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Learn the basics Ashutosh

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It is certainly more than a sheer coincidence to get to read a journalist turned politician of the just-beaten and desiccated ‘Aam’ Aadmi Party- Ashutosh- embarking upon a critique of RSS and ‘Cultural Nationalism’ in an article published in Indian Express on 27th April with a title including words like ‘Revenge’ and ‘RSS’. The choice of these two words and the overall narrative speaks volumes of a frustrating frame of mind consequent of the Delhi MCD poll results which mark the Delhi voters’ long planned break-up with the Aam AAdmi Party. The people of Delhi have proved that they are ‘intolerant’ by choice of the ‘non-performing’ parties and that they will exert the ‘no- strings- attached’ disposition of the democratic affair. The frustration is clearly seen into the ‘denial’ of the mandate on the part of the Party’s spokespersons and leaders. Perhaps the Aam Aadmi Party leaders need some counselling to come out of its schizophrenic frenzies. Ashutosh’s article is basically an incomplete catharsis as it only invokes ‘pity’ and no ‘fear’ over the overall catastrophic results in these elections. By and large, the post poll-results tantrums definitely provide entertainment.

The ‘denial’ mode degenerates into a blatant pointlessness where the article mentions Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister as one of the three crises after the Partition and the Emergency. The ‘denial disorder’ of some of these self-styled intellectuals and elitist analysts is so deep-rooted that these proponents of ‘ghost- truth’ may not be ‘awakened’ to this reality of the ‘New India’ as an expression of inherently liberal ways of life of the people of India because their philosophical expostulation compels them to pose a radical rejection of the real. The non-partisan understanding of the choices people make is a sign of a surplus intellectual prowess of these analysts.

Is it not a ‘determining’ attitude founded on the ‘intellectual arrogance’ of the ‘glittering literat’i turning a blind eye to what the people are finding trustworthy? Is it not truly undemocratic and illiberal on the part of the so called ‘protectors of freedom’ of speech to disdain, denigrate and diminish the decisions made by people through the democratic means of electoral system? Is it not utterly and criminally undemocratic on the part of the author of the article ‘RSS and the revenge on history’ to term the democratically elected Prime Minister as a ‘crisis’? Is it not undemocratic to discredit and debunk the choice made by the people of Delhi in the MCD elections by calling it a ‘democratic crisis’? Should your scholarship be considered over and above what the people of India, who are the ultimate beneficiary of any ideology, find what is right for them? Is it not your ‘provincial progressiveness’ to disregard the ‘popular’ which reflects the consciousness of the people themselves? Or is it that you detect a ‘crisis’ into a ‘solution’ because they refuse to ‘buy’ your version of truth? This ‘intellectual activism’ will do no good because the ‘rootedness’ of the Indian mind will ever resist the ‘alienating rationality’ seeking a ‘revolution of values’.

You do not require an anthropologist to tell you that the general population of India has its sensibilities and consciousness ‘rooted’ into the ‘inherited’ cultural identity. No matter what the dissenting, anti-tradition, so called liberalists shout against these traditional indicators of identity, the common people of the country, at large, would resist this ‘dissenting determinism’ as ‘alienating rationality’. This ‘rootedness’ is not coercion and is not obligatory. Unlike what some may perceive it to be- a compulsion and burden of inheritance to find themselves a space for dissent- the everyday life of the real people is rather wistfully ‘rooted’ into the eternally contemporary ‘flow’ of the distinct culture of India. It is the inherent and behavioural form of the people’s culture rooted into the way of life; its social manifestation is the motivation to general population which regards India as one nation.

The identity of India is not devoid of the identities of Hindu, Muslim, Christian and the rest. It is the integrating principle of cultural consciousness lived out by the people in their everyday life. There may be some deeper sense of one’s own spirituality being the most satisfying faith to oneself but the overt manifestation of everyday culture transcends the diverse central beliefs forming a pan Indian cultural consistency. The sense of nationhood of the people of India is the integrating aspect of different faiths. This integrating principle is not formulated by any individual or community. Its bedrock is not a scripture, religion, academic theories or a manifesto. It is the very character of us, the people of India. There can be no complete idea of India through an indifferent and antagonistic approach to these identities; the idea of India is complete only through the realisation of an integration of these identities into one nation.

