Monday, June 27, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Imaginary fault lines

AGENDA | Sunday, June 26, 2011

Imaginary fault lines
June 25, 2011 9:53:03 PM

Breaking India
Author: Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan
Publisher: Amaryllis
Price: Rs 699

The book exposes three strands operating in today's India — Islamic
radicalism, Maoist and Marxist activism, and Dravidian and Dalit
identity politics — all engaged in systematically breaking up the
country, writes Saradindu Mukherji

This book has an eerie cover image taken from,
showcasing a map of the Indic region wherein its northern part
stretching up to Assam is depicted in green as Mughalistan — Pakistan
and Bangladesh included. The southern parts are called Dalitstan and
Dravidistan. For the authors, such a holocaustic scenario seems a
distinct possibility unless the process is immediately halted and

Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindam Neelakandan expose three strands
operating in contemporary India — Islamic radicalism, Maoist and
Marxist activism, and Dravidian and Dalit identity politics — all
engaged in systematically breaking up what the venerable Ram Swarup
called a "shrinking and shrunken" India.

This book, however, deals only with the third dimension related to the
Dravidian/Dalit 'studies', the ridiculous Afro-Dalit project that
seeks to showcase the Dalits as 'Blacks' of India and non-Dalits as
'Whites'. It also exposes the hypocritical roles of various
American/European academic institutions and evangelical organisations,
besides the NGOs and their collaborators in the media.

The entire gamut of the mechanism and 'ideology' to break the country
is exposed in 19 well-researched chapters. "Breaking civilisation",
the authors say, is "like breaking the spine of a person. A broken
civilisation can splinter, and the balkanised regions can undergo a
dark metamorphosis."

The book suggests that the Western imperialists have sought to
undermine India by both ideological and institutional means. They used
the Aryan invasion theory (now discredited), the Criminal Tribes Act
1871, caste-based Census, Indological studies, etc, to divide and rule
the country. Surprisingly, while the British abandoned the caste-wise
enumeration after a while, the present UPA Government has resumed it!

Despite criticism of Orientalists like Max Müller, Johann Gottfried
von Herder, etc, for their loyalties towards Christian evangelists,
several Indologists were also admirers of India's ancient Hindu texts
and civilisation. They stood apart from those during the Islamic rule,
who merely destroyed/vandalised much of the country's Hindu-Buddhist
heritage. The presence of people like William Jones, despite their
evangelical biases, along with the establishment of the Asiatic
Society and the Archaeological Survey of India, helped restore the
country's past that contributed to the emergence of national
consciousness. It would, therefore, be wrong to tar every strand of
European scholarship with one brush.

The chapter, 'Imperial Evangelism Shapes Indian Ethnology', examines
the true character of HH Risley (ICS), often projected by the less
discerning as a "brilliant anthropologist". He comes out as one who
"morphed" jati-varna into a racial category. The authors cite BR
Ambedkar convincingly demolishing the spurious racist theory based on
the nasal index. "The measurements establish that the Brahmins and the
untouchables belong to the same race. From this it follows that if the
Brahmins are Aryans, the untouchables are also Aryans. If the Brahmins
are Dravidians, the untouchables are Dravidians," Ambedkar said.

The politics of Dravidian separatism gets more than six chapters.
'Seminal' contributions of evangelist-propagandist intellectuals like
Brian Houghton Hodgson and Bishop Caldwell in creating an unhistorical
divide between the Aryan north and the non-Aryan south are well
explained. In this mischievous invention of Dravidian separatism,
evangelists sought to de-Indianise and de-Hinduise the Tamil
traditions. They distorted ancient Tamil texts like Thirukural and
Shaiva Siddhanta by attributing them to Christianity. Though rejected
by other Christian scholars of that time, it has been revived in our
times by evangelical movements, aided and abetted by racist
politicians in the country. In reality, all Shaivite hymns written in
Tamil speak of Shiva as residing in the Himalayas.

The authors err in blaming only Pakistan for fomenting terror in
India, overlooking the home-grown Islamic separatists/terrorists. Long
before Pakistan was created, large tracts of the country had been
Islamised/Arabised and massive conversion to Islam accomplished;
moreover, Pakistan was created by "Muslim Indians". Islamic jihad has
been operating in India long before Western/evangelical intervention,
and with much greater ferocity and success. Both the "Godhra carnage"
and the "Babri demolition" are inadequately explained in historical

The authors blame scholars like Martha Nussbaum, Lice McKean, Romila
Thapar, Meera Nanda, Angana Chatterji, Christophe Jafferlot and Gail
Omvedt for floating many academically unsound ideas that would
strengthen anti-India forces. The book also exposes the dark sides of
the American Government, the US Commission on International Religious
Freedom, the United States Agency for International Development, Ford
Foundation, Dalit Solidarity Network (UK) and many others. It is a
fact that most 'glorified' scholars in social sciences have strong
anti-Hindu and anti-India biases. India's Nehruvian, pan-Islamic
revivalists, Leftists and subaltern scholar-propagandists have long
been party to this unholy alliance, and many of them are funded
through the public exchequer.

The authors rightly assert that "the colonial constructs of previous
centuries have transformed themselves subtly, yet persistently, today"
and turned more radical than before through "institutional mechanism
and networks". After all, these academicians have "become tools in
facilitating strategic Western interventions". The book, however,
fails to see that the Nehruvian state system with its blatant
anti-Hindu bias was no less a culprit.

-- The reviewer is a history professor, the University of Delhi


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