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Seven big ideas and Hinduism’s integral unity – Rajiv Malhotra

Seven big ideas and Hinduisms integral

I have written extensively on Hinduism and my book, Being Different, explains what is distinct about Hinduism, whereas Breaking India describes how certain forces are trying to undermine it. These two books may be seen as positive and negative, respectively: positive in the sense of defining what Hinduism is and negative in the sense of exposing the threats it faces.

Both aspects get combined and taken forward in my subsequent book Indra’s Net. I will briefly summarise the seven major ideas I want readers to take away from this book - ideas that are not widely appreciated but that are vital for engaging today’s discourse.

The Vedic paradigm of Indra’s Net:

My writings have extensively described the principle of integral unity with origins in ancient Indian texts. Conceptually, the term ‘Indra’s net’ is often used as a metaphor to describe something similar: interconnectivity, interdependency and flux. It is nowadays used by writers in a wide range of topics in quantum physics, environmentalism and social harmony. Indeed, many aspects of post-modernist theories (such as resistance to reductionism) are based on such notions. However, this metaphor is widely presented as a Buddhist idea.

It is obvious that Indra is a Vedic deity. So I decided to investigate the matter. This is how I discovered that Buddhism first elaborates on this metaphor in the Avatamsaka sutra, and that this Buddhist sutra was adopted from the Vedas. The Avatamsaka sutra was written in Sanskrit and then translated into Mandarin. However, large parts of the Sanskrit original have survived.


Freeing temples from state control – Subramanian Swamy

Freeing temples from state

What is scandalous is the corruption after the takeover of temples as politicians and officials loot the temple’s wealth and land, and divert donations of devotees to non-religious purposes. – Dr Subramanian Swamy

The Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment on January 6, 2013, allowing my Special Leave Petition that sought the quashing of the Tamil Nadu Government’s G.O. of 2006 which had mandated the government takeover of the hallowedSri Sabhanayagar Temple (popularly known as the Nataraja Temple).

The Madras High Court Single Judge and Division Bench had in 2009 upheld the constitutionality of the G.O. by a tortuous and convoluted logic that new laws can overturn past court judgments that had attained finality earlier. The Supreme Court in 1953 had dismissed the then Madras Government’s SLP seeking the quashing of a Madras High Court Division Bench judgment of 1952 that had upheld the right of Podu Dikshitarsto administer the affairs of the Nataraja Temple while dismissing all charges of misappropriation of temple funds against the Dikshitars. The Supreme Court thus made this judgment final and hence that which cannot be re-opened. But in 2009 the Madras High Court did precisely that. In 2014, in my SLP, the Supreme Court Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and S.A. Bobde therefore termed this re-opening of the matter as “judicial indiscipline” and set aside the 2009 Madras High Court judgment as null and void on the principle ofres judicata.


10 rare facts about BJP leader Subramanian Swamy

10 rare facts about BJP

Five time parliamentarian, two-time Union Minister, Swamy - a Tamil Brahmin, began his academic career as a Harvard professor at a very young age.

Swamy, an alumni of the Harvard University, from where he was dropped over his articles in a newspaper was one of the founding members of Janata Party. He, however, in 2014 merged his party with the BJP.

Usually referred as a one man army, Swamy is today one the most revered politicians in Indian history after Independence.

He played a crucial role in exposing the 2G spectrum scam during UPA regime, which led to the arrest of former telecom minister and DMK leader A Raja.

10 things you probably don't know about this leader:


Aarambh Serial - Hindi

Aarambh Serial

आज मैं एक बहुत ही महत्वपूर्ण मुद्दे पर चर्चा करूंगा। मुद्दा यह है कि एक नया टीवी धारावाहिक आने वाला है जो कि काल्पनिक आर्य-द्रविड़ संघर्ष पर आधारित है। इस धारावाहिक का निर्माण मुंबई के एक बहुत ही प्रतिष्ठित समूह द्वारा किया जा रहा है। यह जानकारी इतनी महत्वपूर्ण है कि मैं चाहता हूँ कि आप उन सभी विवरणों को ध्यान से सुने जो मैं आपको देने जा रहा हूँ ।

हम यह चर्चा करेंगे कि: (१) मुझे इन तथ्यों का पता कैसे चला-क्योंकि यह आधिकारिक नहीं है; (२) हम सभी को इसके बारे में क्या करना चाहिए और (३) यह क्यों एक गंभीर समस्या है?

यह धारावाहिक सामाजिक और सांप्रदायिक तनाव को बढ़ा सकता है और हमें ऐसे किसी तनाव को रोकना चाहिए। हमें उन लोगों से संपर्क स्थापित करना चाहिए जो इस तरह के टीवी धारावाहिक का निर्माण कर रहे हैं एवं उनके साथ सकारात्मक बहस करके उन्हें बहुत ही दोस्ताना तरीके से अपना पक्ष बताना चाहिए – ध्यान रहे यह पूरी बातचीत अत्यंत सौहाद्रपूर्ण वातावरण में होनी चाहिए।

