Why do Hindus get so little respect from the world?

This really bothered me last night.

Untitled

It’s the global culture of casual disrespect towards Hindus. There’s no excuse for the Wall Street Journal here. This is not 1950, but 2020. I’m sure the WSJ has met enough Indians to know that Ramayana is one of the world’s greatest epics. This is a deliberate, calculated putdown for Hindus. A way for WSJ to literally stomp in Hindu faces and show how little they care.

When I first put this up on Twitter, some leftists came to defend. So what, they asked. It’s “factual.” Isn’t Ramayana on DD really an “80s TV show”?

Yes, it’s factual. But this trick in the liberal book has been duly cataloged and understood before. Anything can be described in any number of factual ways. You could describe Marie Curie just as “factually” as the wife of Pierre Curie. Or you could describe her as the discoverer of radium, as well as the winner of Nobel Prize in BOTH physics and chemistry. Which one you choose shows your attitude.

I remember some years ago when The Economist introduced the Amarnath lingam as a “penis shaped lump of ice.” Their defense? That it was factual.

I think it was Vamsee Juluri who made the point brilliantly when he replied that the Economist could just as well be described as “precycled future toilet paper.” While 100% factual, it is clear that describing the Economist this way is an insult.

The WSJ chose to describe Ramayana in a way that diminishes its stature as one of the world’s great epics. This was a deliberate snub.

The question is why. Why pick on Hindus like this? I put this question on Twitter and received hundreds of responses, which may be divided broadly under following headings.

(1) Hindus are not united. 

I agree but I also disagree. Faultlines do exist within every community. Obviously, being disunited doesn’t help. But even so, other communities, especially the “peaceful” community, are able to extract respect from the world.

(2) Abrahamic religions look down on pagans

I believe there is more truth to this one. The world is dominated by two big Abrahamic faiths : Islam and Christianity. And there’s Communism which has absorbed all aspects of another Abrahamic faith.

When I say Christianity, I also include what can be called “cultural Christianity.” It is hard to imagine New Yorkers or Parisiens caring a whole lot about Jesus. Despite their lack of faith in the Christian god, the cultural beliefs endure. And one of the cornerstones of that belief is the idea that pagans, the ones with “many gods” are somehow less evolved, less intelligent and in need of enlightenment.

(3) Post-Colonial complex

One significant problem is that anyone looking to bash India or Hindus will immediately find a large and well-connected group of allies within India, who come from Hindu backgrounds. These are people whose self worth is based on how far they can pretend to be from the cultural roots of their own country.

Have you seen the elite journalist who conducts interviews wearing a bow? In the real world, they would think he has escaped from either a traveling theater or a traveling circus. But in our media world, he is seen as an intellectual, his ridiculously outdated accent seen as something valuable.

This problem is hardly limited to media. Starting with the fetish for “missionary schools” and “convent education” the problem goes deep. Nothing inherently wrong with either. Just that much of our society is still living the social structure of an empire that has long ceased to be taken seriously.

I would add something here. I would blame the “nationalist” side just as much for the post-colonial complex. A few years ago, there was a video of Shashi Tharoor at some debate at some crummy club in England, where he was making a case for colonial reparations or something. The video was viral and was shared quite enthusiastically by the Indian right as well as the left. Look, Shashi showed ‘them.’

I remember squirming with embarrassment as I watched Shashi Tharoor in that video. All I saw was a circus monkey performing for his masters, acting out tales of their past glory to pad their ego.

Yeah, we know lots of weird things happened in the past. Britain ruled over India. There was a time Rome ruled over Britain. There was a time Spain ruled like half of the world. The British know its over. All they have left is circus monkeys like Tharoor. With his pretend anger, Tharoor makes the British feel big and important. Instead of complaining, why don’t we put an arm around the British and have a beer with them? And laugh together about the time they ruled us. You know, like when everyone in the kitchen is running circles around a tiny mouse? Trust me, this attitude is the real revenge.

So let me ask you. Why do you think Hindus get singled out and insulted?

 

14 thoughts on “Why do Hindus get so little respect from the world?

  1. The Western ethos is different. Swami Vivekananda used to say that while Indians trace their descent to some Rishi, people in the West trace it to some robber baron. The West is no doubt advanced technologically but that has come by looting and plundering other nations.

    With the rise of India and China, the West faces the close of the period where they were economically better than India and China. And they cannot return to their plundering ways.

    On the religion side also the West faces an existential crisis. People are leaving Christianity and dropping out of the Church both in the US and Europe. The pastors are telling people to do one thing and themselves are doing something else. This is why the Church is desperately pushing conversions in India.

    The sight of Indians worshipping the same gods we worshipped for thousands of years must rankle the West. Couple of days ago I saw an image from Tamil Nadu where a Nataraja idol 1000 years old was found in an excavation and immediately garlanded.
    While some part of India might have yielded to the missionary menace, there are many parts that are still connected deeply with the India of the old

    The comment from WSJ is the wail of a civilization that lacks depth, integrity and honesty. A wail of a civilization that is materially rich but culturally very poor. A wail of a civilization that is decaying and collapsing.

