Culture

Why We Must Thwart Expansionist Ideologies That Threaten India’s Unity 

Rajiv Malhotra, centre, at the launch of his new book. Photo credit: Manish Pant
Snapshot
  • Europe is an artificial conglomerate, it was put together by the Roman Empire and Christianity brought it together.

    Britain can now break into four states: England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and these four can apply for membership to the United States.

    There are different strategies - Christian expansion, Muslim expansion and Maoist and Left Wing expansion ­- all aimed at breaking up India and its unity.

This is second of a two-part interview with best-selling Indian-American author and Hindu rights activist Rajiv Malhotra.

While speaking to Manish Pant, he addressed a number of issues dealing with the Aryan invasion theory, the Holocaust, Brexit and the idea of dividing UK into four parts, Islamic and Arab imperialism, clash of civilisation, a possible nuclear war and the Donald Trump effect. 

Although the Aryan invasion theory has been unravelling for some time, how long would it be before its toxic legacy gets sufficiently diluted?

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Our people have been telling me that we are winning. But that’s just a self-serving thing. When in the international circles, the Aryan theory – whether it’s invasion or migration – doesn’t matter. The foreign origin of the Aryans is very well-entrenched in the global discourse. It is not going away. Even in Sheldon Pollock’s hold, his ideas on Sanskrit and sanskriti are filled with those kind of assumptions. Even a Wendy Doniger is full of those kind of assumptions. So the kind of people our government is giving Padmashree to, you know these Indologists, they are talking like that. How can we say it’s going away when that’s what they are taught in the Indian Foreign Service! In the history exams that assumption is made. If you go to the External Affairs Ministry, Government of India, Washington website, it tells you the history of India and how Aryans invaded. The government of India is saying it! So how can we fight against the California Education Board or others when there is so much focus on wrong history. All they have to say is, “Listen, your own government is saying it!” We have not changed these things even now. It is the middle of 2016 and the Human Resources Development Ministry’s Indian Council of Social Science Research that gives all the grants to these social sciences people, is full of Leftist guys. Kancha Ilaih is on the board! Even now, the government money is being used to fund our enemies! And I have a very hard time getting just a little bit for a conference. That’s how sad the situation is.

My apologies for using a very strong word, but the very premise of the Aryan invasion theory is highly criminal. The notion of racial superiority actually resulted in the Holocaust and death of six million people during the Second World War.

Right! That’s what I discussed in The Battle for Sanskrit also. And Sheldon Pollock, of course, accuses Sanskrit as the culprit! He says that Sanskrit has all these ideas of racism and violence against others in it. Sanskrit was learnt by Germans and Europeans to commit all these crimes. So rather than saying that we have been the victims, they are accusing Sanskrit.

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But that’s a lie…

Well, that’s our position, but the prevailing dominant position is not like that. If you look at what all is unfair in the discourse, you will find so many things. The way caste is portrayed. The discourse that dominates is not based on truth, it is based on debating skills, who has got powerful people in the committee that writes books, who are the gatekeepers in some conclave that is happening every year and who will bring in their friends and sycophants, while not bringing in a voice that may challenge them. So all of that is what shapes the discourse.

Moving on to some geopolitics, does Brexit reaffirm implosion of the so-called Western Civilisation? And what does the present phase of disturbances in the Middle East and mass movement of people from there into Western Europe augur for the continent in the long term?

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I would say that first of all Europe itself is an artificial conglomerate. It was put together by the Roman Empire. Christianity brought it together. It had never been together till then. And when the Roman Empire broke up, the Protestant movement came. They had many churches so the concept of nation state started. And now they want to bring it back together again under some secular kind of an umbrella of economic prosperity. It is not that easy because the old culture and identities are still very strong, and they will remain strong. So this is one thing that is happening. I think Britain itself will fall apart because Scotland may want to separate from Britain. I have a very provocative proposal to the British people. Maybe they should break up into four states: England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and these four can apply for membership to the United States. Of course they find it funny, but some of them think about it and say, “Oh, but that’s not a bad idea!” But anyway, I will put that aside. The breakup of Britain could happen. Scotland won’t be viable as a nation by itself, but it could join Europe as a separate thing or it could join the US perhaps.

The other thing that is happening is that in Europe itself they have pampered the Islamic immigrants and France has got their highest percentage. France is the ground zero of this war, of this clash, between Islam and the West. And it is not going to go away. What we saw in Nice and other places, it is only going to get worse. I mentioned in Breaking India that these forces competing internationally in this clash of civilisations are also competing for other territory, with India being one of them. So you will find the Christian expansionist strategy here, you will find the Muslim expansionist strategy here, you will find the Maoist and Left Wing expansionist strategy here. It is all at the expense of breaking up India and its unity. So what starts as an intellectual movement takes a while to become a violent separatist movement. So all this violent separatism in Europe, to go back to your question, has its precedence in the intellectual discourse. You know all the stuff being taught in the mosques, all the activism and those people being pampered in the name of liberalism. They are now paying a price for not wanting to face the problem. The Islamists were never secret. They were always saying that we are first Muslim. But it was like, “Oh no, no, no… We will absorb them, digest them. They will raise their kids in this and that way.” But it didn’t work. It just backfired. I think that’s a good lesson for others.

