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Thread by @Janamejayan: "Today I will be tweeting on my next essay on the state of Dharma during colonial period: 14. DHARMA – TWO METHODS OF UNDERSTANDING: WESTERN […]"

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Today I will be tweeting on my next essay on the state of Dharma during colonial period: 14. DHARMA – TWO METHODS OF UNDERSTANDING: WESTERN AND DHARMIC. As this is long I will tweet it in 4 segments for 4 days. My essays form the philosophical and histrorical basis.
1. Understanding of the foundations of the Western and Indian civilisations by each other is not wanting altogether.

2. We of the both sides – West and India – of our respective civilizations live in our own separate contexts.
3. But it is to acquire a still sharper focus, a deeper content, and a greater awareness of each other we need each other in a far more fundamental sense than they have hitherto believed.
4. What that fundamental sense is, is to emerge from deeper understanding, perhaps there are already clear intimations of it.

5. Large number of Western men & women, and not merely academic philosophers, make a journey to India to understand the principles of the civilization.
6. What exactly they want to understand? It is in areas at least, like philosophy, religion, medicine, art, music and dance.
7. It is the urge that grew that here is something more than just intellectual curiosity about what is alien to them but is challenging and fascinating to them.
8. That strengthens the belief, wrongly of course, that the Indian mind has some very special gift for philosophy and religion.
9. The wrong belief of this very special gift is denied to the West, where the mind is cast more in a materialistic mold.
10. There is the negative results of the stupendous triumphs of science and technology that have bothered them.

11. It has further added to the prevalent notion of the spiritual India and the rationalistic and materialistic West.
12. Thus increasing number of Western philosophers and scientists are deeply engaged in examining critically the limits of their respective methods.
13. And these ever increasing Western philosophers are engaged in the understanding of man and of the world.

14. There have always been, as there are today, deep reserves of spirituality in the Western soul.
15. And equally truly there is the grossest forms of unabashed materialism in India.

16. This notion, which was not entirely an Indian prejudice unshared by Europe, ignores these facts.
19. He said he has the steadfast conviction that India needs the West as much as the West needs India.

20. And this was not to be an exchange between Indian spirituality and Western material advancement.
21. He rejected the foolish, but immensely popular, notion of Indian culture being primarily spiritual and the Western culture being primarily materialistic.

22. But Vivekananda, too, had fallen into the error of making a sharp distinction between society and religion.
23. Because no such distinction between society and religion was ever made in Indian civilization.
24. Vivekananda’s erroneous view was that religion in India remained wonderful but society became rigid and corrupt, whereas what had happened in the West is its very opposite viz. the society remaining wonderful but religion remaining rigid and corrupt.
25. This error only served to perpetuate the wholly wrong dichotomy the missionaries had posited between Hindu religious faiths and Hindu society.
26. Common to the missionary criticism and the Hindu defense was a framework of perception of the disorders.
27. That is of a framework of perception of the disorders of the Indian social system that has been singularly misleading.
28. The same is true of the liberal, utilitarian, Marxist and modern scientific thought and, when it began to be articulated, the Indian response to them.

29. In reality that part of our common history carried within itself a fundamental conflict.
30. The conflict is with the conception of rationality as propagated vigorously by the thinkers of the Enlightenment. The roots of Enlightenment lie in Aristotelian logic.
31. The conception of Aristotelian logic is that it runs like a connecting thread wrongly in the whole of Indian thought, and no less in Indian life.
32. Those were wholly divergent views of rationality and, if we take into account the intellectual climate in which they arose, they were irreconcilable.
33. One was derived chiefly from the Aristotelian law of the excluded middle, the characteristic Western logical framework of either/or.
34. The Indian thinkers viewed that as too narrow a framework to account for the complexity of reality.

35. The complexity of reality is such in which the opposites were combined as the inherent nature of everything.
36. The conflict always was between two different rationalities as two different methods of perceiving human reality.

37. The rationality of the Enlightenment, if we can speak of it for a moment in the singular, became an ism, the ideology of rationalism.
38. When it did so it turned into a conflict between two different ways of life, two different ways of ordering human relationships.
39. Every difference in the understanding of human existence, of life itself that separates Indian civilization from the Western arises, in the first place, from two very different methods of inquiry into the human condition.
40. That being the case, the procedure, hitherto followed, of narrating the respective doctrines and ideas concerning man and the world becomes the focus.
41. And then judging them as to their truth or falsehood, but always from a presupposed view of truth, coupled with a belief in its finality ensue.
42. This can only produce always, always wrong understanding and conflicts, or it will produce crude or refined caricatures of each other, or it will produce eventually a state of mind in which the other is dismissed as inscrutable, unknowable almost in principle.
43. From this arises the Western reproach, its irritation barely concealed, that the Indians have somehow got into the habit of believing that nobody does, or can, understand them.
44. At the same time, it is a fact beyond questioning and can be seen from their published works in the last 200 years.
45. It is that modern Indian thinkers have hardly ever had any profound understanding of the Western civilization beyond what was available to them from the Western sources themselves.
46. Clearly no dhaarmic person has stepped out of India to get a first hand knowledge until Swamy Vivekananda did.

47. But understanding is not something static. It is a process.
Continuing my pravachan on the state of Dharma during colonial period, here is the 2nd segment of the essay: 14. DHARMA – TWO METHODS OF UNDERSTANDING: WESTERN AND DHARMIC.
Keep in mind the post-partition India is a continuation of the same putrid colonial system with local politicians looting the country instead of the foreigners, so it is aptly called 'Neo-Colonialism'. So this pravachan is inclusive of this period too.
48. The passage to understanding is (a) through wrong understanding and misunderstanding, (b) for the passage to truth is through error, and errors have their histories.
49. But what is truth? What is error? What is understanding?

50. All of them had different answers to these questions in the histories of different civilizations.
51. They had invariably presupposed a particular method and its efficacy in answering them.

52. That supposed efficacy was later proved to be either illusory or severely limited.
53. Those different suppositions about the way to determine truth had in actual fact brought to human living immense organised violence.
54. These took place either in revealed religious traditions, or in philosophy, or in modern science, whether they had offered or not a sure ground of understanding.

55. Rationalism has been no less militant than religious traditions.
56. The question, then, is no longer one of studying the histories of different methods of assessing what is truth and what is error.
57. The question again is not of making a choice as to which among them is the most true, for that already presupposes a criterion of making the choice.

58. And any such criterion will in turn still require a justification.
59. The problem of rationality is no longer an exercise in the theory of knowledge alone. It has a reason.

60. It is but one of facing the overwhelming fact that all methods of inquiry into the human condition had brought in their wake individual and social disorder.
61. Is that a permanent part of the human condition itself? Or is there a way out of it?

62. This is the challenge posed by the seemingly infinite capacity of the human mind testing the limits of human understanding by pushing it ever farther.
63. In that very process it is also creating profound disorder, it is to that we have to address ourselves.

64. That course is dictated as much by a practical necessity as by a theoretical one, should one insist on distinguishing the two.
65. The theoretical necessity arises from the crisis which has enveloped the whole of Western thought and not philosophy alone.

66. It consists in the collapse of all certainties, when certainties had been a characteristic feature of the Western mind.
67. It is a collapse, in actual reality, of the Aristotelian method of ‘either/or’.

