Friday, August 13, 2010

Guha on Hindu civilization

I have like Ramachandra Guha for his uncomplicated and straight talking eloquence. And he continues to impress me! Here is a quote from his two part interview to Rediff. You can read Part1 and Part 2 of the interveiw here. But to me the highlight of the interview was the following piece.

"In the course of debate, some Congress leaders ridicule lots of characteristics of India.

That's not true. The danger in your comment -- that idea that there was greatness in Indian or Hindu civilisation is like that the Ganga it is immortal, pure and beautiful. Like the Ganga that is polluted from source to sea, Hindu civilisation was polluted. Hindu civilisation practised the most degrading form of social behaviour called untouchability.

Hindu civilisation oppressed its women. In Hindu civilisation there was division of manual labour and mental labour.

The greatness of Gandhi, Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore was that they became critics of their culture. I would rephrase your question and say that as Hindus we were fortunate to have reformers like Gandhi, Ambedkar, Nehru and so on. They pointed to the weaknesses and fault-lines within Hindu culture and civilisation.

By the way, more Hindus vote for the Congress than the BJP so, obviously, they find something attractive in the Congress"

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