June 26, 2011

BOOK REVIEW : Breaking India

Imaginary fault lines
June 25, 2011 9:53:03 PM


Breaking India
Author: Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan
Publisher: Amaryllis
Price: Rs 699

The book exposes three strands operating in today’s India — Islamic radicalism, Maoist and Marxist activism, and Dravidian and Dalit identity politics — all engaged in systematically breaking up the country, writes Saradindu Mukherji

This book has an eerie cover image taken from www.dalitstan.com, showcasing a map of the Indic region wherein its northern part stretching up to Assam is depicted in green as Mughalistan — Pakistan and Bangladesh included. The southern parts are called Dalitstan and Dravidistan. For the authors, such a holocaustic scenario seems a distinct possibility unless the process is immediately halted and neutralised.

Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindam Neelakandan expose three strands operating in contemporary India — Islamic radicalism, Maoist and Marxist activism, and Dravidian and Dalit identity politics — all engaged in systematically breaking up what the venerable Ram Swarup called a “shrinking and shrunken” India.

This book, however, deals only with the third dimension related to the Dravidian/Dalit ‘studies’, the ridiculous Afro-Dalit project that seeks to showcase the Dalits as ‘Blacks’ of India and non-Dalits as ‘Whites’. It also exposes the hypocritical roles of various American/European academic institutions and evangelical organisations, besides the NGOs and their collaborators in the media.

The entire gamut of the mechanism and ‘ideology’ to break the country is exposed in 19 well-researched chapters. “Breaking civilisation”, the authors say, is “like breaking the spine of a person. A broken civilisation can splinter, and the balkanised regions can undergo a dark metamorphosis.”

The book suggests that the Western imperialists have sought to undermine India by both ideological and institutional means. They used the Aryan invasion theory (now discredited), the Criminal Tribes Act 1871, caste-based Census, Indological studies, etc, to divide and rule the country. Surprisingly, while the British abandoned the caste-wise enumeration after a while, the present UPA Government has resumed it!

Despite criticism of Orientalists like Max Müller, Johann Gottfried von Herder, etc, for their loyalties towards Christian evangelists, several Indologists were also admirers of India’s ancient Hindu texts and civilisation. They stood apart from those during the Islamic rule, who merely destroyed/vandalised much of the country’s Hindu-Buddhist heritage. The presence of people like William Jones, despite their evangelical biases, along with the establishment of the Asiatic Society and the Archaeological Survey of India, helped restore the country’s past that contributed to the emergence of national consciousness. It would, therefore, be wrong to tar every strand of European scholarship with one brush.

The chapter, ‘Imperial Evangelism Shapes Indian Ethnology’, examines the true character of HH Risley (ICS), often projected by the less discerning as a “brilliant anthropologist”. He comes out as one who “morphed” jati-varna into a racial category. The authors cite BR Ambedkar convincingly demolishing the spurious racist theory based on the nasal index. “The measurements establish that the Brahmins and the untouchables belong to the same race. From this it follows that if the Brahmins are Aryans, the untouchables are also Aryans. If the Brahmins are Dravidians, the untouchables are Dravidians,” Ambedkar said.

The politics of Dravidian separatism gets more than six chapters. ‘Seminal’ contributions of evangelist-propagandist intellectuals like Brian Houghton Hodgson and Bishop Caldwell in creating an unhistorical divide between the Aryan north and the non-Aryan south are well explained. In this mischievous invention of Dravidian separatism, evangelists sought to de-Indianise and de-Hinduise the Tamil traditions. They distorted ancient Tamil texts like Thirukural and Shaiva Siddhanta by attributing them to Christianity. Though rejected by other Christian scholars of that time, it has been revived in our times by evangelical movements, aided and abetted by racist politicians in the country. In reality, all Shaivite hymns written in Tamil speak of Shiva as residing in the Himalayas.

The authors err in blaming only Pakistan for fomenting terror in India, overlooking the home-grown Islamic separatists/terrorists. Long before Pakistan was created, large tracts of the country had been Islamised/Arabised and massive conversion to Islam accomplished; moreover, Pakistan was created by “Muslim Indians”. Islamic jihad has been operating in India long before Western/evangelical intervention, and with much greater ferocity and success. Both the “Godhra carnage” and the “Babri demolition” are inadequately explained in historical terms.

The authors blame scholars like Martha Nussbaum, Lice McKean, Romila Thapar, Meera Nanda, Angana Chatterji, Christophe Jafferlot and Gail Omvedt for floating many academically unsound ideas that would strengthen anti-India forces. The book also exposes the dark sides of the American Government, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the United States Agency for International Development, Ford Foundation, Dalit Solidarity Network (UK) and many others. It is a fact that most ‘glorified’ scholars in social sciences have strong anti-Hindu and anti-India biases. India’s Nehruvian, pan-Islamic revivalists, Leftists and subaltern scholar-propagandists have long been party to this unholy alliance, and many of them are funded through the public exchequer.

The authors rightly assert that “the colonial constructs of previous centuries have transformed themselves subtly, yet persistently, today” and turned more radical than before through “institutional mechanism and networks”. After all, these academicians have “become tools in facilitating strategic Western interventions”. The book, however, fails to see that the Nehruvian state system with its blatant anti-Hindu bias was no less a culprit.

-- The reviewer is a history professor, the University of Delhi

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

anti- hindu is not anti- indian.. i believe..

Gaurang G. Vaishnav said...

When 82% of India's population is Hindu, anti-Hindu automatically translates to anti-India.

Mr.mojo Risin' said...

Impressive, wonderful and concise review! And rather neutral as well. Thanks for posting this.
I'm currently reading this book, about one-third through. It is important that the warnings written in the book be heeded to. Also, important not to lable the authors extremist or non secular as is very easy now a days
Couldn't agree more with your review of the book.