68. This ‘either/or’ had in the first place set up what was supposed to be a secure foundation for certitude.
69. For a proposition was either true r false; & once something was proved in that logic to be true, it then also provided an incontestable ground for making ethical choices with their respective political systems, individualism r socialism 4 instance, which that method produced.
70. The excesses and the disorder of one of the contesting polarities was sought to be corrected by moving to the other; but when the other soon produced its own excesses and disorder, there was a crisis of understanding, for nothing was then left to correct the other disorder.
71. The failure of the whole enterprise that was taken up by the Enlightenment, that of replacing tradition with reason, faith with science, raises the question: has not the Western mind now exhausted its resources of understanding?
72. For, between the Enlightenment’s criticism of faith and tradition, and the current vigorous criticism of the Enlightenment understanding, there still exists a common framework of either/or.
73. Now the debate is: science or history. Much of what is being criticized is presupposed in the criticism.

74. It is evidently as one sided as the philosophy of the Enlightenment was, and open to question nearly as much.
75. What it suggests in actual reality is that the Western understandings of man and the world have reached a theoretical dead-end.
76. Does the traditional Indian method of understanding, again if for the moment we may talk of it in the singular, have anything of substance to offer to the West in this situation?
77. I think it has; and one is led to it, moreover, by the Western philosophical crisis itself.
79. The Aristotelian law of non-contradiction may achieve clarity, but that clarity is achieved at the expense of truth.

80. Truth is neither susceptible to the logic of either/or, nor is it uni-linear.
81. Truth already implies untruth, and expresses itself at different levels of human consciousness, finding different expressions at different stages of life
82. Just as the question of truth cannot therefore be determined by setting up some arbitrary definition of truth, in which case there is no more to truth than what that definition allows;
83. so, also, no method of inquiry that is surrounded with presuppositions, held true a priori, will bring understanding, for in that case one does not explore but merely works out those presuppositions, 1/2
83a. and happily concludes with what one had decided in advance to be the nature of truth. 2/2

84. In the Indian method of understanding of man and the world there are really no presuppositions.
85. Such presuppositions as the ideas of atman, or self, and karma, which are generally taken to be the most fundamental presuppositions of Indian philosophical systems are not taken into account.
86. Even the materialists and the Buddhists, who denied that there existed any such substance or entity as atman, or a permanent self, a centre of consciousness, which survived death didn’t consider the basic suppositions.
87. But the Buddha’s perception of man’s being, formulated in his central idea of anatta, or not self, was very different from the materialists’ denial of atman.
88. It is true that in the subsequent development of the various philosophical schools, these two, atman and karma, were taken as ‘given’, but only in a historical sense.
89. They were reached, to begin with, as a result of systematic analysis of the structure of human personality, and were not merely assumed uncritically.
90. And even when they were taken as ‘given’, they were developed often on radically different lines, for example in theistic philosophies that arose from the tenth century onwards.
91. The main point is that even such fundamental concepts as atman and karma were products of a certain method of inquiry and were not presupposed in that method itself.
92. There is in the Indian method of understanding nothing that is a priori (taken for granted).

We will continue with the third segment of the discourse tomorrow.
I Continue my pravachan on the state of Dharma during colonial period, here is the 3rd segment of the essay: 14. DHARMA – TWO METHODS OF UNDERSTANDING: WESTERN AND DHARMIC.
93. It, the Indian method of inquiry, begins with observable facts concerning human life, examines them in their inter-relatedness, derives from them such inferences that can legitimately be drawn, 1/n
94. and if from the same set of facts diverse and conflicting inferences can reasonably be drawn, that position is taken into account, then it moves from a lower level of generalization to a progressively higher one, 2/n
95. examines the question they give rise to and keeping the evident contrariness and diversity of human facts, 3/n
95a. it seeks to discover the true nature of order, dharma, and disorder, adharma, in which, because of their simultaneous presence in man’s being, his life is sustained and also plunged into darkness. n/n
96. Free from presuppositions, this method is empirical, but does not lead to empiricism as the ultimate standard of reason.

97. It is rational, but does not lead to rationalism as the sole standard of truth.
98. As a method of reflecting upon human existence in all its diversity, it cuts across the familiar Western dichotomy between rationalism and empiricism altogether.
99. The Indian method of inquiry takes fully into account the role which human senses and intellect play in perception and understanding, but demonstrates their limits. But it does not see them as perpetual adversaries.
100. There was in Indian thought no battle between them, which forms such a large part of the history of Western philosophy.

101. It is only that the Indian method of inquiry does not accept their respective claims to be the only method of determining what truth is.
102. It showed the limits of the materialist claim that sense perception is the only way to certitude and not even logical inference is infallible.

103. It showed the limits also of reason, logic and argumentation as reliable guides to the knowledge of reality.
104. They are the ways of definitions, distinctions, & definite statements.

105. Taking them together as the sole standard of evaluation, they fragment in the process what is a complex unity of opposites, leading eventually to wrong perceptions, wrong because they r incomplete.
106. You have, therefore, as in the Chandogya Upanishad, the method of showing, in their inter-relatedness, the elements of nature, the animal world, and the human personality with its bodily senses and its varied mental faculties, to be parts of cosmic reality
107. each of them, every part of man’s being, to be brought fully into human awareness, respected, and worshiped as an expression of that larger unified reality.
108. At the same time you have, as in the Katha Upanishad, and in some other Upanishads, the warning that not intellect, not argumentation, not reason, can, by itself, show one the truth about that indivisible cosmic reality.
109. The method is not to repudiate either physical senses or reason as any guide to truth but to show their inadequacy.
110. The method is both empirical and rational, which means that it is neither wholly empiricist nor wholly rationalistic, and neither does it posit any absolute disjunction between the two.
111. Nor does that method accept any polarity, much less any irreconcilable polarity, between subject and object, mind and body, reason and faith, truth and untruth, material and spiritual, man and nature, and other polarities that arise from them.
112. To insist on their being absolutely separate and opposed to each other, and then base on that assumed dichotomy a whole world view, is to distort reality. For reality admits no such dichotomy.
113. Besides, as we know from everyday experience, things are not what they seem to be.
114. But this is so, not because things present themselves only in fragments, but because sense experience and the faculties of mind do not yield to us the knowledge of the unified nature of things, including ourselves.

115. Even to ourselves we are not what we appear to be!
116. It is sense experience and the mind that present reality in fragments.
117. The method of understanding involves, therefore, the recognition that all definite statements, far from describing things as they are, falsify them; for, in saying something definite about a thing, they leave out so much else that pertains indivisibly to that thing.
118. Hence the necessity of adding to each definite description of a thing ‘neti, neti’, or ‘it is not this alone, it is not this alone’, as suggested in the Upanishads.
119. This method is followed even more uncompromisingly in Jainism, which maintains that no statement about things is wholly true.
120. Every judgement is from a particular point of view, नय, and there are several points of view from which different things can be said about a thing, each one of them to be qualified with a स्यात्, or ‘perhaps’, no sooner than it is made into a definite statement.
121. This is the Jaina theory of स्याद्वाद, or the theory of ‘qualified assertion’.

122. In a modified form, but keeping its relativistic core, this is the epistemological position also in Buddhism.
123. In every other system of Indian philosophy, the inquiry into the nature of things proceeds with the recognition of the incompleteness of human knowledge.

