Bhagwati Denies Communalism


Jagdish Bhagwati in an interview with Barkha Dutta (Source: NDTV website)

 

Jagdish Bhagwati’s opinions aired on NDTV and his op-ed in LiveMint are both laughable and obnoxious.

In the op-ed he begins with the classic Friend Argument. Talking about how his family and friends are ‘minorities’ and how that makes him “pro-minorities”, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.

He then goes on to use the not-all-Hindus rhetoric, painting a picture of the likes of Mohan Bhagwat (who controls the biggest Hindutva group, the parent organisation of the ruling party, and not to mention the fact that he is the mentor of the Prime Minister) as being outliers among Hindus. He also denies that the Modi government has any responsibility over nutjobs like Bhagwat. While I do not think that every single Hindu is responsible for Bhagwat or the attacks, shrugging them off as fringe elements, when they clearly are not (especially when they are afforded generous platforms in national public TV and radio by the present government), is at best irresponsible and at worst enabling of such lunatics.

Then he has the nerve to ask Christians to “relax”, while denying communal motivation in any of the church attacks. His only reference for the denial being Rupa Subramanya (yes, the same person who shrugged off untouchability as a matter of hygiene), whose “admirable investigative report” is nothing but an anthology of police statements which she gulped down as facts without any questions asked.

Then he ends it all with such nuggets as Hinduism is “inclusive, not exclusive” and “… why did (Ambedkar) not pick Islam or Christianity? He instead picked Buddhism because Buddhism is not into conversion in the way in which these two religions are.”

Jagdish Bhagwati is what you get when you combine Hindu pride with neo-liberalism, and articulate it in academic mediocrity and dishonesty. It’s pathetic!

Comments

  1. says

    Good lord! His ‘ignorance’ is indeed breathtaking! One expects such drivel from Shakha-pradhans or the secretaries of Hindu Mahasabha, however this mixture of neo-liberal economics and soft-Hindutva is an entirely new phenomenon in India. Seems influenced by US Republicans and libertarians, entirely and totally disconnected from India.
    Even though one didn’t agree with him on most issues, at least one thought of him as an independent minded thinker and rational. Seems he is as deluded as most men in his boss’s party.

  2. the eddy says

    ” While I do not think that every single Hindu is responsible for Bhagwat or the attacks, shrugging them off as fringe elements, when they clearly are not (especially when they are afforded generous platforms in national public TV and radio by the present government), is at best irresponsible and at worst enabling of such lunatics.”

    I wholly agree with you , but don’t you think that your shrugging off the” fringe element thing” (which I agree with completely) actually contradicts when in your own blogs often, you have rebuffed “Muslim Fundamentalism & Communalism” as a “fringe element” thing & that majority does not endorse it.
    The fact is that majority of the Hindus & Muslims of South Asia are blatantly communal. Savarkar is seen as hero by many , otherwise educated, Hindus [for his Hindutva , not just pro-reformism] , many educated Muslims (supposedly Secular), particularly in Pakistan continue to play obscurantist & denialists while portraying Jinnah as “Secular” reducing Secularism to mere “anti-Mullahism”.
    People , may not always be violent or explicitly endorse violence, but prejudices & distrust runs deep. That becomes clear , once you see so many “apologetic” Hindus who would otherwise quote Harris etc. to attack Islam but if any criticism on Hinduism comes up , then instantly it gets rebuffed as Hinduphobia or so many “apologetic” Muslims who often quote Ambedkar or Periyar to attack hindus but any criticism of Islam , will get you branded as a Hindutva or Islamophobic.
    Christians have their own Communalisms ; the only thing is that they are sophisticated (like John Dayal) & not foolish like the above, who often using the Left’s patronage to pass their evangelism as mere “Hindu Casteism reforms” , things that we see since the time of Pandita Ramabai.
    “Jagdish Bhagwati is what you get when you combine Hindu pride with neo-liberalism, and articulate it in academic mediocrity and dishonesty.”
    Communalism transcends mere superstitions unlike Fundamentalism , since it is about “monopolisation of victimhood” & “hubris” .A reason why when even Atheists & Agnostics too show communal signs , then Bhagwati is still a semi-religious person.
    And moreover it is not borrowed from the west as you allege, many leading Hindu Mahasabha & Muslim League members were scotch-drinking Anglophones , not Swamis or Mullahs; ranging from fanatics to apologists.

  3. the eddy says

    The last statement is there to prove that it existed even in early 20th century India & is not a recent idea borrowed from “Western libertarians” .

  4. says

    I wholly agree with you , but don’t you think that your shrugging off the” fringe element thing” (which I agree with completely) actually contradicts when in your own blogs often, you have rebuffed “Muslim Fundamentalism & Communalism” as a “fringe element” thing & that majority does not endorse it.

    Where have I done that?

    the only thing is that they are sophisticated (like John Dayal) & not foolish like the above, who often using the Left’s patronage to pass their evangelism as mere “Hindu Casteism reforms” , things that we see since the time of Pandita Ramabai.

    Seriously? Comparing Ramabai and Dayal with evangelics and the Christian right is just absurd. And at this point you are engaging in nothing but whatboutery. I get your assertion (that communal attitudes are widespread in the subcontinent) and I agree with it, but I really don’t get your point.

    And moreover it is not borrowed from the west as you allege

    The last statement is there to prove that it existed even in early 20th century India & is not a recent idea borrowed from “Western libertarians” .

    Are these addressed to me? If so, where have I made such a claims?

  5. the eddy says

    ##Are these addressed to me? If so, where have I made such a claims?##
    That was not a response to you , but response to what Mukesh claimed “this mixture of neo-liberal economics and soft-Hindutva is an entirely new phenomenon in India. Seems influenced by US Republicans and libertarians”.

    ##Seriously? Comparing Ramabai and Dayal with evangelics and the Christian right is just absurd. ##
    Read about Ramabai critically , not just her eulogies. ” She brought in Sharada, a young Indian lady, after whom the (Sharada) Sadan was named while she was pregnant. But as Sharada refused Pandita’s urge to take up Christianity, Ramabai drove her out 11 days after her delivery which was strongly criticised. Sharada fell ill and eventually died. Ramabai moved to Poona, name changed to Mukti Sadan.” [wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandita_Ramabai]
    Her contribution to Social reforms , esp. Women’s Movement remains commendable , but the fact that she was “a Christian evangelist” cannot be wished away. This is the same as Dayananda Saraswati & others , who had both faces & who too were reformers in their own limited ways , right ??
    About Dayal ; does not his “evangelical” predilections become clear in his arguments(mostly implicit) when he opposes “Ghar-wapsi” on one hand & pleads for “Christian missions” on the other ; as if the two are diametrically different things that they warrant diametrically different attitudes of censure & endorsement. Their comunalism pales before that of Hindu Communalists, but to deny that they were/are not evangelists/communalists ,is irrational.

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