Friday, June 26, 2009
Christianity has been responsible for the systematic erasure of countless cultures across continents and centuries while proclaiming to advance the holy "designs" of the One True and Only God. But, as I will show, Imperialism is not an incidental development to the essentially spiritual teachings of Christianity; In fact, the historical evidence points to the exact opposite phenomenon: that Christianity is really war propaganda masquerading as spirituality and that Christianity is imperialist by structure. We tend to dismiss Imperialism as a constituent property of Christianity only because it has a unique ability to falsely implicate the native victims as the real aggressors, not merely at the level of rhetoric but with all the force of theology and conviction of revisionist history.
You will see what I mean if you go through the materials below.
Many of the Western Categories that are prevalent today (e.g. Secularism, Modernity, Orientalism) are directly derived from Christianity; that is to say, the type of war propaganda represented by Christianity is being replicated in many native societies today under such guises as Liberty and Freedom (think of Bush's war in Iraq). Any native who raises objections immediately gets branded as communal, retrograde, refractory, and regressive, just as the ancients were vilified as "unsaved" heathens by the believers of the One True God.
Lastly, after all the demonization, iconoclasm, and deculturation of native societies, a "filler" identity (pagan, heathen, black, hindu) is installed in place of the assaulted native identity. This identity is ideologically oriented since only ideological identities are amenable to propaganda. The previous pre-religious identities had been nonideological, i.e. cultural.
QUOTE: Solution is to expose the methodology and how it is done in the past.
Next show how they make the native population follow the same method to make the native traditions as the oppressor. Indian intellectuals have to see the pattern from the history.
Indian history, Indian education is changed to show the violence and depravity in the Hindu traditions. This grand project is still going on. ENDQUOTE.
(another interview: download or listen online - mp3)
Also see the summary article and table below..
CAESAR'S MESSIAH ; A SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Our understanding of Jewish and Christian history has changed dramatically with the publication of Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill, which had previously been privately published under the title The Roman Origins of Christianity. According to Atwill, the Gospels are not accounts of the ministry of a historical Jewish Jesus compiled by his followers sixty years after his death. They are texts deliberately created to trick Messianic Jews into worshipping the Roman Emperor 'in disguise'. The essence of Atwill's discovery is that the majority of the key events in the life of Jesus are in fact satirical: each is an elegant literary play on a military battle in which the Jewish armies had been defeated by the Romans. This is an extraordinary claim-but supported by all the necessary evidence.
Why would the Romans go to the trouble of writing and disseminating such a text? The Jewish War, culminating in the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, had devastated the Mediterranean economy, and the Romans were anxious to prevent another messianic outbreak, which could easily lead to another 500,000 deaths-as the Bar Kochba revolt would demonstrate a generation later. In order to make any reconstruction of the country lasting, the Romans needed to offer the Jews alternative stories that would distract them from the messianic messages inherent in the Torah, and persuade them to accept Roman values.
Titus Flavius Vespasianus 39-81
According to Atwill, the Romans' solution to these problems was to create a special kind of post-war propaganda. They called it in Greek evangelion, a technical term meaning "good news of military victory." In English, it is translated as "gospel." The name is in fact ironic humor: the Romans were amusing themselves with the notion of making the Jews accept, as the actions of the Messiah Jesus, what were in fact literary echoes of the very battles in which the Romans had defeated the Jews' armies. A further joke was buried in unmistakable parallels between the life of Jesus and that of Titus: in worshiping Jesus, the Jews who adopted Christianity, as it came to be called, were in fact hailing the Emperor of their conquerors as god.
To replace the Torah, then, the Romans created a literary equivalent, the gospel of Matthew (and shortly thereafter the Hellenistic and Roman versions known as Luke and Mark). The central literary character, called Jesus (or Joshua) inhabits a plot with various peculiar features: he begins his efforts by the Lake of Galilee; sends a legion of devils out of a demon-possessed man and into pigs; offers his flesh to be eaten; mentions signs of the destruction of Jerusalem; in Gethsemane a naked man escapes; Jesus is captured at Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives; Simon denies knowing him; he is crucified with two other men and only he survives; he is taken down from the cross by a man called Joseph of Arimathea; his disciple John survives but his disciple Simon is sent off to die in Rome; after his death his disciple Judas dies by eviscerating himself.
Flavius Josephus 37-98?
Each of these peculiar events has a parallel in the writings of Josephus, our main record of the military encounter between the Judeans and their Roman conquerors-even to the unusual crucifixion in which three men are crucified, and a man named Joseph takes one, who survives, down. To give a flavor of the humor buried in this grand Roman joke, we see that where, in Josephus, the crucifixions take place at Thecoe, which translates as the "Village of the Inquiring Mind," the gospel's satiric version takes place at Golgotha, or the "Hill of the Empty Skull."
