Viewpoints which emanate from a country’s corpus of thinkers and policy makers travel with the carrier colonials and migrants. But wherever they take root in a different land and gain political control they seek to erase other viewpoints.
As India rises, Hindus need to understand the different viewpoints in the world, particularly the Western viewpoint (the dominant paradigm) to decolonise one’s learning, and to emerge with a self-assured sense of identity and path for a better future.
THE ‘WEST’ IN NAME AND NAMESAKE, AND THE ‘WESTERN’ VIEWPOINT OF THE GREATER WEST:
Geographically together, ethno-politically not so:
The “West” refers to the Western hemisphere – in Geography, that is. By default, Africa and South America are indeed western by geography, though, geologically, they were not born from Laurasia but from Gondwana Land.
But in practical politics and in the intellectual, economic and scientific sphere, as well as in the Judeo-Christian sphere, the label “West” implictly refers to only Europe and Northern America; “North America” also implicitly means Canada and the coterminous United States, often omitting even Mexico and the Caribbean States. South America and Mexico with the Caribbean are often labeled “Latin” to refer to their colonization not by Britain or France but by the speakers of the Latin-family languages, namely the Portuguese and Spanish (forgetting that French is also a Latin family member language).
Europe has dominated world politics in the past centuries with colonialism, wars and Judeo-Christian missionary zeal. Europe, the habitat of the white race, has her own identity.
The usage of the term “European” used to mostly imply English and French thinkers when it came to philosophy and intellectual life, for world consumption; so activists, thinkers, artists and politicians other than those from the UK and France are also omitted out. Even when we have BREXIT, the classical European viewpoint of things around = the English and American viewpoint. But tthis is just not the whole picture. Nonetheless, the predominance of the English and french viewpoints have shaped history.
Today, sometimes, the word “Europe” would imply what has been decided by the EU, or, reductionistically, by Angela Merkel as herself alone; as if what one leader preaches is also the opinion of the masses of Germany; so, “European” seems to also omit dissenting thinkers and political leaders in places like the Baltic State of Lithuania, in Hungary, and even the societies in the west of Europe, like the Netherlands and Belgium, who oppose the policies of EU and Merkel.
Why profound pre-EU thinkers like the humanists of Germany were also blacked out by the Anglo-Franco-centric propaganda machine, though being rooted in the West, are issues raised by Dr. Koenraad Elst in his books; Elst himself, is Flemish (which is a coastal Dutch-speaking Belgian tribe, which felt more at home with fellow-Catholic yet french-speaking Belgian Gauls than with fellow-Dutch-speaking but non-Catholic or Protestant Netherlanders).
The history of European viewpoint is the history of Christianity, white domination, colonialism and wars as well as the history of West European political dominance over the rest of Europe.
Sita Ram Goel and Ram Swarup always emphasised that Greece and even Rome, the earliest civilisations of Europe, now included into Europe or the Occident were actually more Asian – Oriental in their outlook when their pre-Christian pagan past was alive and thriving, later, they were both subsumed into Abrahamic West Asian Christianity. In the course of Rome’s history, Rome was racially overrun by Germanic tribes from the Swiss North; else, Italy today wouldn’t even have been as ‘white’ today as we see today.
The New Testament, after the Gospels, shifts the centre of political gravity from Bethlehem to the Vatican, a political project enumerated in chapters (read: books) which include stages like Paul’s angry missionary correspondence with Corinthians (Corinth is the isthmus that connects the rest of Greece with the mainland, a metropolitan centre where Paul decided to harvest converts from).
Greece and Rome have contributed much to the world but their influence over Europe today is minimal. Europe today is what Western Europe does.
‘American’ would refer to this: USA and Canada together; or the United States of America alone.
The entire establishment in the US is the epitome of Weestern civilisation, a Western-centric viewpoint and draws on values from Europe, the parent of all ‘West’.
South and Latin America:
There is a condescending acceptance of Latin / South America into the West’s geography but not so much into politics and intellectualism, notwithstanding the new class of refreshing thinkers in Agro-Ecology that have been produced in Southern and Central America.
Southern and Central America sharing longitudes with North America, and Africa sharing longitudes with Europe are just out of the reckoning.
