The public ignoramus

This is a brilliant article by Michel Danino on the hyprocrisy and the ridiculousness of outrage by the pseudo-secular on MHRD’s circular to IITs encouraging Sanskrit studies. The sarcasm in the article is priceless!

This is the height of hypocrisy of the Congress party –

Be that as it may, here is the government’s recommendation: “Research in Indology, the humanities and social sciences will receive adequate support. To fulfil the need for the synthesis of knowledge, inter-disciplinary research will be encouraged. Efforts will be made to delve into India’s ancient fund of knowledge and to relate it to contemporary reality. This effort will imply the development of facilities for the intensive study of Sanskrit.” Before you righteously cry out against this highly jingoistic and communal agenda, allow me to add a dateline: the above is not a diktat of today’s government, but the recommendation of the Congress government in its National Policy on Education of 1986. Savour the irony (or should I say the hypocrisy?).

The closing paragraph of the article sums it up perfectly –

What is needed is not governmental intervention, but the creation of an atmosphere of genuine culture where students are invited to critically explore wider horizons. Let the thali of Indian culture be offered to them, and let them be free to accept or reject this or that dish — but after tasting it. And let our Public Ignoramus spare us his high-decibel, stereotyped and neo-colonial disparagement of one of the finest heritages humanity may yet claim.

The article refers to the SandHI series, a collection of works on Science & Technology in Ancient India published in 2015 in the Financial Chronicle. Worth a read.



History and National Pride

Watch the below 2016 clip for 4-5 min. In this short clip Sadhguru eloquently explains how our history can instill a sense of pride in children in India.

Our sanskriti (civilization) is full of grand ideas, deep insights, great achievements and an all round pursuit of excellence. We don’t have anything of the scale of wiping off a whole population of native americans by western colonial powers. Yet the western countries embrace, preserve and promote their history, while Indians are too eager to disown it. Talk of ironies!



And for those who question whether India existed before 1947, this is what Chanakya had to say about it





Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1951

From this blog post

Did you know, out of all the varied faiths existing in the country, ONLY Hindu religious establishments have to share their earnings with the state? This because of the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowment Act 1951 under which a State govt. gets the right to audit temple funds, appoint archaks (priests), set up a committee to monitor temple affairs as well as appoint an Endowment Commissioner to look after the donations given to the temples.

This is an example of another damaging legacy of the British Raj which we have failed to correct in the 65+ years of our independence. This would be another thing to fix before we worry about the Ram mandir, as I said in another post.

There is a also a petition to correct the situation.

Here is a great series of articles on the history of Indian temples by MD Srinivas.

Now is not the time for Ram Mandir because ..

The Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir episode of 1992 is one of the most significant example of Hindu-Muslim tensions in India in recent times the wounds of which have not healed yet.

That happened while was still in the confused state. My thoughts at the time were: agreed there was a temple at the site which was destroyed by Muslim invaders. So what? Don’t the political parties ought to focus on much more real and immediate issues of poverty and development first? In other words, I was against the movement for constructing a Ram Mandir after demolishing the Babri masjid. This incident greatly contributed to my disillusionment with politics and alienation from Hinduism.

But I am not confused now and my thinking on this matter has evolved. The importance of Ramayan for a Hindu is immense. It holds not just spiritual value, but, over the ages, it has seeped into popular culture of Hindus throughout the world, not just in India. Regardless of whether Ramayan is history or mythology, the evidence for Ayodhya holding a special and revered status for Hindus continuously since BCE is very strong. As such it is only befitting to have a Hindu temple at the Babri masjid site, and not a mosque.

That said, I am still against the construction of the Ram Mandir. The reason is the politics around this issue today. Those opposing the temple are driven not by facts, reason and mutual respect, but by hinduphobia as defined by RM in this lecture. And I suspect that a significant fraction of the people supporting the Ram Mandir are being politically opportunistic or naively reactionary; they are not motivated by dharma.

By the way, it is not just Indian political parties which have been opportunistic in this respect. Sheldon Pollock has dedicated a good part of his career to distorting Ramayan and has contributed to the polarization around the Babri Masjid incident. Needless to say, Pollock is not the only ‘intellectual’ in this category.

In summary, I would keep Ram Mandir on the back burner for now and focus on plenty of other non-controversial projects for strengthening Hinduism. For instance, the India Pride Project to repatriate stolen temple artifacts; a translation project of the scale of Murty Classical Library of India but run by insiders (e.g. Vande Matram library); digitization of Indian texts; massive investment into original research and dissemination of authentic information; repealing the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowment Act 1951; renovation and maintenance of numerous legitimate temples; fix Indian school textbooks and those in the West; etc, etc.

Even after all this has been done and India has transformed into a fully developed nation, the right time to build the temple would be when the Indian Muslims invite the Hindus to do so! This may seem ridiculous today, but I believe it is completely feasible if as a nation we adopt the Dharmic framework where the different religions view each other with a genuine sense of mutual respect.