Events at the Lake of Galilee launch the Judean careers of both Titus and Jesus. There Jesus called his disciples to be 'fishers of men'. There the Roman battle took place in which Titus attacked a band of Jewish rebels led by a leader named Jesus. The rebels fell into the water and those who were not killed by darts "attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off either their heads or their hands" (Jewish War III, 10). Men were indeed pulled out of the water like fish.
As for the episode of the Gadarene swine-in which demons leave a Gadara demoniac at Jesus' bidding and then enter into a herd of 2,000 swine, which rush wildly into the lake and drown-Josephus recounts the Roman campaign in which Vespasian marched against Gadara. In the same way that the demons were concentrated in one demoniac, Josephus describes the faults of all the rebels being concentrated in the one head of the rebel leader John. Then, rushing about "like the wildest of wild beasts," the 2000 rebels rushed over the cliff and drowned.
To take a third example, Josephus describes how Titus went out without his armor (and therefore to a soldier metaphorically naked) in the garden of Gethsemane, was nearly caught and had to flee. The parallel in the gospel of Mark is a naked young man who appears from nowhere in the Garden of Gethsemane and flees.
So far over dozen of these parallels have been identified -many of which had already been discovered by other scholars. But Atwill is the first researcher to have identified the overall pattern. The pattern in each case is the same. This fulfills the criterion for 'good' parallels set out by James R. Davila in his paper 'The Perils of Parallels', University of St Andrews Divinity School, (April 2001), which states that "patterns of parallels are more important than individual parallels" and "the larger and more complex the pattern of parallels, the more we should take them seriously."
Since the events occur in Josephus in exactly the same order as their counterpart events in the Gospels, probability theory can then be used to assess the likelihood that this might be due simply to chance, or instead, that one source copied the other. The calculation shows that it is over 99.9999% certain that one account was written based upon the other. [[[...In statistics, sequence has power. It would be almost impossible for such events to occur in the same sequence in Roman history and the Jesus narrative.]]]
Since it is impossible to imagine that the Romans would have invented accounts of battles taking place in locations marked 50 years earlier by the ministry of Jesus, we need an alternative explanation, of which there is really only one, and it is Atwill's in Caesar's Messiah. The Gospels were written in the late 70s and 80s CE, about the same time as Josephus' The Jewish War. Key events in the life of Jesus were written as literary satires of the Roman battles, ambushes, crucifixions, cannibalisms, etc., in the military campaign of Titus Caesar, as recounted in Josephus. Rather than four different communities separated in time and space writing the NT Gospels (the traditional understanding), they were written together as a single literary undertaking-possibly at the Imperial Court. The Jews who ended up following the false Messianic literary character 'Jesus' would, unbeknownst to them, really be worshipping the Emperor Titus. [[..]]
Professor Robert Eisenman of California State University describes Atwill's research as rendering contemporary Christian scholarship so challenged that it is now "looking into the abyss". It is worth noting, in this regard, that the general scholarly consensus that there was a historical, Jewish Jesus is itself largely a recent historical idea, traceable to Abraham Geiger in the 1860's. He persuaded scholars that the Gospels were an account of a historical Jewish Jesus, a typical Pharisee of his day. Since then this view, and with it the notion of Christianity as a development of Judaism, has become the dominant paradigm in Christianity. However, as the new discoveries in Caesar's Messiah make clear, this is not just misleading, but a dangerous concession to a false system of belief. The Romans created this new religion deliberately to humiliate the Jews and to keep them in submission. For contemporary Jewish scholars to collude with this Roman literary invention, and to even pretend that this fictional character had historic reality, is the height of irony.
In the past, evidence had been put forward to suggest that the NT gospels are literary accounts containing mythological accretions. However, Christians have been able to dismiss that evidence on the grounds that underneath it all there 'must' be a Historical Jesus. Atwill's discovery changes all that. There was no historical Jesus and the Gospels were Roman imitations of Jewish sacred texts created by the Flavian Emperors as ironical 'good news' to deceive the Jews. It is one thing for Christians to use works of literature as their sacred documents. It is quite another for them to continue using what have now been discovered to be deliberate Roman fakes about a non existent Messiah.
JESUS' MINISTRY (The Forerunner)
TITUS' CAMPAIGN (The Messiah)
Start of ministry in
Start of campaign in
"fish" for men
"Swine" run wildly and 2,000 drown
Jesus envisions "signs" occurring before the temple's destruction
Josephus records "signs" that occurred before the temple's destruction
An escape by a naked individual at
An escape by a "naked" individual at
Messiah captured on the
Messiah captured on the
Three are crucified; one survives
Three are crucified, one survives
Joseph "Arimathea" takes survivor down from the cross
Joseph bar Matthias takes survivor down from cross
Simon is the rock upon which the new Church is to be built
Simon is the "rock" upon which the new "Church" will be built
Jesus sends Simon to a martyr's death at
Titus sends Simon to martyr's death at
Judas falsely accuses Jesus, and spills his guts (in the Book of Acts)
Catullus falsely accuses against Josephus, Bernice and Alexander, and spills his guts
Jesus predicts the destruction of the Jewish Temple within one generation and Emperor Titus indeed destroys the Temple. War of the Jews, which contains Josephus' account of Titus' military campaign, was actually included as part of the Gospels until the Middle Ages.
