Author of “The Evolution of Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo, Sri Ramakrishna, and Swami Vivekananda,” and several other edited-book chapters like “Beyond Mind: The Future of Psychology as Science” “Beyond Postmodernism: Towards a Future Psychology,” “Relativism, Self-Referentiality, and Beyond Mind,” and “Relativism and Its Relevance for Psychology.” Kundan Singh, PhD is an academic who teaches and lectures in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a graduate of the California Institute of Integral Studies and University of Delhi.
I have been in academia for far too long to know that these two friends of mine are actually representatives of how the Indian left—academics, media people, and their supporters—behave. It is therefore that I have used this as a case study to make the following points:
1. It really does not matter what one says as a critic of the Indian left-wing thinking, but whatever one says against the proponents of the left thought or their supporters will right away (pun intended) take him or her into the jaws of extremism, specifically if it is coming from the perspective of the spirituality of the Sanatana dharma—I want to qualify that all the criticism of the left that I am speaking about, it is from the spiritual paradigm of the dharma (next time when they do not understand this, I would really appreciate that they ask instead of linking it with Hindu Right—it comes from the Hindu thought most certainly but it does not represent the Hindu Right).
It did not even take this journalist friend of mine two minutes to get into an attack mode and link me with extremism. This is despite my call to proliferate the discourse in academia and make it plural, and having made it clear in the post that “This is what the left-wing and their supporters do to dissent and difference of opinion coming from the classical Indian traditions, necessarily in the same order: Hindu, Brahmanical, RSS-BJP, Gandhi Killers, Gujrat violence, Nero, fascists, Nazis.” So what is this? Is this ignorance or arrogance—the latter means, “I do not care what you say? Because I have the might of media behind me, I really do not need to study your discourse or ideas to think critically about them.”
2. It also does not matter what credentials one may have. My friends are fully aware that I have been practicing my spirituality and yoga under the aegis of Sri Aurobindo for close to two decades now. They are also in awareness that I am an academic in the university system teaching in the areas that I have mentioned at the beginning of this article. But all of that does not preclude them from making charge of violent extremism. This is the classic strategy of the left-wing academia and media, whether avowed or a supporter: not inquire into their own violence and project it right into someone other: it can be an individual, collection, or a group.
I see some comments here on Hindu right. I am fully cognizant that Hindu Spiritual Thought does not promote extremism of any kind but I think we will be deluding ourselves when we say that there are no Hindus who do not hold extreme views against people of other traditions and religions--in my scheme of things, these are the people who comprise the Hindu right. I do not deny that extremism in Hindus has been caused by millennia of atrocious persecution by Islam and Christianity (and in the present context by the Indian Left) but extremism does exist, and we cannot deny it. I am fully cognizant of the suppression of the Hindu oppression by the Indian left historians has caused a sense of righteous anger among the Hindus but the anger exists and we cannot deny it. And we cannot deny that the anger and rage opposes all voices that believe in building bridges, despite addressing all the legitimate concerns of the Hindus regarding their oppression and brutality against missionary Islam and Christianity. And the anger does translate into extreme hatred against Muslims and Christians and Leftists--this is what constitutes the Hindu right for me.
I want to clarify that I do pedagogy of transformation and peace, and not hatred. I will extremely condemn and address the horrific history of Islam and Christianity and the Indian Left vis-a-vis Hindus and not put any veil of obfuscation on them but at the same time, I am fully cognizant that India belongs to everyone who lives in India, and there is a brand of pedagogy which addresses some of the most horrific aspects of ethnic and religious relations and yet constantly strives to raise the level of discourse which believes in creating harmony, peace, and interconnections, and this pedagogy does not come from the place of "bleeding heart" but by understanding the thoughts and ideas of some of the greatest yogis of the modern era--Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ramana Maharshi, and Devraha Baba. I know that this is a very short and condensed version of my pedagogy but in the future there will come a time when I will manifest this pedagogy in India through lectures and workshops.
It is easy to do pedagogy of us vs them, but it is extremely difficult to do a pedagogy which understands the concerns of both us and them, addresses them, and goes beyond. This is a difficult pedagogy but this is preferable than feed on the hatred caused in the "us vs them" process.
I know the Hindu dharma is beyond the Left/Right binary, primarily because the transcendence of dualism is a must in the realization of the dharma. So whereas the dharma is beyond the Left or Right, I only call the people, who use Hinduism to monger hate and violence—whether proactive or reactive—Right. So my distinction was very clear: No Left/Right for dharma but definitely right for extremists within the Hindu fold. When there are people using the icon of gods and goddesses to kill and pillage, I think they become very similar to Islamic invaders and Christian crusaders, and there are times when the distinction between proactive and reactive dissolves. And yet I agree with you that the Left/Right binary is a product of specific socio-historical-political situation of the West, which has problematic dimensions when applied within the Indian context.
I think we need to create a name and a category of people, who use Hinduism and its icons, for violence. What name do you suggest because I do see your point that the name Hindu Right begins to serve the Left agenda? And when committing the violence, they do not cease to be Hindus? Let us brainstorm on this.
With regards to the debates with the leftists, I see it differently from you. I know that they have the massive might of the universities behind them at this point in time but the only to create space in academia for dharma scholarship is to engage them in debates. These debates may not transform them but it will win us support from the younger ones who want to study dharma rather than get seduced by the leftist ideology. And at the same time a thorough deconstruction of the leftist ideology should simultaneously happen.