Monday, March 17, 2014

Alternative History or Alternate History?

Alternate versus Alternative
I would've sworn that Wendy's book on the 'Hindus' was 'an alternate history'. I rechecked the amazon book title, which said : 'alternative history'. Why is this distinction important? Wendy, like most western academics born and brought up in English, choose their words smartly. (or any one of the popular grammar sites) notes:

The implicit claim in Wendy's title is that her book does not seek to replace what existed for thousands of years, but provides an alternative for today's confused Hindus, 95% of who live in Nehruvian India. An India where the assertion of  being a proud practitioner of Hinduism, a religion that offers genuine mutual respect instead of mere tolerance like Abrahamic faiths, is considered "communal".

Fantasy is not a valid alternative
If God gave Wendy Doniger lemons, you really do not want to know what she does with it. One of the assumptions that Wendy's silly books relies on is that some Sanskrit words can have multiple, context-driven interpretations and she can freely choose whatever suits her psychology ("stuck in the anal-genital chakras"). Wendy's Child Syndrome. Alternative does not mean "anything goes". Alternative re-tellings of the Ramayana and Mahabharata cannot be mapped into some Star-wars or Lord of the Rings type fantasy. An alternative driving route cannot send you to a different destination. A necessary condition for any alternative interpretation of Hindu concepts and methods is that it be dharmic. Hinduism, like Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, is a dharmic thought system. Unfortunately, Wendy's approach is dharma-nirpeksha, i.e. utterly indifferent to dharma. Dharma has contextual interpretation that is neither frozen as a commandment or fatwa, nor is it "anything goes" that degenerates into moral relativism. Wendy & her children lack the cognitive capacity to comprehend such profundity. An adharmic alternative can only really be a perverse substitute that seeks to wipe out rather than serve dharma. An alternate history that mocks natives as savages is a precursor to cultural genocide.

Facts = Data aberrations = noisy signal
Shoddy scholarship is not just Wendy's problem. Mentally colonized Indian intellectuals (sepoys) have shown that they are not just clueless but also careless. The so-called intellectual output toward creating an alternate history, produced by an entire generation of India's leftists, from Romila Thapar and Amartya Sen, down to those lower in the ranks like Ramachandra Guha, etc., is defined by mediocrity: sloppy research, use of meaningless adjectives, unquantifiable claims, and a lack of scientific rigor. Unlike scientific and engineering journal papers, here the conclusions come first, and the reasoning is whatever is necessary to justify the conclusion. There appears to be some kind of a mental condition that fails to recognize that facts are ... facts and that if something happened, it did happen (some so-called 'right wing' columnists too have fallen prey to this). But no. It is possible for sepoys to time-travel and alter what happened. And it is justifiable to do so because such facts are merely an aberration, a blip in the radar that does not, and should not be allowed to, derail their grand narrative.

The Invader Avatar Theory
(update  March 2015: Refer Rajiv Malhotra's 2015 Jaipur Lit Fest video for this)
If the ancient Indian civilization is advanced, it cannot have a Hindu origin since Hinduism is backward. So it must have come from outside. So add a "n" to Arya and invent the Aryan invaders. Then a succession of "invader avatars" who show up every few centuries to give India what it needed, from Vedas to Mughlai cuisine to sports to liberalism. Any factual evidence, be it genetic, linguistic, archaeological, astronomical, economic data, which contradicts the IA theory is but an isolated violation, a series of coincidences that do not invalidate the overall narrative. If Hindu leaders perform social service, then it cannot have Hindu origins and must have been borrowed from the Christian west or Islam, because Hinduism is fully of exotic mysticism and represents a self-centered, out-worldly quest for Moksha, and does not have or even require philanthropy. If Nehruvian India failed, it is because of Hinduism and their "Hindu rate of growth", not because of Nehru's corrupt Stalinist policies that has ruined the nation. If unimpeachable data is shown that dharma civilization was a dominant in major measurement indices for most of the thousand-plus years prior to colonization, this too is an aberration - some white noise, and the overall signal-to-noise ratio of their IA theory is strong. If Marxist-Leninist-Maoist politics has produced untold misery all over the world, and yet is blindly imported by sepoys and used to destroy the economy and society of Kerala and Bengal in India, that too is an aberration, and merely improper implementation of a sophisticated IA concept. Hinduism cannot be reformed by a Sankara because Hinduism is fossilized. If it is reformed, then of course, it cannot be Hinduism, which by definition is fossilized, so this has to be some neo-Hinduism that is the invention of a nationalist-minded Vivekananda after learning from the USA (read 'Indra's Net;). Hinduism, like India the nation, never existed until recently, yet this same Hinduism, even without existing, miraculously managed to destroy Buddhism and Jainism, as Arun Shourie pointed out recently. If a Babasaheb Ambedkar who spoke up for Dalits against persecution is venerated, the fact that he became Buddhist and remained true to his dharma (like Arun Shourie) and even wrote in praise of Advaitic Hinduism and 'Hindutva', is dismissed as an aberration. 