Judaism: revisionist history for the native; deculturate and deracinate; projecting the colonial project into the native's past
The thesis of this book is that the books of the Pentateuch do not go back to the 8th to 6th centuries BCE, but were composed in the period 273-269 BCE in Alexandria. In fact, there were hardly any Jewish books before that date (except for some king lists and other rudimentary archival material – and, I would like to add, some written pieces of the prophets Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah and a few others). The historical books of the Hebrew Bible at any rate cannot be older than 273/89 BCE! Gmirkin proves his case extensively. To mention a few instances: the Creation story in Genesis is not based on Babylonian literature as found in cuneiform texts but was clearly inspired by Berossus, whose Babyloniaka had just appeared and was available in Alexandria. Likewise, the stories of Moses and the Exodus go back to Manetho, whose Aigyptiaka was available in the Library too. The Table of Nations in Genesis exactly fits the political map of the Eastern Mediterranean world in 272/1 BCE, etc. etc. The background to the Pentateuch and in fact to most of the Hebrew Bible is thus political: first Alexander’s conquest of the Near East, then Ptolemy II’s wish to enrich his Library with a description of his Jewish subjects’ history and religion, an Idoudaika. The writers were Jewish Greek-speaking council-members from Jerusalem invited to Alexandria. There they produced both a Hebrew and a Greek version (with minor differences) of their sacred history, a work that had immediate and great success, triggering a whole outburst of Jewish writings in the 3rd century BCE to the 1st CE.
My book has a chapter dealing extensively with the Table of Nations. The division of the nations of the eastern Mediterranean among the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japhet corresponds closely to political boundaries after 278 BCE, with Shem corresponding to Seleucid holdings, Ham to Ptolemaic holdings, and Japhet corresponding to territories falling outside the boundaries of the aforementioned. I would point out in particular that Lydia was joined politically to Syria and Mesopotamia after 278 BCE (and indeed that Sardis was the first Seleucid capital). The grouping of Lydia with the peoples of Mesopotamia is inexplicable at an earlier date, as there is neither ethnic nor linguistic connection. The listing of nations bordering the Red Sea appears to reflect the coastal explorations conducted at the initiative of Ptolemy II Philadelphus.
Balagangadhara; the 'Ethical' in Ethical Monotheism; Normative Ethics as colonial leverage; native culture falsely problematized as deviant from norm
These excerpts argue for a Greek 'philosophical' origin of Normativity. 'Abrahamic' Monotheism uses Normativity to falsely problematize target native cultures as "immoral," "degraded," "fallen," and so on. ]]]]
Regarding the first issue. Yes, I do think that there is a *fundamental divide* between these two cultures as to the nature of the ethical domain. This forum is not the place to argue for it: in a book I have almost completed, I show what this difference is. Very briefly put: the structure of western ethical thinking is ‘normative’ in nature. (That means to say, it makes use of ethical categories like ‘obligatory’, ‘forbidden’ and ‘permissible’ to evaluate actions. Or that the ‘moral ought’ is central to its talk about morality.) By contrast, the Indian ethics is ‘non-normative’. There is no distinction between the ‘normative’ and the ‘factual’ statements in our culture, whereas it is fundamental to the western intellectual thinking. (For example, the scientific statements are seen to be ‘factual’ whereas the ethical statements are said to be ‘normative’ in nature.) You are right, therefore, in sensing that this divide is the backbone to my argument in the passage you cite. This divide, however, is not a simple ‘postulation’ from my side but one based on arguments and evidence which, as I have already said, are not presented in this article. nature.)
1. Are Western traditions innately richer because they have the moral ought?
My answer: No. In fact, in my book on ethics I will prove the following: the non-normative ethics are richer: Under specific assumptions, in limited conditions, one can derive a normative ethics from a non-normative one. The relation between non-normative ethics and normative ethics is analogous to the relation between Einsteinian theory and Newtonian theory: under specific assumptions, in limited conditions, you can derive the Newtonian theory from the Einsteinian theory.