But is it actually about Islamism or Arab imperialism?

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Both. Islam itself has the distinctions of Dar Al Islam and Dar Al Harb. As a Muslim you are required to spread Dar Al Islam all over the world and make the world an Islamic place, where individual nations, states, races and ethnicities would not be important. We would all be Muslim, that’s important. And then there is Arabism, which is the Wahhabi strain of Islam that wants to control, dominate and spread itself. So both are going on simultaneously. But the Persian – it’s not an Arabic version – the Shiite, that’s also spreading. So there is an expansionism built into Islam. And, of course, Arab chauvinism and imperialism is another thing.

Where the converts in India, Indonesia and Malaysia end up being used as sepoys?

Yes. The people who are very gentle, mild and all that are also there. There are wonderful people who are Muslims. I used to have a company in Indonesia, so I did a lot of research on what goes on there. And they said when they go to Haj they come back radicalised. They start wearing the skull cap, dress up differently and change their names. They are taught not to mix with the other people. The locals call themselves Bahasa. Their language is Bahasa, which is derived from bhasha (Sanskrit for language). Their names are Ram and Sita and all that stuff. They may be Muslim, but they are very mild. They are very gentle people who have no problem in saying that they have a Hindu past. But once they come back from the Haj, they will want nothing to do with it. Suddenly it is about assuming a pseudo-Arabic identity. They start thinking themselves to be almost some kind of Arabs. So it’s not first generation or version of Islam itself that radicalises them. But once it’s there, it keeps moving to higher and higher levels. And at some stage they get radicalised.

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So do you eventually see a clash of civilisations as inevitable?

It’s already happening. All the wars going on, Islam vs. other people, from their point of view, it’s a clash of civilisations. US has lost about two trillion dollars as a result of 9/11. In that, a direct war has been fought for one trillion and the other trillion has been a loss to the economy, upheaval and disruption of the whole social set up. A very huge part of the US economy has been damaged. In a sense, the people who started this clash from the Islamic side have had success for they were able to hit the enemy. They have lost a few thousand people. Or maybe they have lost one lakh people, but look at the damage they have created. So this clash is here to stay. It has deep roots in Abrahamic religions because they are history centric and they cannot change this fact. I have explained this in Being Different. And the incompatibilities are so acute that if one has to prevail the other has to be defeated. This goes both ways.

Will it be a protracted war?

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Yes, it is going to go on and it will turn nuclear. It will turn nuclear because at some stage the West will say that we have got to go and blast these people. If 9/11 had happened with a Donald Trump, he might have said go and drop some nuclear weapons on them. I mean, this may be his thing, I don’t know as it’s very difficult to predict exactly what his thinking is. Maybe Britain also. Maybe France too. Because every time a terror attack happens, it empowers politicians who want to take a very tough stand. When that happens the Islamists will also attack more. So, it will keep getting worse and could blow up in a big way.

Is this crisis that we are witnessing once again lead to the rise of nationalism in Europe?

Of course. Britain has already done that. More radical people have come into power there. That’s the direction in which things are going.

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What does the rise of Donald Trump mean to the US and the world?

I think the people are disgruntled. The system hasn’t worked. The myth of greatness called the ‘American Exceptionalism’ is not valid or people are having doubts about it. It has crashed. So they need to either revive the myth or create a new one. People on the extreme right and on the extreme left are able to get a very large percentage of the votes. People who are sort of in the middle, are not able to deliver. There is that crisis in the minds of the people and that creates opportunities for these sort of candidates.

India is today perceived as a large market for goods and services by economies the world over. Similarly, is it also perceived as a great market for religious conversions?

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People who are propagating religion have nothing to do with the market. You may be the poorest country and there may not be any market for material goods, but the religion people will still want to expand because they are into the business of capturing souls. It has nothing to do with any marketing issue. Evangelism as a marketing tool for religion has been there for a lot longer.

But when evangelists are converting people in India or Africa, they are making an initial investment that they expect will mature at a later stage.

The return is that they get a political clout. They get a vote bank. They get donations. They own that whole land. If it becomes a Christian country, then those people are going to bow to you because you are the head of the Christian world. So you have basically created a mental colony.

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In the last few years there have been attempts at reviving Zoroastrian. Similarly, in Western Europe I have friends who practice pagan religions. So do you see some kind of revival of beliefs and practices from the ancient world?

The European Paganism is not active in a big way, but on the margins. These kind of fringe religions exist but they don’t have power, and they are not likely to have that in the very near future. However, they exist in different ways.

Manish Pant is an independent Media and Communication consultant specializing in content, and is based in New Delhi.

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