The Cultural Weakening of India and the Hindu Civilisational Continuum

What is common to the two avoidable events that occurred recently, viz, the so-called #MeToo dog-and-pony show, and second, the pushback against and persecution of the lakhs of Sabarimala protestors?

In a line, the common factor in both is the near-total erosion of the identity of the Indian woman who has proudly (sic) been reduced to nothing more than her sexual organs. Needless to say, this pathetic state of affairs is the direct outcome of sustained lobbying at multiple fronts by a determined cabal of the usual suspects who are breeding and unleashing Incurables at a frantic pace. In very basic terms, what this means is really simple:  the cultural strand that unifies a nation as a civilisation has become dangerously frayed. Perhaps irreversibly frayed.

Look at any at any great power in the world throughout history and see what bound them together: Greece, Rome, Egypt, and so on. All these became powerful primarily through a common cultural strand. When that weakened, they were all extinguished. Look no further than England. What Great Britain was just 80 years ago has now been reduced merely to Londonistan. The United States is perhaps heading the same way.

At any rate, one definition of cultural weakening is where our own people begin to feel ashamed of our history, culture, traditions, heritage, and most importantly, our own ancestors. Once this happens, a country reaches a point of no return. This has exactly what has happened and is happening in the case of Bharata. I won’t go into the details of why it has occurred. The details are already familiar to the regular readers of The Dharma Dispatch. A representative quote by Ananda K Coomaraswamy will suffice. For his time it was prophetic and has turned out to be a horrifying reality in our time. And I will never tire of repeating this quote.

A single generation of English education suffices to break the threads of tradition and to create a nondescript and superficial being deprived of all roots; a sort of intellectual pariah who does not belong to the East or the West, the past or the future… Of all Indian problems the educational is the most difficult and most tragic.

As we witness today, hundreds of thousands of Indians especially in the cities have turned out to be exactly this way: intellectual and cultural orphans who belong neither to India nor to the West. They know neither their past nor have moorings in their own roots that inform them workable ideas for their own future. Even worse, they take pride in deriding the same culture that their fathers and forefathers took immense pride in. Their derision comes not from knowledge, and not even from ignorance—it comes from spurious knowledge that they’ve acquired from Western experts on India. They take to Yoga because it’s such a big phenomenon in America. They learn about Indian traditions and culture from patently bogus books written by agenda-pushing scholars and writers in the West. They need a Julia Roberts to convince them overnight that Hinduism…you know, the dhaRma  is cool. But once that movie is out of the theatres, they’re back to the same old, self-loathing ways.

How swiftly have we fallen.

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The best minds of yesteryears spent a lifetime researching, rediscovering and recovering our civilisational and cultural treasures. These minds, physically, were subjects of colonial rule. Almost in every other respect, they were proud and confident Bharatiyas. Confident of belonging to a culture which possesses the innate nobility ensconced in such lofty ideals as Rta, Dharma, Yajna, Daana and Tapas. Confident that the key to Bharata again becoming Bharata lay precisely in recovering these ideals.

From one perspective, the political freedom movement of India was preceded by a tidal wave of Sanatana cultural resurgence which gave it its inspiration, foundation, and motive power. By all accounts, the freedom movement was almost entirely powered and driven by Sanatanic deities, festivals, Gods, heroes, inspiration, ideals, idioms, pictures, poems, songs, stories, symbols, and writing.

But weakness set in the moment this vital element of culture was diluted, and the freedom struggle mutated and became an unrecognisable creature that attempted to do everything at the same time: politics, social reform, service, and piety. That weakness gave us serial disasters beginning with say, the Khilafat agitation. Cultural resurgence was soon abandoned in the pursuit of illusions as a result of which we lost culture and these illusions continue to give us the Sabarimala verdict, waterless Holi, crackerless Deepavali, and the rest.

And the aforementioned best minds of today are continually being lost to engineering, technology and management, primarily. Some of these minds have migrated to the opulent safety of alien lands, far, far away from the “bloody Indians,” a term I have heard mostly from the mouths of  this species of Hindus. Other similar minds have imprisoned themselves in gated communities, those sprawling, poor-Indian-cousin versions of Xanadus meant to replicate the American Experience in our cities. This is the physical expression of a voluntarily-chosen cultural alienation.  [Bonus info: the gentle reader is referred to Dr S L Bhyrappa’s classic, Tabbali to understand in vivid detail how this alienation works.]

The picture I’ve painted so far is not a picture. It is lived, living reality. However, given the sheer vastness of Bharata, the situation isn’t this horrid. What I broadly call Cultural Regeneration in the truest sense of the term is happening in tiny, unseen, unknown, and obscure pockets. And it’s good that it is so. This is also a testimony to the resilience of the Indian Spirit, which has in the times of extreme crisis risen up and asserted itself. However, the challenge this time is far more formidable than at any previous time in our history. It’s the challenge posed by the impersonal being called technology.

Put another way, despite the crass politics and ideological assaults that have plagued Hindus for over seven decades, dragged them twenty notches down each time they climbed up two, there is something that still keeps the Sanatana civilisation going; there is something that still keeps us united as a single nation despite the Jihad-spewing Mullahs, despite the rapist-pedophile five-star Christian priests, despite the global NGO lobby, and increasingly, despite the Wise Lords Who Know Everything.

And that something is the Hindu Civilisational Continuum.

To understand what this continuum is, we must essentially look at the past. And by past, I don’t mean merely history but at things that inform the history of this Bhoomi.

Sandeep Balakrishna
Writer, author, translator, and socio-political-cultural analyst. Author of "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore," "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History," and "Seventy Years of Secularism." He has translated Dr. S L Bhyrappa's magnum opus "Avarana" into English.