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  2. There are millions of Hindus living in almost all countries in the world and are a major contributors to the betterment of the host country, technologically, scientifically but especially medically. You almost never hear that a Hindu hurt physically any citizens of the host country. Compare that to the ‘Peaceful Community’. Yet when it came to Hindu versus Muslim, most, almost all, civilized countries side with the Muslim Community. Bound to be Abrahamic connection. When you have struggled in the deserted area of the Middle East region of the world while some countries prospered in a lustful tropical environment, there is bound to be jealousy. Everything in our religion, from a heavy emphasis on vegetarianism to love and respect for the domestic animals, must be seen by the followers of Abrahamic religions with guilt-ridden jealousy.

    Unfortunately, there is little we can do. We can’t even control our own Jaichands. The world has become smaller and every country’s prosperity depends on the relationship with the rest of the world. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah know that very well. Of the thousands of speeches, Mr. Modi gave in the last twenty years, you will not find a single sentence he spoke against the entire Muslim community, yet he is compared with Donald Trump who frequently has chastised the entire Muslim Community. Modi-Shah’s BJP is portrayed as communal. Our Fiberals and the Muslim Community know that and frequently instigate Modi/BJP to go after them. The riots, blocking a major thoroughfare in the capital for a long long time, etc. are the provocations carried out by them are the invitation for the government to do something which would hurt India in the eyes of the civilized world as well as the rich Arab world. In so doing I am sure they will up their anti one after another. Just wait when the construction of Ram Mandir starts in an earnest we will see many provocations by our Fibrals and the Muzzies.

    Modi-Shah will have to keep reminding the world that what India allows Muslim Community to do (such as letting them block major roads in the capital) no country in the world would tolerate from any group. Or no country would allow a small region within its territory that carry its own flag and the country’s Constitution may not apply to that small region as was the case with J & K.

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    1. I want to add, all countries’ prosperity depends on their relationship with the rest of the world, except Israel. Israel can do this and get away with;

      We can do the same thing but will pay heavy heavy price in Export, Import FDI, etc. and our unemployment go soaring.

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  3. My belief is that if you go behind the scenes, many of these are likely written by “Hindu” Indians with some collaboration from Christians and Muslims. Otherwise, I doubt that WSJ and such really care to post about TV shows in India.

    For them, India is still not a big player or who they think their target audience cares much about. And that goes for Hinduism also in general. All they seek is what they consider as the ‘bizarre’ that will sell. And the ‘Jaichands’ comply for a few crumbs.

    That’s why the lofty philosophical principles will get swept aside but a story on phallic shaped ice pillar will be sold.

    But it still comes to who is the seller – like the colonial types you mention, there are so many of the ‘liberal’ crowd who look down upon India/Hinduism and will say/write anything – and they have their sponsors in these orgs. Until someday these guys become the sponsors and the vicious cycle continues.

    I am guessing that this probably was the case with China and its strange beliefs too but there the government came down heavy on them and only a few expats cany try but who still fear for their families back home. This is something that we won’t do and these guys still in India can freely say what they want without fear of repercussions for a few $.

    Why do they not have to fear anything? Because the average Hindu whether in the street or in power, does not 1. feel threatened, 2. has a great amount of tolerance, 3. does not care, 4. can laugh about themselves, 5. are self critical and accept ‘facts’ even if they don’t agree, 6. will not organize and at best protest only through a court, 7. mostly is not even aware of such posts (without SM, this was not even on the radar for most).

    And without fear of massive protests, violence, etc, the government (whether BJP or Congress) just does not care.

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    1. It goes beyond sensationalism- it’s not as harmeless as wanting to sell the bizarre. It’s to uphold the very pillars of the west itself that are built on theconcept of ‘western universalism’ where science,rationality,logic etc are digested as ‘western’ values. Read RajivMalhotra’s Being Different for this enunciation of this concept.

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  4. There’s nothing new to tell. Rajiv Malhotra has done the seminal and comprehensive work on this. Familiarize yourself with his concept of ‘Western Universalism’ Read Being Different.

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  5. We had become accustomed to be looked down by two Abrahamic cultures which ruled India for last one thousand years. It will take its time for change of attitude. Thanks to social media that this attitude is being getting noticed and countered.

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  6. I think we failed to manage our cultural assets in last thousand years and particularly 100 times more in 60 years of last 70 years. Sometimes, it was due to circumstances but mostly it was due to betrayal of suspect and incompetent leaders. Purely incompetent rulers failed in choosing importance of priorities. Economy, system, defence, education, Hindu unity and intelligence all needed proper priorities in achieving material and all other assets fulfillment and management. All proper priorities would have establishedtion the power of consequences ultimate deterrent. The question of then suicide tombers and their moles could have been easily managed freeing for other proper priorities. But can we comprehend the concept before understanding selling jalebi and a mass product?