124. Knowledge by its very nature is incomplete and indefinite perhaps.
125. Hence the Indian view, derived from a most detailed inquiry into the nature of reality, that reality is anirvacaniya, that about which nothing definite or final can be said.
126. The Isavasya Upanishad takes the view that ‘The face of truth is hidden by a blindingly radiant golden disc’.
127. But all the foregoing statements, although pointing to the infinite openness of knowledge and understanding, are themselves definite enough to be contradicting themselves.
128. From this genuine difficulty, taken seriously in Indian thought, arose the inquiry into the nature of language as an instrument of knowledge.

129. Language was soon found to be an inadequate, if not entirely worthless, instrument of understanding.
130. The Western search is for clarity, with the accompanying belief that some day language will achieve perfection to the degree that will enable man to see reality with absolute clarity.
131. In contrast the Indian method shows that any understanding that is purely lingual, must lead one not to clarity, but to ambiguity.

132. The Indian quest was more for completeness than for perfection.
133. Thus, understanding was more complete or less in the same measure that it made one aware of the essential relatedness of things.

134. This raises a whole variety of questions, many of them raised in the Indian systems of thought themselves.
135. Without going into them here, the underlying problem seems to be that if language is the only means of connecting things, then it also tends to refashion facts, and facts would not always submit to language.
136. Until a thing is said, a thing is nothing definite, nor its relation to other things evident: but a thing is changed in the manner of saying it.
137. It is this problem which led the Indian thinkers to the inadequacy of language and reason in providing us with the knowledge of the true nature of things.
138. This was not to repudiate them, but to suggest the existence in man of another faculty that brought to light the interrelatedness not only of all forms of life but of matter and consciousness as well.
139. This faculty was called by different names in different systems: prajna, or pratibha, or bodh, or drsti.

140. But, however differently understood, it was never perceived in opposition to language or reason, nor in opposition to sense experience.
141. Prajna ( प्रज्ञा ) was not a negation of any of these. What is Pragnya (प्रज्ञा) ?

142. It was not just ‘faith’, nor a ‘personal commitment’ to knowing truth, nor a passionate contribution of the person knowing what is being known’.
142. It (प्रज्ञा) is ‘a condition that is ‘no mere imperfection but a vital component of his knowledge’.
143. Carrying them all within itself, each a necessary but not sufficient condition of perceiving truth, प्रज्ञा moves beyond them on the nobility of understanding.
144. Then, in a reverse movement, but reverse only in a manner of saying, every piece of understanding, insight, knowledge, thus gained is made subject to the test of experience and reason.
145. The test, however, is not of the crude certainties of the either, but that of experience and reason cleansed of their exaggerated claims.

146. That was the ultimate appeal in the Upanishads.

(The discourse will be continued tomorrow).
I Continue my pravachan on the state of Dharma during colonial period, here is the 4th and final segment of the essay: 14. DHARMA – TWO METHODS OF UNDERSTANDING: WESTERN AND DHARMIC.
147. Differences with some central upanishadic teachings apart, that was the appeal of the Buddha and later, when his Order broke up into numerous contending schools, of the Buddhist philosophies as a whole.
148. That was the position of all other systems of Indian thought, excepting the materialists whose appeal was to the criterion of sense experience mostly.
149. Since there is no separation of theory from practice in the Indian method, the disciplining of one’s physical senses and mind is an integral part of the Indian inquiry into the nature of truth.
150. The question as to the nature of that discipline does not, however, raise any theoretical problem of a kind that will necessarily involve the circularity of presupposition and proof.
151. The practical reason of Indian discipline is not derived from presuppositions.
152. It simply calls to attention the universally observable fact that the body and mind, in relation to each other, create their distinctive impediments to understanding things and events even in their ordinary appearances.
153. They create far more substantial impediments to man’s search for the truth of his being even as they are inseparable from that truth.

154. That is to say, if the face of truth is hidden with a blinding golden disc, that disc is crafted by man himself.
155. It follows that the process of understanding must be in a practical sense dependent upon the process of removing the numerous layers of impediments, some gross and others subtle, which the body and the mind create.
156. That means that truth is not only a knowing but also a living. One is inseparable from the other.
157. It is now acknowledged by an increasing number of Western thinkers that the dichotomy of theory and practice has had various harmful consequences for the individual and society which that dichotomy must necessarily produce.
158. Can that problem be satisfactorily resolved from within the Western traditions themselves? This is a central question.

159. The interlinked histories of those traditions seem to suggest, though, that the answer to that question must be in the negative.
160. That is because all of them were cast in the either/or mould of understanding in which were separated not just theory and practice but all aspects of life.
161. Man and the universe were fragmented by either/or into numerous sets of oppositions; and it is in the light of those oppositions that the human condition was seen.
162. One such set consisted of the opposition which Kant (1724-1804) had presupposed between ‘is’ and ‘ought’.

163. This is a disjunction that was taken over by the positivistic philosophies of later times.
164. This distinction between is and ought became the chief premise of much of modern sociology and legal philosophy.

165. They put one sided emphasis on is; moral philosophies, on ought, equally one sided.
166. This fragmentation, this separation of is from ought, was brought about out of the necessity of those who profess it.

167. This fragmentation is not because of the human failing of not being to live up to one’s professed beliefs.
168. But it is because of the supposed theoretical necessity of making that separation if the nature of moral judgements were to be understood with clarity.

169. Where does the reaction to this fragmentation, this separation lie?
170. The reaction against positivism in ethical philosophy, in sociology, in anthropology, in legal philosophy, as also in the theory of literature, itself remained, however, firmly in the mould of either/or.
171. Whenever I point to adharmic act of anyone or talk of dhaarmic acts needed I am posited with the position that the alternative is bad.
172. The problem of practical reason, from Aristotle to our own times, arising from the search for a universal & objective ground for making one moral choice rather than another, has continued to be seen in the either/or of objectivism or subjectivism, objectivism or relativism.
173. Objectivism, the theory that there exist universal objective criteria of evaluation, independent of the subjective person, in which all rational moral judgements are ultimately grounded, is now practically abandoned.
174. For more than half a century now the discussion has been on the subjectivism side of the either/or, the view that moral judgements express at best a subjective preference for one rather than another course of action or evaluation,
175. and that in conveying that preference by means of a moral sentence one wishes to influence others in favour of one’s own preference.

176. There is to be found no objective ground whatever, in this view, which can rationally justify any moral position.
177. In this debate there is seen great philosophical skill, the refinement of the emotivist theory consists mainly in making a distinction between subjectivism and relativism.
178. And that achieved, in clarifying that even under the common flag of subjectivism there exist fine differences on the question.

179. what do moral statements really mean?
180. So the debate in the West has been not about the problem of the ethical but about the meaning of moral sentences.