A nation is its people, a cohesive mass of varied identities, not an incoherent mess of fragmented individualities. People live their life independent of the academic deliberations which often take a critical view of the choices people make for themselves. This critical view of popular culture adopts a strategy of derision making it ever repulsive. The decentralized, regionally manifested observance of oneness has nurtured our nascent cohesive character. This ‘Oneness’ is the ethos of our life in India. This ethos does not ‘admit impediments’ to the integration of ‘true minds’. This ‘truth’ of ‘integrated minds’ sources the feeling and understanding of ‘Oneness’ in the minds of people and in their everyday life. This ‘Oneness’ of Truth does not mean its ‘Singularity’. ‘Singularity’ of truth requires an observance of the justness of ‘only one’ truth whereas ‘oneness’ suggests a cohesion.

The Hindu way of life as reflected in the writings of V.D.Savarkar, M.S.Golwalkar and K. Sudarshan, the ‘Integral Humanism’ of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay and the core philosophy of Hindutva envisages this ‘oneness’ of varied cultural identities into a consciousness of ‘nationhood’. This ‘oneness’ is far from being recognised as the provincial, determining, appropriating and ascribing theory of ‘Singular’ conclusions executed as ‘dissent’ for its own sake as a means of perpetuation of ‘one’s own’ and ‘only one’, ‘Singular’ ideological choice. The RSS or the entire Hindu population experiences ‘oneness’ as the characteristic consciousness of truth. Neither the entire Hindu population of the world nor RSS find this ‘Singularity of Truth’ as its symptomatically identifiable doctrine. In fact, Hindutva is not a doctrine, it cannot be provincialized into one, and Hindus do not do that.

The RSS upholds the Hindu cause in its cultural and national sense, a sense in which the Hindus live their life “through the cool sequestered Vale of Life”, not in the evangelical, scriptural, academic or philosophical sense and not even in the sense of a narrowly institutionalized ‘religious’ teachings. This is the reason why we witness a ‘continuity of values’ in the life and culture of those who have read the ‘texts’ of Hindu philosophy and also in the life of those who have not read them. This ‘cultural consistency’ springs from the perpetual contemporaneity of the everyday life culture of the people of India, not from the ‘texts’ obliging a ‘Singularity of Truth’. This ‘cultural consistency’ across age- class, castes, community, region, gender, religion, language, faith, politics, ideologies, spirituality – is the pulse of Hindutva and the algorithm of ‘Oneness of Truth’.

The academically disseminated theories of culture rooted into the highbrow nonchalance of scholars or historians, thanks to their conjectural reflexions, are often found to be sourcing this confusion or ‘deterministic appropriation’. These scholars and academicians approach the linguistically and theoretically manifested form as the only reality stated or suggested by that word. They understand culture and its living functions through the form of linguistically made-up contours of reality which are but the ‘representations’ of the real- the ideologically perceived fossils of actual life and culture and its myriad ways as lived out by the common people. These people are unmindful, thankfully though, of this academically administered, linguistically represented expressions of cultural consciousness and ways of life. Their simpler and actual ways of life survive this alienating academic appropriation.

The social and cultural implications of Hindutva are so broad and non-institutionalized that they are instinctively present into behavioural and socially communicative traits of a Hindu person. It is difficult to define this experience in explicit terms. This is something which you live out and may not bother to define since it is always already known to you though not as a definition or as a knowable idea produced by an intellectual. Thankfully certain experiences of life are better lived and experienced than defined or informed.

Hindutva is one such experience. It is a whole way of life as you live it out as a Hindu. There is no hard and fast documentary or institutional association of Hindutva. There are no visible markers of one’s identity as a Hindu which could be borne by a person with that identity. It is a quintessential understanding of one’s spiritual faiths and cultural and social life one and all. The very fact that there is no scriptural evidence of the word Hindu in ancient literature shows that it did not come into practice through the writing of an individual or through the historical writing of intellectual activist. The word Hindu followed the identity which has always been the ever existent cultural realization of all the people of this subcontinent known traditionally as Bharatwarsh.

The rich and the poor, the Dalits and so called elites, the priestly castes, the warrior, the merchants and wage earners all experienced and exerted this ‘Oneness’ of a cognate cultural identity in their own terms, performed their own unique rituals, worshipped their own deities and this decentralized, regionalized observance of manifestation of Hindutva nurtured its nascent cohesive character. This is the ethos of our life as Hindus. Its reverential expression is Hindutva. This expression is best understood by means of a reverential approach to the ways of ‘people’s life’ which are connoted by the word ‘Hindu Rashtra’, not by the ‘confrontational’ approach. RSS espouses this ‘reverence’ to people as ‘cultural nationalism’ and this is a solution of a long settled crisis of ‘cultural amnesia’.

Prasanna A. Deshpande



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