Vivekananda and India's history
VIEWED in the long run perspective of history, embedded in societies are genetic mutations, which evidently activate life forms that respond to crises of survival. Such genetic civilizational incarnations of sages have occurred periodically in the history of Hinduism, alongside manifold destructive viruses from within and without. Swami Vivekananda was apparently such a counteractive life form that appeared in Hindu India, although perhaps only unexpected in the force of its significance, at a crucial moment in its history.
This great man, childlike in the intensity of personality, yet razor sharp in intellect and possessed of deep and boundless commitment to his own people and their faith, continues to reverberate through the pulse of a wounded Hindu civilisation. Vivekananda left us with an understanding of Hindu belief and faith that was profound and a proclamation for its revival that was inspiring. His mortal existence was too brief, but his impact was beyond compare. As barbarians assemble at the gates of Bharat at this very moment and their treasonous allies within seek to open them, Vivekananda stands astride it, calling Hindus to arms.
Vivekananda’s adult life in the final quarter of the nineteenth century coincided with a period of extraordinary cultural and intellectual renewal for India. It was a culmination of more than a century of reprieve from the worst calamity to have befallen Hindus in their history. The subsequent period of British imperial rule was also associated with cruelties and unprecedented material rapacity that easily equalled the antecedent experience of Muslim rule. Yet, mere indifference of the British colonial power towards Hindu worship and contemplation, with some instrumental encouragement as a counterweight to Islam, sufficed to unleash a surge of Hindu creativity. Beginning with Raja Ram Mohan Roy, a galaxy of creative giants lit up the firmament of Hindu cultural and religious life. Vivekananda was its divine summation, in turn inspiring contemporary writers, scientists and nationalist activism.
His youthful search for meaning in life and arduous intellectual endeavour brought him to the feet of the uneducated Ramakrishna; though this is the appellation pesky clerks in Bengal impute to classify those without a formal degree. That these degrees have long since ceased to provide even a rudimentary education and its holders transmuted into a virulent disease, consuming all in their path, need not distract attention at present. But it surely requires sober scrutiny and unsparing surgery to remove the cancer. Vivekananda underwent trials of severe deprivation and intellectual angst to posit the centrality of Hindu belief for redemption through service. He also espoused a pragmatic concern for the specifics of the material world that needed attention to achieve this divine goal, not least among utmost attention to dire want and deprivation of the many.
It cannot be doubted he would be dismayed by the condition of contemporary Bengal and India, drowning in the crassest material greed and imported filth of every description, masquerading as symbols of gratification and personal freedom. And its accompaniment by the most egregious assault on the Hindu faith since the Delhi Sultanate unleashed the terrifying horrors of Islam on those regarded as unbelievers: slavery, death and mass prostitution. Vivekananda, the intellectual giant, blessed with the most palpable common sense, would have instantly recognised the political seizure of Hindu India by what is aptly described today as the generic church, in cynical alliance with Islam and the latter’s surrogate, Indian Maoism, to deliver a possible coup de grace against Hindus. That so many prominent and high caste Hindus have joined hands with these Asuric forces in betrayal would not have surprised him, well-versed in the grim history of his people.
The fate of Bengal is a precursor to the wider retreat of Hindu India in the face of assault that threatens the most permanent defeat in its history. Territorial losses and religious conversion have beset the heartland of India, a diabolical phenomenon that began with the earlier advance of both Islam and Christianity in India. India already harboured the seeds of political implosion owing to historic Islamic conversions of populations in wide swathes of its territory. They have been followed by more recent Christian evangelical advances through both religious conversion itself, which Swami Vivekananda had noted with alarm, and the intellectual Christianisation of segments of India’s elites. Partition was the first and devastating blow, but it is being succeeded by a veritable ripping out of the heart of India by Islam and Christianity, aided by anti-Hindu Hindus. The response of Hindu believers has been mute, amounting to the selling of Hinduism for paltry personal desire for money and status. Nepal is also succumbing to Christianity, like the Northeast of India, a victim of military conquest by Christian protagonists masquerading as Maoist revolutionaries.
The seeds of the on-going political and religious demise of Vivekananda’s Bengal after 1947 were sowed in the nineteenth century. The British also unleashed a dormant militant Islam in the early twentieth century against a nationalist revolt they judged basically Hindu that was to end in partition. But there was an incubus within the Hindu fold that proved to be a source of especially consequential damage to it. The Brahmo Samaj was the fount of immense intellectual creativity in the nineteenth century and has produced some of India’s greatest aesthetes. But it also suffered fateful contamination from the Christian critique of Hinduism that later emerged to haunt Hindu Bengal. Despite all the morass of confused religious Brahmo introspection, its soul searching was ultimately prompted by Christian evangelical questioning of Hinduism. The Brahmos imbibed the most wounding evangelical attacks on Hindu idolatry and were fundamentally alienated from the Hindu ethos as a result. Vivekananda’s rejection of the Brahmo Samaj following a brief encounter with it was partly a result of his astute perception of its hostile character for Hinduism.