“This absence of the terminology to talk about ethics differentiates the Indian traditions from the Greek culture. That is to say, there is a difference in kind between the Greek ethics and the Indian ethics: one had the words to talk about it, whereas the other does not. Secondly, this difference has some significance regarding the 'reflective' thinking that VL is supposed to exemplify. How is it possible to reason and think about ethics, when you do not even have the words in which to do so? Obviously, you cannot. That is, there is a second kind of difference too, a consequence of the first: the Indian culture did not have the ability to reason and think about ethics. (That is why VL provides “a mosaic-like picture of feelings, attitudes and thoughts”.) Thirdly, if this is the difference that separates Indians from their Greek (or Roman) counterparts, even though coming after the Greeks by almost by a thousand years, the Indian thinkers are at the lower rung of the moral ladder: the Indians (of about a thousand years ago), followed by the Greeks (more than two thousand five hundred years ago), and then the contemporary moral philosophy. There is, however, a degree of difference between the Greeks and the contemporary moral philosophy: the latter is 'more' reflective than the former. [/B] (Pp.96-97)
It is important to note that Ancient Greek, for example, introduced not only the word 'ethica'. The same culture also gave us many substantial treatises on that subject, the most well-known of which is Aristotle's Ethica Nicomachea. If the Indian text, composed around 650- 1200 years ago, does not even have a word for that phenomenon called 'ethics', how could it be an ethical tract at all? It cannot. Hence the reason why the authors discover that the “text does not contain one single general rule stated in the prescriptive mode. General rule of conduct may easily be derived from various statements, but it is significant that the rules are not formulated as such. … The statements are written in the evaluative rather than the normative mode” (p.95). [[[ the author is referring to the Indian text here ]]]
How can one speak about 'ancient' India, when one is talking about a text composed during the 'middle ages'? Here, 'antiquity' does not have a particular time-frame as its reference. Instead, it is civilizational: compared to the 'ancient Greeks' (of about 2500 years ago), the Indian civilization of about 700 years ago is more 'ancient' (i.e. more primitive). Of course, this is not made explicit but it is the only possible interpretation, especially in light of their conclusions.
And then, there was another group as well. For the sake of convenience, let us call them philosophers (those who loved wisdom). We know the names of many such; one of them, the most well-known, is Plato. This philosopher was not happy, either with the bards or with what they did. He felt that the bards incited the crowd into irrational behaviour based on irrational feelings. Instead of inculcating reasonableness, Plato thought, these bards pandered to the emotions of people. Emotions were always bad advisors, especially if they concerned matters of polity. He opposed educating the children (who would be the future Athenians) by teaching them legends and mythologies because such stories, according to Plato, always exaggerated, distorted and lied about the past. In fact, Plato envisioned an ideal state that would ban all the poets and bards into exile; such a state, ruled by a philosopher-king, would be the polis to live in because it alone cultivated reason among its citizens. He opposed ‘myth’ to ‘history’, and ‘emotions’ to ‘reason’. He believed that not myths but history should guide the behaviour of the civilized Athenians. He saw the bards as ‘orators’ and counterposed ‘rhetoric’ (the art of speech) of his time to ‘reason’. Oration cultivated demagogy (that which appealed to the irrationality and the emotions of the crowd) and thus poisoned the youth, whereas philosophy cultivated reason.
These two tendencies were apparently each other’s rivals in the Athens of so-long-ago. However, before either of the tendencies could gain dominance, the Greek civilization collapsed. In the future, the torch lit in Athens would be carried only partially by the Roman Empire.
Why is there such an asymmetry? It has to do with what colonialism is also about: establishing frameworks of inquiry into the nature of human beings and societies through the use of power and violence (S. N. Balagangadhara et al., 2008). Once established and generalized, such frameworks continue to draw their legitimacy through sources other than those that are cognitive in nature. Today, it appears to me, this legitimizing process has reached its apotheosis in the guise of an attitude that suggests that a science of culture and the sciences of the social are simply impossible because of human and epistemic limitations. Needless to say, a persistent ‘anti-scientific’ attitude adds fodder to such an attitude.
Actually, the act goes beyond transformation: terrorism is trans-substantiated crime. “Trans-substantiation” refers to the miraculous transformation of some particular substance into another one. (During the Mass, for instance, Roman-Catholics believe that bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ.) This happens in the case of terrorism as well: crime becomes morally praiseworthy. It does not concern so much a particular crime, but rather the transformation of the entire domain of crime. This trans-substantiation results in the re-presentation of crime as morally praiseworthy. We suggest that what brings about this “miracle” is an ideology, which we would like to call “the ideology of crime.” It is our hypothesis that such an ideology exists today and that acts of crime can become acts of terrorism because of what this ideology does and how it does so.
[[[[ Note: Trans-substantiation as portrayed in the Roman Gospels encompasses getting the colonized (ie Jews) to feast (ironically) on their own awaited Messiah, whose identity is actually overtaken (again ironically) by the colonial power. This would suggest that one function of the gospels was to normalize the crimes of the colonial power (eg terrorism) by redescribing colonial pressures as a self-affliction (leading to salvation)...]]]
