Atanu Dey On India's Development

I wannabe a Card-carrying Internet Hindu

| 18 Comments

I am an internet Hindu. The wannabe part refers to the card-carrying bit. What we Internet Hindus(tm) chiefly need are genuine laminated identity cards. Commies and pseudo-secularists no doubt have their official authorized genuine cards. So I too want one. I am sure that among the hordes of Internet Hindus(tm), there must be some who are good at creative graphic design. You may ask, “How do you know there are hordes of Internet Hindus(tm)?” Here’s how.

In an article, Don’t Block the ‘Internet Hindus’, Mr Kanchan Gupta reports statistics from an online survey, open to Hindus on the internet:

Of those who have responded, 88.9 per cent have identified themselves as ‘Internet Hindus’, indicating they attach no shame to the term though their critics would want them to feel ashamed. Of the respondents, four per cent are aged 20 years and below; 55 per cent are aged 30 and below; 31 per cent are 40 and below; and, only 10 per cent are aged above 40. In brief, 90 per cent of them are young Indians.

Nitpicker that I am, I note that the numbers above don’t quite add up. If 55 percent are aged 30 and below, there have to be more than 55 percent who are 40 and below — not the 31 percent reported by Mr Gupta. By my arithmetic, if it is true that 10 percent > 40 years of age, then those who are 40 years and below have to be 90 percent, not 31 percent. Anyway, all this is pretty trivial since the main point is that them Internet Hindus(tm) are a pretty cool lot.

So how cool am I as an Internet Hindu(tm)? First, I am in the top 10 percent age wise. Then I am in the top 11 percent education wise: those who have a PhD. I am not that special earning wise as I belong to a fairly large group — 26.5 percent — who earn more than Rs 24 lakhs a year. And when it comes to foreign travel, I am in the majority 60 percent who have traveled abroad at least once. I hate being in large groups.

I am happy to note that I differ most significantly with a very large segment. Mr Gupta writes:

Contrary to the impression that is being sought to be created by their critics, ‘Internet Hindus’ are open to ideas, believe in a plural, law-abiding society and swear by the Constitution. They are often appalled by the shenanigans of our politicians, including those of the BJP, and are ruthless in decrying politics of identity and cynical vote-bank policies. They have no gender prejudices and most of them think banning FTV is downright silly in this day and age. The ‘Internet Hindus’ will not countenance denigration of their faith or biased media coverage of events, but 91.9 per cent of them respect and accept other religions. Asked if India is meant only for Hindus, an overwhelming majority of them, responding to the survey, said, ‘Hell, no!’

I am not among the 91.9 percent that “respect and accept other religions.” Respecting and accepting other religions is idiotic and silly. I am an anti-theist. I don’t have any truck with gods or God. I respect only those religions that admit the possibility of there being no god or gods — which includes Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. All other religions are by the retarded, of the retarded and for the retarded. I have an antipathy towards the monotheistic religions — with particular disdain for Islam. I think the desert religions are hateful ideologies that would have died out but for the fact that the majority of humans continue to be ignorant, myopic and stupid.

Anyway, so the bottom line is that I am an Internet Hindu(tm) and proud of it. And as Mr Gupta notes (“English language media journalists, long used to fawning praise from readers and viewers, are horrified that someone can actually call them ‘dumb’ in public space and there’s nothing they can do about it”), I take particular delight in calling the pseudo-secularists dumb and retarded. And stupid to boot.

Now all I need is an official laminated genuine card so that I can be a card-carrying Internet Hindu(tm).

  • Oldtimer

    I did not take part in that survey, for reasons partly explained by your article . Some of the questions are not well-phrased, take this one:

    Do you respect & accept other Religions?

    That cannot be a single question. It needs to be broken up into several questions, where “accept” is taken to mean “tolerate”, “accept the existence of” or “willing to live with”.

    1. Do you accept Islam, Christianity and Communism?

    2. Are willing to co-exist amicably with followers of Islam, Christianity and Communism in a secular society?

    3. Do you respect Islam, Christianity and Communism?

    4. Do you accept Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism?

    5. Are you willing to co-exist amicably with followers of Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism in a secular society?

    6. Do you respect Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism?

    Then my answers would be:

    1. Yes
    2. Yes
    3. No
    4. Yes
    5. Yes
    6. Yes

    Likewise:

    Are you a so called ‘Internet Hindu’?

    should be rephrased as:

    Would you describe yourself as an “Internet Hindu”: a person of Hindu origin who is politically active on the internet?

    or it could also be:

    What does the term “Internet Hindu” connote to you?

    A. An politically aware person of Hindu origin who uses the internet for networking and activism

    B. A pejorative label applied by Boobtube Liberals on Hindus who are vocal on the internet

    C. A very evil Hindu terrorist who secretly plants RDX bombs on Twitter, which when downloaded to your PC, blow up your house and tweet to the world that your mother-in-law did it.

  • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

    Oldtimer:

    Thanks for your comment above.

    I wish to clarify in general that I don’t “respect and accept” certain ideologies and religions. That is quite distinct from respecting and accepting people who self-identify as followers of certain religions. I respect and accept people based on what they do.

    My policy is to be civil to all without prejudice, and if someone does not mean harm or does not do harm, I have nothing against him or her.