Decades later, many Bengali Brahmos, consciously and unconsciously uncomfortable with the Hindu ethos, in a way remarkably similar to Christians of India’s Northeast, succumbed to an allegedly reformist communist movement that has always regarded the faith of the Indian majority as its principal enemy. In time, their goals deteriorated as political successes inducted a horde of lumpen leaders, far removed from any reformist goals, but intoxicated by political power and the manifold material rewards it offers in India. This was the class that reared its ugly head in alliance with a Muslim peasantry, sweeping all before them to a chorus of approval from India’s external enemies, anxious to cut down to size an India unwilling to help them in prosecuting their Cold War aims. It is the same reason that India’s Left-dominated English language media and intellectual class were rapidly subverted and secularism embraced as a mask for diabolical Anglo-American political aspirations.
It may be surmised and perhaps British archives will one day disclose that the Mahatma himself was in fact one of their own, nominated as the individual most likely to prolong British colonial rule over India. Gandhi’s activities in South Africa may have persuaded them that he was an eccentric and confused dupe who could be manipulated for their own purposes. The spread of increasingly violent resistance, the most serious potential threat to imperial rule owing to a numerically weak presence in India, must have convinced them that the ideology of non violence that Gandhi represented was an eminently suitable vehicle for combating growing nationalist militancy. The stymieing of Subhas Bose, admittedly not the most attractive personality on the Indian political horizon, with his childish forays to engage with the criminal regimes of Germany and Japan, was nevertheless an indication that Gandhi may have been following the dictates of higher authority. And perhaps their awareness of his deeply embarrassing personal peccadilloes was a persuasive factor in encouraging him to the right decision, by subverting basic democratic norms in the Congress.
What transpired between Gandhi and his many white British interlocutors in South Africa is not known, but it cannot be beyond the realm of possibility that they played a critical role in manoeuvring his return to India and discreetly patronised his vaulting leadership ambitions subsequently. The ultimate trajectory of Indian history until 1947 was the product of complex factors that Britain’s preferred Gandhian pacifism alone cannot explain. The devastation of the Great War severely undermined imperial Britain and the eventual threat of revolt of its Indian military levies, rather than witless Gandhian activities, persuaded them of the need to abandon India. But they did not go quietly. They ensured the partition that they themselves had incubated, sponsoring Pakistan in the hope of retaining a military presence in the Indian subcontinent. They also wished to leave behind a broken backed India of warring factions, regions and princely states, possibly even recommending Jawaharlal Nehru to Gandhi to prevent nationalists, more strongly grounded in traditional India, from inheriting their legacy.
In the event, the historical record shows that the Anglophile Nehru disappointed them by refusing to wield India in the role of Cold War proxy. Nevertheless, he managed to inflict untold harm on India, combining a lack of vision and mediocre personal capabilities with a remarkable hostility towards the Hinduism that alone could have united India’s disparate population. In addition to a string of hugely costly foreign policy disasters, enabling evangelical incursion into the Northeast, he laid the ground work for the stunning setbacks that have since beset India.
The India he left behind was inherited by his family not Indians and certainly not Hindus. More recently, the squalid detritus of his family has become the willing pawn of an international conspiracy, in alliance with militant Islam, to dismantle India so that Christian evangelists can deliver a final coup de grace against Hindus. Hindus are retreating across the board, from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, where assorted ideological deceits obscure the reality of Christian aggression against Hindus, to Bengal and Assam where Islam is poised to gain untrammelled political control. The rest of India will not remain immune in its aftermath.
The moment has surely reached for a renewal of Hindu India on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Vivekananda’s birth to ensure that it does not disintegrate by the counterpart anniversary of his death. Just one generation and a decade remain to banish the Asuric forces that have assembled within the walls of the kingdom and begin the long march towards the divinity denied Hindu India for more than a thousand years. The foreign religious ideologues, sporting Hindu religious marks on their ever-so fair foreheads, even as concealed daggers gleam within their clothing, need erasure. Their treasonous indigene collaborators, led by a prostituted media and a medley of devious converts in high office, cannot be denied the fate so unsparingly enumerated in Hindu epics for their ilk. Vivekananda’s universalism and humanity does not exclude the violent resistance to evil that the Bhagavad-Gita he treasured enjoins.