– Shankara Bharadwaj Khandavalli
I happened to read an article “Who Milks This Cow” in Outook India, an excerpt from Ramachandra Guha’s (RCG) “Patriots and Partisans”. (http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?282904)
From the title it appeared that this piece talked about who milks the “Hindutvawadi” cow, namely beneficiaries of the movement etc. It turned out to be not about people who milk the cow but about the cow itself.
Then below the title is a description – “Tracking that species of Hindutvawadi, obsessively trolling the Net, looking for slights to the faith”. And it was a little clear what RCG is really trying to talk about. He is talking about people who “obsessively troll the net” and “looking for slights to the faith” – but it was still not clear what he expects from those. But from the sample of letters he mentions, it was obvious – he just needs some light stuff on a serious topic. He wants to talk about lay people who feel for something (lets come to the movement and its right/wrong later) but have neither precision nor language skills nor the full time job of engaging in polemics. And why does he want to do that? Not very apparent but the article does tell us the way it starts.
Apply basic psychology to the first few paragraphs of the article, in fact the very first sentence – “I was born in a home of broad-minded Hindus” by this we have to understand that there are “broad-minded” and “narrow-minded” Hindus and his satire is about the latter. And what makes that “narrow-minded”ness? No prizes for guessing – Hinduism itself as he describes. It has caste, it oppresses women, it has fundamentalists, what not. But what he does not realize is what he is giving his readers – an opinion about himself. It is not the fact you talk of, but the choice of fact and perspective that shows what you are. The question is whether you look at the bright side of human mind or the dark – and RCG usually talks of the dark. It does not show you are really talking about the “grim ground reality” – for reality has many faces, many aspects, many levels. It just shows what you are capable of seeing. Those who see the negative side do not become disloyal to truth or partisan as long as they retain the overall sense of proportion.
If one talks about witchcraft and burnings at stake, instead of Faraday, industrial revolution, you know what he really wants to speak about the Westen society. But when one fails to put these in perspective and makes conclusions or allegations on a society based on the former, which is where you know whether he is partisan. And RCG confirms beyond any doubt – he is a partisan anti-Hindu. He fails to see what Hinduism is, what Hindutva is, what Hindu movements are. For his book title “patriots or partisans”, an honest answer would not be in understanding the riots done by Hindus. It would be in enlisting how many riots were done by which community against which community, and what pattern of “partisanship” it shows. Not by listing one or two cases that favor one’s conclusions.
Now there is no need to go further to really validate his statements because he himself does not care to substantiate them, but that sufficiently tells any sane reader about his position – his inherent hatred for Hinduism. Whether you talk of “evil” or the brighter side, or whether you exhibit a balance of view knowing that both are natural in a society, is sufficient to say what you are – and RCG is a known Hindu-hater who disguises himself as a “broad-minded” Hindu.
These are days when it does not matter whether you speak the truth, whether you boast, whether people really think you are lying. One is free to call oneself whatever he wants to. So RCG is “secular”, “moderate”, “broad-minded”, what not. And at the same time attach words like “chauvinistic” to his chosen target.
One thing that strikes me right from the beginning is the large ego and shameless boasting, along with little credible substance to speak of in the entire article. There is nothing in the entire article that adds a little to a reader’s information or perspective. A totally empty pot. That is because he just wants to create a low opinion about “internet Hindus” in particular and “Hindutva” partisan movement in general – so first soften the reader by talking of what constitutes “narrow minded” and “partisan” Hinduism, take a high pedestal as a “broad-minded” himself; then start using all the language against those, whose language you had a problem with! But playing with words can create an equally low impression about the author, is what he totally overlooks.
Everyone will choose his opponent based on his own stature. So RCG can either pick a sample that is “chauvinistic”, or “dishonest”, or “partisan”, or for a change, something that is more relevant to Hindutva and substantiates its stance.