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose
If Islamic genocidal maniacs like Aurangazeb killed more than four million Indians, that too is an aberration, since he was more like Shakespeare who went wrong only towards the end of his reign when office-pressures were mounting (credit: William Dalrymple). If Tipu massacred or forcibly converted hundreds of thousands of Hindus, then that is an aberration, since he was secular on the average because he left a couple of Hindu temples intact (read this recent book for reasons). Balance! Reminds me of Pam Shriver who described a 0-6, 1-6 tennis match against Martina Navratilova: "it was a very balanced game. I broke serve once, and held once". Detailed first-hand accounts by neutral Westerners and Europeans against such fundamentalist maniacs who've committed mass-murder of Indians cannot be accepted since they are biased. Heck, blow-by-blow accounts by personal biographers of these tyrants are not acceptable because they don't really mean what they saying, unless they are speaking of non-homicidal contributions, if any.  However, the neo-Hindu oxymoron propagated by western 'missionaries in mufti' like Paul Hacker and Ursula King is perfectly balanced and acceptable to Ramachandra Guha, Ashutosh Varshney,  Pankaj Mishra (who won a $150K sepoy Baksheesh recently), Romila Thapar, etc.. The stuff of Wendy and children from the west is lauded and praised as a scholarly alternative. The racist colonial missionary myth of "Aryan-Dravidian" is acceptable. Anything said against the Hindus in any book, by anybody is acceptable; neutrality, objectivity, fact-checking be damned. The conclusion drives the cherry-picking of data. Such is the world of social "science" and humanities! If no data remains after all this pruning, then their IA theory is proposed as something that actually happened, and taught to Indian school kids to create the next generation of mentally colonized Indians.

In every instance, it is clear that the aim is not to provide an alternative picture, but an alternate narrative that is written to erase evidence and replace it with pet theories. What is the mental condition that drives sepoys to such dishonesty?

(The basis for some of the info interpreted above is derived from the works of original Indian thinkers, including Rajiv Malhotra, Arun Shourie, and S. Gurumurthy)
The Islamic mauraders and Western colonizers murdered, raped and pillaged India for centuries. Yet the vast majority of India - the hundreds of millions of ordinary Indians held on to their dharma. They endured mind-boggling physical torture and mental trauma, yet their spirit was intact, their 'Mano bal' (morale) remains alive, thanks to dharma, the very basis of anti-fragility. As Ajit Doval asks and answers: "When is a war over? The war is over only after we win". The Hindus have protected their itihasa and dharma, and with the guidance of Rishis like Rajiv Malhotra and fact-driven thinkers like Gurumurthy, they will continue until they prevail.  The only irreversibly damaged people? The sepoys. They rejected dharma, thereby allowing their intellects to be repeatedly molested, their deepest thoughts to be violently penetrated by Hinduphobic thinkers. Consequently, their deflowered minds have collectively produced ZERO original, truly alternative Indian thought, but given birth to tons of mutilated, bastardized alternate ideas of India and Hinduism that are dead on delivery. I have only pity for sepoys. Truly tragic victims of colonialism.

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