The Residue of Macaulayism – A brilliant analysis by Sita Ram Goel

Almost everyone who wants to portray himself/herself as an educated liberal in India claims to be a ‘voracious reader’. The phrase itself is an indication of erudition, modernity, intellectualism, etc. (you name it). This often leads one to book clubs/ literary fests which only add to one’s sense of vanity and intellectual pride. If things progress at the right pace, the well moulded ‘Macaulayputra‘ is ready to take on the world by the time he/she reaches mid-twenties if not the early thirties.

Any opportunity for correction or reconsideration of one’s ideological or political leanings often vanishes after this point. As a person who has probably met ideal Macaulayputras, I found this thread on Twitter by Hindus United extremely enlightening.

The thread is actually a bunch of quotes from Sita Ram Goel’s book ‘Hindu Society Under Siege’.  Eventually, I ended up reading the entire chapter titled ‘The Residue of Macaulayism‘ from Sita Ram Goel’s book ‘Hindu Society Under Siege’.

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Sita Ram Goel was a staunch communist who reverted to Hinduism after escaping from the brutal attack on Hindus in Calcutta during the direct action day launched by Jinnah on August 16th, 1946. After this event, he became a critique of Islam and Christianity. In his analysis of ‘modern’ Hindus who are ashamed of their own heritage and country, he scrutinizes the ways and means of a ‘Macaulayputra’. (The term Macaulayputra is used for the sake of brevity & clarity. It does not appear in the Mr Goel’s chapter). In his clinical analysis, Goel identifies the paralysing processes ingrained in Hindu intelligentsia. Two out of the five processes listed by Goel are reproduced below.

  • A sceptical, if not negative, attitude towards Hindu spirituality, cultural creations and social institutions with solemn airs of scholarship and superior knowledge. Nothing in Hindu India, past or present, is to be approved unless recognised and recommended by an appropriate authority in the West;
  • A positive, if not worshipful, attitude towards everything in Western society and culture, past as well present, in the name of progress, reason and science. Nothing from the West is to be rejected unless it has first been weighed and found wanting by a Western evaluation;

This describes the present day intellectuals from JNU or some other left-leaning newspaper/think tank. They often prefer to quote some western sociologist or philosopher. For them, Kant, Nietzche, are more palatable than Adi Shankara, Buddha, Tagore and Kalidasa. Our education system also reflects this bias because the syllabus is set by the same category of ‘intellectuals’.

Another key part of the chapter is worth reproducing here. Mr Goel analyses the hypocrisy of ‘intellectual’ and ‘secular-liberal’ Hindus when it comes to defending their own rights. Goel writes (emphasis added) :

The traditional Hindu, however, does get stirred when the Muslims and Christians cross the limits and threaten the unity and integrity of his country. He does want to retain his majority in his only homeland against Muslim and Christian attempts to reduce him to a minority by fraudulent mass conversions. He does believe that Hindu society and culture have a right to survive and put up some defence in exercise of that right.

But the Hindu addict of Macaulayism stubbornly refuses to concede that right to Hindu society and culture. He cannot see the need for defence because he cannot see the danger. And he has many strings to his bow to run down the Hindu who dares defy his diktat.

This aptly describes the modern intellectual who always criticises the Indian Army in Kashmir for killing militants but does not have any problems with stone pelters. The Macaulayputra has problems with Jallikattu but has no issues with cow slaughter. Again, secularists have problems with ‘gharwapsi’, and not proselytisation or ‘love-jihad’. This list is a long one. Goel continues (emphasis added) :

His attitude can be summarised as follows:

  • To start with, he refuses to recognise any danger to Hindu society and culture even when irrefutable facts are placed under his nose. He accuses and denounces as alarmists, communalists, chauvinists and fascists all those who give a call for self-defence to the Hindus. Better, he explains away the aggression from other faiths in terms of the aggression which Hindu communalism has committed in the first instance;
  •  Next, he paints a pitiful picture of the aggressor as a poor, deprived and down-trodden minority whom the Hindus refuse to recognise as equal citizens, constitutionally entitled to a just share in the national cake;

A classic example of this Manmohan Singh’s infamous ‘Muslims must have the first claim on resources’ remark. In an older article, I had highlighted how activists like Harsh Mander further this sort of argument very often. Of course, we can’t forget intellectuals who wanted Afzal Guru’s death sentence to be cancelled (emphasis added) :

  •  At a later stage, he assumes sanctimonious airs and assigns to the Hindus an inescapable moral responsibility to rescue their less privileged brethren from the plight into which the Hindus have pressed them. In any case, the Hindus stand to lose nothing substantial if they make some generous gestures to their younger brethren even if the latter is slightly in the wrong;
  • In the next round, he harangues the Hindus that any danger to them, if really real and worth worrying about, arises not from an external aggression against them but from the injustice and oppression in their own social system which drives away its less privileged sections towards other social systems based on better premises and promises. Does not Islam promise an equality of social status because of its great ideal of the brotherhood of men? Does not Christianity present an example of dedicated social service a la Mother Teresa?
  •  If the Hindus are not convinced by all these arguments and become bent upon organising some sort of a self-defence, he comes out with a fool-proof formula for that eventuality as well. The Hindus are advised to put their own house in order which, in his opinion, is the best defence they can put up. They should immediately abolish the caste system, start inter-dining and inter-marrying between the upper and lower castes, particularly the Harijans, and so on and so forth.
  • It never occurs to him that social reform is a slow process which takes time to mature and that in the meanwhile a society is entitled to self-defence in the interests of its sheer survival;

This argument was actively propagated when the Supreme court case on Triple Talaq was going on. In fact, a well known Supreme Court lawyer called outlawing of Triple Talaq as a violation of free speech and propped up marital rape as a pressing issue which should be dealt first (emphasis added).

  •  If the Hindus still remain adamant, he tries his last and best ballistics upon them. He suddenly puts on a spiritual mask and lovingly appeals to the Hindus in the name of their long tradition of religious tolerance. How can the followers of Gautama and Gandhi descend to the same level as Islam and Christianity which have never known religious tolerance?
  • The Hindus would cease to be Hindus if they also start behaving like followers of the Semitic faiths which have been conditioned differently due to historical circumstances of their birth. But he never dares put in one single word of advice to the followers of Islamism and Christianism to desist from always having it their own way.
  • He knows it in his bones that such an advice will immediately bring upon his head the same abusive accusations which Islamism and Christianism hurl at the Hindus. This is the outcome which he dreads worse than death. He cannot risk his reputation for being secular and progressive which Islamism and Christianism confer upon him only so long as he defends their tirades against the Hindus.

We might have as well reached the last stem of this routine with Shashi Tharoor’s book ‘Why I am a Hindu’ where he asks Hindus to be ‘true Hindus’ and forget Hindutva. Though we may have understood bits and pieces of secular propaganda on a case to case basis, Sita Ram Goel in his chapter ‘The Residue of Macaulayism‘ provides a brilliant and comprehensive analysis that is worth reading completely.

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