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  7. This is nothing but an indication that India is beginning to draw awe and jealousy from political West and fear from the 2 mafia organisations masquerading as “religions”: Christianity and islam. No country ever achieves greatness without being targeted by detractors, have faith in our leadership, we will conquer over them.

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  8. They are jealous and scared of the world greatest civilization.
    It rankles all the superior white beings that this civilization comes
    from coloured people.

    Jealousy/greed/fear… As with money and financial markets…
    All human reactions will fall into one of these brackets.

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  9. To answer you question “Why do Hindus get so little respect from the world”?. It is because Hindus do not take themselves seriously. Only if you are serious about your religion and be prepared to stand up for it in unapologetic manner then the others will take you seriously and respect follows automatically. Many HINOs at the slightest opportunity for a small pecuniary benefit join the detractors, which is used by others to target Hindus. And there are cryptos who while having Hindu sounding names have already converted to other religions but keep their identity to themselves and try and cause damage while pretending to be a Hindu.
    It is upto the Hindus to take themselves seriously and stand their ground on religious matters. Respect will follow automatically. If you compromise on anything and everything, then what is left?

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  10. One major reason is most of the Sanskrit learning centers are in west (Harvard Massachusetts etc). We do not have any world renowned Sanskrit learning centre in India. This has enabled west to interpret our literary and Dharmic work from their angle (western universalism / concept of equality / feminism / climate change) and intellectually denounce our traditions. They are also denouncing Sanskrit itself (eg Sheldon Pollock).

    Our philonthropists do donated to western universities never did any due diligence as to whether the scholars to whom millions of dollars entrusted for Sanskrit / India chair are worthy to uphold the objective or are influential trojan horses.

    We need to reclaim studies of Indian culture and especially Sanskrit. Sanskrit learning centers should be based in India rather than in Harvard / Cambridge / Oxford. We also need to interpret our texts from Dharmic perspective than from western perspective.

    In India, we also need to remove communists from academia to reclaim Indic studies. More damage to Indian cultural studies / Sanskrit / Indian history by communists than by anybody else.

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  11. Nor sure, why my commen is not visible, so reposting.
    There are many reasons. We have many jaichands. A hindu never supports other hindu when any help is required against jihadis. That is mainly because, most of hindus like to stay politically correct. Forget about uniting in other countries, we hindus are not united in a whatsapp group. I have to often argue with my communist and peacefool friend on a whatsapp group of our engg college friends without getting support of other 35 Hindus in the same group. The same Hindus in this group ask me “not to harass my peacefool friend”. just because he is from samuday vishesh Finally, I have stopped posting anything.

    The other thing we miss is we are not proud of our own civilization. Till we are not proud of our own civilization, we will never get any respect by others. Have you seen any hindu, stopping TOI, WaPo, just because they write against hindus? In my own apartment in Bangalore, I stopped TOI and encouraged others to do it. I did not get any response. So, we hindus never trust or respect our own fellows. That gives lot of momentum to these publications to post more venum against hindus.

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  12. Wiki says about 15% of the world population are Hindus (23 Islamic, 31 Christian).
    Not sure if most Hindus are weak and disbanded and uneducated about Hindu Epics/Philosophy or just does not care about the WPJ. If this is not the case, then that would mean Hindus are peaceful, tolerant and intelligent community who can pick the right fights than engage in all squabbles.
    Our history shows that the multi-cultural Hindus have been cooperative and tolerant.
    Maybe it is in our DNA. Maybe it is a sign of higher intelligence to take criticism (however stupid) rather than bark back.

    Faith in its nature if fluid. Everyone will take it and understand it differently. Therefore express it differently. Trying to regiment everyone’s opinion on the matter by force or change in education (at the cost of personal freedom of choice) seems dictatorial and might I say very Communist of the proposers (China comes to mind).
    I am sure everyone will agree that India turning into China for the preservation of Hinduism will be a bit overkill.

    For the points raised that Sanskrit is developed outside India, a simple google search shows that most of Indian leading Universities offer Research opportunities in Sanskrit. Ramakrishna Mission has extended published literature on the matter.
    For those seeking to take an academic exploration into the subject, then are at the full liberty to do so inside the country.
    If anyone has the notion of making Sanskrit compulsory for all educational degree – to them I say Why? why put a language that no one speaks, seems difficult to master enough to have fluent conversations in into the educational system? For the history and cultural aspect of it? – is that not better achieved by changing the way we teach Indian history in schools.

    &
    I am not sure how Communism became the reason for Hindu’s not banding together. I fail to see that connection. If Communist philosophy is an enemy of Hinduism, then it is a enemy of all religions. Communist philosophy puts the State before religious identity. Not sure if I am a Communist, but I will put my allegiance on the Constitution of India, before my faith. For a page with a red background – we seem to really dislike Communists.

    *I have not read the whole of the WPJ article on this, as I was not willing to subscribe to them just to read what their opinion on the DD – Airing of the Dramatic Representation of the Ramayana Epic.

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