181. And even the debate about the meaning of moral sentences has come to a sterile end.
182. In the Indian method of understanding, the error lay not in the search for an objective and universal ground of the ethical.
183. It lay in assuming arbitrarily that what is objective has nothing in it of the subjective person, and what is universal must be totally independent of particular histories.
184. The prejudices concern what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. The error doe not lie in that view.
185. The error do in fact enter most moral statements and are influenced by the values a particular society or tradition has already come to hold as inviolable.
186. The error lies in concluding from this that that is all that there is to the ethical in man and that there can be nothing universal about it.
187. The error lies in concluding any more than there can be anything to the individual beyond what his or her social environment and history make him or her to be.
188. The central error lies in the presupposition that there exists an absolute opposition between the universal and the particular.
189. If the universal is defined as that which is beyond human particularities, then such a definition is empty; for nothing, absolutely nothing, that is human can in that case ever be universal.
190. If the individual is defined in terms only of the conditioning of history, then the fact that human beings transcend their histories everywhere all the time and enter into genuine fellowship with other human beings with very different histories, becomes totally inexplicable.
191. Thus the question is not: either reason or history.
192. The problem is one of understanding the varied ways in which the inseparable unity of the individual and the universal manifests itself, at the same time as it is fragmented by our mental constructs.
193. That, I think, is the underlying problem of practical rationality.

Tomorrow we will take up my next essay: 15. DHARMA – MODERN INDIAN PERCEPTIONS OF INDIA AND THE WEST. It will be tweeted over 5 days in 5 segments.
I am now taking up my next essay: 15. DHARMA – MODERN INDIAN PERCEPTIONS OF INDIA AND THE WEST. It will be tweeted over 5 days in 5 segments.

1. Indian perception of the West was very different in its character and extent from the earlier contacts between the two civilizations.
2. That encounter took place 500 years ago with the arrival of the Portuguese and their Christianity on the Western coast.

3. Then British utilitarianism and liberal individualism followed the Portuguese.
4. For a century and a half this utilitarianism and liberal individualism formed the philosophical basis of British policies in India.

5. It was a century of modern scientific thought that came with the introduction of English education.
6. And in more than half a century of Marxist advocacy which began from 1922 onwards by Manabendra Nath Roy.

7. These Western forces, each in its own way, tried to change Indian society, some of them in mutual antagonism.
8. And all of them, each in a different way, were decisively neutralized, scattered.

9. Their philosophical force diffused, what was distinctive in them was neutralized.
10. The real issues between the two civilizations, European and Indian, were seldom formulated.

11. The encounter took place on grounds that were either peripheral or altogether misty.
12. The philosophical foundations of Indian society and their social expressions were, in each case, wrongly understood or when understood only incompletely, or shall we say, not understood at all.
13. We follow that history diligently, and then we see the stated grounds of conflict and challenge.

14. And to our real surprise we see those grounds of conflict and challenge had left untouched those that were the real ones.
15. Why so? Because the latter namely the real ones remained unperceived, as they largely do even today.

16. The spectacular Western energy that went into that encounter not so surprisingly remained also singularly fruitless.
17. What has happened, requires detailed demonstration.

18. That is, if we examine the aims which the Western forces had set out to achieve in India and not remain content with their unintended and subsidiary results.
19. But that is not the whole story.

20. A great many Western misconceptions of India did become, in the process of the Indian response to them.
21. Of course also the unwitting Indian misconceptions of India that had also taken place.

22. That part of Indian history is even more tangled, and confused, but has affected Indian life none the less.
23. Intentionally left out.

24. There is violence and upheavals now taking place in Indian society.

25. It is bringing to countless homes the uncomprehending sorrow of meaningless brutality and death.
26. They are a consequence of the confusion of perceptions on which we have constructed in the past decades our collective life.

27. There has been increasing violence as a method of resolving conflicts.
28. The violence were resorted to as a method of advancing what are perceived to be the legitimate interests of one group over another.

29. Of course it is not only self-destructive, it is meaningless.
30. There are people who seriously argue that this churning as they call it, is the unhappy price for social progress.

31. This was the argument that was put forward in defense of the violence of the order raised on socialism and communism.
32. Today completely rejected in the West, and in then Soviet Union, it finds however its adherents in India.

33. The Indian communists shamelessly use the same rejected theory to try to advocate the present social and political turmoil as progress.
34. On the contrary, this turmoil and its attendant violence are clearly meaningless.

35. Simply because there is nothing in traditional Indian conceptions of man and society from which these violence must arise.
36. It is those conceptions that have been surrounded for long by the Indian misconceptions of India no less than by the Western misconceptions of India.
37. The last two reinforced each other, as they do today more than ever before, especially in the academic curriculum of the JNU.

38. This is reinforced by the mass media of India in secular government’s public policies nearly as much.
39. It is how that came about is the history of the Western encounter with Indian civilization.
40. But what also comprises the history of that encounter is the history of the land revenue, judicial, administrative, and educational institutions that were firmly established in India by the middle of the nineteenth century under British rule.
41. What went into their foundations were the British misconceptions of Indian society.

42. What also crept in were the conflicting philosophies of utilitarianism and liberal individualism as regards political and economic order.
43. If they brought freedom from conflicts of one kind, they created in India conflicts of numerous other kinds.

44. It is undeniable that the public policies of today’s India have exhausted their intellectual and moral resources.
45. That is mainly because the premises from which they have so far been derived. What were they?

46. They were the liberal individualism, socialism, or Marxism, by which we have exhausted the intellectual and moral resources and have reached a dead end.
47. The chief purpose is to show here is that the Dharmic method of understanding the human condition as the most realistic hope for human freedom.

We will continue with the second segment of this essay tomorrow.
I am continuing my tweets on my essay: 15. DHARMA – MODERN INDIAN PERCEPTIONS OF INDIA AND THE WEST.This is the second of 5 segments.
48. It would definitely show that by Dharma we are freed of the numerous misconceptions in the historical circumstances prevailing today.
49. For we would have then gained a deeper understanding of what human freedom truly is, and order our personal and social relationships in that light.

50. That (Dhaarmic) understanding does not consist in a set of doctrines but primarily in a method.
51. That method is derived neither from revelation nor from some a priori postulates concerning the ends of life.

52. The Dharmic method properly understood, offers, as we shall demonstrate, a genuinely universal ground of understanding.
53. For it begins with no postulates of spiritual faith at all in the first place as one may or may not accept such condition.

54. But truly the Dhaarmic method begins with the undeniable interrelatedness of human facts.
55. Again the Dhaarmic method does not simply end with those facts and remain just a philosophy of humanism.

56. Dharma leads to a perspective, of inter-dependence of life, in which human facts are viewed.
57. And in that perspective, there is dichotomy neither of the rational and the empirical, nor of the rational and the spiritual, nor of self interest and the interests of others.
58. I explained before what the Dharmic method of understanding is, in contrast to the Western method of comprehension.

59. It constituted the real but unperceived ground of the Western encounter with Indian society.
60. Now it is necessary to have first a review of the British aims for India and the different Indian responses to them.
61. Both had obscured that method of understanding in which every movement of Indian life was rooted, where there was no dichotomy even of order and disorder, for one implied the other.

62. Let’s consider British Attitudes and Aims: Their Framework.
63. British attitudes to Indian society were themselves at no time of one piece.

64. In the main there were two conflicting perceptions:
65. India as an area of darkness and of unredeemed barbarism, as viewed by imperialists and missionaries alike; and India as a mature and great civilisation, as viewed by Conservatives and Orientalists.
67. Utilitarians and Liberals agreed wholly neither with the one nor with the other, which meant that in parts they agreed with both.