Australia and New Zealand: Colonies of Western European powers:
Conversely, Australia and New Zealand, not to mention South Africa, are – geographically – nowhere in the western hemisphere; yet, culturally, economically, politically and intellectually, they constitute the “West” by extension, rooted in colonial implications. So Australian Permaculture thinkers and proponents like Bill Mollison, Geoff Lawton and David Holmgren are still Western, thought they are harbringers of fresh new ideas that challenge capitalism. Incidentally, Geoff lawton works in areas of West Asia / Arabic region countries like Jordan.
Geologically speaking, Australia is a different tectonic plate from New Zealand, which is part of a newly acknowledged continent of Zealandia due to it having continental crust and not oceanic crust at its base.
Racially and politically too, Australia and New Zealand were not one. Australian aboriginals are negrito while New Zealand’s first inhabitants are Maoris who are Polynesians with their Asian features. Australian aboriginals themselves were different communities amongst themselves.
Australia and New Zealand are geographically close, and smaller New Zealand gets included – along with the country of Australia – into the continent called Australia – named after the bigger land mass of Australia. What united the two? Common European (read: first Dutch but practically, English) colonial settlement and occupation. So a person of Anglo-Saxon (read: European) descent in Australia (down in the Southern Hemisphere) works in the West Asia or Middle East region: is he from the ‘West’?
Is Russia indeed part of the West?
Russia is another interesting case. Russia is Slav white; Russia also has been imperialist, from Tsarist times to the Soviet Communist times. After Perestroika and Glasnost, past the Boris Yeltsin era, right up to the Putin era, Russia gradually started returning to her Orthodox Christian past, remained a power, and, is the biggest country in the world, straddling the Europe and Asian continents. Russia has two arms of foreign policy: one Atlantic-leaning (Russia joined NATO) and the other policy arm leaning towards the Steppes, or towards other nations in Asia. So, Russia in her Atlantic-leaning form, with a white (Slav) background and with Orthodox Christianity, shares some geo-cultural interests and business interests with Europe, and is also one of “The West”; but Russia, in a divergent Asian policy angle which may be opposed to Anglo-American concerns, is not “The West”.
The situation about Russia is best described by the blogger Dr. Rashmini Koparkar-Choudhary in her 2012 blog “FOREIGN POLICY OF THE ‘POST-SOVIET’ RUSSIA”. Dr. Rashmini is now a Ph.D. on Uzbekistan from JNU, Delhi, and has an ABVP past.
Quotes Dr. Rashmini: “After the Soviet disintegration, framers of the Russian Foreign policy were left with two ideological choices, Atlanticism and Eurasianism. ‘Atlanticism’ justified the integration of Russia in the western world. It defended adoption of free market economy and liberal polity, leading towards western type modernity, socio-economic prosperity and democracy. On the contrary, there existed another branch called ‘Eurasianism’. They basically believed that Russia is neither fully European nor fully Asian; it has its own unique and distinct culture. Thus, it should assume a greater role as the bridge between the two continents. Moreover, Eurasianists wanted a close relationship with the former Soviet republics and the former Socialist allies.”
Russia had non-Christianised tribes in its further Eastern Siberian sectors for much longer. These communities look more Asian and less European. Russia’s Southern components have Islamic subjects. It is here that the Chencnyan Jihad happened.
Certainly, this is not the ‘West’.
Middle East = West Asia: What exactly is the name ‘West’ there for?
This region refers to the politically tumultuous region of the Levant (Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon), Arabic peninsular states (Oman, Saudi, Yemen, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain), Iraq (former Mesopotamia) and Iran. This region is a cockpit of inter-Abrahamic warfare since millennia, with an exacerbation that has ensued ever since Israel recyrstallised and was attacked by the Arab States. Since Asia is the east, why the region has both a ‘West’ and an ‘East’ in its name is an interesting question.
In the Common Era, this region has hardly generated any world-view other than theologic (though Iran is trying to use its Persian sphere of cultural influence for her own soft power policy, for the region mapped as ‘Iranica’).
