Sunday, May 18, 2014

What not to do for the brandnew Hindu government

After the Hindu victory with Narendra Modi's accession to power, what we now have to guard against, is that, instead of an intelligent pro-Hindu policy with lasting positive effects, counterproductive feel-good policies are enacted. From a distance, Modi seems bright enough to ward off these tendencies, but much depends on the people he will surround himself with. At any rate, the internet noise far outweighs the rare forward-looking proposals. 

All kinds of pampletteers are climbing out of the woodwork to call for policies which amount to banging your head against the wall. For instance, some say "bring an anti-conversion bill". Such a bill will do nothing at all to stop conversions (fact: in China, the Christian mission is very illegal yet very very successful), but it will provide a strong weapon to the enemies of Hinduism. If you are a mission agent, or if you are a mouse-clicking internet Hindu out to vent his emotions, then do call for an anti-conversion bill: it will hurt Modi's and Hinduism's reputation and speed up conversions. But if you are in it for Hindu victory, then proceed more intelligently.

Similarly, some people propose to make use of the unexpected parliamentary majority to implement a Common Civil Code, abolishing the present anti-secular system of religion-based Civil Codes, most prominently the Shari'a (Islamic law) for the Muslim community. This is desirable in the long term, and it is secular par excellence, for by definition, secular states have equality before the klaw of all citizens regardless of their religion. But getting there is difficult. Islamic preachers all over India will call for resistance, as this is an attack on the heart of Islam (which sees itself as a total system: theologgy, politics and the law are intimately related). Large-scale riots will follow, and the media are more than ever ready to pin the blame on the Hindus.

Moreover, this is not an issue that Hindus lose any sleep over: premodern Hindu society had different laws and customs for different Hindu communities (e.g. the alleged "Hindu" custom of widows' self-immolation was confined to the Rajput and allied castes and shunned by most Hindu castes) and naturally extended this legal pluralism to foreign communities with yet different law systems. A Common Civil Code is not a Hindu but a secular demand, and Hindus should not take the blame for the fall-out of what ought to be a reform by the secularists. So, do embark on a course leading to a ommon Civil Code, but proceed slowly and carefully. Among other things, convince the secularists that this should be their own baby, and that it is up to them to sway Muslim public opinion in favour of a modern law system.   

In the weeks ahead, we will hear more of unworkable or counterproductive plans, or projects for which the competence is lacking (remember the failed history textbook overhaul of ca. 2002). It is now imperative to steer the Hindu government in the right direction and shield it from emotional and ill-considered initiatives. There is so much good to be done, so many corrections of prevailing anti-Hindu policies and laws, that we should not waste time and opportunities on erratic impulses.


aronite said...

Nice, Then Koenraad Elst contradicts his own reasons he gave for Failure of Vajpayee regime.

All the new regime needs is just this shot in the arm to go soft and turn Economo-centric.

If a mandate is all the excuse for not carrying on with your Convictions, now it is the bogey of predictable Resistance from the enemies.

Well, Hindus can then hang their fate to the Opinion makers at West, the self chosen foes of Hindu society who want to ensure its collapse and do nothing about the Siege Sita Ram Goel rightly warned. For to move on any of this should be a clumsy show bound to turn 'counter-productive'.

He profers this sweet Do-Nothing Line assuming as though Modi or BJP already cares two hoots about either Hindu issues, or attempt a Change of equations for the besieged Hindus- now that hindus have given them a majority to push through.

Also note the disdain and contempt for the Hindu hardliner here. What an irrelevant noise maker and impractical clown he must be!

Cheers then to Jawaharlal Modi. It now has even Koenraad Elst's endorsement.

The Right wing partys go soft and easy near power Koenraad once told us.

Seems the Right wing Ideologues too are no less lacking courage of conviction!

Koenraad Elst said...
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Koenraad Elst said...

It seems my last para has gone unread. It seems also that some Hindus are hell-bent on banging their heads against the wall. And finally, it still seems that some Hindus are living in a fantasy world where "the West" is pulling on all the strings in India, when in fact the West is only very modestly interested in India but is being egged on by *Indian* anti-Modi voices.

