03 December, 2020

Orientalist Confection

Sharma's study of Golwalkar's worldview shows beyond a shadow of doubt that it is the very antithesis of what holds us Indians together.

Orientalist Confection
What drove a small-town lecturer of zoology to scale the summit of the RSS hierarchy, remain there unchallenged for more than three decades, and leave behind a legacy which still inspires and guides swayamsevaks by the thousands? Jyotirmaya Sharma’s insightful book is an astonishing, even alarming, appraisal of M.S. Golwalkar. He argues with impressive evidence that Golwalkar’s key ideas were in fact half-digested borrowings from European thinkers, especially of European Orientalists, of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Besides—and this is the alarming bit— Golwalkar never budged an inch from any of these ideas in the three decades that he led the RSS. As a result, it never struck him to ponder over the basic flaws in his outlook. He subscribed, for instance, to the idea of India steeped in Advaita, but still demonised, in a very un-Advaita fashion, its Muslims and Christians. Again, the votary of Hindu nationalism, in his zeal to inculcate ‘character’ and ‘discipline’ in his flock, expended no energy in ameliorating the miserable...



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