23. Conclusion

 

         In spite of Hinduism's nominal magnitude, the chance that Hinduism gets wiped out by its enemies can no longer be discounted.  More than ever, fortunes are spent on the war to destroy Hinduism in favour of Islam or some suitably adapted variety of Christianity or Marxism.  The hostile activities of Islamic and Christian agitators and the attempts at Hindu demoralization and loss of Hindu self-respect by the secularists are now compounded by a fast-spreading loss of Hindu memory at the mass level by consumerism and Western pulp media.  I have seen with my own eyes how local cultures within European civilization are being as good as wiped out in a few decades by the onslaught of mindless "Americanism", and this loss of cultural roots is a major factor in the current defencelessness of the affected populations vis--vis the rising threat of Islam.  Hindus would be mistaken to think that this cannot happen to their old civilization; most civilizations at the time of their demise were old and venerable.  For Hinduism too, time is running out.

 

         The seriousness of the situation should first of all concern the Hindus themselves.  Come to think of it, I have very little personal stake in the political success of Hindu revivalism and the continued existence of Hinduism.  Of course, there is an invaluable heritage contained in the Upanishads and other Hindu books; but they are available in Western libraries, we can take from them what we like without needing the help of a living Hindu.  It was a comforting idea to know that at least one ancient society had managed to preserve its traditions down to the present, but if that society fails to defend itself and disappears, I am confident that we can find our way without it.  If Sanskrit scholarship or yogic expertise dies in India, I am sure some aficianados in the West will keep it alive as a matter of antiquarian hobbyism, somewhat like the thriving clubs for amateurs long-dead Pharaonic lore.  It is always deplorable when a dinosaur dies, but we can survive the demise of really-existing Hinduism without serious losses.  Whether Hinduism will survive as a living civilization in control of its own territory, or merely as a museum piece, is a vital concern only for the Hindus themselves.         

 

         The issue is the survival of the besieged Hindu civilization.  The stakes are high, and the question is whether Hindus intend to go for the big one or settle for less.  A general rule for this type of situation is that if you aim high and put in an effort commensurate with the calibre of your goal, you may achieve it.  Even if you don't achieve it, you may still achieve a number of lesser objectives as a spin-off of your effort.  But if you aim low, your enthusiasm and hence your effort will be proportionately limited, so the chance is a priori small that you will achieve anything more than your limited goal.  Further, your enemies will try to thwart your little efforts with as much zeal as they would your big efforts, so you may still fail to achieve what you intended to.  If the Hindu movement continues to aim for petty gains and peripheral achievements, it will continue to fail in its real task, and even the hoped-for petty successes may continue to elude it.

 

         If the Hindutva politicians and activists want to spare themselves the prospect of going down in history as a bunch of buffoons, who stood by and worked on inconsequential things while their country was taken over by their mortal enemies, they will have to get their act together quickly.  Instead of wasting energy on petty politicking and limited goals such as the reconversion of sacred sites, all eyes should be set on the major goal, which is the liberation of fellow Indians from the predatory religions which have alienated them from their ancestral culture.  The goal could in fact be set even higher, so as to include among other things the emancipation of the West-Asians and the liberation of the Kaaba (a temple to Hubal, the Arab Shiva) from Islam; but it will already be good if the self-styled vanguard of Hindu society can save its own people and country. 

 

         There is nothing "fundamentalist" or "fascist" about this.  The emancipation of fellow Indian from closed creeds is a very humane and responsible project.  It could best be summed up in the motto with which the Muslim-born humanist Ibn Warraq opens his book Why I Am Not a Muslim: "The best thing we can do for Muslims is to free them from Islam."  More concretely, it is the only way to avoid the extremely bloody conflagrations which are sure to break out if the Muslim and Christian agitators smell victory in ever-larger sections of the country.  As they smell blood, they will become more openly and more fiercely aggressive and Hindus will not go down without a fight; the subsequent loss of life should not be minimized as just one more of those inevitables in history.  The ideologies which pit believer against unbeliever should be neutralized before they can add some more achievements to their ugly record.

 

         As part of this great project, smaller projects such as a Common Civil Code or the restoration of some Hindu sacred sites may be legitimate steps on the way, depending on the circumstances, and even temporary compromises with the hostile forces may be justified in certain cases; but the final goal should be kept uppermost in everyone's mind.  In the case of the organized Hindutva movement, there is reason to fear that amid all its campaigns for limited demands it has lost the awareness of the larger challenge.  Today, when you question Hindutva leaders and ideologues about their puzzling policy of kowtowing before Mohammed and Nehru, the typical answer is that this is all part of a very very clever strategy which you unfortunately haven't understood yet.  Admittedly, victorious strategists have often started out with seemingly self-defeating moves which their underlings didn't understand but which produced the desired results in the long run.  Let the Hindutva spokesmen ask themselves if their own clever tricks have this calibre, and whether they are really outwitting their enemies rather than themselves.

 

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