Some Times By: Santosh Bhatt
Put another way, if you decide to fight, you change; if you don’t fight, you could be digested or annihilated.
Which is the right choice for Hindus to make?
Stupid Secular has no answer to this question, and does not even try to understand why Dayanand Saraswati, Aurobindo, Vivekananda and Savarkar wrote the way they did.
They were essentially seeking the answer to the dilemma I have stated above, and this is a dilemma we are yet to evolve.
Some secular also tries to position Gandhi, Ambedkar, Lohia and Tagore as representing rival approaches to the above four, but this is a mythical separation. For they too were engaged with the same dilemma.
Gandhi, an apostle of non-violence, may have come to different tentative conclusions, but he was grappling with the same dilemma of how to make Hindus strong.
Wasn’t it Gandhi who said that the average Hindu was a coward, and the average Muslim a bully?
What else was this but a restatement of what Vivekananda or Savarkar may have said in different words?
Gandhi also sought strength, but differently.
He let loose violence on himself (his fasts, his advice to independent India to disband its army), which is like an open invitation to enemies to defeat you.
Gandhi failed to ask himself what happens when your opponent refuses to accept the spiritual basis of your defiance?
Did Gandhi’s internal violence to himself prevent Jinnah from getting his way?
Would Hitler have offered peace if, the Poles or the British, had dropped their arms and accepted death in the hope of changing Hitler’s heart?
For that matter, did Ambedkar not construct an artificial people by embracing neo-Buddhism for Dalits, when Dalits were as diverse as caste Hindus?
How is this construct any different from what a Vivekananda may have proposed to Hindus?
The fact is all Hindus saw weaknesses in themselves, and tried to build a strength they saw in the adversary, whether it was Islam or Hinduism itself (as in the case of Ambedkar).
Ambedkar critiques Hinduism in the same harsh way as a Dayananda Saraswati or Savarkar critiqued Islam and Christianity.
Ambedkar positioned Hindiusm as the “other” just as Secular do , and did with the Abrahamic religions.
In a sense, Secular raises a key question without realising it or explicitly mentioning it:
How Hindu can you remain when you face an existential threat and decide to fight it?
Can you hold your own against aggressive Abrahamic faiths – whether evangelising Christianity or jihadi Islam – by being passive and submissive?
The Jews changed after the holocaust, and became a different (aggressive and combative) people in Israel. The Sikhs too became that when they decided to stand their ground against Islam.
Modern-day Hindus too will have to find their own answers – and in this they face the same dilemmas that Dayananda Saraswati, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda and Veer Savarkar tried to resolve in their own way.
They tried to retain the essentials of what it meant to be Hindu without opting for the passivity and submissiveness that allowed rivals to walk all over them over a millenium of Islamic depredations and British colonialism.
The dilemma is not resolved yet, and is a work in progress.
Today, the fight is against new enemies, against American Orientalism (to use Rajiv Malhotra’s term), neo-colonialism, post-Orientalist Hinduphobia, aggressive evangelisation, and jihadi terrorism – not to speak of the strenuous efforts of Secular to tell Hinduism to just lie down and die.