vidya at cco.caltech.edu
Sun Dec 3 08:12:16 UTC 1995
Regarding the recent discussion on Sitaram Goel and Koenrad Elst's
Both books seem to me to be no more than propaganda material. While
Goel may only have compiled the accounts of Muslim scribes, there is
an underlying fundamentalist propaganda mentality in his book.
Koenrad Elst is a curious phenomenon. Here is a Belgian with an almsot
missionary zeal for VHP activity, who writes about negationism in India
and gives talks at homes of expatriate Indians in the US. I have seen and
heard the man. Suffice it to say he did not leave me with a favorable
impression. The attitude of most Indians in the audience seemed to be,
"Yes! Here is a white male saying the things that we have wanted to
say for ages. Bravo."
While I agree that there is no real discussion of Muslim fundamentalism
in the subcontinent, I doubt this list is an appropriate place to do it.
It is difficult for people whose academic interests lie in dharmakIrtI
or sadASiva brahmendra to be enthusiastic about discussing the perils of
That does not mean that Hindu fundamentalism should not be discussed,
just because Muslim fundamentalism is not.
As Ms. Rosser points out, however, political expediency will rule if the
BJP comes to power. The immediate partners of the BJP are much more
committed to a rigid fundamentalist agenda, and they are more dangerous
in the larger sense. A prime example is the Shiv Sena, which now rules
in Maharashatra. Bal Thackeray, the leader of the Shiv Sena, has openly
expressed admiration of Hitler. Is it very surprising then, if others
think there are fascist tendencies in the "Hindutva" group?
Hinduism does not have scriptural exhortation to kill others. Hindutva
fanatics may not have to wait for scriptural sanction. In other words,
there need be no correlation between specific scriptural exhortation to
kill infidels and the fact that specific groups are targeted to be killed.
The reality of the 1993 riots in Bombay should serve as an example.
One does not have to rake up medieval history to find the psychological
roots of religious fundamentalism in India. Partition took place just
fifty years ago. It is easy to pretend that India is "secular" while
Pakistan is not. Secularism as an ideal has always been something that
was imposed from up above, rather than something that came from within.
Our fifty years of existence as indepedent India are more responsible
for today's expressions of fundamentalism than the wrongs of a few centuris
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