This region elicits interest to “the West” due to its having Abrahamic holy centres. This leads to a tendency to expound a Mesopotamia-Sumerian-Canaanite centre of world-view and also create a history model which may not be piously Abrahamic but yet which hinges on only the Mesopotamnian and Sumerian civilizations (along with the other Mediterranean civilizations like Cartago / carthage, Roman, Egyptian and Greek) as the benchmark of what is meant by antiquity, what is meant by the delineations of the Stone Age or the bronze Age. This obstinate world view even by secular historians leads to what can be called a perception screen, with only the West Asia and Euro-America being the comnfort zone and Eastern (including the far Eastern) as well as Native American civilizations of antiquity getting classified as mere exotica whose rumbles of ethnic pride sometimes cause disquiet in the Western-gaze-based historian community and some disturbance to peace of the cherished and propagated world view. So any evidence favouring the linkages of Vedic Hindu civilization with the Sindhu-Saraswati civilization is brushed aside as one labours under the racial AIT-based assumption of the linguistic Indo-European family; Tocharian mummies and Uttar-Kuru aren’t linked; the Lemurian-Kumari Kandam angle is brushed aside as pamphletism; etc.
The West Asian fixation is PART of the world-view of “the West”, shaped as it is by the straddling of classical Mediterranean with Abrahamic history-centrism. Hence, this region is the inspiring object for the emanating Western world-view, which sweeps across Orthodox Russia, Australia and African Christianity.
It is sad that this region has now given us ISIS.
India better have no political involvement with West Asia or the Middle East, whichever way we call it. This topic will be a future blog.
THE GREATER WEST…Who then is the Western thinker?
Pragmatically, however, English-speaking (as well as the French-speaking) thinkers, strategists, players and politicians do need to be designated separate from their fellow-longitudinal counterparts, as they do constitute a class by themselves: this class terms itself “the West”. Considering the colonial, white racial, imperialist and Christian stamp on human history, with European-like and American-like extension cultures in other continents, such as Australia, New Zealand / Hawaii, South Africa, etc. it is practical, pragmatic and polite to continue to use the word “the West” to refer only to the American, European, Australian and similar Anglo-Saxon and French Diasporas scattered across the world. Latin American and African thinkers would be called Latin American and African, as such.
The Greater Western viewpoint has led to Western Universalism becoming the paradigm of a country’s progress. It is time it is discussed threadbare and rejected wherever necessary.
Rajiv Malhotra ji has enumerated certain viewpoints that projhect out of a Western orr West-Centric world-view: the author of this blog chooses to ‘develop’ this list a bit more
- Western Universalism and the Corporate version of globalisation
- Western electoral democracy
- Western cultural values, from fashion to Hollywood, from personal lifestyle to gadget geekiness
- Feminism and feminazism
- Western atheism that remains in the orbit of Abrahamic thought and cannot break free, and even threatens to be like a religion that seeks to impose itself over others.
- Abrahamic religion as normative if one talks about religion at all
- Freudian sexual psycho-analysis
- Industrial agriculture with chemical farming and monocultures, and resouce grab based capitalism and growth-GDP models
- A sense of economics where the paradigm is materialistic exploitation of natural resources: economics without ecology, where agroecological concerns remain externalities
- A choice between two extremes: between communism or capitalism, Abrahamic religion versus western atheism
- A West-Asian centric model of history, linear thinking and history-centric division of time.
NOT THE WEST: EMERGING VIEWPOINTS AND A COCKPIT OF CONFLICT AND RESOURCE GRAB: AFRICA!
CAN AN ALTERNATE, AFRICAN VIEWPOINT’S EMERGENCE HAPPEN AND INFLUENCE THE WORLD?
Africa has also produced a lot of thinkers and grassroots leaders who are noteworthy in their freshness of ideas; Africa is not always malnutrition, black activists, civil war and dictators; we also had Nelson Mandela (RSA), we had Wangari Mathai (Kenyan; the Hummingbird Project) and we have Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Somalia). The mainstream media of India does not allow much of percolation of these fresh viewpoints into India’s discourse. The same bias exists with respect to Latin America.
Wangari Mathai preached reforestation, prevention of desertification and pluralism. Her viewpoint and the viewpoint of other African activists threatens the Western monopoly over intellectualism.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalian origin Dutch-American thinker and activist, whose internet description declares her an atheist, is actually fully out ofg Islam but half-way out of Abrahamism.
She has been vocal in the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation FGM, honour killling and the dogma of Islam in general. She is an apostate of Islam (murta’ad). Since Ayaan Hirsi Ali is now American but originally Somalian, what would be her own viewpoint- Western or African? The author of this blog will prefer to call her African, because of the formative years in her life being spent in Africa.
Their location is not too different in longitude from that of Israel and Europe; but they are hardly mentioned!
