By: Venkat Lakshminarayan
June 24, 2005
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About a hundred years ago there lived a white sahib in a land of brown
people. The sahib had a large following who admired his colorful writing.
Figuratively the white sahib was sitting on the shoulder of a brown man
who carried him around wherever the sahib wanted to go. Strangely the
sahib claimed that the brown man was his burden and that the providence
made his fate sit on the brown man`s shoulders because the brown man would
allegedly be lost without the white sahib telling him what to do. Kipling
sahib coined the phrase, "White man`s burden" and his characterization of
India survives to this day and some people still continue to admire his
compassionate subjugation of the brown man.
Some years earlier there lived another white sahib named Macaulay Sahib.
People of his time knew him to be a very pandit and some consider him to
be so even today. The Pandit Macaulay sahib learned a lot about India and
its people from a history book written by one Mahapandit named James Mill.
(Mahapandit Mill was the first one to write a book on the history of India
in English language. The book was so outrageously prejudiced that no
modern Indic scholar would touch it with a ten foot pole). Pandit Macaulay
sahib took one look at the brown people and told them something like this:
“You brown folks have no hopes and you are absolutely useless because you
do not speak English. You need to learn English for your salvation and
forget your native tongues. Forget your Kalidasa and Kamban, start reading
Milton and Wordsworth. You need to wear dinner jacket and tie when you sit
down to eat supper. Forget your past, start aping us the white folks. Then
you will be just like us”.
A revolution got started among some brown people. “What a way to go! Learn
English and ape the white man, that is all to it. We too will become white
with all the privileges of the white sahibs!” But there was a surprise
waiting for them. They became sahibs alright but their brown would not go
away. Suddenly they were Brown Sahibs! Their white masters continued to
look down upon them with contempt and would not share the privileges that
they had kept to themselves. The Brown had become a burden.
The new sahibs had forgotten that it was the Brown that generated a
glorious civilization with some of the greatest contributions to the arts,
sciences, philosophy and spirituality that towards the betterment of the
human race. It was the Brown that contributed the Vedas and Upanishads and
produced a Buddha and the concept of nonviolence. It was the Brown that
produced a Sankaracharya who taught the world about the divine that
resides within human and nurtured a faith that would respect all other
faiths equally as their own. Ordinary brown people had an understanding of
these but they were marginalized in the intellectual discourse and would
not be listened to. The new sahibs forgot their past and began to deny
their present. While aping their white masters they began to believe that
nothing good could come out of their own, any good ought to come out of
elsewhere. Where else, but from the land of the white! Brown indeed has
become a burden to these new sahibs.
Some brown sahibs sent their children to study in England so that they
would grow up without any trace of brown. One Motilal Sahib, though he had
high Kashmiri blood running in his veins and ivory skin covering his body,
sent his son to study in Harrow and Cambridge. Everyone in England who
came across the son thought that he had become white. But the day
Jawaharlal sahib landed back in India his brown returned to him and the
local white sahibs would not let him enter their white club. He later
became the prime minister and de-facto ruler of India but hated his own
brownness and admired a whiteness to which he was denied access. He
rationalized this self hatred by calling himself “Secular”. A new disease
got injected. The secularism disease ran through the veins of his
descendants and permeated the upper crust of the society. The result is
that India has a brown Prime Minister and a white Super Prime Minister.
Colonialism did not just colonize the land but it also colonized the body,
mind, thought and culture of the conquered people. Independence to the
Indian people was supposed to have come over fifty seven years ago but
they are not free because of the brown sahibs` surrender and denial of
their self and their dominance in politics, media and public discourse.
Their ignorance over the years has created insecure borders and weak
defenses against aggressive neighbors. Their self hatred has resulted in
the subjugation of their fellow people’s religion and culture. Their
refusal to look at their own past is paving the way for impending disaster
in the future. Indian civilization is in greater danger extinction today
than any other time in history, in greater danger than the times of
Islamic invasions and European conquest, a danger because the policies and
actions of the brown sahibs. This is a burden carried by the mainstream
Indian who wants to preserve his way of life, a burden imposed upon him by
the brown sahibs.
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Misguided Hindu Secularism
April 01, 2005