Before taking on issues for which Hindus have proven to lack the competence, let them first gain confidence by addressing positive issues without enemies, such as introducing full equality between the religions in education and temple management. These are, moreover, far more important issues affecting Hindu society rather than the minorities.

But one of the detrimental attitudes cultivated by mouse-clicking Hindu activists over the years is indeed to spurn easy and consequential issues to focus on difficult and less important issues instead. As long as it hampers victory, some Hindus are sure to embrace it.

Satya said...

Mr. Elst,
You've described the new government as the "Hindu government." This is exactly how the left in India and the West (critically) describe it.

Mr.Modi has stated that his government is for the progress of India's entire population. Of course, he believes in the resurgence, pride, and defense of India's Dharmic/Hindu identity. This is what will separate his governments from all previous including Mr.Vajpayee. But at the same time, he will protect and the respect the rights of non-Hindus as well. This is what was done in the pre-Islamic era when the dharmic traditions thrived. Unless, this government intends for India to become the Hindu equivalent of Iran or Saudi Arabia, it doesn't seem that the phrase "Hindu government" would be justified. In fact, it seems to give credibility to the detractors of the government.

So, how exactly, would you explain the use of this phrase.
Thank you

American said...


Excellent timely post. I concur with your key recommendations.

1. Poverty is the bane of many ills and on-going persecution of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and all Indians. In a nation with rampant poverty and misgoverance, dharma suffers; and when dharma suffers there is even more poverty and misgoverance. This Chanakya noted in his Arthashastra and again in Nitishastra, as do Rajadharmaparvan and Shatapatha Brahmana. Economic prosperity is a necessary preparation and means to the pursuit of dharma, artha, kama and moksha of Hinduism.

2. To address social issues, shock laws will not work, shock laws will boomerang, only steady Fabian transformation of social laws will work. Pick key issues to reform, such as a uniform law on child marriage among Muslims, that media, intellectuals and people will have hard time defending. Sharia accepts and condones child marriage, even if the girl's age is below 10. Well over 80% of child marriages in India are in its Islamic community. If this passes, pick the next issue. One by one, slowly with due debate, unleash freedom and same rights/laws for all. Data on child marriage and Muslims in India -

3. This does not mean continued appeasement of Muslim or anyone else. Diversity and open debate are principles consistent with the history of Hinduism. Physicists explain change is caused from either a force or a field. Former faces friction and reaction. Latter doesn't, and it is more complete and permanent.

Elst's recommendations are wise.

rv_saraswathi said...

Dear Elst,

I see a lot of sense in your opinion. New govt cannot embark on conflicting policies to start with. Modi needs to implement a few pro-Hindu but non-conflicting ones to begin with, so as to gain confidence of public, settle down in his administration.

But definitely not forget the ones that are dearer to Hindus (Ram Mandir, Uniform Code, Anti conversion).

However, I see no issue with anti-conversion bill being implemented, if it is done along with other "positive" measures in parallel.

ysv_rao said...

Dr Elst as usual prescient and insightful.

Let others bask in euphoria and enjoy the honeymoon well deserved it may be. Let us start worrying and be the fly in the ointment.

Muslim polygamy is a boogeyman trotted out by the Hindu right. Polygamy is an expensive affair which very few can afford even in rich Muslim countries such as the GCC. There is too much of a social stigma attached to having more than one wife even in Muslim countries. Neither the bride nor groom's family allow it except in extreme cases where the first wife is barren and so on.

I dont know how you can successfully enforce an anti conversion bill where the rule of law is so lax and in a country with a rich tradition of religious pluralism. If anything it will only antagonize many Muslims and Christians who can be potentially be accepted back in the Hindu fold.

Being a Hindu revivalist rather than Hindu nationalist made realize a few things. Sikhs, Buddhist,Jains are other dharmic faiths want nothing to do with us because they see us a diseased patient or a sinking ship whichever metaphor of your choice. Why hitch your wagon to not to a star but a black hole is how they see it
Forget about Muslims and Christians who remain haughty in their monotheism,sole prophets and global dominance.