One of the running threads in Western ethical thought is Glaucon’s challenge to Socrates in Plato’s Republic: “Why ought I be moral?” Like all threads running through a rich tapestry, at times it has been prominent and at others nearly invisible: here the picture and there the ground. Whatever the case, in this or that ethical theory at some place and time, it could be reasonably said of the Western ethical systems that they presuppose the necessity for giving reasons (whatever they might be) why human beings ought to behave morally. That is, the idea is that the self requires a reason (or reasons) for behaving morally. ‘Reason’, as I use it here, need not be restricted to mean ‘rational argument’. It merely refers to some kind of plausibility consideration which, as we know only too well today, is contextually dependent.
My suggestion is that Glaucon’s challenge is not intelligible within our intuitive world models. The reason why this is so is because moral actions and moral relations are constitutive of that very entity which is supposed to make moral choices, viz., the ‘self’ or the moral agent.
The contrast with Western ethical thought is again instructive in this regard. Ever since Homer, it has been a rather characteristic trait of Western thinking that moral phenomena pertained only to the domain of human intercourse. The relation of Man to Nature fell outside the scope of moral life: where it does enter into discussion at all, it does so derivatively in terms of, say, the consequences of such actions on future generations. Inanimate Nature, non- and quasi-sentient animals, on their part, could not enter into any moral relationship with human beings because they lacked the faculty or the capacity to ‘reason’ (or whatever) by exercising which moral choices and decisions could be made. Morality came into play only when both the relata in the relationship were moral agents and Nature disqualified herself from being one. In the best of cases, Nature was indifferent to man’s striving to realize a moral world. At worst, she was hostile to such an endeavour.
3. There is another, albeit related, point to the previous hypothesis. In a culture where ‘selves’ are not reflexive at all or are only partially so, but one whose ideal (or ‘self-image’) is governed by that of reflexivity, stories continue to be important but in a transmuted form. They continue to depict events and situations, but are powerless to teach. That is, they retain their instructional nature without being able to instruct. There is such a genre in Western culture: utopian thought. They are instructional in nature without really instructing. (That is exactly what the moral imperatives, the ‘oughts’, are.) They depict events and situations which are not “real”, i.e., not the “is’, but out-side of it, viz., in utopia. They depict “non-real” situations and events with the explicit claim of doing so. Because of this, they can continue to exist only if they entertain and that depends on the ‘aesthetic’ taste of the population at any given moment. The modern day utopian thought is known well enough to all of us to recognize it as so without doubt: science fiction.
4. If we learn to be moral beings through mimesis, it means that moral and ethical actions must be susceptible to being mimed. Contrast this stance with that of the West: a moral individual (an ideal priest or, say, Jesus Christ) is inimitable in principle. That is, a moral individual is actually a message, which does not say “be like me”, but one which proclaims “hope” for the humankind, brings “glad tidings” so to speak. And the “hope” is that the presence of such an inimitable, excep-tional individual will “save” humankind. If one is “righteous”, it is not only because that is the way to one’s ‘salvation’, but more importantly, because the salvation of humankind depends upon the “righteous” being present amongst them. One is “moral” so that other ‘sinners’ may be delivered from their ‘sins’. Such figures cannot influence daily life positively, but do so negatively viz., as examples of what we ordinary mortals, cannot be. They are, literally, the embodiments of ‘ought’ and, as such, outside the ‘is’ (Not every human being can be an ideal priest or even, as the exam-ples tell us, ought to be one.)
In Asia, such an ‘ought’ is no moral example at all. A moral action must be capable of emulation in daily life and only as such can someone be an ‘example’. Moral actions are actions that a son, a father, a friend, a teacher, a wife, etc., can perform as a son, a father, a friend, a teacher, a wife, etc. Either moral actions are realizable in this world, and in circumstances we find ourselves in our daily lives or they are not moral actions at all. Therefore, those real or fictitious individuals whose ac-tions we mime and who are, consequently, construed as ‘exemplary’ individuals cannot find them-selves ‘outside’ our world, but in situations analogous to our own. (Such a view is consistent with our models of ‘self’, for obvious reasons.)
[[[The monotheist proclaimations of "hope" and "good news" are ironic and satiric instances (e.g., 'good news' or evangelion refers specifically to the 'good news of military victory' i.e., subjugation. These western paradigms are "powerless to teach" and are thus conducive to mass propaganda, if not synonymous. Persons culturated in such a manner tend to see heathen cultures as similar instances of propaganda. Thus, the tilak becomes a mark of supremacy; the native american peace pipe becomes a symbol of 'religious' hypocrisy; and sons following the professions of their fathers and grandfathers becomes a dystopic caste "system".]]]
