Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sri Aurobindo's views on communalism (politicized religious conflict)

Home > Vol 3, No 2 (2009) > Kvassay > Heehs on Sri Aurobindo and Indian communalism Kvassay AntiMatters

Heehs on Sri Aurobindo and Indian communalism
Marcel Kvassay
India's recent national elections have again demonstrated the Hindu nationalists' penchant for quoting Sri Aurobindo out of context and without regard to his actual views. In reality, the similarities between the freedom-movement-era religious nationalism and contemporary Hindu right wing nationalism are superficial while the points of difference are deep. By presenting research by Peter Heehs on Sri Aurobindo's views on communalism (politicized religious conflict) in India, this article sets the record straight. Full Text: PDF at 11:48 AM 7:46 AM 8:39 AM 9:16 AM

This is then Heehs’s final verdict; it applies to Sri Aurobindo not only as a politician, but also as a yogi and philosopher:

All that is central to the Hindu Right — religious syndicalism for political purposes, ex-clusive Hinduness, rejection of non-Hindus — was absent from the freedom-movement-era religious nationalism of Bengal and elsewhere. To assert in spite of this that the Hin-du Right descends directly from Bengali religious nationalism because some general no-tions of the RSS-VHP-BJP combine are found in the thought of Vivekananda, Aurobindo, and others is to commit the genetic fallacy. Golwarkar is no more the direct descendent of Vivekananda than Mussolini is of Mazzini or [in Russia] Zhirinovsky of Khomyakov. (Nationalism, Terrorism, Communalism; p. 118)

References: Heehs, P (1998). Nationalism, Terrorism, Communalism. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Heehs, P (2005). Nationalism, Religion, and Beyond. Delhi: Permanent Black. Heehs, P (2008). The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. New York: Columbia University Press. Kvassay, M (2009). A Discerning Tribute (Review of Heehs: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo). AntiMat-ters 3 (1) 117–136. Marcel Kvassay, a graduate of Slovak Technical University in Bratislava, worked for Oxford University Press in the area of English Language Teaching, and for Alcatel as a trainer and a software development methodologist. He spent several years in Puducher-ry, India, most of the time working at SABDA, a book distribution unit of the Sri Auro-bindo Ashram Publication

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