In traditional Indian philosophy there are choices of argument such as pradhAna malla nibarhaNa, chala, jalpa, vitaNda. One will choose the argument to refute, based on his intention and his purpose. If you need to question the bases of an ideology, a movement, you need to question its motto and show it wrong. To pick its most inarticulate (upon his own admission) expression hardly qualifies as a criticism – it just becomes mudslinging. So while RCG pretends to talk of the basic assumption of Hindutva that “Hinduism is under threat”, he does not argue for or against it in any way. Nor does he present any data. What he talks of instead, is how he received “chauvinistic” mails – but the question to a sane mind is, why will he not get such mails? Who care to respond to you is usually dependent on whose attention you attract. For the kind of stuff in this article, which serious thinker would even care to read it completely, leave alone sending you a mail that systematically criticizes you? Your article itself comes under the category of ranting. Of course, if you picked more challenging pieces, and then tried to talk of how their perception is wrong, that would be at least interesting – factual or not.
Coming to the Hindutva topic itself, by far I do not see that you have done any valid refutation of the Hindutva stand. While Hindu thought itself is too diverse and there is no monolithic idea or movement like “Hindutva” as you seem to think, I can give you a few names that articulate the case for these movements – Koenraad Elst, Arun Shourie, Sita Ram Goel, Ram Swarup, Balraj Madhok, Balbir Punj. There are dozens of people who did this level of articulation. However, KE’s “Saffron Swastika” several years ago, gives you better information and perspective than you tried to compile in your “Patriots or Partisans”. So to raise a question that is answered earlier, to me, shows your ignorance of the subject. If you surveyed the ground and came up with counter arguments that would have been different. What you chose is quite similar to the valid criticism “Hindutva” has about the Christian missionaries – they criticize Hindu spirituality in front of masses by picking a few misconceived “evils” and fold their tails when they encounter well read Hindus. And you are doing the same thing – to talk of some “hate mail” and avoid core of the subject. That in Indian logic is called “chala” or deception.
So RCG, if you are appreciated for your book, I wonder what is the sample of your readers and their quality/loyalty to truth.
Now another word he attributes to himself – “moderate Hindu” as opposed to “extremist Hindu”, a label he attributes to “Hindutva” (as if it is a monolithic movement, but lets not enter that discussion now). And based on what? Where is his definition of Hindu to call himself moderate and someone else extreme? More importantly, moderate and extreme are viewpoints towards one common goal – what is it? Does RCG have anything like a “goal” in Hindu interests to call himself moderate? None. He calls himself moderate because he does not “believe” in “extreme” steps like violence. I am afraid he is confused between armchair criticism and getting one’s hands dirty; and calling this difference that of moderate and extreme. Being a Hindu and taking a stand on a Hindu cause are entirely different things. Other than criticizing the “Hindutva” for their “activism”, he has no case to make, no stand of his own on the serious issues facing the Hindu society – some of which he mentions in a negative light. If casteism is a problem, if woman’s status is a problem, if inter-religious strife is a problem, then what is your “moderate” formulation of these and your “moderate” means to solve? What is the cause-effect logic you established, which leads to these problems and what is the solution? None. You are “moderate” because you do not own any cause, nothing more. Moderates are those who worked their lives to bring about amity between communities, not by bashing any community but by contributing to them. Moderates are those who worked to bring down the number of conflicts between communities.
Hindutva and Riots
Let us get to the sample “hate mail” he discusses, subsequently. But before the hate mail, let us take a detour on his anti-Hindutva tirade in the same article. That is because we need to understand his positioning right before we see how he analyzes what he calls the hate mail.
RCG recalls some riots to describe what he means by “Hindutva”, the Bhagalpur riots. Here he cares a hoot about cause-effect. The obvious questions that must cross any sane mind do not cross his mind –
- Why exactly is Ayodhya a dispute? What does it tell about the Muslim community today? Given that the temple sites of Hindus were destroyed long back and not today, the question of guilt cannot be whether someone demolished the Hindu shrine, but the relevant question would be whether Muslims own or disown such behavior today. Are they proud of the intolerance and iconoclasm, low culture level shown by the tyrants like Babur, Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan? Or are they trying to evolve into a tolerant tribe that fits in a diverse, pluralistic and a tolerant society like the Hindu society? What does their present mindset and actions show? Is their role model derived from subverting visionaries like Jinnah (the separatist) and Maulana Azad (to whose credit is India’s perverted education system) or from Indian patriotic visionaries like ex president Kalam? Does this not tell you enough to make a case for Hindus to ask for a profound change in Muslim mindset one of whose external indications is to disown the vandalized Hindu shrines and letting them go back to the hands of Hindus?