Africa’s geography does not make it the ‘West’, while Europe’s latitude does make it the ‘West’.
But Africa has still got to unite herself and overcome social evils; Africa has to go through decolonisation. AFrica has to deAbrahamise herself and also get eductaed and come into the world’s mainstream.Africa can give a wealth of values to world society. Africa has to emerge above her poverty. Yes, Africa has thinkers and must be aided.
Challenging the ‘Western’ gaze: The Hindu perspective
Let India be the first to challenge and overturn the peculiar Anglo-Franco-American West-centric gaze; this was done before successfully, by profound thinker and Indian-origin American author, Rajiv Malhotra, in his many path-breaking books, particularly “Being different”. The writer of this blog has accepted certain positions of Shri Rajiv Malhotra, as part of the thought framework for Hinduism.
Hindu influence east of India necessitates a Look-East policy.
Certain features of the Hindu perspective:
- Dharma, not religion
- Inherent environmentalism, which we have now forgotten as a nation
- Inclusivity without dilution of identity
- Resilience against invasions
- Aadhyaatmik drushtikon
- Advaitic inter-replaceability of dieties in two different cultural pantheons
- Where Darshans give nuanced viewpoints, Hindu society displays interdarshanic osmosis in individual and public life
- Decentralisation of resources, power and benefits
It is time we bring back Hindu Drushti. Hindu Drushti MUST include Kshatriyataa.
A case-study for applying a decolonised Hindu Drushti: The Hindu commonwealth of Central Asia:
The central Asian region is diverse in culture and language, and both the Indian and Russian world views consider the breakaway republics of the erstwhile USSR as Central Asia. This region has indelible Persian, Buddhist-Hindu, Turkic-Durrani (Turanic) as well as Chinese and Russian imprints in culture and history. Central Asia is the cockpit where the ‘Western’, ‘Indic / Hindu’, Islamic, Jewish geo-political planning and ‘Sinic’ viewpoints are all going to be fought. Central Asia had a lasting Indian influence, however, with Buddhism being the most penetrative…
Truly a melting pot, this region is classified diversely, with the UN considering even Sinkiang (Uighur), Tibet, Kashmir, Mongolia and Afghanistan along with the Caucasus-Bosphorus (the countries like Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and Turkey) in the consideration of Central Asia.
Chechnya was the seat of a painful, ugly attack on school kids. The region is Russian territory with Islamist separatist movements.
Israel has interests in this region – and may favour crystallising out a Kurdistan from iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey (Yezidis – who face genocide from ISIS are also Kurds). This will generate goodwill and clout tto allow Israel access to crude oil basins getting discovered in Central Asian states.
China and Iran too have their interests.
While China may contest the inclusion of Tibet, Mongolia and Sinkiang, India certainly contests the inclusion of Afghanistan and Kashmir with Central Asia.
The Indian world-view is that Afghanistan is the first region of undivided India to be Islamised, and Afghanistan is part of Akhand Bharat, what the American establishment designates South Asia.
Afghanistan, from Rigvedic times (battle of the ten kings), through Mahabharata times (Gandhari), through Harappan times (Shortugai at the Afghan-Tajik border), through Greek invasion and Buddhist times (Chanakya of Taxila, Gaandhaar art and Kushans), to the times past Persian, Zoroastrian and Greco-Buddhist times into Hindu rulership under the Shahi Hindu kings who opposed Islamic armies for centuries, right up to the Hindu-Afghan camaraderie overwhelming an otherwise bipolar wars evident from Rajput times to the times of Hindi cinema and the post-Taliban rule of Karzai and Ghani, Afghanistan is South Asia because of its historical roots.
If India is to consolidate her historical ownership over Afghanistan and Pakistan in a future of a reunited Akhand Bharat, and wrest back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir before that, Hindu thinkers have to understand Central Asia and prevent the inclusion of Tibet and Kashmir into Central Asia… when Hindus in the US fought the labelling of Akhanda Bharat as just South Asia, how can India be lax and allow parts of South Asia to be relabelled as Central Asia? Any ati-vyaapti of the definition of Central Asia or any complacency in diplomacy will only weaken India’s cause. Allowing Afghanistan to be sucked into Central Asia or allowing Afghanistan and Pakistan to be categorised as the Middle East or West Asia is more than different circles of influence. It sets the whole State of a country into a league of many other wielders of Jihadi viewpoints.
References aand further reading: