What a Biden presidency will mean for India

Now that it looks like Donald Trump is well on his way out, I am predicting that a Biden presidency will mean difficult times for India in the short and medium term, geopolitically speaking. After having spent a lot of energy in building a personal equation with Trump, Modi cannot realistically hope to recreate a similar camaraderie with Joe Biden.

Not an exhaustive list but some major points on how the new equation is likely to affect India:

  • An emboldened Pakistan will now get louder and more aggressive on Kashmir. Backed by increased US aid by a traditionally sympathetic Democratic administration, ISI will be preparing to renew cross border terrorism against India.
  • China will become more aggressive against India, since Biden is not likely to unequivocally support India in the event of border aggression by the PLA against India.
  • Increased funding and support for NGOs in India involved in promoting separatism and social unrest. Also increased pressure on the Indian government to relax foreign exchange regulations.
  • Increased support and funding of evangelical Christianity in India backed by increasing rhetoric and propaganda about “lack of religious freedom” in India.
  • Much more strained and formal diplomatic relationship since Biden will not bond with Modiji in the same manner that Trump did. The US will become more of a paternalistic interfering do-gooder with unwanted advice from time to time than a real strategic ally.

I am not a foreign policy expert but to me India will probably need to become closer to Russia than ever before. The Modi Government will have to take a fresh approach with respect to the US in order to safeguard India’s interests.

A manifesto for dharmic revival

A part of the reason for creating this blog was to figure out how a dharmic revival can happen in the home of Dharma, Bharat that is India.

In my opinion Hindus cannot and should not turn to western philosophy for inspiration as we have a unique and rich cultural identity and a deep dharmic tradition to tap into. The only way is for a Ram Rajya to restore the glory and civilization of this land. A spiritual revival of Hindus is extremely important for the cause.

Culturally Hinduism is at a low ebb in India. Hindus who care about restoring a dharmic India must at least attempt to follow certain standards in their life. Here are some of my prescriptions which Hindus may follow in their lives to align themselves to a spiritual revival.

  1. Hindu householders should try to do puja every day. If you have a dedicated puja room, all the better. But if not, at least do a small ritual offering of food (neivedhya) to a photo or image of any Hindu God.
  2. Hindus should maintain cleanliness at home, keep home environment positive and play devotional songs or chanting every morning and evening.
  3. Hindus must celebrate Hindu festivals with loved ones along with the traditional ceremonies.
  4. Hindus must try to visit a neighbourhood temple at least once a week.
  5. Well to do Hindus must support at least one poor Hindu priest either monetarily or materially and also donate to Hindu charitable causes which are aligned to promoting Hindu dharma and spirituality. Hindus must avoid donating to secular causes and to State governments which are looting the wealth of Hindu temples all over India.
  6. As much as practically possible, Hindus must wear a traditional attire when attending religious functions either at home or at temples. Particularly when visiting temples, Hindus must avoid wearing half-trousers or western wear.
  7. Hindus must allot some time to study Hindu scriptures, if not in Sanskrit, at least in their local language or an English translation.
  8. Hindu couples should try to have at least two or more children. Hindu families should promote traditional values and Dharma to children.
  9. In times of need, Hindus must support one another.

A spiritual revival seems more important, because only a spiritual revival at individual levels can lead to a greater social revival.

The Old Left and the New Left

In an interesting discussion on neoreactionary Jim’s blog, there was a debate whether India was a client of Harvard brand of leftism or the Soviets’ Communism during the Cold War. Eventually I remained unconvinced that Harvard influence was significant during that period, though after the Cold War ended with the Soviet collapse Harvard’s ideology certainly increased its grasp in India’s political and cultural sphere.

But though the new brand of Leftism, that is progressivism, replaced the old Socialism as the official ideology, the actors peddling the new religion are the same staunch old Leftists who stubbornly refuse to give way to new actors. And though Soviet socialism and Harvard’s socialism didn’t differ much in ideology, their methods differed vastly. India’s old Left carries old, uncomfortable baggage.