- On the contrary, why did Muslims and secularists alike, agitate against such restoration? Are they not implying that Hindu self-respect has to remain subdued? Does this not tell you enough about the case “Hindutva” is trying to make?
- When riots happen, they happen in many places. It is natural that in areas where one community is in majority they end up making more damage. The same happened during partition riots, and during Ayodhya issue riots. If Muslims suffered a bigger loss in Bhagalpur, the Hindus did in Hyderabad and other old cities in the country. What are you trying to say, and how is it even related to any Hindutva at all? On the contrary, is this selective reporting not showing your inherent dishonest? I know, your “topic” is Hindutva and not which community does what. But the latter is the causation for the former, is what you need to understand.
- What you fail to ask is what is logical – why at all did riots have to happen? Because of what mindset and how to change it? Whether it is Khilafat or Danish cartoon issue or today’s Bhagyalakshmi temple issue (Hyderabad), is the Muslim community willing to live in a pluralistic setup or live by the medieval Arabian desert mindset of dominating and subjugating the kafirs? Do they respect the secular laws and constitution or do they keep disrespecting it saying Muslims are not bound by secular laws?
- The number of casualties does not tell you anything about the causation, it only tells you who prevailed. Whats the point? Are you trying to demonize the Hindu reaction by concealing the causation?
- More funny is his usage of the word “Hindu faith”. There is no relevance of faith here, it is a question of fundamental human freedom which is supposed to be the foundation stone of any civilized society. Islam vs Hinduism is one thing, but riots hardly are Islam vs Hinduism (although the above mentioned causation determines whether riots happen or not) – they are Hindu people vs Muslim people. Once it gets to your street, it hardly matters whether you are a tolerant person, whether you respect the other faith, not even whether you really adhere to your own faith. On the street it is kill or get killed or survive. So his “fellow Hindus willingly partake of such savagery”, is not surprising – by what logic was it surprising to you RCG? Do you expect that people sit like lame ducks and get killed? Forget Hindu, that can never be the mindset of any community with survival instinct left in it. Why do your basic logical faculties fail to work when it comes to treating Hindus as human beings?
- And when such “savagery” cannot be imagined for your “culture level”, then how can it be natural that Hindus have to put up with secondary citizen-treatment in their motherland?
- He then says, “In the 1990s and beyond, as the religious right gained in strength and importance across the country” which means any violence done by Hindus after that can be attributed to Hindutva. A convenient but factually flawed thinking -
- The violence that happened after “religious right gained in strength” is statistically incomparable to what happened before that. Whether it was during partition or frequent riots that kept happening all over India since independence. The number of riots and their frequency has come down – can you attribute it in all honesty to the rise of Hindutva? Can you start thinking that riots kept happening as long as Hindus did not show their might and congress and Muslims kept taking them for a ride and when Hindus started rising the latter are showing smaller propensity to incite violence?
- Given the fact that Hindus right from the dawn of history till date have always put up a brave fight against all the onslaughts and subjugations, is it not obvious that it is your expectation that is flawed and not the way Hindu society is trying to respond to the Islamic challenge?
- Having taken Gandhi’s example, are you even aware that Gandhi is a miserable failure in handling the Muslims and their demands in the better interests of India? So is it not obvious that his policy is not something that a sane mind would emulate?
- Why is it that Hindus do not initiate riots against any community, including Islamic? Why is it that their violence is a consequence and not an antecedent?
So the very topic of riots tells us enough about RCG, his mindset, his honesty, his abilities to understand causation. He is anything but “secular”, anything but “broad-minded”.
