Monday, July 23, 2007

Sri Aurobindo chose to champion secular social/democracy and not Hinduism as an appropriate platform for social polity

Re: What is Hindutva? Known-Knower-Knowledge by Rich on Sun 22 Jul 2007 10:27 AM PDT
Well certainly these qualities you detail which speak to the unique accomplishments of Hinduism are there. But one still can not factor out time and the episteme which governs the present day if one wishes to argue from these past accomplishments to positing a social instrument for the present day. And it is this reasoning I believe that led Sri Aurobindo to champion secular social/democracy and not Hinduism as an appropriate platform for social polity in these times.
One of the great qualities of Hinduism I find is its tolerance and universal embrace of Otherness, however when Hinduism becomes institutionalized as a governmental entity, then what have we witnessed? the Thackery's and Modi's rise to the top to lead a particularly intolerant form of Hinduism, that seeks to revision the very historical text books of the nation. Moreover, if one is doing a critical inquiry into Hinduism, one must also highlight the great social failure which Hinduism has left us namely the plague of the caste system. And it is the remains of this inequitable system which has resulted in the current chaos of Indian politics. Namely the fragmentation of a social order into the endless unceasing demands of different groups based exclusively on caste, in which the national interest suffers due to the chauvinistic demands of narrow self-interest groups. Naipaul's million mutinies.
Regards Sri Aurobindo location within the Indian philosophical tradition, I do not think that can be denied, however the uniqueness of Sri Aurobindo vision is his emphasis on evolution and the theory of evolution is firmly rooted in the Western scientific tradition, and since he was also a Latin and Greek scholar as well as a poet who wrote in the English language, it would also be correct to highlight the hybridity which is central to Sri Aurobindo's thought and vision. rich Previous: Sri Aurobindo's Uttarpara Speech

1 comment:

  1. In Sri Aurobindo's Vision of India there ought to be a united & cohesive polity. He championed what he called an Indian Nationalism,largely Hindu, but capable of absorbing & uniting the muslim & all others. This Indian nationalism has no spirit of exclusivity or narrowness. However it is difficult to point at one direction & say this is what Sri Aurobindo had envisaged, one has to analyse from a deeper level setting aside ones surface propensities, inclinations, conditioning & prejudices & then decide. E.g. in Sept 1950 , 3 months before his passing he clearly stated when requested on the issue of signing a manifesto for the Defence of Democracy & Independence in Asia against Communism that India must take her stand on the side of Western Democracies. He was also clearly unwilling to give up the heritage & ethos of Hinduism to appease the muslims who he felt must evolve greater tolerance & acceptance towards others & at the same time he was critical of the orthodoxy in Hinduism & wanted Hnduism to base itself on the deeper aspects of the Vedas & evolve the concept of Sanatana Dharma which had the power to assimilate & survive. It could be said that he believed this Hinduism to be suited to India. In another context he clearly stated that "spirituality cannot be affirmed in a political constitution. You can add spirituality in a matter of the Spirit and not of constitutional politics." In yet another context he indicated that if proper grouping is not effectuated during the Cabinet Mission plan then Pakistan shall try to infiltrate & islamise Assam & end Hinduism there. Today, with the gradual islamisation of the insurgent movement there with the help of Pakistan ISI that is exactly what is happening now. During the Cripps proposal he appealed by telegram to Dr.Moonje among others and had asked for a grand coalition of Congress, Hindu-Mahasabha & nationalist Muslims to defeat the designs of the Muslim league & thus save India from partition. But nowhere does he advocate any kind of rabidity, in fact as we all know it was totally alien to his nature & ways. The unity, integrity, safety, growth material as well as spiritual was his overriding concern & in & to acheive this he believed all must unite & work as Indians above all. Anyway, while evolving policies based on his vision, whatever little we can understand of it with our mind as instruments, we have to be very cautious & focused& balanced & as Mother would say try & be open to his inspiration. One thing we can be certain of is that his nationalism/ vision of India has place for all in a united framework but he also sought to redefine Hinduism as Sanatana Dharma with the Vedas as its core & it can be said that it is this which he believed the future India could work out & spread. Socialism, secularism etc are woprds which have been distorted & misued so much in the last 60 years that i am afraid to go along with their current definition & work to build a new direction. These words themsleves have to be redifined in the light of Sri Aurobindo. That is why i insit that no existing political block can claim to make themselves fit to his vision, he requires a redfining of all major concepts & isms & therefore porobably a new action is demanded. I hope i have not over stepped my brief!