The currently weakened and declining Congress Dynasty and old leftovers Leftists preaching liberal progressive ideas feel awkward and doesn’t convince even the uneducated voter because the crown prince of the Dynasty cannot disavow his grandmother’s Emergency and cannot disown five decades of Socialist stagnation. And modern Harvard is extremely shy about Indira’s Emergency because it doesn’t fit their narrative.

Note how the progressive Harvard controlled media in India grumble with increasing frequency and intensity about the Dynasty’s ineptitude and inability to take on the BJP. The continued stubborn insistence of the Dynasty taking centre stage as the flag bearers of progressivism is both a hindrance and an embarrassment for the new Left in accelerating their agenda. And the BJP Modiji won election after election attacking the Dynasty and pointing out their hypocrisy and corruption. The Emergency is also referred from time to time for good measure.

But it cannot go on forever. The BJP in their enthusiasm might end up killing the goose that laid the golden eggs sooner rather than later and the battle against the new Leftists without old baggage will become increasingly ideological and increasingly ugly. Public consciousness of the Emergency and the ineptitude and corruption of the Dynasty will fade away. The question is, are the BJP prepared to deal ideologically with political foes of a different breed who will undoubtedly employ far bolder and more aggressive tactics than the old guard?

Only time will tell.

Indian politics and the strange ways of Dharma

After independence, India adopted the way of Socialist democracy, modelled along Soviet principles. And for five decades since independence, India was more or less firmly in the grip of the old Left, which, since Indira Gandhi’s Emergency lost its legitimacy but continued in power due to the sheer inertia of the system until the alternate political ideology in the form of Nationalist Hindutva became popular.

But the thing is, the old Left defeated itself to a large extent much before Hindutva politics became mainstream and only the weaker shell of the old Left was cleaned up by the BJP in recent times.

The strange part is that, adharmic Leftism of the old school faced a different facet of adharma which slowed down the Leftist progress considerably: massive corruption and red-tape bureaucracy exemplified by the infamous License Raj. An efficient and non-corrupt Leftism would have resulted in a headlong dive into far Left politics for India, but the sheer corruption of the old Left system disillusioned the people and led to the formation of alternative politics (though still not true right wing, considerably less Left than the Socialism of old). A truly efficient Leftism in India after independence would have led to far more brutal and tyrannical License Raj and a lot more Leftist repression.

For Dharma to prevail over an increasingly cohesive, destructive adharma, either a Dharmic Hero of considerable power needs to be born to destroy that adharma, or, if the conditions for such a Dharmic Hero to be born are not satisfied, the adharma needs to be slowed down considerably in order not to do too much damage, either through internal conflicts/contradictions to reduce its cohesion or through an external opposing adharmic force.

I see this adharma vs adharma as a kind of Dharmic reaction to slow down or destroy the more evil adharma before it can do too much harm. Notice how the idealistic Nehruvian vision of a Socialist utopia ultimately degraded into petty dynastic politics within decades. Even though Indians have suffered under the corruption of this highly inefficient and weakened Leftism, still this suffering is nothing compared to the catastrophe that would have occurred if the Leftist programme had been fully realized in India.

Instead, today, though institutional corruption thrives to a considerable extent (and which needs to be addressed by Dharmic forces), the old Left is all but defeated, completely discredited and dispirited, while the new Left (progressivism) is still at an early stage of development in India.

In history we find such examples of adharmic forces being slowed down by adharmic forces with opposing goals or even the sheer inefficiencies of the system in which Leftism thrives. An adharmic Hitler whose destructiveness became too much for the Dharmic to bear, faced an opposing adharmic Stalin who checked his progress and eventually destroyed him. The best part is that Dharma ensures that even the victorious adharmic force in the struggle is considerably weakened.

Even in our puranas, we find that Asuras or Rakshasas, who became extraordinarily powerful through tapas and extraordinarily repressive towards the virtuous, were defeated and destroyed not just by the Lord incarnating as an Avatara Purusha but also by their own weaknesses, internal contradictions and egotism.

