GURUJI’S formulation of Hindu cultural nationalism constitutes the Hindu world view of individual, social and national relations founded on cultural diversity with basic or core culture. This cultural perspective which is critical to India’s existence in the contemporary world cannot be understood unless the three decades of experience of the West with multiculturalism and its offshoot ideas and practices is captured in all dimensions.
The core of the Hindu cultural phenomenon is its capacity to harmonise individuals, families, communities, the larger society and the nation conceptually with world itself ultimately, on the principle of integrality that is larger cultural unity in cultural diversity. This kind of integration is unique to Hinduism.
In fact the Hindu Indian alternative may perhaps be the way out of the mess in which the Western world finds itself. The West has enmeshed itself because of its repeated context-led journey along unbridled individualism which has sequenced into ideologies and institutions which first disturbed the Western societies and then dismantled the families. This sequential journey is now threatening to lead to cultural and civilisational clashes.
The concepts of cultural diversity and cultural identity are at the forefront of the political debate in many western societies.(1) Cultural diversity in the West took the shape of multiculturalism partly because of the erosion of the sense of society in the West celebrating unbridled individualism.
First individualism became the philosophic and ideological drive of multiculturalism. “Multiculturalism is entirely consistent with a philosophy of reason and individualism. Not everything about the Western Culture is glorious…and not everything about non-Western cultures is inferior. Objectivists would not call this attitude anything other than what it is fundamentally: individualism.” (2) Individualism led to feminism.
Feminism preached that women’s place of recognition was market place, which operates on rules of economics and not home which abides by the values of culture. Therefore feminism easily converged with multiculturalism (3). From feminism evolved LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender), abortion, live-in relations and similar rights.
Thus, individualism, feminism and LGBT and cognate rights became intertwined with, converged in, and symbolised by, multiculturalism. Multiculturalism, which is cultural diversity without cultural identity, also became the philosophy, policy and practice for protection and advancement of immigrant and minority rights.(4) Multiculturalism and feminism converged on the basis that “women should not be disadvantaged because of their sex, group – read minority – rights that permit oppressive practices”. (5) With the result LGBT rights and multiculturalism have become inter-related disciplines in academia.(6) Thus multiculturalism became hydra-headed, philosophically and practically, enveloping individualism, feminism, LGBT, and immigrant and minority rights and began disturbing all that which bound family and society by age-old cultural and natural relations.
Multiculturalism weakens social capital
Guruji had formulated cultural nationalism and cultural diversity centred on basic Hindu culture, found cultural (and family) relations as the principle of co-existence in India which he called as eternal and ‘Anadi’ (without a beginning). In contrast, how the sequential link from individualism, feminism, LGBT liberalism and cognate rights – which has led to weakening the family and society in the West – needs to be understood. Individual choice to be different from the rest of the society is at the base of multiculturalism. While this is one side of individualism, which is a central feature of western civilisation, ‘individualism, according to many, has eroded society and also social capital’.
The concept of social capital is a new idea and ‘one of the most trendiest terms’, in social, economic and behavioural studies today. ‘Social capital is a feature of societies and nation’. Robert Putnam pioneered the study of the fascinating subject of social capital.(7) Putnam himself does not blame increasing individualism for the decline in social capital. However many theorists have seen the growth of individualism as a threat to the organic unity between individuals and the community.(8) Long before this new debate on relation between individualism and society, Margaret Thatcher once said that there is nothing called society; it is only individual men, women and families (9) This attitude which undermined the traditional society in the West because of individualism has also led to serious socio-economic consequences like break-up of the families and communities.
