Understanding Contemporary Hindu Failures
It is commonly “understood” that Hindus are systematically disadvantaged in India, through constitution and state policy. It is usually conceded that the early anti-Hindu legislations after independence were done in “good faith” and that they did not get corrected while they got misused. But then over decades new policies and legislations kept happening, which were only increasingly anti-Hindu.
On one hand is the problem that out and out anti-Hindu legislations like anti-superstition bill, right to education etc. are getting passed in parliament with support (albeit under emotional/moral/votebank blackmail) of BJP and other such supposedly nationalist parties. On the other hand, there is a total absence, not just scarcity, of correctives to constitution, law or policy in the pro-Hindu direction. From this, it is clear that the system is rigged against Hindus and it does not matter, who comes to power the net outcome will be against Hindus, only the degree matters. At times, a government that implements these laws sincerely does more damage than a corrupt and insincere government.
While there is no dearth of examples, here are the few important ones –
- There are only minority rights but no majority rights
- “Minorities” have special rights in many regions, if they are not Hindu
- Hindu temples can be controlled by state, but not places of worship of “minorities”
- There are no “majority” educational institutions with autonomy, but “minority” schools with privilege not just autonomy
- Government will decide what is a superstition and what is belief and what is scientific
We will therefore need to understand why this goes in one direction, why everyone is forced to play against Hindu interests. The source of problem definitely lies in the basic principles of constitution, but beyond that we need to understand that Hindus are way behind the inimical forces in both thought and homework. That shows in most of the emerging and proposed constitutional amendments, the level of articulation, and the case made for them.
There have been several attempts at categorizing the contemporary failures. One perception is that the BJP is implementing “development” or “economic” agenda and is not implementing “core” (many “right wing” Hindus refer to this as core). However, what we see is an “erring on the other side” by adopting a business-friendly policy. There is nothing institutionally Hindu that is attempted in “development” or “economic front”. There is no visible attempt at protecting the skill groups or social capital or areas of knowledge that can position Hindu society towards pioneering or path breaking changes in technology or economic philosophy. Part of the problem is that “Hindu right” does not look beyond the “organized economy” and jargon like free market, so the expectations are not really around what a Hindu economic philosophy, consequent policy would look like. So catering to “economic right” and not “cultural right” is inherently an admission of being anti-Hindu because the “economic right” does not have a Hindu vision to economy and is merely an attempted anti-dote to socialism.
The perception of non-implementation of “cultural agenda”, is also not entirely accurate, if we look at attention being paid to matters like demography which are not matters of “economic right”.
Another common categorizing is the lack of “intellectual” work by the Hindu organizations. Sad reality is that majority of Hindu intellectuals themselves work by methods of western subjects and hardly adopt Hindu view of many subjects. Thus, Hindu organizations can’t be blamed any more than intellectuals for the lack of fundamental work.
Our understanding is that our politicians and thinkers have been failures in handling anything that harms Hindu institutions, while they could raise threats easily around attacks on people.
There is an ecosystem that is breeding rogue elements in the guise of social reform, justice, rights, equality and what not. Narendra Dabholkar was but just one case, there was even a proposed bill that abets rioting by “minorities” and criminalizes Hindus that fortunately did not get through. The resistance for that kind of bill was not because it is any more anti-Hindu than the other bills. It is because such bill goes against Hindu people and not against Hindu institutions.
Few examples to make this clear –
- Infiltration in borders (Assam for example) is a matter where BJP raised voice and even started taking measures.
- Rioting and demographics are topics that RSS-BJP engage in, and see partial success.
- Caste discrimination matters where there is minor success in softening prejudices at people level.
On the contrary, consider a few examples of failure at institutional and systemic level –
- Not a single major pro-Hindu policy or a correction to an anti-Hindu policy is achieved so far. This is not just in terms of lack of success in convincing people about the merits of proposals, but a scarcity, in fact near absence of well-articulated proposals itself.
- No legislation has been proposed or policies suggested towards correcting institutionalized caste problems, be it caste as political capital (which is a result of caste politics in democracy) or feudalizing of caste (which is two centuries old).