Let me repeat what I said in my earlier column: colonialism is not merely a process of occupying lands and extracting revenues. It is not a question of encouraging us to ape the western countries in trying to be like them. It is not even about colonising the imaginations of a people by making them dream that they too will become 'modern', developed and sophisticated. It goes deeper than any of these. It is about denying the colonised peoples and cultures their own experiences; of making them aliens to themselves; of actively preventing any description of their own experiences except in terms defined by the colonisers.The European culture mapped on to itself aspects from the Indian culture so as to understand the latter. These mappings, in the form of explanations, have taken the status of frameworks to us. Liberalism, Marxism, secularism, etc
Judaism as Revisionist history for the native. The native is himself a colonizer. Projecting the colonial system into the native's past
In much the same way, the British-sponsored Aryan Invasion Theory portrayed South and North Indians as culturally and ideologically antagonistic. It is now conclusively known that the AIT is a revisionist history for the subcontinent. The theory actually originates as a "logical" historical scenario for the British projection of an all-encompassing text-based caste "system" onto Indian society (see below). Per the Ghent group (Balagangadhara), the diverse traditions found in India were subsumed and problematized under the normative category of Hinduism; that is, the diverse native traditions and practices were "systemized" as the "expressions" of an oppressive and dystopic system ie the caste "system", the ideology of which constituted the "practiced" 'religion' of Hinduism and determined Indian social reality. And the Aryan Invasion Theory was, in turn, constructed as an ad hoc historical explanation for the 'creation' or emergence of such an overarching social "system". The elaboration of the AIT was thus an ideological enterprise camouflaged under the rubrics of social science and history which interjected 'Normative Ideology' as the determinant of Indian social reality. The previous Aryan colonizer foreshadowed and legitimized the British Empire (and British colonial project) just as the Israelite foreshadowed the Greek Empire in the East. The Aryan was thus deemed the agent of ideological-historical change who transformed the static Indian and actuated Indian history from an 'amorphous' "past".
Similarly, the righteous monotheist Israelite was a returnee to his divinely gifted land, a divine colonizer and the agent of historical and progressive change among the static Canaanites. The Israelite was wronged both by his native kin, the Canaanite, who insisted on continuing his culture (problematized in ideological terms as an instance of "polytheist religion") and by the (Ptolemaic) Egyptians (who unfairly deprived the Israelite of his divine mantle) and was guided in his "reformist" (monotheist) endeavors by the Lord God himself. By extension, the 'Promised Land' was a legitimizing decree for imperialist land grab, just as 'Manifest Destiny' legitimized the "settling" and appropriation of the native americas and the AIT served to legitimize British rule in India. Monotheism was most definitely a colonial construct.
- implied that Hinduism was not an authentically Indian religion but the result of cultural imperialism
The Caste System and Aryan Invasion Theory
The controversy about the Aryan Invasion Theory has occupied scholars from several domains over the last few decades. The advocates of this theory claim that a Sanskrit-speaking Aryan people invaded or entered India around 1500 BC and brought along a language, religion and social structure, which they imposed on the indigenous population. The opponents claim that the Aryan people, their language and religion have always been present in India and hence that an invasion could never have happened. When we analyze the arguments from both sides, these sustain only one general conclusion: India has a long history of co-existence and cross-fertilization of different groups of people, cultural traditions, languages, etc. Given the trivial nature of this conclusion, the question becomes: why have so many scholars debated the Aryan Invasion Theory with such passion? To answer this question, my paper looks at how the Aryan Invasion Theory was developed in the nineteenth century. I argue that the theory itself did not emerge from empirical evidence or scientific theorizing about the Indian languages, archaeology or history. Instead this theory developed as an explanation of two entities central to the European experience of India: the caste system and Hinduism as a degeneration of Vedic religion. The Aryan Invasion Theory not only explained how the caste system came into being, it also accounted for the degeneration of the religion of the Vedas and allowed for the classification of its evolution into three main phases: Vedism, Brahmanism and Hinduism. The contemporary debate shows that it remains impossible to defend the occurrence of an Aryan invasion on the basis of the available linguistic, archaeological and other evidence. However, the significance of the Aryan invasion controversy becomes intelligible when one realizes that this theory did not emerge as a description of real historical events. Rather, it is a theory that explained entities which exist only in the European experience of India. As such, if we desire to understand how the ‘Aryan invasion' as well as the ‘caste system', ‘Brahmanism' and other related concepts came into being, we need to study the development of Western culture.
In a way, Islamic imperialism was nothing new. It had a model to follow in Christianity which had a similar mandate, but it too made significant contribution to the doctrine of imperialism. It gave us the concepts of darul-harb (non-Muslim world) and darul-Islam (Islamic world), the former subject to permanent jehad (holy war), subjugation, enslavement and even slaughter of the latter, other important concepts were booty (al-ghanimah), zimmi and jazia, etc. Islam believed that the world belonged to the believers and the infidels were mere squatters, it had to be repossessed.
Then came the Europen Era. India's contact with Europe was not negative. Through it, India came to know a world it had to know. It also received from this source unintended political help. Islamic powers in the middle-east and Central Asia and denied them sea lanes; this weakened Islamic encirclement of India gave local freedom forces a better chance to assert themselves.
