Multiculturalism disintegrates India – II
by B S Harishankar on 15 Sep 2018 2 Comments

India has a golden history enshrined in the mind of Jews, going back 1200 years. The most distinctive aspect of this Indo-Judaic experience is the total absence of discrimination towards Jews by Hindu society. The only country in the world where Jews could live without fear of persecution was India, because of the great Indian tradition of inclusion and oneness which has a long history of over five millennia. Ezekiel I Malekar, Rabbi of the Synagogue Judah Hyam Hall in New Delhi, highlights that India is the most tolerant country in the world and the only place where Jews did not have to experience anti-Semitism.


The Parsis, followers of Zoroastrianism, came to India in the tenth century AD to escape Arab persecution. They were offered a warm welcome and settled here for a millennium, and acknowledged India as the most tolerant nation. The episode is impressively presented by Parsi scholar Piloo Nanavutty.


A trend has recently emerged in India to consistently emphasize the theory of multiculturalism on our cultural, social and political consciousness by first censoring and then expunging our idea of unity and integration. Any mention of India’s fundamental unity and its diversity and inclusiveness is interpreted as cultural fascism and saffronisation.


The left-liberals consistently argue that India is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society. After the early theory of multi-nationalism put forward by the left failed, an ongoing attempt is to indoctrinate the idea of multiculturalism. At  a seminar organized by the AKG Centre for Research and Studies to commemorate the first death anniversary of former Kerala CM,  E.M.S. Namboodiripad in 1999, Marxist ideologues stressed on the need to propagate the idea of multiculturalism in India. Delivering the keynote address, N. Ram said, “India is nothing if it is not multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, multi-religious, multi-cultural and multinational” (Frontline, Volume 16, Issue 8, Apr. 10-23, 1999). Multiculturalism is a major tool of left historians, as evident from a lecture delivered at KCHR in Kerala in March 2002 by Romila Thapar. 


Left fellow traveller Amartya Sen’s Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny puts forward the concept of multiple identities and roles at the individual level as a critique of Samuel Huntington’s seminal work, The Clash of Civilizations. Sen criticized Huntington in The Argumentative Indian, for placing India in the category of Hindu Civilization. With the global collapse of multiculturalism, Sen has taken a U-turn arguing for ‘identity pluralism’ which is nothing but old wine in a new bottle.


Attempts by left academia to manufacture evidence and data for substantiating Early India essentially as multicultural gained momentum with the excavation of a site called Pattanam in Kerala and linking it with West Asia. The Indus-Sarasvati site at Rakhigarhi is currently linked with the Fertile Crescent to exhibit its multicultural legacies. Similarly, Pattanam is also linked with Biblical sites in the Fertile Crescent and West Asia by left academicians. There is a close similarity between Rakhigarhi and Pattanam. Western academicians including geneticists and NGOs work hard to associate both sites with the Fertile Crescent and West Asia which accommodates the major Biblical sites of the world.


The Onam festival which is Trivikrama/Vamana Jayanthi is now celebrated as multicultural festival with prominence given to the Asura king Bali. Vishnu has been expunged from the celebrations for the last 50 years by leftists, and the festival is propagated as the establishment of brahmanic hegemony over a dalit society.


The sculptures of Trivikrama or Vamana found at the cave temples at Badami or Ellora do not exhibit Vishnu trampling the Asura king Bali. Neither do we find Trivikrama placing his feet on Bali’s head. Such reliefs or sculptures of Trivikrama placing his cosmic feet on Bali’s head are not found at the temples in Ramtek, Khajuraho and Trikkoyilur. These temples are dedicated to Trivikrama. Neither do we find them at the museums at Chennai, Kolkata, Mathura, Gwalior, and Patna which preserves sculptures of Trivikrama.


In Kerala, the Vaishnava movement was launched by Chera monarch Kulasekhara Alwar (800 AD). The major temple of Trivikrama/Vamana at Trikkakkara became a premier centre of Vaishnava tradition. In none of the inscriptions recovered from this temple or other temples in Kerala do we find reference to an Asura monarch Bali. There are no textual sources. Eminent historian and former chairman of ICHR, Prof. M.G.S. Narayanan, said there were records that Onam was celebrated as ‘Vamana Jayanthi’ centuries ago (The Hindustan Times, 11-9-2016). This is another typical parallel to Mahisha Jayanti celebrated in JNU by left lobbies.


In 2010, at the International Seminar on Languages with emphasis on multilingualism, organized by the University of Kerala under the Left government, a principal invitee was   Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based Islamic scholar who allegedly served as the intellectual eminence of al-Qaida. With controversies around him coming to limelight his entry into India was blocked.


Left intellectuals are brought from outside India, especially in left ruled states for propagating multiculturalism in universities and institutes. Noam Chomsky, left fellow traveller, underlined multiculturalism as one of the basic rights. In November 2001, Noam Chomsky delivered a lecture, ‘Globalisation and Human Survival: The Challenges after September 11’, at the EMS Academy in Thiruvananthapuram. Chomsky protested in an email (February 21, 2016) to the JNU Vice Chancellor for allowing police inside the JNU campus. The police was allowed inside the campus after left students union protests turned violent against the capital punishment meted out to the 2001 Indian Parliament attack convict and terrorist Afzal Guru, and Kashmiri separatist Maqbool Bhat (1984). Earlier in 2007, Chomsky and other left intellectuals appealed to the ‘friends of Bengal’ to forgive the left government in West Bengal on the Nandigram issue and elect them once again.


