The anatomy of Pseudo seculars
November 3, 2015 Leave a comment
It is not very often that one builds the core of an argument based on what Chetan Bhagat writes. But this time he is right and so, he must get his credits.
Writing for the Times of India, Bhagat recently chronicled the psyche of a “liberal”, which I firmly believe is a “liberal” usage of the word. He argued, that the “liberal clan” is rallying against Prime Minister Modi because they don’t think of him as one of them, that is the elite, English-speaking and worldly-wise group. In other words, he summarizes the movement against Modi and BJP as “elitist”.
Chetan makes a valid point, but I think that the “elitist bias” is just one of the markers of the group, whom I would rather address as “pseudo-seculars” and not liberals.
If we go back in recent history, “pseudo-secularism” was never part of the political lexicon, not until Lal Kishan Advani introduced the term to Indian masses as an effective counter to the ‘communal’ charge levied against him and his party. And with that, I think Advani altered the political landscape of secularism forever.
Apart from the obvious elitism that pervades their thinking, I believe that there are 4 factors that characterize the psyche of a pseudo-secular.
1. Accepting the Abrahamic version of Hinduism without questioning
Hinduism is a rare religion because it represents a fusion of rich heritage of detailing through literature, but without being dogmatic about it. One of the favorite pastimes of the pseudo-seculars is to bash Hinduism because somewhere in the Manu Smriti it is ‘documented’ that “molten lead should be poured into the ears of a Shudra who happens to overhear recital of Vedas”. As barbaric, unimaginable and unjust it sounds; there is of course no recorded history of “molten lead” being actually poured. What the pseudos’ would cleverly not mention is that there is no “ordainment” in the Manu Smriti.
The problem of these religious scriptures is that most of them are in Sanskrit, a language that unfortunately is not the preserve of the Hindus anymore, even the most believing of them all. As the Hindu couldn’t understand the religious scriptures of his own religion, he had to, unwittingly depend on the interpretations of those who would translate and present those parts which are inimical to the interests of the faith in particular, and humanity in general.
The pseudo-seculars have never bothered to develop their own cognitive abilities to understand the texts, question the rationale and assimilate their own views beyond the metaphorical quagmires that abound in Hinduism.
The pseudo-seculars grow up believing the “Abrahamic” interpretation of Hinduism which is hostile and explicitly radicalizing the mindset.
2. Personal experience leading to selective Atheism
The concept of God and the relationship of a human being with his/her maker is quite complex. It is beyond my purview and ability of course, to define it or advice on the inferences that one should draw.
Most pseudo-seculars are born in a family of believers. The starting point of atheism is usually when the “relationship” with God starts to sour, usually when a ‘litmus test’ of the wannabe atheist fails.
Even as a believer, I can’t quite rationalize some of the things that have happened in my life and neither do I accept the “Karma explanation” in its entirety. But I have not become loathsome or bitter about God, because I have reconciled to the fact that the designs of my life will never be revealed to me wholesomely.
But the mind of the newbie Atheist, soon-to-be-a-pseudo-secular is not at ease. He wants the answers instantly and when he doesn’t get them, he starts hating God. And because the God which failed his “litmus test” was a “Hindu God”, he starts hating only them.
The Atheism of the pseudo-seculars never grows beyond this infancy of hating Hindu Gods. As a natural extension, the pseudo-secular develops a virulent hatred for anything, anyone which endorses a Hindu belief.
3. After a point, It becomes fashionable and profitable
There was this proverbial cat which wanted to acquire the stripes of the magnificent tiger. So it takes a hot iron rod and draws stripes all over its body, even as it inflicts great pain. Only after the wounds have healed, does the cat realize that one has to be born a tiger. Even as the cat castigates itself for its foolishness, it also realizes that the hot iron rod has given it a fashionable design.
The case of the pseudo-secular isn’t too distinctly different from the cat. Even as the realization dawns that they are not being truly secular by becoming a pseudo-secular, it also opens up a “world of opportunities” for them, generally aided and abetted by the apologists of jihadists and evangelists.
The new-found recognition and honor, is also not bereft of considerable financial benefits. Who wouldn’t like, for example, fully sponsored international trips, foreign currency payouts merely in exchange for mouthing expletives and unprintables against their ‘former religion’. The access to several intangible benefits and financial incentives makes a compelling case for the pseudo-secular to continue their path of obscurity.
4. False equivalence of an intellectual
The pseudo-secular also enjoys the benefit of getting drawn into a false equivalence of being an intellectual. After all, how any person who has a questioning mindset, however ‘questionable’ it is, be anything but an intellectual ?
In a country like India which huge polarities of views, the “intellectuals” have established their own domain of expertise. That is to express a view on anything and everything. Of course to be an intellectual, you need a few markers – attire – jeans & kurta, personal grooming, or the lack of it and an ability to abuse Hinduism incessantly.
The Vatican canonizes someone only after a long and due process, but an Indian pseudo-secular can be instantly canonized as an “intellectual” only by abusing Hinduism. It is a mouth-watering proposition.
The Hindu population without a strong central religious authority, becomes an easy prey to the evil machinations of the pseudo-secular.
At a time when the country is witnessing a “mild pushback” from an assertive brand of Hinduism, the role of the pseudo-seculars is to ensure that the gullible Hindu is taken on a garden path and made to believe that he is “communal” because he asserts his right to be a Hindu.
The pseudo-secular is a vital cog and a valuable ally in eliminating Hinduism from the land of the Indus.