history and other textbooks to bring in more elements of our own historic experiences and achievements, the real word to use is not “saffronisation”, but De-Abrahamisation.
What is De-Abrahamisation?
Large parts of India have been ruled by two sets of ideologies, Islamic forces, and Christian colonial forces, over the last one thousand years. Both are Abrahamic forces, and their post-colonial counterparts in American and European academies are essentially using Abrahamic lenses to view their former colonies. De-Abrahamisation means using more Indic lenses to view our past and present.
The Abrahamic ideology involves a mutually-exclusive binary, where religion has to be defined by specific fundamentals, where only one idea can prevail at a time (my god, not yours; my truth, not yours), and where science is used to deny the possibility of truths being discovered by intuitive and introspective methods – which has often been the Indian way of discovering truths.
Even though all truths finally have to be validated empirically, it does not mean a truth cannot be subjectively realised and explained with reasonable coherence before we find the proof for it. Only an Abrahamic mind could have invented a phrase like “post-truth”, as if truth itself has finally been established beyond all doubt, and all else is post-truth.
Our history has been written by “Orientalists” who have largely used Western lenses to view the past and explain the present, and our Left-illiberals have appropriated the same colonial lenses.
The Marxist interpretation of history, based on materialism, is a valid way of looking at history, but it is clearly not the only way to do so. Human history is not shaped only by material drives. And Indian history, in particular, has been driven by other motivations, including spirituality, high intellectualism, and a sense of the sacred.
What Marxist history has done is a typically Abrahamic thing: reduced all other interpretations of history as wrong, or “communal” or written by the wrong people. The irony, that all recent Indian history has been written only by Abrahamic think-tankers, has been lost on these ideologues.
India needs to create its own strong Indology departments run by people with an Indic sensibility. At the same time, we need to look at the Occident with our lenses – just as they view us with theirs.
At some point, it would be fine if someone in the west complains about Indians using Indic lenses to define the west and Islamic nations, but then they are free to write their own version of Orientalism, and call it Occidentalism.
Right now, we are still under the grip of Western Orientalism and Abrahamic Indology. The immediate need is to detoxify Indian history and rewrite it by De-Abrahamising it. Saffronisation is not the issue here.