On hindsight we are a little unfair to him because he never claims in his article that he is objective or unbiased, and we are expecting him to be both. But both these are prerequisites to make the claims he actually made – being secular and broad-minded. More importantly, he never claimed he is loyal to truth – which is where the real problem lies. May be he thought he is, or may be he thought it is not really required. In either case, he better understand that there are two Hindu ideals (in the same order) – “satyam eva jayate” (Truth always triumphs) and “ahimsa paramo dharmaH” (non-violence is the greatest law). The causation of Gandhi’s failure with the second (ahimsa) lies with the fact that he faltered on the first (truth). All the experiments with truth notwithstanding, he totally failed to come to reality with the Hindu-Muslim issue, and based his policies on false assumptions about both communities. No wonder he failed to create amity between the communities and failed to achieve ahimsa.
So RCG, it still matters and applies to you – all you say and do can work only subject to how truthful your claims are. Honesty with truth is not just in data, but also in the information you generate from it, also in the perspectives you create from that information, the logic you choose and the analysis you do. So the high-sounding words are not as high as you think, and you cannot really be what you claim without getting those basics right. Claim not to be “broad-minded”, but show your broad mind by your understanding. Claim not to be secular, but show it by an unbiased analysis of data. Claim not to be “moderate”, but show your loyalty to truth. And seek truth through proper methods.
The Hate Mail Part
Now let us come to the “hate mail” that RCG cites. While beginning with the sample he says
“If a column I write touches in any way on faith, Hinduism, Hindutva, Guru Golwalkar, Gujarat, or Ayodhya, by breakfast I have had deposited, in my inbox—or perhaps in the ‘Comments’ section of the newspaper’s own website—mails which are hurt, complaining, angry, or downright abusive”.
Well, it is obvious that if some writing offends people who feel for a movement, especially at layman level, there will be abusive reaction – what a wise man does is to care for those responses that have any substance. That is what anyone who posts on web does. You are actually fortunate that your target of criticism is Hindutva and the abuse you receive from those folks is a lot milder. Just try making the same level of criticism on communists, missionaries or muslims, you will know what abuse really means. So I do not see a point in discussing the abuse part. And it is not surprising that on topics that are less emotion-evoking you would not receive strong criticism and abuse.
Yes, there would be a lot of emotional content even in responses that are non-abusive, and to care about the factual part is what an objective writer does. Of course, what is more important is the perception that people get from what you write – that at least, is what one should keep looking for. While media has the advantage of saying anything about anyone, common man has the advantage of judging even the media. As the abusive samples accuse, it is not today uncommon – many people do have the opinion that the media which openly sides with causes and parties that are fundamentally not pro to the Indian culture, and especially Hindu causes while going out of their way to appease other communities. The tone could be abusive, but what about the fact? Just compare for yourself, what exactly is the content published, what amount of it covers who in which light. There is a brazen partisanship there, and you can either introspect and make sure people do not derive such opinion, or push it under the carpet of abuse.
And when people think media is against Hindu cause, they would attribute several motives – all those you mentioned (covert missionary, congress loyalty, maoist sympathizer etc) and many you did not mention. Of course, it is well known that there are people whose careers are built by being sympathetic to all those but the career of folks who take Hindutva stand in the content they write would hardly be made in the media. Now that just happens to be statistically true – face the truth! Of course, that does necessarily not mean you are one the payrolls of those. But here is where the simple rule applies – if you go out with a gang of smoking friends and return with smoke-stunk shirt, there is no surprise people think you too smoke. Since that is your personal choice, you may get away – but anti-Hindu stance in media is a serious issue that concerns the society, and it is the basic duty of media to watch its position and the opinions it is creating in the common man, both about the situation and about itself, how much it lives by ideals like truthfulness and unbiased reporting that it claims.
There I am afraid abuse should inspire some introspection, and wonder whether it really did. What surprises me is how RCG mentions he put up with the strong reactions but fails mention any learning he did from those responses – direct or indirect. Whether that happens indirectly on many occasions, what reflects in this particular piece is a totally self-righteous tone – which even the most accomplished writers do not tend to show.
Then he says –
“Some are written in a civil tone, yet reflect the same anxieties and (dare one say) paranoias of a certain kind of modern Hindu….”