Dharma always provides a solution to the Dharmic though that solution may not be immediately obvious or yield immediate results.

Understanding and navigating modern day politics

To understand modern day politics and why labels such are Left and Right have become nonsensical without an absolute scale, we need to actually understand what is true Left and Right. This is actually not my own invention but what I have gathered from reading and understanding neoreactionary stuff.

Let us assume that Left and Right and two different directions on the same road. The path right is the old path to a traditional society with all the social hierarchies and distinctions that make for a sane, functional Nation based on Reality and Dharma. The path left is the promised Leftist Utopia. The State or Nation is a bus on that road, which heads in the direction pointed by the signs which state “This Way to Utopia”. Modern constitutions are by definition Leftist because the direction signs point to the Leftist Utopia rather than the traditional path.

Here the bus drivers are competing elites.

The Leftist bus drivers are those who compete to increase the speed of the bus along the Utopia direction without any regard for whether the bus stays on the narrow winding path, because Leftists are increasingly impatient to reach the Utopia. On the other hand, Modern Establishment “Right-wing” drivers are those who want to maintain a sane, safe speed along the same path in the same direction and only disagree with the hard Left on the speed and safety aspects of the journey to Utopia. The common people or “normies” are those with blindfolds who believe that the direction they’re heading towards is the right one, because both the Leftists and the Establishment Rightists don’t seem to disagree on the direction but only on speed and safety.

A dictator in the mould of Hitler or Stalin is somebody who shoots all the competing bus drivers, takes full control of the bus and finds a nice, safe spot to halt the bus believing that halting the bus will preserve the bus and preserve his power over the bus.

The “reactionaries” are those passengers with blindfolds off and notice that the direction signs are wrong. And that, heading towards the promised Leftist Utopia is actually a steep cliff that will plunge the bus into destruction. Hence they want to stop the bus, take a 180 degree turn and head back to the spot from which the bus started.

The real argument among the reactionaries is the mechanism of how the bus is to be stopped and turned around. Some reactionaries believe that the bus should be allowed to crash hard into a tree when the Leftist drivers increase the speed and drive off the narrow path, believing that they can survive the crash, build a new bus and go back home. Others believe that it is possible to safely disarm both the Leftist and Establishment Right-wing drivers while the bus is in movement, throw them off the bus and then take a safe 180 degree turn and head back. Yet others think that a dictator in the mould of Stalin is necessary to halt the bus and thereafter when the dictator’s time is up, the bus can be taken over and safely navigated back to its origin.

What is obvious is that, the labels “left” and “right” in the modern political context makes no sense as it is understood in the mainstream, because the only difference between the Left and the Establishment Right is on the speed/safety aspects and not about the direction.

The power of words

When I started this blog, I chose the title “Dharmic Reality.” I started it as an experiment, not knowing whether I would be able to write anything meaningful or coherent. As I said before, though of no mean intellect, I am not a scholar. Yet, with the blessing of Lord Ganesha, who is the Remover of Obstacles and the God of Wisdom, I have been able to convey my thoughts with a certain clarity that would not have been possible had I used some alternate “secular” terminology. Certainly “ethics” or “morality” do not convey the same essence as Dharma, which is the Cosmic Reality. As I have written earlier, our limited humanity-based ethics is dangerously susceptible to ideological subversion.

Basing my writings on Dharma, which is the all-encompassing Reality, also keeps me grounded and prevents this blog from descending into intellectual rabbit holes which philosophers tend to do. I don’t want to develop any new or innovative political theories, or analyze existing political philosophies to death. Nor do I want to explain Dharma by words, which is practically impossible. Such exercises would be futile and meaningless. What I intend to do is to increase my own understanding of our present material world through the lens of Dharma.

