Sanghis sans Saffron

By Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar
18 July 2021 13:06 IST

When one ponders over the turnaround of the collective intellect and logic climate of India today, one wonders how could such a tectonic shift come about

The intellectual-social-political climate of this region always allowed great ideas to flourish and coexist. The modern period of Indian thought, I would say up to the violent partition of India, reveals this beautiful tendency as much as the classical period of the 18th - 19th century as well as the medieval period before that. What changed and when? What is the way out of this quagmire? In this article let us only address the first question. We can address the second question in my next article.

The traditional social culture of India or of this region prior to the recognition of India as an entity, right from the Vedic period, has been one of hierarchy -- whether this hierarchy is of caste by birth or of occupation. The ruling British supported and maintained this hierarchy for it made ruling such a huge India easy for a handful of British. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that a number of organizations spawned—many of them weaponised, combat trained and militant – in anticipation of Indian Independence. They knew that when Independence came, it would inevitably bring with it a Western, egalitarian form of democracy. This would be a threat to the hierarchical status of Indian society. Gradually, these organizations consolidated themselves into weaponized, paramilitary cults and their vague ideology consolidated into their core doctrine of Hindutva and a non-democratic or hybrid regime ruled Hindu Rashtra.

In his An Autobiography, Jawaharlal Nehru observed this desperate fight of the “traditional Indian Hindu" hierarchical culture against “a new, all powerful opponent—the bania civilization of the capitalist West". Nehru further notes “the West also brings an antidote to the evils of this cut throat merchant civilization – the principles of socialism, of cooperation and service to the community for common good. Though it is not unlike the old Brahman ideal of service, it means the Brahmanization (not in the religious sense, of course) of all classes and groups and the abolishing of class and caste distinctions (p.432 An Autobiography, Jawaharlal Nehru)
The problem of today’s India could not have been presented more succinctly than this.
This contradiction becomes too huge to handle for a class and caste ridden India. The
BRAHMANIZATION of entire Indian society, brought in by adult franchise and the advances in science and technology is sought to be fought by the militarized, majoritarian cults - united under the doctrine of Hindutva.

Caste is so deeply entrenched in the unconscious mind of majority of Indians living in India and abroad that the merchant culture of the West is perceived as the bania tradition of the Vaishyas while the egalitarian socialist culture thriving in the more advanced civilizations like the Scandinavian or Asian Tiger nations as the more prestigious Brahmanization of entire society. Such an unconscious perception confuses even the most intelligent and the well-educated Indian.

Here I contend that every Indian who does not stand for a RADICAL CHANGE in India's social -cultural-political fabric NOW is nothing but a Sanghi sans Saffron.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

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