Is it not just factual that today’s Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir were Hindu-Buddhist once and became Muslim majority after continued invasions, cleansing and conversion? Is it not factual that the Hindu population is being wiped out in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and facing persecution in border areas of Assam, Bengal etc? What is the reason for terming factual data an “anxiety”? And if this alarms Hindu society, why would it not? Is it not obvious? By which logic can you say Hindus should not feel threatened? I do not see you ever presented any data or arguments to say what happened in last thousand years will not continue any more, or that it is changing, or that attacks on Hindu society are not happening. BTW this threat perception is not something new created by some movement – look back into history and you would see it in every society that faces similar situations.
So again it comes to the same point of introspection – did you care to notice that you have no factual refutation to offer? Next you say –
“Sometimes, the chastisement is gentle, offered in sorrow rather than anger, and outlining the hope that, despite my past errors and misdemeanours, I might yet come to respect and even represent the cause of the vulnerable and aggrieved Hindu.”
And this seems to soothe your ego a little.
Then RCG tries to characterize the folks who wrote such responses –
“These are typically dwija names, denoting ‘twice-born’ castes who, according to the tenets of orthodox Hinduism, can wear the sacred thread…. But for all this love of the motherland and the ancestral faith, it is striking how, while this particular heretic lives in India, so many of his orthodox opponents are based overseas, in the prosperous and decidedly un-Hindu nations of Europe and North America.”
Again, is this not too obvious? For the increasing reservations in India, I wonder why it even surprises you that those folks are increasingly found abroad. Of course, the internet users are also more abroad – in India Hindus have more direct social experiences and need less “virtual space”.
Then he takes a leap to say -
“Hindutvawadis thus want to construct what Dharma Kumar described as ‘an Islamic state for Hindus’.”
Really? What is the nature of that state? Here while you have not established any valid argument using the Hindutva material, you conveniently make a serious allegation – does RCG know what a Hindu state means? Is he aware of Hinduism and history? What status does an Islamic state accord to non-Muslims, and what status does a Hindu state accord to non-Hindus? Can you compare the policies of a secular state and a Hindu state, and outline the advantages and disadvantages each community receives?
Can you quote from Hindu scriptures or history of Hindu rulers to substantiate your claim that
“In the same manner, if the RSS were to get its way, Muslims and Christians in modern India would live undisturbed, so long as they acknowledged their theological and political inferiority to the dominant Hindus.”
Here you are not only factually wrong, but are guilty of trying to create a fake case, and worse, you are exhibiting the paranoia that you tried to attribute to the “Hindutvawadis”.
Another serious allegation -
“But if they sought equal rights of citizenship they would be punished as the kafirs had once been.”
and again, onus on you to substantiate. From all the data available from history, Hindu literature and manifesto of any Hindu organization, this is just a *lie*.
“Like all fanatics, the Hindutva hate-mailer thinks in black-and-white. Although I am a liberal who has consistently stood against left-wing as well as right-wing extremism”
Well that is what you think of yourself, but obviously your readers don’t seem to think so! And this particular article has not established anything to that effect, in fact you ended up establishing the contrary of what you claim. And that is because your fundamentals are muddled.
And even here it seems it is you who tried to think in black-and-white by making left-wing extremism and opposite of right-wing extremism. From the assumptions you made above and the lies you cooked up, you are trying to superimpose the notion of a right-wing extremism (of your own imagined nature) on a movement which is totally unlike what you say.
This right-left extremism is something that happened in the west. In India, the Hindu right was never intolerant – it was merely a response to its survival threat. Unlike what you find in the west, you neither find the “Hindu right” to be anti-science nor anti-freedom nor anti-pluralism.
If you have historic data to the contrary, that Hindu-right by itself threatened the existence of any community, or if that is its policy, then the onus is on you to show. But factual data is quite to the contrary – it is the Hindu shrines and beliefs under attack, and it is they who are fighting to liberate *few* their temples vandalized in thousands. It happens to be the Hindu right that tries to create the inspiration for coexistence by promoting examples of Kalam and Rashtriya Muslim Manch. And much against your claim, it is the secular establishment that tries to entertain the fundamentalist elements like MIM. So what do you have to say, RCG? Is it you or Hindutvawadis that are thinking in black-and-white?