Why they don’t want Hindus to celebrate Diwali

Of course, the Secular-liberal gang doesn’t want Hindus to celebrate any Hindu festival but more particularly Diwali, because it’s the most identifiable, pan-Indian Hindu festival that marks the triumph of Dharma over adharma and unites Hindus culturally both in the North and the South. The long drawn out campaign against “air/noise pollution” caused by Diwali firecrackers is not really concern for the environment, but propaganda designed to guilt-trip Hindus into avoiding celebration and expression of joy through bursting firecrackers, and culminating in outright bans on sale and use of firecrackers through executive/judicial orders.

It’s the same gang that sheds crocodile tears when our temples perform abhishek for our Gods with milk because the said milk could have “fed a thousand young malnourished children” and the same gang that cries foul when Hindus raise funds to protect or preserve existing temples or build a new temple because the said money could have “been used to build a hospital providing free healthcare to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of society.” Of course, this gang never cries foul over the slaughtering of goats/sheep on Bakr Eid or the bursting of fireworks on New Year’s eve but raises a huge fuss when traditional animal sacrifice takes place in village Hindu temples. This gang also quite conveniently ignores charitable and humanitarian work undertaken by numerous Hindu organizations and free food offered in countless Hindu temples to one and all.

This vicious campaign against Diwali has been going on for a long time, starting from NGOs expressing concern about child labour used in the fireworks industry in the early 2000s and brainwashing innocent Hindu kids into pledging against fireworks and escalating into direct, outright ban on sale and use of firecrackers in many states by executive/judicial orders. This particular cultural battle has been escalating year after year.

The objective reason for all this is very clear. The Secular-liberal establishment wants to demoralize Hindus and destroy our unity and will go to any extent to achieve this, including invoking judicial activism. As Hindus, let us pledge to continue celebrating Diwali and all our festivals in our traditional way. If we cannot celebrate Diwali freely in our own homeland, where can we go? It’s time for Hindus to raise our collective voices against such restrictions on our culture.

Cultural roots

I am a firm believer that people are rooted culturally to the soil they are born in. By being born and brought up in a country you imbibe that culture and you become part of it. And you can never transport your culture to an alien land if you immigrate, at least not without significant damage. And that is because culture is not just internal. For a culture to thrive the society in which the culture is embedded has to support it. And if you aggressively propagate your culture in an alien land, you are likely to face significant resistance and hostility. Even holding on to your values becomes challenging because everyone around you aren’t tuned in to your values even though they have to pretend to respect your culture because you’re a member of a minority community.

Spiritually also this holds true. I don’t mean to disrespect Hindus living in foreign lands trying to hold on to their culture, but it is a losing battle because the alien soil is not fertile for Hinduism. A Hindu temple in the US may be a place of worship and social gathering but will never have the thousand year old vibe or cultural significance of an ancient Hindu temple in India. The very soil of Bharat that is India is steeped in Dharma. The tapas of our Maharishis and the righteousness of our Dharmic Kings are living in each and every stone of the temples they built.

From my own observations, Hindus who immigrate to foreign lands become less and less Hindu over time despite their well-meaning intention to preserve and pass on Hindu culture to their children. Unfortunately most second generation Indians in the US only bear Indian names and have nothing common with our Indian civilization. They are South Asian racially, nothing more. And the true tragedy is that they don’t become true cultural citizens of the alien culture either because they don’t belong and they can never belong. They may have superficial characteristics of both cultures but that is not culture at all. They become rootless and culture-less over time. The third generation will be even more clueless about their ancestors’ culture.

The so-called multiculturalism propagated by progressives is harmful to both the host culture and the guest culture and reduces people to culture-less rootless individuals over time. A person with a Hindu name and a brown skin celebrating Halloween and Thanksgiving along with Diwali in the US is neither a Hindu nor a Christian. But over time he will become a progressive Hindu/Christian or atheist with no sense of loyalty to either the land of his parents or his adopted country. And the worst is that he will be proud of that because of the progressive brainwashing. Most modern Leftists tend to identity as “global citizens”.