So let us execute some tasks

First revive Hinduism and Hindus. Weed out the junk traditions,beliefs and personalities such as Santoshi Mata,mindless bhakti chanting, all sorts of fraud Sai babas and Ravi Shankar. And you won half the battle already

Instill in Hindus a sense of pride via physical training(hat tip Swami Vivekananda), proper clothing and grooming, clean up the cities and impose sanitation procedures

Beautify and maintain the landscape with proper wide roads,demolish ugly rickety buildings, enforce zoning laws and imprison those spit,litter or attend the call of nature on the street.

Ensure proper infrastructure and security for the populace. Institute proper training and equipment to the police. Chandrababu Naidu used to fire police officers for having pot bellies.Even under the corrupt Reddy regime, they had the right idea, last time I was in Hyd, every officer was armed and had a Blackberry.

We have enough money for desalination plants. Use the water to develop the countryside so that the rural folk do not suffer and overflow the cities.

Update the failing electric grids throughout the country.

Invest in geological surveying and fracking technology, we may have well reserves we are not aware.

Break up the groaning cities like Mumbai, Kolkatta and Chennai into smaller municipalities so they are easily managed
I imagine it is less feasible in Delhi.
Ascribe more faith in the states and let them decide their own destiny. If they wish to place a quota on residents from other states ,let them do so.

Let there be a truly free market with max 25% corporate gains tax, 10% income tax with restrictions for foreign companies removed

Restore temple trusts to rightful owners from government and atheist saboteurs.
Reintroduce martial arts training ala Kalaripayattu in temples

Encourage meat eating in moderation.Restore animal sacrifices

ysv_rao said...

Embrace a more holistic education where teachers embrace the Socratic method with an emphasis on extra curicullar activies especially athletics

Ban consanguineous marriages esp prevalent in the South which wreak the health and genes of the populace. Use the caste plank to promote marriages from other regions.

Abandon the ridiculous martial race theory in the Indian military. Recruit more heavily from South Indian states and Bengal.

Eliminate corruption in the procurement department in the Indian military

Encourage more innovative filmmakers in Bollywood. Subsidize films which glorify Hindu valor and values.

Let Hindu restore their martial heritage. Instill learning of valiant kings and generals and how defeated pretty much every invader . Special emphasis on the wars against the Huns, Macedonians and Muslims where Hindu record is unparalled by anyone else.

As much as I loathe characters like Julia Roberts, Katy Perry and Russel Brand. Their conversion to Hinduism, while personally distateful to conservative sensibilies such as mine, would give a strong PR boost to Hinduism.
But lest it go the way of the Beatles and Maharishi, promote it as a blood and soil faith to the top echelons of Western society- generals, financiers,politicans, intellectuals. The same way how Christianity and Buddhism captured power -by luring the elites.

Those are a few suggestions which really have nothing to do with Muslims and Christians. No declarations of war against Pakistan,the West or China.

It is purely some well overdue in house spring cleaning and renovation. Coupled with fixing considerable PR damage.

If we achieve these, the Sikhs,Jains,Buddhists Muslims and Christians will draw themselves to us

The way we are approaching those groups is like a poor ugly man, trying to woo a pretty girl. The success rate is about the same.

Shravan Tanjore said...

He is absolutely right in describing this government as Hindu givernmeny , I agree that the uniform civil code can be addressed on a later date if at all there is a beed but removing article 370 must be brought about ASAP. Some years later a ban on cow slaughter must be enforced. Let muslim women hate their own religion in an increasingly growing and free economy and society therefore a separate civil code for muslims may benefit Hindus.

Considering the turmoil going on all across the world Modi must see opportunity in every crisis.

Dr.Elst's prescription is good not perfect but Hindus will do well to listen carefully to him and then make an informed choice.

Also Dr. Elst would you not agree that the intellectual and religious elite in the west does want a weak and broken India and are actively courting such elements? I think the west is more than moderately interested in some things happening in India. Their politicians maybe undecided , their businesses supportive but the influential intellectual class and religious class are certainly inimical to Hindus as are our own local versions of these foreign evils. An opportunity in every crisis must be the Modi government motto.

ysv_rao said...

He is absolutely right in describing this government as Hindu givernmeny , I agree that the uniform civil code can be addressed on a later date if at all there is a beed but removing article 370 must be brought about ASAP. Some years later a ban on cow slaughter must be enforced."

