Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Great Succinct Explanation of India's Turn From Secularism

With our media caught haplessly in loops, chasing each new bullshit tornado and agonizing over every Chauncey Gardiner-ish Twitter utterance, how'd you like to hear a genuinely smart and objective person explain something extremely clearly and fairly?

Back up. A couple weeks ago, I bemoaned the brazen anti-Moslem violence in India. Kapil Komireddi, author of Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India, went on a podcast last week to offer the best half hour explication one could ask for of the conflict. He paints recent history clearly, soberly, and with impressive balance – it’s impossible to know which side he’s on - outlining both sides' many grievances and sins while condemning in no uncertain terms the dastardly anti-Muslim measures instituted by Modi’s government.

As with most things, the story is more complicated than you'd think. Listen to this to learn how this mess happened. Listen to be surprised by some of the background. And listen for the soothing tonic of a very bright guy whose agenda is truth and clarity, period. Remember truth and clarity? This level of clear, clean authority is like a cool glass of water in hell.

The big takeaways:
1. Modi isn't some vaguely malevolent sphinx with historical baggage. It's worse than that (listen for the chilling assessment of India's preeminent psychologist, who had a close-up look at the guy early on).

2. India is in a similar position to Yugoslavia post-Tito, ripe for the likes of a Slobodan Milosevic. In Komireddi's view, the backlash against India's proud secularism/pluralism has already crossed a point of no return, and the country is doomed to behave more and more like a Hindu version of Pakistan's paranoid theocracy.

3. There are three sides to this dilemma: Hindu nationalists (largely though not entirely Northern), Indian secularists (largely though not entirely Southern), and Moslems (who were never as happily assimilated as Indian textbooks - which blame the British for all the strife - have long held).

Handy listening link (this segment comes first, ending at 24:28).
Background on the segment

Note that I have no idea who this Komireddi guy is. I've only heard the 25 minute interview, so caveat listener. He may turn out to be horrible in some way (though his recent Twitter feed confirms my positive impression).

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