अब मैं आपको बताता हूँ कि मैंने क्या सुना है। मैं एक व्यक्ति को जानता हूँ जो मेरा अनुसरण करता है और काफी  विश्वसनीय है – इस व्यक्ति को इस टीवी धारावाहिक में (जो स्टार प्लस, एक बहुत बड़ी टीवी कंपनी द्वारा प्रसारित किया जायेगा), एक आर्य सैनिक की भूमिका के लिए ऑडिशन पर बुलाया गया था।

इस धारावाहिक की स्क्रिप्ट/कहानी श्री के. वी. विजयेंद्र प्रसाद (जिसने सुपरहिट फिल्म बाहुबली की पटकथा लिखी थी) ने लिखी है; मुझे बताया गया कि वे एक महत्वपूर्ण पटकथा लेखक हैं। इसके निर्माता-निर्देशक रोज ऑडियो-विसुअल के मालिक गोल्डी बहल हैं। गोल्डी बहल एक प्रसिद्ध व्यक्ति हैं, उनका परिवार काफी जाना माना है, उन्होंने कुछ महत्वपूर्ण कार्य किया है और वह एक विश्वसनीय व्यक्ति हैं।


Idea of Bharatiya Exceptionalism- II

Idea of Bharatiya

Previous Part

The Idea of Bharatiya Exceptionalism-I

Need to address and eliminate anti-narratives

Before understanding the Bharatiya narrative, it is important to disrupt the anti-narrative which is in vogue these days. There is a need to both reason out and eliminate anti narratives. If one wants to plant a flowering plant, it is necessary for one to remove weeds, pests etc. This constitutes disruption. The act of planting useful and flowering plants is construction.  We need a combination of both constructive and disruptive thoughts. It is not enough to just talk about positive things. In the absence of disruptive intervention (removing anti narratives), the positives die down.

The left in India is strong in the intellectual circles. I have analyzed and done purvapaksha of western thought. I have also analyzed the leftist ideology. Apart from this, I have analyzed the “Breaking India” forces in the book “Breaking India”. There it has been shown how there is a nexus of these forces with foreign inimical forces, religious multinationals, foundations, think tanks etc. Many Indians have joined forces with them and therefore are their sepoys. These sepoys work for money. Some of them have similar ideology with the foundations etc. But they are one in their purpose of breaking India.

At talks in the US, when I say I am representing India, or when I claim a certain idea to not be Indian, I am challenged by questions from people like: Whose India? Is it the Dalits’ India, Muslims’ India or the Brahmins’ India or the India where women get murdered? They are clear in their aim of dividing and breaking India. They will not accept that there is one idea of India. The term they use for this is “sub-nationalism”. Sub-nationalism means that there is no larger nation or a national identity at all but many small nations and sectarian identities. They also claim us to be wrong in imposing a single narrative on all those small nations. The studies of this nature are called subaltern studies and they seek to subdivide and break the grand Indian narrative.


Dialogue Between Rajiv Malhotra and Prof. R Vaidyanathan – Part B – Benefits Of Jati System

Dialogue Between Rajiv

(To read the first part of this dialogue,visit here)

Rajiv:Okay, so you mentioned the benefits of caste system are credit, market access and risk mitigation. Are there other aspects also?

Prof:Yeah. Risk mitigation, credit, market access and setting them up.

Rajiv:But weaknesses. They are not being acknowledged. Does this make you closed because you are only interacting with other people within the same community? So if somebody in China made a breakthrough, you don’t even know about it, you don’t worry about it, you think we are safe. Does it give you a false sense of security?

Prof:I would not say that because we did mention about China. Interestingly, Sivakasi is a place in Tamil Nadu whereNadarcommunity is one of the major business controlling groups. Two of their brothers went to China. And then they heard how these crackers are manufactured and used in China for their festivals etc. They came back, imported some machinery from China and set up their business.

Rajiv:So we’ll do some investigative work on competition and bring a lot of innovation.


Tolerance Isn’t Good Enough: The Need For Mutual Respect In Interfaith Relations

Tolerance Isnt Good Enough

Rajiv Malhotra advocates the term “tolerance” be replaced with “mutual respect.”

It is fashionable in interfaith discussions to advocate “tolerance” for other faiths. But we would find it patronizing, even downright insulting, to be “tolerated” at someone’s dinner table. No spouse would appreciate being told that his or her presence at home was being “tolerated.” No self-respecting worker accepts mere tolerance from colleagues. We tolerate those we consider inferior. In religious circles, tolerance, at best, is what the pious extend toward people they regard as heathens, idol worshippers or infidels. It is time we did away with tolerance and replaced it with “mutual respect.”

Religious tolerance was advocated in Europe after centuries of wars between opposing denominations of Christianity, each claiming to be “the one true church” and persecuting followers of “false religions.” Tolerance was a political “deal” arranged between enemies to quell the violence (a kind of cease-fire) without yielding any ground. Since it was not based on genuine respect for difference, it inevitably broke down.

My campaign against mere tolerance started in the late 1990s when I was invited to speak at a major interfaith initiative at Claremont Graduate University. Leaders of major faiths had gathered to propose a proclamation of “religious tolerance.” I argued that the word “tolerance” should be replaced with “mutual respect” in the resolution. The following day, Professor Karen Jo Torjesen, the organizer and head of religious studies at Claremont, told me I had caused a “sensation.” Not everyone present could easily accept such a radical idea, she said, but added that she herself was in agreement. Clearly, I had hit a raw nerve.