Then RCG says -
“The extremist only recognises other extremists. Since I carry a Hindu name, yet have distanced myself from the bigotry and chauvinism of the Hindutvawadi, I must be a crypto-communist”
Well, do you know that RSS itself entertained a nickname “pracchana communist” given by “pro-Hindutva Hindus” for its theology-agnostic socio-cultural activism? That aside, you have not “distanced yourself” from the “Hindutvawadi” for you were never pro to Hindutva or Hinduism anytime. Nor are you merely non-Hindutva. You are *anti* to both, and like I mentioned above it does not matter what you are – a communist or a covert missionary or just a confused Hindu (who also happens to lack honesty in what he reports). Your writings just echo those very ideas as demonstrated above. And it is just quite natural for readers to call you any of this.
“Apart from thinking in black-and-white, the fundamentalist is convinced that he will, in the end, be victorious. This triumphalist rhetoric, however, is actually a product of paranoia and insecurity”
Ah! And you think you analyzed their psychology. Having seen that the black-and-white is your and not Hindutva mindset, let us observe your other assumption – that “the fundamentalist is convinced he will in the end be victorious”. Are you aware that the “in the end” is an Abrahamic jargon (based on the judgement day) you seem to internalize and is uncharacteristic of “Hindutva”? The very nature of Hindutva thought is pluralistic and based on the *sense of permanence* – same is the reason they take both birth and death as *natural*, a part of the cycle. So it happens to be you again who is superimposing your worldview on them.
Of course, every movement believes that generation after generation its activity only grows and takes it closer to the goal – that is not “triumphalist rhetoric”, that is *conviction in the truth of goal* inherent in *every movement* regardless of whether it is “moderate” or “extreme”. This shows how it is your psychological stance and lack of will to apply commonsense that makes you attribute words like “triumphalist rhetoric” – and your inherent bias *against*, not “away from” Hindu movements.
So at this point I can only see that your vision is jaundiced, and that you attribute your psychological problems to the Hindu activity. Here is another example -
“To this deep suspicion of diversity and pluralism”
Pluralism does not mean entertaining a dishonest journalist, and that seems to be your grouse. You do publish your views, with whatever motivations you have. That is itself an evidence of “freedom of speech”, which is not due to your imagined “secular society” but *because of the inherent tolerance in Hindu society and the movements*. No matter how much you try to shy away from this truth, it remains true. Evidence is ample – just try making similar attacks on other “extremists” and see if your “secular” and “free speech allowing democracy” protects you from the retaliation. Who are you trying to fool, RCG?
Then comes another revelation from RCG –
“let me add one final characteristic of the Hindutva hate- mailer—an utter lack of humour”
This for a change, is a claim that is not black-and-white with its truth content, unlike the other allegations he makes. It has a little truth. To understand why it does not have “a lot of truth” in it and why it is a wrong observation to a large extent, we need to understand something called “racana silpa” or the aesthetics of literature. Of course even without that, merely applying commonsense one can see that humor is not something you can expect when you are mocking someone’s respected ideals, deliberately misquoting them and making serious allegations that are false. There is something called “aucitya” or appropriateness of mood that RCG needs to acquaint himself with, where to expect humor and where not to. He must also know what kind of topics he can write in a humorous tone which not, so that he is not disserving the purpose of his writing. Of course, if his intention is itself to show his utter disrespect to the Hindu movements, then obviously the abuse he receives is just paying him back in the same coin. But if he merely wants people to see his point, then the defect is in the way he blends the seriousness of topic with ill-timed humor. And on this, you do get benefit of doubt from less emotional readers.
