'Stopping the enemy at the gates'
Dr. Vijaya Rajiva
Feb. 8, 2012
The recent debacle of fraudulent interfaith dialogue has led practitoners of the same to restate their goals, so it would seem. One hopes this is not a temporary phenomenon. Getting individuals from other faiths to ask questions about Hinduism is something done in many departments of religion at Western universities (some Hindus presumably are not aware of this) and it has been done for several years since the establishment of these departments several decades ago). This has not changed their views about Hinduism. Similarly, the marketing of Hinduism to Indian youth in its present feverish form, remains an elitist project, which will provide cover to the enemy. The acid test of these efforts will come only when, like the platform of Economic Nationalism which some able economists have argued for in India, there is a solid building of Dharmic concepts and ideas working from the ground up. At present those who make a lot of noise are ill equipped for that. As for Leftists from universities they may simply be fishing in troubled waters and are not to be taken seriously. Will they vote for a pro Hindu government ? And those who come forward with new ways of presenting Dharma must surely be well trained at the very least, and not merely engaging in an adventure of ideas. Otherwise they may be selling damaged goods. It also calls for a respectful attitude to the aam admi Hindu who practises his/her religion and to the traditional acharyas, gurus and maths, their protection and reinforcement (the present writer has talked about this in various articles). A mere marketing of superficial dialogue and discussion may seem like Walmart salesmanship and will be attempted only by those who are oriented towards such marketing activity. It will not stop the enemy at the gates, who will enter not only by the front door but also by the backdoor provided by merchants of new fangled methods. Hence, while fraudulent interfaith dialogues with Western theologians is temporarily on the backburner, there is no guarantee that it will not resurface again, when the opportunity presents itself. If interfaith dialogue comes, can Clooney be far behind ? Hopefully enthusiasts of this activity will continue to abandon that path as quickly as possible. The SECOND and RELATED danger is the confusion of genuine Hindu activism with a sell of superficial products. Both of these have to be interrogated, however inconvenient it may be to those who advocate this dual approach, on the one hand fraudulent interfaith dialogue and on the other the sale of damaged goods.
The destructive advent of Christianity in India began early through the activity of Syrian and Persian refugees in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries who destroyed Hindu temples. This has been pointed out by Ishwar Sharan in his interview with journalist Rajeev Srinivasan ( the interview can be read at Bharata Bharati ). It has continued since then in unremitting criticism and where possible the destruction of Hinduism's temples and icons. While in the past it has been accompanied by genuine ignorance of
Hinduism and the feverish colonial project of the economic exploitation of India, and the accompanying destruction of its educational system, today Western scholars are fully aware of Hinduism's intellectual and spiritual achievements. Hence, when they misrepresent or misappropriate Hinduism, it is done quite deliberately, a ploy, and with a view to overcome the Hindu adversary. Here, it is not enough therefore to stop with apologetics and appeasement. There has to be a systematic and concerted attack (metaphorically speaking) on the enemy. Internally, the buzz and excitement of sales activity in Dharmic issues also has to be monitored carefully. Some of it may turn out to be useful, but it has to be monitored so that it does not become the equivalent of FDI in retail.
The writer Tamizhchelvan has put the problem squarely before the Hindu Samaj. None of the high fliers have been able to stop the inroads made by the enemies of the Hindu Samaj. They have been unable to stop :
1. Stop evangelisation and conversions
2. Stop the mushrooming of Christian NGOs
3. Stop the construction of Prayer Halls and Churches near our temples
4. Stop the Church from acquiring huge lands and properties
5. Stop the menace of Inculturation
6. Stop the flow of foreign money
And they will be unable to do so if they focus merely on the surface equivalent of FDI in the economic sphere. This should be a timely warning to the Hindu Samaj not to be carried away by superficial marketing methods. Fortunately, there are vigilant Hindus who are on the alert and who will sound the alarm bells when necessary. This will not be to the liking of certain individuals but it cannot be helped. Fortunately, for the Hindu Samaj, the bluster of fraudulent interfaith dialogue has been stopped, for the time being. The second front encouraged by the enemy is the marketing of possibly damaged goods. Bluster and din can be great camouflaging strategies.
One asks what it is that Hindu Samaj is defending. The answer has been put succintly and eloquently and most recently by journalist Sandhya Jain:
"India has hitherto withstood the missionary assault because of the devotion of the ordinary citizen, especially the denizens of villages and tribal hamlets, to their ancestral faith as represented by the grama devatas, kula devatas and sthana devatas who form a protective shiled around their devotees and save them from harm. Then, there are the great gods in the larger temples and peeths and pilgrimages which gird the whole country in a protective grid, along with the spiritual strength and leadership of the traditional acharyas, gurus, maths and so on."
( Sandhya Jain ' Inter-faith Dialogue : What's in it for Hindus ?' in Bharata Bharathi, January 12, 2018 & also in http:kalyan97blogspot)
This may throw the marketeers of new fangled salesmanship off because it lacks glamour and excitement. It lacks publicity. It goes on apace, and must be allowed to do so. It has been the backbone of Hindu civilisation and will continue to be so long after the merchants of fraudulent "dialogue" and discussion have vanished, along with their wares. Meanwhile, their activities may provide cover for the enemy.
(Dr. Vijaya Rajiva is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university. Her academic training is in Philosophy, Political Science, Political Economy and History).