In November 2012, Marxist historian Perry Anderson was invited by the left government in Kerala to speak on ‘Multiculturalism in a Globalised World’ at the University of Kerala. In an interview (Outlook, 2012), Perry Anderson emphasized that the claim of India’s unity of six millennia is a myth and by injecting religion into the nation’s freedom movement, Gandhiji spelled a great disaster. Anderson’s new work, The Indian Ideology, holds this perspective. Eric Hobsbawn, another leading Marxist historian, saw a bright future for multiculturalism.


Renowned Kenyan writer, scholar, and social activist, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, in his work, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature, stated that the biggest weapon wielded and actually daily unleashed by imperialism against that collective defiance is the cultural bomb. He cautioned that the effect of a cultural bomb is to annihilate a people’s belief in their names, their languages, traditions, environment, their heritage of struggle, their unity, their capacities and ultimately in themselves. This shall be the outcome of western multiculturalism, especially in third world countries.


Propagandists of multiculturalism in India succumb to divisive ideologies and are associated with such groups. Former Vice President and left sympathizer, Hamid Ansari, insisted on pluralism at the Indian History Congress at JNU in 2014. Ansari chaired a meet at Kozhikkode, Kerala, organized by the Popular Front of India, famous for its alleged links with Islamic State (The Hindu, September 23, 2017). This is not surprising since terrorist groups such as IS, Hizbul Mujahideen, Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) camps were active in Aligarh Muslim University in 2000 when Hamid Ansari was Vice Chancellor.


As symbols of multiculturalism, beef festivals were organized in 2017 by left students in Kerala Universities, IIT Chennai, and Osmania University, Hyderabad. However, West Bengal CPI(M), which is fast losing ground, was averse to organize any beef festival to protest against the ban on sale of cattle for slaughter as it might hurt the sentiments of the ‘majority community’. The party remarked that “by organizing beef festival or pork festival you are also in turn forcing someone to eat beef or pork to prove his secularism. We feel to prove secularism you don’t need to consume beef or pork”. (Indian Express, June 6, 2017)


Issues of local violence in India were picked up and highlighted by lobbies as India’s duty to implement the idea of multiculturalism in a diverse society. Isolated incidents in 2014 at Delhi and Bangalore of attack on students from the northeast were given a different version. Anjali Monteiro, professor and dean at the School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, said the attacks witnessed in Bangalore and Delhi stem from the same idea of hierarchy and supremacy from which our caste system and religious fundamentalism against minorities germinates (The Hindustan Times, October 31, 2014).


But these multicultural lobbies that argue conveniently for their interests, virtually took a subterranean position on issues of depressed and tribal groups, which were more grave and disastrous. A few instances expose the chauvinism of multicultural ideologues in India.


The week before Easter Sunday, March 16 to 22, 2008 was observed as “untouchability protest week” in parts of northern Tamil Nadu, in response to a call by the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Dalit Christians’ Liberation Movement to highlight the plight of dalits in the Christian community. The current dispute has its beginnings in the late 1990s when dalits in the village were denied access to public roads and burial grounds. The immediate provocation for the protest was violence against dalits by Vanniar Christians at Eraiyur in Villupuram district on March 9, 2008. The Vanniars carrying sticks, poles, iron rods, stones and other weapons stormed the dalit colony in the village. Over 30 Dalits were injured and about 80 houses damaged (Frontline, Volume 25, Issue 08, Apr. 12-25, 2008).


A report released by the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) in April 2018 alleged that the practice of caste can be found in the formation of parishes, denial of share for Dalit Christians in the administration of the parish, construction of separate chapels in the same village for dalits and other caste Christians, discrimination in facilities provided based on caste considerations, denial of employment opportunities and priesthood for Pallar Dalit Christians. It was organised along with Dalit Christian People Federation (DCPF), Young Tamilnadu Movement (YTM), Caste Eradication Front (CEF), Tamilnadu Devendirar Council, and Devendirar Welfare Society (The Hindu, April 10, 2018).


At Harobele in Karnataka, more than hundred dalits were forced to spend a night in the fields to hide from a rampaging mob of Catholics. The issue became news only in February when activists of the NGO, All India Human Rights Council (AIHRC) complained to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Four Dalit priests from Karnataka complained to Pope Francis accusing the Indian Catholic church of being casteist. The June 24, 2013 memorandum warned that Dalit Catholics are “getting disillusioned and getting ready for an exodus,” but the Pope’s response was disappointing (The Hindustan Times, August 2, 2015).


It has been reported that Vanvasi/tribal people once in possession of large tracts of forests in Kerala, lost their lands with encroachment of non-tribal settlers of the Catholic church. To a large extent, post-Independence governments were responsible for Adivasis losing their land (Frontline, Volume 18, Issue 21, Oct. 13-26, 2001). The Kerala government in February 2010 informed a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court that 14,200 tribal families still remained landless in the State.


Sociologist P.K. Bandopadhyaya, who studied northeastern India in 2005 for the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, describes the cultural extermination of hunter-gatherer societies by evangelical groups as an attack on tradition to destroy everything associated with pre-colonial practices. These issues have been kept beneath the carpet by ideologues of multiculturalism. It has much relevance at a time when Euro American societies are countering dilemmas of political instability and traumas of cultural disintegration by adopting multiculturalism and disowning their heritage and traditions.



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