Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Remember when Hindus used to be the people who followed Mohandas K. Gandhi around doing good things for India and bad things for the British? Remember when they gave him the title Mahatma, or Great Soul? You probably know Hindus who have said to you that, historically, they have made great strides by incorporating external ideas into their existing ancient framework, so that history has only increased their knowledge and wisdom, not limited them. What you probably forgot was it was a Hindu who killed Gandhi. Today, that's a lot easier to remember. It's been fewer that two decades since Hindus in India's Western State of Gujarat decided to take on the spiritual attire of the Taliban and kill Muslims as readily as them. Oh, I know what Hindus are saying nowadays. They're saying things like, "We've been letting them walk over us too long!" Hey, no matter what, there are 85% Hindus in India compared with maybe 10-12% Muslims, so where's the threat coming from! Northern California Hindu parents send their kids to certain religious-based camps to learn how to do a hard days work and how to appreciate that Hindus are the best of all things under God's creation. And why not! Everyone else is also a chosen people. Except that Gandhi wasn't about any of that stuff, and some of these insidious camps use his name to promote their own vices, like inculcating kids into RSS ideology, a reactionary Hindu cultural entity. Gandhi encouraged high caste (yep, it's still around) Hindus to share food with Muslims and what he called "Harijans", Children of God, Hindu untouchables. None of that sentiment is practiced at some camps that freely use the Great Soul's name. Rather, such places are training grounds that turn what would have been normal American children into abnormal quasi-Indian children -- children who may have ended up being trained by their parents to feel out of place in both of their places. That's a difficult assignment, but mission accomplished, Sri Joshi! India is the disembodied, unintegrated, out-of-context, idealized dream, and the Bay Area is the familiar but ignorant place where Hindus like us are not understood. That leaves only "the family" as a place of comfort, which is fine for the more manipulative of Hindu parents out there. But don't kids wise up and react badly sometimes? Yes, they sometimes do. Sometimes, they say yes to Mommy and Daddy up to and including arranged marriage, and then dispassionately plunder Mommy and Daddy for all the money they can because they have done their duty. Others go overboard the other way and disavow their Hindu heritage entirely. Who knows where these people will land and how they will live. It's all a crap shoot anyway, but becoming like the Taliban is worse than being the Taliban itself. It mocks the best of Hindu culture and history, and cuts it off from its deeper meaning. Indian Kids raised outside the context of India will always be outsiders in a very real way, just like every child of immigrant parents raised in a different country. That's why John and Ruth Hill Useem coined the term "Third Culture". Give their works a good read. And don't believe any of that Hindu BS. Razing a mosque in exchange for a Hindu temple is not a higher act in anyone's culture or religious context. It's an act of barbarity.

5 Comments:

At Fri Jul 28, 04:22:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wot you say about mumbai bombing then...
2 hindus for every mussalman?

 
At Fri Jul 28, 04:38:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

wot you say about mumbai bombing then...
2 hindus for every mussalman?

Fri Jul 28, 04:22:44 PM PDT

 
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