India's first major contact began when Vasco da Gama landed with gunboat and priests. The newcomers were not only pirates and merchants but also believing Christians; they had the pope's mandate to convert heathens in the lands they took possession of. They found that the natives had a flourishing religion of their own. They took to destroying their temples in earnest. Within decades of their occupation of small coastal parts, they had destroyed according to their own records 601 temples in 131 villages - all important Christian Orders taking part in this pious work. Franciscan friars destroyed 300 temples in Bardez, Jesuits 280 in Salcete. St. Francis Xavier who fully participated in this meritorous work wrote back home: "As soon as I arrived in any heathen village ..... When all are baptised I order all the temples of their false gods to be destroyed and all the idols to be broken to pieces. I can give you no idea of the joy I feel in seeing this done."
Hindus got relief from the active religious persecution when the British came. But they too were not without a powerful missionary lobby of their own whose aims were no different from other Christian missions. Though the missions were not allowed to apply their usual muscular methods, they were free to propagate their religion. Their aim was conversion of heathens to the true faith and to that end they began to attack Hinduism in different ways. They attacked it for having too many gods, not one of them the right Biblical God; they attacked it for being idolatrous; they attacked all its leading ideas - karma, incarnation, moksha, compassion for all being, etc.
The attack on Hindu religion was supported by attack on the Hindu people and society. Hindu rites, customs were all evil, and their morals and manners even worse, if that were possible. With so much depravity around and and with such fine and disinterested teachers at hand, they looked forward to a Christian India in not too distant future. The colonial administrator was not unsympathetic to the missionary attack. Though he discouraged its excesses, he found it useful. He knew that Hinduism was India's definition and its deepest and also its principle of unity and regeneration and unless this principle was attacked, India could not be necessarily ruled; he knew that what upheld Hinduism also upheld India and its political struggle. A people who had lost pride in themselves, who were demoralised were welcome to him.
Colonial scholars reinforced the missionary attack by their own from another angle. They taught that India was not one country, that it was a miscellany of people, that it had never known independence, that it had always been under the rule of foreign invaders. The rulers had a clear motive, a clear goal. They wanted an India which had no identity, no vision of its own, no native class of people respected for their leadership. They were to be replaced as far as it lay in their power by a new class of intellectual comparadores. Meanwhile, the concerted attacks succeeded. They were internalised and we made them our own. There was a crop of "reformers" who wanted India to change to the satisfaction of its critics. Above all, there appeared a class of Hindu-hating Hindus who knew all the bad things about Hinduism. Earlier invaders ruled through the sword. The British ruled through "Indology". The British took over our education and taught us to look at ourselves through their eyes. They created a class Indian in blood and colour, but anti-Hindu in its intellectual and emotional orientation. This is the biggest problem rising India faces - the problem of self-alienated Hindus.
The missionary-colonial attack was reinforced by another attack - Marxism. Its source too was Europe and it was even more Eurocentric than regular Imperialism. It used radical slogans but its aims were reactionary. It taught that Europe was the centre and rest of the world its periphery - not by chance but by an inherent dialectics of History. Marx fully shared the contempt of British Imperialists for India. He said: "Indian society has no history at all, at least no known history. What we call its history, is but the history of succesive intruders." He also said that India neither knew freedom nor deserved it. To him the question was "not whether the English had a right to conquer India, but whether we are to prefer India conquered by the Briton." This also became the faith of his Indian pupils.
In India, Macaulayism prepared the ground for Marxism - early Marxists were recruited from Macaulayites. Marxism in turn gave Macaulayism a radical look and made it attractive for a whole new class. While Marxists served European Imperialism, they also fell in love with all old Imperialist invaders, particularly Muslim ones. M.N. Roy found the Arab Empire a "magnificient monument to the memory of Mohammad." While the Marxists found British Imperialism "progressive", they opposed the country's national struggle as reactionary. They learnt to work closely with Muslims both during and after Independence.
It is widely agreed that India's independence struggle derives from Hindu Renaissance, but it is not equally realised that it can also only be sustained by it. Hinduism is the principle of India's self-renewal. Anything that hurts that principle hurts India, hurts its civilisational role, therefore, hurts future religious humanity.
"Organiser", Dec. 10th, 1995
Rajeev Srinivasan: Monotheism does not add to native cultural diversity; Monotheism destroys diversity; Monotheism is a "solution" to diversity
The problem is monoculture (as reflected in monotheism and other such mono-manias). Each of the Semitic belief systems considers itself the one and only answer to all the problems of mankind. Therefore their Final Solution is to wipe out all other possible answers. From the point of view of those being wiped out, who undergoing “cultural genocide”, as the Dalai Lama put it, this is understandably a life-and-death matter. From the point of view of humanity as a whole, monocultures (remember the potato blight) are susceptible to catastrophic failure, and diversity is necessity for the system to evolve and respond to unforeseen events. Thus monocultures are not good for homo sapiens or the environment.
