As an Indian I am very proud of our civilization. We often say that while other great civilizations of the world disappeared, only our civilization is still thriving. But when I was meditation on this subject this morning I realized that this pride too comes only in comparing with others. No one can deny the fact that our Hindu identity is possible only by creating ‘the Other’, as we never had this identity as Hindu as our own. But this pride about our civilization also highlights the unrecognized sad fact that so many other people group of our land had to pay a very high cost for it. But there is hardly any recognition of it in our tall claim about all the glory of our civilization. Gandhiji, though a humble man, too glorified the greatness of our civilization only by comparing it with Western Civilization (see Hindu Swaraj in Collected Works of Gandhiji, Vol. 10, pp. 246-315). But hardly had he recognized the way millions of people who were pushed behind the scene to glorify our civilization. In fact, sometime when I think of all the atrocities done in the name of caste and untouchability in Indian should make us feel ashamed than glorifying our civilization based on other merits.
But in this process of glorifying our Hindu/Indian civilization what the Right Wing Fundamentalism (call it cultural nationalism, or religious nationalism or political nationalism) try to create is a hatred not only among (religious) minorities but also a vast section of non-upper caste people. This pride in our civilization instead of making us more humble creates a sense of humiliation and shame for a right thinking Indian. I don’t think that in the past the greatness of our civilization never created any kind of hate among various people group—though ‘exclusion’ of others for religious purity existed and still exists. Whereas the current Right Wing Fundamentalism not only creates some kind of hate among ‘the Other’—which it has created for its purpose, but also some kind of aversion among the vast majority of Indians belong to main stream society about such Fundamentalism.
DB. April 6, 2013. Gurukulam.