Why ? Why shouldnt Hindus be allowed to eat beef if they so choose?

Also Dr. Elst would you not agree that the intellectual and religious elite in the west does want a weak and broken India and are actively courting such elements?"

Where is the proof of this ? Please name the parties , motivations and their methods. Also please refrain from Ajit Vadakayil type sources.

ysv_rao said...
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Bhuvan said...

Amending the law to permit criticism of religion and other entrenched ideologies is very important. This will allow writers, artists and politicians to air frank opinions without the threat of being booked for 'hurting religious sentiments'. India had a rich tradition of debates and dialectics from before the time of Shankar down to Swami Dayanand. Facilitating such freedom will lead people to critically examine various flawed ideologies and dispel the darkness of ignorance. This will be in line with India's true destiny of being the karmabhumi of truth seekers and rishis. I wonder if NaMo will have the guts to revoke the bans on numerous books, considering he himself banned one for hinting Gandhi may have been gay!

It's also the right time to break the left hegemony in academia and media. The left parties have been practically wiped out and the secularist crowd is shell shocked at the scale of Modi's win.

Bhuvan said...

Also wanted to add, not altogether on a lighter note, that the new 'Hindu' govt should recognise the courage and contributions of genuine scholars in a difficult secularist environment; they could begin by bestowing the Padma Bhushan on KE.

SmileAbhi said...

Grand ram temple should be made in ayodhya , mosques in mathura and kashi should be bulldozed , illegal muslims should be deported and others should be given incentives to
leave india, savarkar library should be made in every city, cow slaughter should be banned and muslims should not be allowed to vote if BJP cannot do this they should make way for new hindu party.

Shankar Sharan said...

That KE has to advise the obvious to Hindu activists show the low level of general knowledge and political perception. Rather, summarily rejecting advises of learned scholars also confirms the same.
Hopefully Modi is intelligent enough to have the same understanding as KE counseled. Secondly, a Hindu civil society may come up or become wiser to take up meaningful thoughts propagating among the intellectual classes, media and Muslims. So that first a public opinion battle might be won. The rest is easy. Neither the Church nor Islamic ideology is strong enough to win a level-playing intellectual war.

sreedhara said...
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sreedhara said...
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sreedhara said...

better do in inches than in yards

hindu fools should better learn from china brothers

Unknown said...

Dr. Elst,

A very timely post. Lest the Hindus get carried away by a half victory at best. You must ignore those "Hindus" who raise the bogey of the "West" for even healthy criticism and observations...

Gururaj B N said...

Modi government must not engage in any of the controversial legislative work soon after assuming power. Firstly, the government must show its competence in tackling more urgent problems such as inflation, inclusive development, terrorism, external security, corruption and the like. After the government establishes its credibility, it can try to develop a national policy on various issues with a positive Hindu outlook. Doing so prematurely will give the opponents, media and internal fora an opportunity to cry foul.

Gururaj B N said...

Dr.Elst is right. Common Civil Code is no way going to benefit Hindu society. Why press for it and get bad name. right now, the focus of NDA government should be on finding its own moorings for the next five years. If this government delivers its promise on security, development and other important parameters, even the opposition would be more tolerant, if the government pursues Hindu agenda. Otherwise, Modi will be blamed for working with hidden agenda.

Unknown said...

My opinion is that Govt should abrogate blaspheme law - making free speech corner stone of his policy and defend it forcefully.

Revoke ban on all books and cartoons.

He will win the support of the liberal class / west and at the same time let the truth about religions emerge. Christianity and Islam will stand exposed.

Phillip said...

[Encourage meat eating in moderation.Restore animal sacrifices.]

यो धर्मः सर्वभूतेषु नाऽहिंसायां प्रतिष्ठितः।
प्राहुः प्राज्ञा अधर्मं तं धर्मोऽयं तव निर्दय।।

Phillip said...

[Why? Why shouldnt Hindus be allowed to eat beef if they so choose?]

न संस्कृतेर्न वा धर्मादहिंसां कर्तुमर्हसि।
मानवत्वाद्धि कर्तव्या मानवत्वेन किं तु ते।।