This is why it is deeply disturbing that the UPA government is so obviously on the side of the Semitics. It has demonstrated utterly craven behavior, imposing restrictions on refugee Tibetans and exiling Nasrin, as well as turning a blind eye to Communist and ‘Dravidian’ violence and oppression of Indic beliefs. Indic tolerance has been turned into dhimmitude.
Let us contrast this with what Swami Vivekananda said on September 11th, 1893 (yes, exactly 108 years to the day prior to 9/11) at the Parliament of Religions: “I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation”. There is nothing to be proud of, only shame, in UPA-ruled India.
There is another point to ponder: consider all the divided nations that came into being a few decades ago: Germany, Vietnam, Korea, India. Germany and Vietnam have been re-united, and Korea will be, soon. But India will never be able to reunite the land masses of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Why? Those have become subject to a clean Final Solution of Semiticization: the Indics have been extinguished.
Final Solutions have worked for Semitics in many other places too before: they wiped out the native civilizations of Latin America, North America, Europe, West Asia, Central Asia, the Philippines, Australia, and so on. They are in the process of doing so in Korea and in the Indian Northeast. Theirs is not an idle threat; those who are in the gunsights of the Semites need to realize this is possibly the end of the line for them. They need to resist: no point going like lambs to the gas chamber. Resistance, armed and violent if necessary, is the only answer. There is no point in chanting the Vedas to a raging bull. Pacifism leads to extinction.
Tibet’s torture is a continuation of an earlier attempt Final Solution: circa 1192 CE, Bakhtiar Khilji wiped out Nalanda, burned the great library, and beheaded all the monks he could find. The handful who escaped with their lives established Tibetan Buddhism. It is ironic but not surprising that the Han Chinese Communists, a millennium later, are attempting to wipe out Tibetan Buddhism. This fits into a broad Communist – Mohammedan axis.
The rest of us Indics cannot stand by idly and let this happen. For, it is Tibetans today, it is the rest of the Indics once Tibet has been completely taken over. We have to rage, rage against the fading of the light; we cannot go gentle into that good night.
March 31, 2008
I don't believe that any one of us has all the answers but we can piece together much of what we need from different sources.
IMO, there are only four monotheisms: Christianity, Islam, Communism, and Western Grand Narrative (Secularism, Liberalism, Manifest Destiny, Racism, American Individualism, etc). Advaita, Buddh"ism", Chinese traditions, and so on are 'experiential' entities and not 'belief' and ideological entities in the fashion of monotheism. There are authors (namely the Ghent group) which have systematically explored the differences between orthopraxic heathen traditions and the orthodox believer "religions". Centralization as seen with China, Mauryas, are not same as the religions required to prop up empires.
Under colonial conditions, a monotheist veneer can be imparted to these traditions; thus we can now speak of Sikh monotheism, Brahmo Samaj, and Buddhism as protest against "brahmanism". As said by Shri Ram Swarup, the British ruled through Indology. But the Gurus are not prophets militating against the unbelief of idolators; this is a simply "point" reinterpretation by Indology and imparted to susceptible elements in the community with colonial intent. The point is that the lineage of "prophetic gurus" is revisionist history and reinterpretation of an authentic tradition of gurus.
Judaism is remarkable in that, unlike Christianity and Islam, there is not just one prophet, nor is there an abrogation of previous versions of the revelation. In fact, in the first century "kingdom", there was a veritable proliferation of prophets, all predicting end of the persecuting Empire. "Last Prophet" psyops was instituted only with Christianity, quietening the revolutionary chatterati.
The Sikh guru lineage ended with the martyred sons of Guru Gobindji. Upon this edifice was instituted the colonial indology's claims of the gurus abolishing idolatry and the like. Apparently the Gurus were all consummate anti-Hindus and their anti-empire efforts were all incidental posturing. To us, the revisionist history is obvious, but the multiplicity of Judaic prophets all similarly have Bel and El inscribed within their names. OT Genesis' geopolitical landscape (Shem, Ham, Japeth) is an exact match for the Alexandrian successor empires (Seleucid, Ptolemaic, and mainland). No other period of history has a correspondence even in broad outline.
pan-Europe concept only came with Christianity. Why were they not able to evolve a Bharatiya or Han-type identity with an intact "polytheism"?
And then we have the interesting statements from the Ghent group localizing Normative Ethics to the 'Ethica Nichomachea' of Aristotle (the article has been apparently deleted from Sulekha). Aristotle is Alexander's "teacher".
Monotheism has an inbuilt mechanism to escape the scrutiny of the victim. The victim's gaze is directed elsewhere, eg the native ancestor, while imperial action as such remains unexamined. the victim will even celebrate his capitulation as revolution and his degradation as self-assertion. Under these circumstances, it is incredulous to expect some nondescript tribe in Palestina to come up with Monotheism.