68. The imperialists as far as their understanding of India was concerned knew it was their treasure-trove, a crown-jewel.
69. The Liberals, for all their rhetoric about liberty and the inviolable worth of the individual, had same view as the imperialists.

70. Nor were the perceptions of India in each one of these groups unchanging. Of course they changed too.
71. Even in their own light as they understood India better, their perceptions changed, often substantially.

72. The main point is that those attitudes, however were conflicting with each other, and shifting from time to time.
73. The attitudes resulted in numerous policies for the administration of India, mutually conflicting and shifting likewise.

74. And those policies outwardly affected Indian society greatly, creating thereby a new context of perceptions altogether.
75. Far more significant than even that, was the the strangely a stale fact.

76. That fact was the context that was a product of the larger intellectual framework of the 18th century philosophy of the Enlightenment.
77. The most central issue of Enlightenment was: science and rationality versus faith and tradition.

78. The agenda was to change traditional India into scientific and rational modernity.
79. British imperialism in India, in that view, was a historical stage in that process.

80. Let us assume that those who belonged to these various groups did really believe about the civilizational darkness or light of Indian society.
81. Let us assume also that the Utilitarians, and the Liberals did not really see any contradiction of a self-condemnatory kind in the positions that the people of India had very high value that they had assigned in their thoughts to liberty and freedom.
82. Intentionally left out.

83. Let us not raise the question: how John Stuart Mill (1806-73) could, at the time that he was emerging as the great philosopher of human liberty, also be a servant of the East India Company from 1824 to 1858.
84. In East India Company Mills handled the Company’s political correspondence with Indian states.

85. There he had advanced policies that were the very negation of his philosophy:
86. John Stuart Mills maintained with his father that self government for India was inconceivable.

87. Mills, on the extinction of the Company in 1858 after the Indian mutiny of a year earlier, drafted the Company’s petition to the British Parliament.
88. In his petition Mills argued how the administration of the East India Company had been progressive and humane.

89. There were not only two Mills, James (1773-1836) and John Stuart, father and son, but two Mills in John Stuart himself!
90. Let us assume further that even the missionaries in India did not really see a destructive self-contradiction between their mission of bringing to India the saving light of the Christian faith on the one hand 1/2
90a. and their support of what was even at that time perceived as the un-Christian character of British rule in India. 2/2
91 & 92 intentionally left out.
93. Let us assume that they were perfectly sincere in their belief, when some of them came to voice that self-contradiction and became increasingly troubled by it, that their alliance with British imperialism was itself a part of the mystery of God’s plan for India.
95. Let’s assume all these, and put aside the question of sincerity.

96. Let’s do it for the simple reason that to prove the contrary, as has been done, does not by itself take us far on the path of understanding the present.

Will continue with the 3rd segment tomorrow.
I am continuing with the 3rd segment of my pravachan DHARMA – MODERN INDIAN PERCEPTIONS OF INDIA AND THE WEST.

97. There were now new institutions in India: judicial, administrative, and educational.
98. They were not established all in one sweep, as the mechanical transplant of a perfectly finished product.

99. In several ways the new institutions were built upon the old.

100. J. Duncan M. Derrett showed us the process.
101. He showed the process of administering justice according to traditional principles of law and prevalent customs.

102. In order to do so they had first to obtain reliable knowledge as to what those principles were.
103. Unwittingly the British became patrons of sastra!

104. All this was to change even more drastically in the fourth decade of the nineteenth century.

105. There came Macaulay’s (1800-59) codification in 1837, of criminal laws for all India;
106. It was only in 1860, a year after Macaulay’s death that that this measure was enacted.

107. It was a product, equally with the land revenue system, of the Bentharnite philosophy of regulating social relationships.
108. Macaulay achieved at the same time something of even greater importance.

109. Macaulay introduced into India of European knowledge and education through the English language.
110. These three measures viz. changes in the land revenue system, new foundations of law and justice, and English education, were inter-related in one supreme objective to Westernize and modernize Indian society.

111. That aim was clearly expressed and passionately avowed.
112. The missionary aim, on the other hand, was to Christianize India, not to modernize it.

113. Because the Christian faith and the assumptions of modernity were irreconcilably opposed to each other.
114. Christianity as a social and political force had, in the West, practically given in to the secularism of modernity.

115. Modernity could not have been the missionary project for India.
116. But in so far as Western civilization was also Christian civilization, the Westernization of Indian society was a desired goal equally for missionaries.

117. They were resolutely opposed to the secular education that was being provided in government schools.
118. And that question came up, in relation to the effects such education was producing in the minds of non Christian scholars, practically at every missionary conference from 1858 onwards.

119. Alexander Duff (1806-78) started a missionary school in 1830.
120. He did in the hope that, side by side with a life in the church, an education in a Christian school and college would eventually win India for Christ.

121. That the education imparted in them had as its main aim the conversion of scholars was frankly stated.
122. Later what was frankly admitted was the fact that the missionary education had failed to secure conversions in as steady and large a measure as was hoped.
123. Ironically, the missionary education expanded in the same proportion as its chief task, conversion of non Christians, failed.

124. Increasingly, therefore, missionaries suffered from a dilemma.

125. The Hindu students were at all receptive to Christian education;
126. In that very process they were being receptive, too, to all the intellectual movements.

127. Yes, those very movements in the West that were the opposite of Christian presuppositions as regards human life!
128. If they were not receptive to the latter, they were not receptive to Christianity either.

129. There being at work in their minds that invisible condition which profits from outer form but neutralizes the challenge of inner meaning.
130. The history of English education in India, Christian or secular, confirms the stubborn force of that condition.

131. The same is true of the English institutions of law and justice in India.
132. At this stage we should observe the one most central characteristic which had absolutely distinguished the British in India from the Mughals.

133. It was the requirement of reason and justification, at all times, in all acts of government.
134. The founding of an empire on an alien soil had to have justification.

135. This is because as much as the transactions of free trade means were not automatically beyond questioning.
136. It is merely on the ground that the ends which they served were themselves within the bounds of reason.

137. They had to be justified no less. Reasons for acting in one way rather than in another had to be recorded and judged by others.
138. Proposals for action had to be likewise recorded and examined. Everything was a matter of principle.

139. All this would have astonished the classical Mughals.

140. Conquest was conquest; it needed no justification, nor was any ever offered.
141. Mughals spent as much intellectual energy on political principles as they did on the practical details of a magnificent Indian empire.

142. This is clearly seen from the record the Mughals have left us of their actions and of their thoughts.
143. But to the Mughals there were no philosophical issues in the acts of governing.

144. Success was a matter of personal example, not of principle.

145. This explains, perhaps, why the great achievements of one could so quickly be undone by the successor.
146. For failure was likewise personal, not a matter of principle.

147. It is not to be concluded from this, however, that the Mughals were by inclination indifferent to reason or to principle.
148. But only that their genius lay in working out in practice the relation between authority and social compromise.

We will continue with the fourth segment of this discourse tomorrow.
I am now tweeting the 4th segment on Dharma during colonial period: DHARMA – MODERN INDIAN PERCEPTIONS OF INDIA AND THE WEST.

149. A relation which they perceived to be entirely of a complex kind which could not be formulated in theoretical principles of a philosophical nature.
150. Nor is it to be concluded, from the fact that in British rule every public act had to have a demonstrable basis in reason.

