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The Saffron Book

In contrast to the Judaic insistence on social performancc, the Hindu path to salvation is the individuals choice. The outcome is a Iesser commitment to society.


24. Weaknesses

Dear Barua
Let us talk about weaknesses of the Hindu ethos. In the process, I am adopting a methodology which is popular in the field of management.Managers call this a SWOT analysis. S stands for strengths, W forweaknesses, O for opportunities and T for threats. Political science does not often use this tool of analysis. Let us see how far we get by trying this technique.

The purpose of identifying weaknesses is to make sure that they are removed as far as possible. It might be possible to overcome only some of them. For instance, Hindu tolerance is often misread for weakness, for the unwillingness to object or to resist. Similarly, non-violence is not understood by everyone. Some might even mistake it for cowardice. To them, non-violence would impress only if the Hindu was first seen to use force.

The problem is not confined to the individual or the group but is magnified to the international level. Most countries, deliberately or implicity, follow a policy of armed persuasion which means that the country should appear to be stronger than it is. But India has the image of being weaker than it is. The resulting confusion makes the conduct of relations with the others, whether countries or communities, unnecessarily difficult. When a Hindu argues over an issue with a Muslim, he could leave the latter confused. Indo-Pak dialogues also suffer from such a confusion. This is all essentially at home since we in the subcontinent, are mostly the same people. Imagine how the foreigners of another continent could be confounded.

The Indian war record has been uneven. Led by the British or by officers trained in the British tradition, the Indian soldier has covered himself with glory. But prior to that the Indian armies have suffered more defeats than won victories. Leadership by Muslim kings made no difference. The defeat of Ibrahim Lodi by Babar in 1526 A.D. is an example. Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali inflicted a similar fate on the Mughals who were the progeny of Babar himself.

Ancient India has many an invention to its credit but hardly any in the sphere of war. Evidently, Indian civilisation has taken insufficient interest in military affairs. There is comparatively little military literature or strategic discussion. This lacuna is not merely a Hindu characteristic. There are few political theories except what appears in the Mahabharata and the Arthashastra of Kautilya.

Hindutva has shown less interest in politics and governance than desirable, especially when one remembers that the sub-continent was invaded again and again. Little wonder that the British ruled nearly 40 crore Indians with not much more than a lakh of white men at a time. All votaries of Hindutva must recognise this deficiency.

The caste system is viciously divisive. It is a serious weakness which is difficult to overcome unless Hindutva rises to a strong enough identity to supercede the narrowness of casteism. There is nothing indelible about caste. It began as a surviving identity of a new settler group which was absorbed into the Hindu fold in ancient times. The Gujjars, the Jats, the Lohanas or the Meos are examples. The broad classification of society into brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya, shudra and others was on professional lines like a division of labour. All perhaps relevant and useful in older times, but now for long obsolete and in fact harmful.

One reason why caste has a special attraction to the Indian is perhaps his slavish complex developed over the last eight centuries of alien rule. If a person does not belong to a top caste, it does not matter so long there is a caste below him. The Jatav is not desperate so long as there is the Valmiki below him. With perhaps a similar motivation, the Kapol bania caste in south Saurashtra has two sections, namely, 16 and 12. Although they intermarry, the 16 feel reassured that they are superior to the 12.


The Saffron Book
Prafull Goradia
Introduction
1. Awake and Unite!
2. Why The Saffron Book?

Sooraj
10. Small States
3. Vision
4. Economic Face
5. Abolish Casteism
6. Bride Burning, Divorce
7. Rape, Prostitution
8. Revolutionising Education
9. The Constitution

Nationalism
11. Nationalism
12. Pan-Islamism
13. Communism
14. Subnationalism
15. Casteism

Hindutva
16. Hindutva is Dialectical
17. Origin of Hinduism
18. Medieval Phase
19. Modern Resurgence
20. Not Fundamentalism
21. Not Fascism
22. Tolerance
23. Strengths
24. Weaknesses
25. Opportunities
26. Threats
27. Individual Brilliance

Hindu Paradoxes
42. Idolatry
43. Fatalism
44. Double Standards
45. Masochistic Fringe
46. Fifth Column
47. No Soul before Birth

Christians
48. Proselytising Unwelcome
49. Myth of Divide and Rule

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