- Systemic and systematic discrimination against Hindu institutions, be it a temple or an educational institution, is not unknown to people and it is not difficult to convince people, but systemic correction requires systemic and not people-level work.
- There has been a series of legislations that may result in destroying Hindu society. Right from the combination of legalized monogamy with divorce law, which is a recipe for disaster (as is already seen in the west, resulting in systematic de-incentivizing of all the ingredients of stability such as commitment, along with incentivizing randomness) to LGBT matters (Hindu orgs could protest against decriminalizing LGBT, which is not really necessary, but failed to prevent extension to institutions like marriage which is harmful).
- Legislations like RTE that encourage schools towards exorbitant fee structure and result in harassing schools that sincerely intend to cater to low economy groups through modest fee structure, have much deeper malaise in them than merely forcing close down of schools run by Hindu trusts. But the resistance of Hindu side is limited to the noise of “communal” nature of the law. There is neither a formulation of Hindu case of how a legislation around education should be (in a direction that education is catered to the eligible instead of just affording) nor a foresight on how this leads to increasing control of education by breaking India forces.
- There are attempts to address the indoctrination in education system with revision of curriculum and schools that involve additional good teaching, but no systemic changes to reform the pedagogy of indoctrination or design of a Hindu education system.
On the other hand, the lax nature of congress governments in implementing laws was a blessing in disguise for Hindus. A sincere enforcing of the insincere laws would be far more harmful. So, the need for understanding the causation for our failures in systemic corrections cannot be exaggerated.
What Needs to Change
Principles and institutions are permanent, not people. People while being the vehicles of realizing the principles, will not be able to resist for long the bad influence of a state forever, but only temporarily act against a non-incentivizing policy. Eventually people’s ultimate goals will be their own fulfillment and make choices in that direction. So, if a policy does not incentivize a certain choice, that choice cannot be made sustainable as a value. In most of the cases discussed above, individual choices are engineered through a policy of incentivizing, towards a destruction of Hindu institutions and thereby of Hindu society’s longevity, prosperity and survival.
A lot of policy matters are not happening in the favor of Hindus not because there might not be support from Hindu society, but because of lack of homework on alignment of incentivized individual choices with the design of traditions and permanent institutions. Working on “people’s mindsets”, “softening prejudices” etc. are all really secondary and serve as minor mitigations in handling crises, but they are not really solutions.
The real problem lies in the way incentive system is designed, whether individuals are encouraged towards a noble or an opportunist conduct, and whether individuals are sufficiently threatened and discouraged from malpractice. It is through the state’s incentive system that generations of anti-Hindu academics, judiciary and media grew, and not in spite of it. It is through the state’s incentive system that caste became a political instrument and caste conflict increased, temples became tourist centers, and Hindu traditions are destroyed. It is through state’s incentive system that corruption and malpractices increased, and not in spite of it.
If things have to change in favor of Hindus, this needs to reverse. State ideals should be pro-Hindu to incentivize pro-Hindu policies and decisions either by executive or other institutions. A good incentive system places premium on merit and results in an upward mobility in society, and a bad incentive system sets society in a downward spiral (as it is now happening with groups competing to be called backward). A good incentive system incentivizes integrity and quality while a bad incentive system renders integrity thankless and corruption rewarding. A good incentive system places premium on knowledge and results in a quality education system. A good incentive system allows unleashing and fulfilling the potential of people, and a bad incentive system stifles the collective abilities and productivity. A good policy incentivizes religious traditions that elevate humans, while a bad policy incentivizes intolerant and fraudulent cults. The list goes on.
The need for this cannot be exaggerated and sadly this has not been emphasized for decades.
Therefore investing on institutions and systemic work is indispensable in serving Hindu interests in the long run and the single biggest important unserved goal. The more that is delayed, the more crises Hindus will have to handle, and the hope that “long term” agenda will be pursued “after mitigating crises” is a mirage for crises will only increase until the fundamentals are addressed.
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