151. Neither is that every policy the British crafted for India was, on that account, a highly principled one.
152. British rule in India often continued to invite, as much from self reflecting Britons as from the Indians, the charge of hypocrisy and it cant in much of its working.

153. But that is quite unimportant.
154. The main point is that the procedure of public justification and reason can very soon turn into a procedure of self- justification.

155. Given a prejudice, social facts are so perceived, and then so arranged, that they confirm that prejudice.
156. It leads to a formal premise, from which a desired conclusion follows.

157. In actual reality such a procedure is based on the logical circularity of presupposition and proof.
158. the conclusion is contained in the given premise, it has in its outward appearance the force of unfolding rationality.

159. Such rationality that can mesmerize others quite as easily as it can mesmerize oneself.

160. But let us leave this matter here.
161. The administrative, legal, and educational institutions that were set up in India by the middle of the 19th century.

162. They derived their meaning from the conflicting philosophies of utilitarianism and liberal individualism.
163. They, in turn, derived their political content from the philosophical premises as regards human existence on the 18th century Enlightenment.

164. The chief aim of Enlightenment was the replacement of tradition with reason, & of faith with the method of the natural sciences.
165. Tradition was medieval, irrational, and backward: faith was subjective, uncertain, and unclear.

166. The method of religion was rooted in primitive superstitions and fear, the method of science in the universal laws of nature.
167. Political thought had to be separated from theology.

168. Also social life had to be separated from ecclesiastical control, State from the Church, and the individual from the priest.
169. Reformed law and education were to be the two new instruments of an eminently rational life of dignity and freedom.

170. That is because they were derived, as in Stoicism, from the premise of the innate perfectibility of man.
171. It is not, as in Christianity, from the premise of man’s wretched sinfulness.

172. Laws had to be clear, consistent and precise, so that everybody could without difficulty understand them.
173. Modern education had to be so designed as to remove from the human mind the layers of traditional nonsense.

174. Modern education had to remove the misconceptions the tradition generated about the human condition.
175. Europe was being transformed by scientific rationality into the modern age.
176. That goal was set up for India as well, on the assumption of the stupefying irrationality of the religious and social practices in India, and of the philosophical world view that permeated them.
177. British rule in India would be the instrument of that deliverance, intellectual and moral, for the Hindus and the Muslims alike.

178. Its justification lay in the agenda of civilization.
179. The early British indulged in the condemnation of the whole of Indian society, by missionaries and rulers alike.

180. The Indian response, mostly the response of the English educated, to the condemnation was merely defensive.
181. It forms the Indian apologia of Indian civilisation.

182. This context, of condemnation & defence, was hardly conducive to promoting a true understanding.

183. True understanding of the foundations of Indian society with its very vast historical basis unknown in the west.
184. This would have provided a proper understanding also of its disorder.

185. But there was also no conducive environment for a true understanding of the foundations of Western civilization and its roots of disorder.
186. The imperialistic British assessment of Indian society and its history, undoubtedly was based on ignorance and prejudice.

187. However it was not entirely devoid of truth; nor was the Indian apologia without its untruth.
188. That context of challenge and reaction, once set up, could lead only to Indian thought and life being wrongly understood twice over.

189. Understanding comes not from recounting the competing claims of superiority of one civilization over another.
190. Especially when there happens to be between them also a relationship of the conqueror and the conquered.

191. This was the case between Britain and India.
192. It comes from investigating the human issues and the methods to explore them that had occupied one’s own civilization.

193. And then by approaching with a similar inquiry the other civilization that confronts one in a serious encounter.
194. Instead, most Indian writings in the English language had suggested the dismal inferiority of Indian thought.

195. It was particularly from the second half of the nineteenth century to, the first four decades of the twentieth.
196. These writings were in the field of philosophy, or religion, or law, or history, or political thought, or the Indian histories.

197. And of these of Indian art and literature generally with reference to one Western criticism.
198. In these it was clear both sides had their respective agendas.

199. The question of truth about oneself and about the other had very nearly the last place in them.
200. Or, rather, the truth about oneself and about the other was presupposed, arranged, and proved.

I will tweet on the last segment of this topic: DHARMA – MODERN INDIAN PERCEPTIONS OF INDIA AND THE WEST tomorrow.
I will now tweet on the last segment of this topic: DHARMA – MODERN INDIAN PERCEPTIONS OF INDIA AND THE WEST.

201. The British rule in India meant the new institutions contrary to the ancient ones that were set up.
202. These new institutions were setup with their underlying philosophical and political assumptions.

203. The Indian responses too were so varied, and in themselves so tangled.
204. It is not easy to draw from them any one set of inferences as regards their main direction.

205. Their public expression, so far as the working of the institutions was concerned, covers a whole century and more from 1838.
206. 1838 was the year that saw the beginning of modern politics in India with the birth of the Landholders’ Society in Calcutta.

207. The public expression on this ends in the year 1947, the year of the transfer of power from British to Indian hands.
208. This of course, after dividing the country into two nations, India and Pakistan.

209. The aims changed as follows:
210. (a) from bringing to the attention of rulers the numerous grievances of the people which arose out of official policies;

211. (b) to demanding a greater Indian share in the making of laws and in the administration of the country;
212. (c) to the demand for greater autonomy in both those spheres;

213. (d) to the demand for complete freedom and the restoration of India to the Indians.
214. The methods too changed as follows:

215. (a) from submitting petitions to Parliament;

216. (b) to drawing up political resolutions once a year and canvassing public support in their favour in England;
217. (c) to cooperation with the Government in making reforms and making the Indian legislature representative;

218. (d) to non-cooperation in order to ‘resist the increasingly oppressive policies of the Government;
219. (e) to mass movements in order to end altogether an alien rule.

220. The insistence on one method, as far as the last aim was concerned, was on (a) constitutional means;

221. (b) in the other method, on force and violence.
222. All these emerged, at successive stages.

223. But what was dominant were the conflicting trends within the Indian nationalist movement.

224. The conflict was with regard to the question mostly of representation in the legislature and in the administration.
225. The aftermath of that conflict of interests, the creation of Pakistan apart, is manifest in that very question in Indian politics today.
226. The Indian responses to the philosophical assumptions on which the British had built in India legal and administrative institutions, are clear enough in their outward expression but awfully tangled in their inner workings.
226. It is in them, conflicting with each other, that one sees the Indian misconceptions of India.

227. This review revolves around the following four questions.

228. (i) How was Indian society being perceived, its past and present?
229. (ii) How did the Indian thinkers perceive British society and the civilization of the West?

230. (iii) What principles of social reconstruction were they appealing to? and

231. (iv) what was their vision of the future India? This is not just an academic inquiry.
232. Every single public policy, every piece of legislation, crafted in post independence India, has been a product of the answers to these questions.

233. It is in them that lie also the roots of Indian violence that we see today.
234. It is not until those answers are seriously examined that India can turn from the direction it has taken in its collective life.

235. So we will start dealing with (i) Westernization or What is India’s ‘Own’.
236. There is a long line of those, from Raja Rammohan Roy (1774-1833) to the first prime minister of divided India, Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964).

