Hindu Vivek Kendra


There is an epistemological hiatus between the traditional and the modern (Western) modes of scholarship.  Our cultural roots are best understood in our traditional scholastic mode.  The need is to reinterpret and explicate these in the modern mode, if one is looking towards a self-respecting elite well rooted in and w611 aware of its own ethos, since this elite comes from the university environment which makes it receptive only to the modernist idiom by training and inclination.

This is the phenomenal advantage that the Marxists enjoy which helps them convince, of its doctrinal infallibility and analytic superiority, the youth of the college and the university in the urban setting (incidentally this is the ground where ideas are absorbed, internalised and then propagated). Their scholarship is massive, idiom understandable both to the elite and the dispossessed, and their language contemporary (this inspite of the fact that within its own analytic categories and philosophical framework, ft can be shown to be incapable of leading to anything but tyranny)-That is why they become successful in rewriting histories and can launch powerful protest movements whenever there is an attempt to correct an aberration.

At the intellectual level, the principle battle is with Marxist view point and idiom, since ft is this idiom which is shared by all from the centre to the extreme left and that is a huge number.  It needs no emphasis that it is this idiom that has shaped the universe of discourse in India and has conditioned the state to be apathetic to anything but what can be articulated in its phraseology only.  Here the success is predicated upon the commitment of a large body of intellectuals using shared discourse, language and idiom (shared also with the West) and doing great scholarship successfully to rewrite history, polity and spirituality on India. The legitimacy came since the advanced and dominant civilizational corpus of the West found it simple and easy to understand this language than any other, That is why they understand Nehru much more, read him a lot more, interpret India through his glasses, than say a Gandhi or a Tilak inspite of the fact that they may have an exalted halo around them.

All this work was done by their think tank institutions at various universities, myriad Developmental Studies Centres, their journals, science movements and field agencies. The effectiveness can be gauged by the fact that though a large number of men find reality quite contrary to the ideological lessons, yet they can neither rid themselves of the prejudice nor the idiom since they would feel helpless otherwise. It is, therefore, absolutely essential that institutions or similar mechanisms be started with a core body of competent intellectuals that would develop a view of India in an idiom different from the Marxist one but closer to the Western liberal one that harmonises with the given Indian ethos. I am only talking about the language in which the discourse has to be carried out and not about twisting facts. (We don't require this at all, for if only the truth were told and made to settle in the minds of people most of the problems would sort themselves out automatically.) It is pathetic that we don't have any widely read journal competing with, say an Economical and Political Weekly (EPW) or a Mainstream or a Seminar, or at least one at that level of sophistication or general intellectual acceptance.

My feeling is that unless a high quality modern scholarship develops in a non-Marxist framework in India, all our efforts would be in vain. We would not be able to create a stable tradition of scholarship and discourse that would do justice to our nation. Truth itself is insufficient, its articulation in an understood idiom is essential for its completion. That idiom has to be created. I think it exists in a synthesis of our traditional cultural and the liberal Western idiom. Else the world shall only go on seeing us through schools with steam-age philosophical competence, moral bankruptcy and spiritual emptiness. The absence of such a force has been of great benefit to the apologists of Stalin, so much so that not even for a moment did anyone ask for their past records when the USSR fell and they continue as powerful as ever, as arrogant as ever.

It is not necessarily true that only the Marxist mind has to be contended with. What must be clearly understood is that since the social sciences have in a large measure absorbed these categories in discourse and analyses, a host of intellectuals, not committed to Marxism itself employ these tools and see out situation thus.  This hopelessly reduces both the reach and the content of our civilization since these categories fail to capture anything more than a mere fragment of a cultural corpus.

'Dr.Raina is an independent scholar. We are publishing his observation since it is a lucid and logical presentation of the manner in which debates are conducted at the intellectual level.

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