But there is another side to it. While common man level reaction is understandably emotional, why is there lack of humor even in scholarly reaction? Here RCG needs to understand that Hindus hold ideas to be greater than people, and this is almost the opposite of a value west-influenced media cherishes. Media takes serious exceptions to insults to individuals, and entertains disrespectful humor about ideas symbols. Hinduism in general and Hindu movements in particular, do not themselves resort to attacking symbols and ideas of others but limit their attack to individuals antagonized to them. This is something missed out even by some of the Hindu-sympathetic westerners who are otherwise quite knowledgeable about Hindu movements. This is also the reason why “Hindutva” folks react less vehemently to defend their individuals and leaders, and far more aggressively when it comes to (perceived or real) attack on their symbols and beliefs. And they are not hypocrites in this matter – they care to keep their literature against their antagonists in line with this.
Of course, there is a changing trend with the rise of more west-influenced Hindu writers who are willing to engage in a counter-mockery. But that section can hardly be called the “humor less, chauvinistic, cow-milking” folk against whom RCG’s article is about. This is where RCG shows his own lack of understanding of “diversity and pluralism” when it comes to understanding the Hindu movements.
Actually RCG mixes up the question of relevance, with “lack of humor” by quoting how folks took exception as “anti-Hindu” to something he wrote about Nita Ambani’s prayers. This is not a question of humor, but of relevance. Here is a case where he is on the receiving end for the readers’ lack of “aucitya”. Of course he still cannot discount the factual part that he cannot take a similar jibe at the intolerant monotheists, but his intention here is not to take a jibe at Hinduism.
He says there is one “Indian” who cared to object and put things in perspective – an Indian like you? When it comes to you and people you favor, there is no branding?
But RCG, how do you know that this is how the Hindutva movement looks at you? How do you know that the protests came from people who subscribe to “Hindutva” outlook and not any common Hindu? Just as in case of Ayodhya movement, the volunteers of “organizations” were much smaller in number than the common Hindu who responded to the call. Just as in case of BJP coming to power it is not the “Hindutva” but common man who casts votes. Just as in case of riots it is not always your favorite targets but common Hindu who gets to streets. In fact many mails you mention hardly indicate any “Hindutva” ideological stance, though definitely pro-Hindu – you just needed one tag to attack because you cannot yourself handle diversity? Or you are afraid to concede that common, lay Hindus do see through your hidden anti-Hindu stance and abuse you because they are not trained enough? Why not see the possibility that Hindutva folk will be more trained and do not resort to things that bring a bad name to their movement by abusing? Why not see that the common man is himself sufficiently frustrated and sees bad in everything written by you? Of course you have evidence – as in case of anti-corruption movement bulk of abuse came from layman, and all proposals by congress (both honest and dishonest) were seen only with suspicion? So why not see that you have by now created too much of distrust in Hindus?
As a penultimate, RCG quotes five letters that are his “favorites”. The categories he assigns them to such as “paranoid triumphalism”, we already saw. And ends with his comments:
“I think of myself as a patriot, who loves his country, and lives and works in it.”
you may think so, it is not necessary that readers agree. Nor is it necessary to be true. Ultimately one has to be loyal to truth, and any ideal including patriotism can be “true” as claimed only subject to that.
“I also think of myself as a moderate, middle-of-the-road, liberal democrat.”
No, you are neither moderate nor middle-of-the-road as explained above. Your being “liberal” is too conditional to be called honestly liberal. Democrat in the sense of trusting popular opinion is something you are yet to establish, if your writings really indicate that they have evolved with the feedback. So don’t make claims too fast! Show them in your writings.
“Since I found flaws in Hindutva thought, it was self-evident that I could not be a patriot.”
Neither have you established any “Hindutva thought”, nor have you “found flaws” with it. You erected a strawman of Hindutva with qualities you superimposed on it, which are neither in Hinduism for ages nor the movements of today. Neither have you showed how your “moderate ideas” are loyal to truth, nor how they are loyal to the country.
And finally –
“To be fair, the criticisms also allowed for a more benign interpretation of the words that appeared under my name—namely, that I was suffering from some kind of mental illness. If only I could see the right doctor, who would then prescribe me the correct medicines, the motherland would be saved”
Irony is when sarcasm turns true – I have just described some of the symptoms of your illness including jaundiced vision, dishonesty and flaws in methodology. You can definitely approach honest and able thinkers to diagnose what the disease is. But the second part, namely “motherland would be saved”, is really just a joke.