237. They all accepted with enthusiasm the premises of scientific rationality on which modern India was to build its national life.
238. They attributed the Indian social disorder to (a) the degrading inequalities of the caste system,

239. (b) lack of education, (c) subjugation of women, (d) customs and their irrational power, all of which they traced to the Indian world view.
240. In their material world it was held to be of little value, the highest value being, through denial and self suffering, the ultimate salvation of the soul, moksha.
241. So they drove a dichotomy into our dharma of totally denying this world which is deliberately and absolutely false.

242. There is an equally long line who opposed them from Swami Dayananda (1824-83) to Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) and Aurobindo (1872-1950).
243. These great Aatmas rejected the Western political and social assumptions concerning man and society.

244. They traced the successive disorders of Indian society to perversion of tradition.
245. And they avowed with passion, to use Aurobindo’s words, as a summing up of their attitudes on the main question, that “The return to ourselves is the cardinal feature of the national movement.
246. It is national not only in the sense of political self assertion against the domination of foreigners.

247. but in the sense that this nationalism is no greater than the return to our old national individuality.
248. It was, again in Aurobindo’s words, a return to ‘the spirit of Indianity’, to ‘the magic of her thought and civilization, the overpowering touch of her religion’, to ‘the spell of India’.
249. In the next Chapter I will take up important people who played their roles in trying to change the psyche of India and how Dharma was treated by them.

250. We will begin with Gandhi tomorrow.
In tracing the state of Dharma during the colonial period we enter the 20th century talking of one of the dominant figures who influenced the thought process of the countrymen. So we begin with Gandhi.
Where does Gandhi fit in the MODERN INDIAN PERCEPTIONS OF INDIA AND THE WEST in the Dhaarmic context? It is in his SO CALLED ‘HINDU’ PERCEPTIONS. Let's begin to understand them.
1. I purposely chose the term [The so called] “Hindu” because a traitor Gandhi hijacked the role to represent Hindus.

2. If you want to know why I call him a traitor please read my earlier tweets blogged here
3. Since I am talking about Dharma I am going to be respectful even to the traitor and write only what has been perceived of him during his time.

4. ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi (1869-1948) belongs mainly to a line which was reflected in the political and social ideal for India.
5. That he had a difference in his line of thought though he advocated in his Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, first published in 1909.

6. Gandhi rejected the utilitarian principle, because ‘It is a heartless doctrine and has done harm to humanity’.
7. The ideal ought to be ‘the greatest good of all’, not ‘the greatest good of the greatest number’.

8. His concept of the individual was radically different from that of liberal individualism.
9. Liberal individualism being a philosophy in which the individuals were seen as driven by materialistic self-interest.

10. And because of materialistic self-interest one is perpetually in a state of conflict with the other.
11. He rejected modern education, because it did not develop fully the individual’s innate capacities.

12. In fact the modern education obstructed them, and tended to make them merely literates.
13. Gandhi rejected, even though he had been a practicing lawyer, or maybe for that very reason, the whole basis of the modern judicial system, with lawyers, judges, courts, because they lived on the existence of conflicts and multiplied them.
14. Laws and courts are instruments of the modern State, and can be profoundly unjust.

15. Gandhi rejected, in his philosophical anarchism, the very institution of the State, because it was based on coercion and violence.
16. He rejected Western industrialism, and the economic system that supported it, because both were based on exploitation and violence.

17. He said: Pandit Nehru wants industrialization because he thinks, if it is socialized, it would be free from the evils of capitalism.
18. ‘My’ own view is that the evils are inherent in industrialism, and no amount of socialism can eradicate them.

19. He insisted, with equal passion, that India is to develop in the light of its own genius, not of the West.
20. And its genius lay in the self government of village republics.

21. He insisted and reminded everybody, that ‘No mere transference of political power in India will satisfy my ambition even though I hold such transference to be a vital necessity of Indian national life’.
22. In brief unlike Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi had passionately rejected the British project of Westernizing India.

23. But he had rejected the intellectual premises of much of Western civilization first.
A contra opinion dominated and still dominates the land to the 'Hindu' perception. So we take up tomorrow DHARMA – MODERN INDIAN PERCEPTIONS OF INDIA AND THE WEST – MUSLIM PERCEPTIONS.

1. The Muslims of India form an integral part of Indian society for very nearly eight centuries.
2. Muslims rejected without any ambiguity the philosophical premises of the institutions the British had established in India.

3. The Muslims spurned English education for a long time.
4. They did so because the ideas that were being spread through that medium, Christian or secular, were the ideas of an infidel civilisation.

5. They did find, however, that the Hindus had from the very start taken to English education.
6. They also found that as a result of English education Hindus had begun to enter government service in large numbers.

7. So the Muslims corrected their attitude and began to take advantage of the benefits of an English education.
8. They did this without ever accepting its intellectual implications, the essence of which consisted, in secular education.

9. The Muslims did this in a conscious shift from the unexamined premises of faith to the liberating force of reason.
10. It was because of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-98), who retired as a judge in the service of the East India Company.

11. He was able to eventually persuade the Muslims to see the Western education as the means to their material and economic progress.
12. In that he was fiercely opposed by orthodox Muslim opinion.

13. In 1875 Sir Sayyid founded the Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College at Aligarh.

14. He was promptly put down by the mullahs for what they perceived as Western corruption.
15. By 1898, when he died, the Sayyid had observed with much happiness Muslim opinion swinging in favour of his educational programme.

16. Moreover, the disastrous Mutiny of 1857, which the British believed, wrongly, to have been engineered entirely by the Muslims.
17. Sir Sayyid’s concern was to persuade the Muslims to disprove, by every conceivable act of loyalty, the humiliating charge of disloyalty to those who were now the paramount power in India and, as far as he could see, would remain so.
18. The Sayyid pointed out that Islam, after all, was nearer to Christianity than it was to Hinduism.

19. And he feared that, if British protection to the Muslims was forfeited, the Hindu majority would in the course of time destroy the distinctive identity of the Muslims.
20. For that reason the Sayyid sternly asked the Muslims not to have anything to do with any political movement against the British.

21. He was particular that Muslims have no truck with the Indian National Congress and its activities started in 1885.
22. He was opposed, on the same ground, to the principle of representative government.

23. For, once brought in, it would enable the majority Hindus to dominate the minority Muslims without end.
24. What is at the very heart of Muslim attitudes through all their very numerous shifts until the creation of Pakistan?

25. It is their perception of themselves in relation to Hindus and Hinduism.
26. This is greatly reinforced by the Congress Party into the minds of those Muslims who remain in India after partition.

27. It is that self-consciousness, varying in its content from time to time, which largely determined their attitudes to British rule.
28. And of course to Indian nationalism. It is the perception of Muslims who, once rulers, saw themselves’ as separate, in religion, in culture, and in temperament too.

29. The Muslims perceived so from the Hindus that surround them on all sides.
30. The Muslims saw the Hindus with an eclectic world view into which most diverse elements of thought and life could easily be assimilated and lost. In that perception, the threat to the monistic faith of Islam must always be from the Hindu relativism of the idea of truth.
31. They perceived the threat to the stem and puritanical Muslim character from that Hindu habit.

32. This habit they considered as a product supposedly of ethical relativism, where every sort of compromise could be made, should expediency demand it.
33. This perception came to focus, in its political form, on the question of representation in legislature and administration.

34. And became the main emotional force behind Muslim separatism and the two nation theory.
35. What remains to be investigated is the question: “was this perception universally shared by the millions of Muslims?”