Progressivism is destroying cultures worldwide by forcing multiculturalism. And the true tragedy is that Dharmic cultures are often significant victims in the process because the opportunity to lead a Dharmic life in a Dharmic land is something that is not easily attainable by human beings in Kali Yuga. And all the more reason to protect our own Dharmic land from falling a victim to the rampant disease of multiculturalism prevailing in the West.

The powerful weapon of adharma

One of the biggest problems of fighting adharma is that Dharmic people don’t often recognize the most powerful weapon of adharmic forces: illusion or Maya. From our puranas and itihasas, we know of Asuras and Rakshasas wielding powerful magic weapons and more particularly weapons of illusion. During the battle of Lanka, Indrajit, the powerful son of Ravana, was indeed so skilled at using magic weapons that even Lakshmana was temporarily baffled and demoralized by such weapons. There are other such instances in our puranas of Rakshasas and other beings using magic weapons and illusions to create fear, confuse, demoralize and cheat their enemies and how the power of Dharma eventually shattered these weapons and rendered them ineffective.

In modern times, Leftism is the main source of adharma, and the most effective weapon of Leftism is the use of mass media for propaganda — creating an illusion of a reality which allows Leftists to control the narrative while effectively demoralizing their real or imagined enemies by isolating them, spreading disinformation, increasing censorship of views considered unacceptable, legal blackmail and indeed threatening physical harm. Mainstream media is so deeply infiltrated by Leftist forces that it’s almost impossible to get a neutral, let alone a right-wing view on most issues. Leftists have used such techniques of mass indoctrination and demoralization for centuries and use of modern technologies like the internet has only exacerbated the issue.

But despite all this, it is clear that Dharma rises above it all and truth has the characteristic of surfacing from the deepest cesspool in which it is supposed to be drowned. Falsehoods, after all, are illusions created by adharmic forces and illusions are susceptible to be dispelled by a stiff dose of reality.

Unreality can never overcome reality.

For Dharmic people, these are challenging times, yet a firm belief in the truth above all, in Dharma, and constant prayer to our family deity and chosen God (be He the destroyer of demons, Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva or any one of our vedic Gods/ishta devata) we can overcome temporary defeats and find peace and success in our lives in spite of the constant negativity that surrounds us.

The problem with ethical leadership

The problem with ethical leaders is that they tend to be restrained. When adharma is unrestrained, it is natural to believe that Dharma should be restrained. But Dharma is not restraint. Lake of restraint is not necessarily adharma, but adharma is always unrestrained except by force or threat of external force. An ethical leader who’s duty is to uphold Dharma naturally feels that he should be restrained from acting too tough or too harshly or in any manner that can be perceived as unjust, unfair or biased by the people, and even more particularly, his enemies. Most ethical people fall into this trap of always wanting to be perceived as fair, neutral and unbiased judges and end up serving adharma by standing aloof when Dharma is being grossly transgressed in front of their eyes. The inference is that mere ethical leadership lacks the ability and courage to fight adharma.

In the Mahabharata just prior to the Kurukshetra war, even Arjuna had misgivings about fighting his own flesh and blood, adharmic though they were. It was Lord Krishna who gave him enlightenment. Sometimes, even otherwise Dharmic people end up being forced to serve the side of adharma due to familial ties and vows of allegiance to the clan. Lord Krishna’s lesson is that, in a war against adharma, there will be Dharmic people on both sides and even they are going to get killed. It is inevitable.

An ethical leader merely has a theory. A Dharmic leader actually lives the Dharma. An ethical leader may be subverted by a powerful ideology. A Dharmic leader always sees Dharma beyond any ideology.

My take is that, no leader is capable of upholding public Dharma that is beyond his own personal Dharma. A morally corrupt man will never become a leader who can uphold public morality. A man who is petty and miserly in his personal life can never uphold generosity in public service. Those who act otherwise are just pretenders, trying desperately to hold on to an mirage for the sake of power. It is for this reason that ethical leaders fail to solve the problems of modern society.