The western nations tend to prove that if the traditional society is destabilised, family values would be affected families would suffer. This is what Human life International Pro-Life Missionaries to the world says: The society we live in seems to have lost all interest in the family; sometimes we would even say that it wants to weaken its functions, banishing it to the completely private arena of emotions and of intimate satisfactions. Today as never before, the quality of family relationships is decisive for the well being and happiness of individuals and for society itself. (10) The primary cause of weakening of the families and society in the West is ultra feminist movement and movements for LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender] Rights. On how the society and family have been weakened by feminism which insisted that women’s place is market and not home, E. Carolyn Graglia says in her seminal essay ‘Domestic Tranquillity’, ‘Society itself has been weakened by its curtailing of women’s domestic role…….The traditional family that the women’s movement targeted as its enemy is….on its way to extinction. While not yet dead and gone…..it will be unless those who believe in the value of this family structure attempt to reverse feminism’s victory….Such an attempt will not succeed until society begins again to respect and support — rather than disfavor, patronize, and demean — the woman who undertakes a traditional role and the man who makes it possible for her to do so. All indicia of familial well-being demonstrate that our society was a significantly better place for families in the decade before the feminist revival — when the primary concerns of most mothers were their husbands, their children, and their home.’ (11) Multiculturalism also converges with the notion of secularism. (12)
Multiculturalism portends civilisational clashes
Multiculturalism being a component of liberalism, got easily integrated with its offshoots of hyper individualism, permissiveness, LGBT rights and similar issues.The minorities in the West – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist and generally Asians including Korean Christians – are opposed to the offshoots of multiculturalism. (13) It is this emerging offshoots of multiculturalism in the West, which is becoming the source of clash of cultures of civilisations. Gay rights are incorporated in human rights. UN resolution for gay rights as part of human rights has made the African and Muslim nations seething. (14) It does not need a seer to say that it is ridiculous to make gay rights as part of human rights for the world as a whole. While the UN legitimises gay rights as integral to human rights, in seven Islamic countries – Iran, Mauritania, Saudi-Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Nigeria – same sex relations are punishable with death as per the Islamic Sharia! (15) Then how can UN Human Rights and Islamic Sharia harmonise? Even in America, both Hispanics and African Americans are less likely to support same-sex unions when compared to non-Hispanic white respondents. (16) Likewise, Non-white ethnic people oppose gay marriages.(17) So, even in the West, there is no consensus on such risky issues, but the elites all over the world under the influence of West-centric socio-economic and cultural globalisation model, are trying to make multiculturalism universal. With the result, clash between contemporary Western values based on multiculturalism and Islamists wedded to the centuries old Sharia appear so imminent and unavoidable, even as multiculturalism is admitted to be failing.
The failure of multiculturalism and the hatred for it on the ground on the one hand and the apex and ruling elite view of multiculturalism on the other are contrasted in the Western discourse. Dr Arun Kundnani, International Centre for Counter Terrorism, The Hague (ICCT) in his research paper titled “Blind Spot? Security Narratives and Far-Right Violence in Europe” says that the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the Madrid bombings of 2004 – a car bomb in Oslo, followed by a shooting spree on the island of Utøya, leaving 77 dead – had been carried out in the name of a ‘counter jihadist’ rather than jihadist ideology. A Anders Behring Breivik, whose 1,500 page manifesto, 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence, was published online on the day of the attacks, believed that European elites were pandering to multiculturalism and enabling an ‘Islamic colonisation of Europe’.
Like the Wall Street Journal editorial writer, he believed that Norway’s liberal values were under threat from ‘radical Islam’.(18) It is ironic that multiculturalism that legitimises and panders to Islam in Western societies is outright rejected by Islam. On the one hand Islam is accepted and it thrives under multiculturalism is leading the charge against multiculturalist Western world view based on its brand of secularism, individual rights and LGBT and other cognate rights. This clash of civilisations, which is at once clash of religions and cultures also, is the issue which is at the heart of Western discourse since the New York World Trade attack of 2011 and London Bombings of 2005. About this next.
Perspectives on Cultural Integration of Immigrants: An
Introduction Yann Algan (Sciences Po)
Alberto Bisin (NYU)Thierry Verdier (PSE) http://econ.sciences-po.fr/sites/default/files/file/yann%20algan/Introduction.pdf
Objectivist view of Multiculturalism by William R Thomas.http://www.atlassociety.org/multiculturalism
Talking Visions: Multicultural Feminism in a Transnational Age edited by Ella Shohat. The MIT press
Feminism in Multicultural Societies clok.uclan.ac.uk/1442/1/MiddenEPhDthesis.pdf
www.public.iastate.edu/…/HowComprehensiveIsMulticulturalEducati.. and www.edchange.org/multicultural/papers/elementary.html].
Individualism-collectivism and social capital at the national level by Mai Beilmann and Anu Realo University of Tartuhttp://www.kirj.ee/public/trames_pdf/2012/issue_3/Trames-2012-3-205-217.pdf
Sikh group against gay marriage bill, CBC News, Tuesday, 29 March 2005; Discussions on Dharma, by Rajiv Malik, in Hinduism Today. October/November/December 2004