36. Did the Muslims that had lived for countless generations with the Hindus in the towns and the villages of India so perceive?
37. The question can be answered either way, yet both sides definitely perceived the language and symbols of Indian nationalism.

38. But they interpreted it as the language and symbols of Hindu nationalism.
39. This happened to even the Muslims who had never for a moment accepted the view that Hindus and Muslims were two separate nations because Islam and Hinduism were two different religions.
40. In his book The Making of Pakistan , Khursheed Kamal Aziz recounts those symbols and that language.
41. Bande mataram, or ‘salutation to Mother’, the song in Bankirn Chandra Chatterjee’s novel Ananda Math, became the indispensable anthem of the nationalist movement;
42. Bharata Mata ki jai, or ‘victory to Motherland Bharata’, became the slogan of nationalistic defiance’; Swadeshi, or ‘of one’s own country’, became the word for the economic boycott of foreign¬made goods.
43. Aziz contends that the Muslims perceived their appeal, in one way or another, as Hindu.

44. ‘Indian nationalism has long been a Hindu nationalism in essence’.
45. His argument is that Tilak’s nationalism was Hindu in essence, and nobody’ more so than Gandhi’s.
46. He cites, from Gandhi’s political vocabulary, words like swaraj, or self govemment’, satyagraha, or non cooperation’, ahimsa, or ‘non-violence’, Rama rajya, or ‘the golden age’, and so forth.
47. By invoking Hindu words, Hindu gods and goddesses, and Hindu concepts of civilisation, the Congress was appealing to Hindu instincts.

48. At any rate, that is how the Muslims began to perceive it.
49. According to Aziz, they saw the nationalist movement of the Congress, and its political vision of a free India, as thoroughly suffused with the spirit of Hinduism.
50. ‘Nationalism and religion were thus allied in Gandhi’s teachings.

51. Gandhi found the substance of India’s life in Hinduism.

52. The Muslims found the substance of their life in Islam.
53. And these two, Hinduism and Islam, were two different civilisations that could not possibly be united in a common political order.

54. That became the chief argument for Pakistan.
55. And Pakistan was never simply territorial in conception, nor primarily political.
56. It was a response in the first place, and in its deepest impulse, to what was perceived as Hindu civilisation and Muslim identity, and the perpetual threat of one to the other.
Tomorrow we will take up CHRISTIAN PERCEPTIONS.
In tweeting on the state of Dharma during colonial period we need to look at CHRISTIAN PERCEPTIONS as there is a considerable section created by the invaders. So let us begin. (It will be tweeted over two days.)
1. The perceptions and responses of Indian Christians were the very opposite of those of Indian Muslims.

2. The main task of Indian Christian thought has been to interpret Christianity in ‘Hindu terms’.
3. Some of the illustrious names in what is described as Indian Christian theology in those days of colonialism are (i) Nehermiah Goreh (1825-95), (ii) Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya (1899-1907), 1/2
3a. (iii) Sadhu Sunder Singh (1899-1929), (iv) AJ. Appasamy, (v) Narayan Vaman Tilak (1862-1919), (vi) P. Chenchiah (1886-1959) and V. Chakkarai (1880-1958). 2/2
4. The older missionaries and their converts and the Churches set up by them with meticulous care had avoided words in Sanskrit or the vernacular.
5. The reason according to Chakkarai was that it would have reminded ‘us of the fact that in India there are and have been great religious experiences and philosophies.

6. This is something the earlier missionaries were loath to admit.
7. To Indian Christian thinkers, Hindu philosophy was the earliest and the most earnest endeavour of the human mind to grasp the nature of divine reality.

8. Therefore the missionary attitudes of earlier years had to be combated first.
9. Conversion to Christianity as a uniquely saving religious experience did not demand repudiation of traditional Indian perceptions of human life.

10. ‘By birth we are Hindus and shall remain Hindus till death’, Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya declared.
10.a. ‘But as dvija (twice born) by virtue of our sacramental rebirth, we are Catholic. we are Hindus as far as our physical and mental constitution is concerned, but in regard to our immortal souls we are Catholics, We are Hindu Catholics.
11. To him there was no reason why a man could not be a Christian and a Hindu at the same time, for the test of being a Hindu did not lie in his religious opinions.
12. Brahmabandhab, and the other Indian Christian thinkers with him, thus separated Hindu culture from Hindu religious faith.

13. Remaining steadfast in the former, while accepting Christianity as their personal faith, seeing no antagonism between the two.
14. To separate ‘culture’ and ‘religion’ in the Indian context is to lead to a profound misunderstanding from the very start, because both are indistinguishable in the concept of dharma.
15. Yet there was a reason why Brahmabandhab and others were obliged to do precisely that.
16. It was because of the setting created, and Indian Christians placed in it, chiefly by the changing missionary attitudes to India, first keeping ‘Hindu’ culture and religion distinct, and then identifying one with the other.
17. To the eighteenth century missionary, with evangelism as his main aim, Christianity had little to contend with the Indian social system being to that degree supra social.
18. But the Christianity that was supra social was also a historical, and therefore a religious abstraction, not a force for social reconstruction.
19. To the missionary in the following century, aware of the failure of the earlier approach, the purpose, if still evangelical, was now to permeate with Western culture the Hindu mind.
20. Unlike his predecessor, he saw himself as a missionary not only of Christ but of Western civilisation as well. This project had its own difficulties.

21. The conflicts within Western culture, the larger part of which had by the nineteenth century come to be anti Church.
22. This apart, the problem was that traditional Indian perceptions of the human condition were ever so flowing in their boundaries.

23. And Indian perceptions of the human condition were ever so diverse in their contents also.
24. These besides confronted anyhow with their ambiguity the missionary aim of cultural and so they acquired the offensive colour of Western imperialism.

25. So they failed to make much impression on Hindu religious practices.
26. Also the Queen’s Proclamation of 1858 had forbidden any such interference.

27. Therefore the missionaries now sought to change Hindu social customs, more especially in the sphere of caste.
28. This they did in the belief that it would change Hindu religious conceptions as well.

29. This was the setting in which, by imperceptible degrees, it was the totality of Indian culture that came under missionary attack.
30. Indian Christians responded to it by separating ‘Hindu culture’ from ‘Hindu religious faiths’.

31. So the Indian Christians declared the Hindu culture to be greatly superior to the culture of the West, and the latter to be praeparatio evangelii.
32. They took the eighteenth century missionary line that began in fact a century earlier with Robert de Nobili’s Madurai Mission:

33. He, de Nobili, had declared “hands off Hindu social structure, concentrate on matters that belong to religion”.
34. Was there really a distinction between the two ie. Hindu social structure or culture and Hindu religious faiths in the Indian method of understanding human existence?

35. No there was none. This is the absolute truth.
36. The defense of what was perceived as Hindu culture meant necessarily a defense of what was understood as Hindu religious consciousness.
37. Just as in denying that the Hindus had any idea of what was perceived by them as true religion, the 19th century missionaries had come to deny that they had any culture at all.
38. These misconceptions caused the battle between British missionaries and the best minds among Indian Christians.

39. So they diverted their attention from the deeper issues between Christianity and the Indian method of contemplating life.
40. This happened several times in the history of the encounter of Western Christianity with India.

Will continue the discourse tomorrow.
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