    “Seek out and harm people who do not believe in this or that specific imaginary being” is a stupid policy and I don’t respect or accept ideologies that promote that policy.

  • kautilya

    Dang! How did I miss that survey :) .. I am an “Internet Hindu” alright. But may not be an “Active Internet Hindu”…

  • Dr V Sagar Dwivedi

    Thank God there are still Hindus who are not ashamed of openly declaring themselves Hindus. I respect all religions of Indian origin. They believe in most of the values that are shared with Hindus. For amicable co-existence it may be necessary to show tolerance for others but it is difficult to have respect for those whose only business is to convert people to their faith by fowl means. I am ofcourse referring to Islam and Christianity. In the second case, their world leader came to India only to declare that he wants whole Asia to be converted while in the first case,in majority of conflicts in the world are Muslims. How can I respect even if I wish.

  • Doesitmatter

    Why do you think Hinduism admits the possibility of no god?

    • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

      Advaita vedanta says that I AM GOD — so there is no god in the sense that the monotheist religions posit.

  • Kedar
  • http://ego.randomwalk.in/blog ego

    Doesitmatter,

    I guess the confusion is due to the loose translation of theist as Asthika, and atheist as nAsthika. Both these words have completely different roots.

    “Theism, in this specific sense, conceives of a god as personal, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theism]. The equivalent in Hindu traditions for this would be Ishvara, or Saguna Brahman (Brahman with attributes). This is not necessarily the highest truth that Hindu traditions talk about as we shall see below.

    On the contrary, Asthika is derived from “Asti” which refers to existence. So, Asthika would be a person who believes in the existence of something (as opposed to nothing) that is worthy of being treated as pious. More specifically a person who believes in the existence of something as propounded in the Vedas is an Astika. What that something is, depends on the interpretation of the Vedas. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%80stika_and_n%C4%81stika]

    We have various schools of philosophy (Darshanas would be the right word) which interpret the message of the Vedas differently. The Advaita interpretation, as Atanu mentioned in his comment, regarding “that something” says “That Thou art” (tat tvam asi). In other words, “that something” is not confined to just Ishvara alone, but can extend to the principle behind the Ishvara.

    In this sense, Hindu traditions allows one to be an Asthika and an atheist. No ?

  • http://deshdaaz.blogspot.com Jigish Parikh

    Mr Dey,

    Since we(Internet Hindus) are widely spread over the globe without a unifying stage,more than cards we need a place in Indian TV media, possibly a new right wing news channel which has brave journos who can call spade a spade. Mr. Tarun vijay, Zookybeans & zoomindianmedia and many more(from twitter),u, me are enough to start pondering on that idea.

  • Sundried Atheist

    Why is the Indian media so infatuated with Hindus? Don’t they have anything else to do?
    For all religious reasons I stand to be an Atheist although my political allegiences will always be with Hindus. Infact most of the people who are crying aloud against the facists who threaten us are mostly Atheist and Agnostic. The pious Hindus are too busy wasting their time in gaining favours with their imaginary deities.
    Perhaps one of the reasons why the Hindu Rightwingers don’t attack the beliefs of the Islamists and the Bible thumping Jesus freaks, is that they are scared that the hidden skeletons in their own closet will come out. What these nut cases don’t know is that the Islamofacists and the Jesus freaks will attack their beliefs no matter what they do. This so called status quo is reeks of cowardice on the part of the Hindu Right wing.

  • Venkat

    Hi Atanu

    I am curious to know why you hate monotheism so much. According to me, there can be no god, there can be one god, two or many.. So monotheism is one of the possibilities isn’t it? Do you hate monotheism because of Islam and Christianity or do you have larger reasons? :-)

    • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

      Venkat:

      I believe the problem starts off with the word “god.” What the Indic religions mean by the word is not what the Abrahamic religions mean. Let’s say someone says “leader”. The word is the same but one leader could be a dictator and another a popularly elected one. They are not the same though the word referring to them is the same. Those who understand the word “god” in the Abrahamic sense will not understand what a Hindu means when he says god. The Hindu god (and its various manifestations in gods and goddesses) are alien concepts to someone who knows the definition of the Abrahamic god.

      So that’s the first reason that you are puzzled by my antipathy towards monotheism. My understanding of the god of the monotheist is different from yours since I would not equate that with the multiple gods of Hindus, Jains, etc.

      Next, allow me to quote from Gore Vidal’s The Lowell Lecture, Harvard University, April 20, 1992 “(The Great Unmentionable) Monotheism and its Discontents,

      The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved –Judaism, Christianity, Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal –God is the omnipotent father– hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. The sky-god is a jealous god, of course. He requires total obedience from everyone on earth, as he is in place not for just one tribe but for all creation. Those who would reject him must be converted or killed for their own good. Ultimately, totalitarianism is the only sort of politics that can truly serve the sky-god’s purpose. Any movement of a liberal nature endangers his authority and that of his delegates on earth. One God, one King, one Pope, one master in the factory, one father-leader in the family home. [emphasis added]

      Do you see the difference between the god of Hindus (whose three aspects are Bramha, Vishnui and Shiva) and the sky-god of the monotheists? More from Vidal —

      The founders of the United States were not enthusiasts of the sky-god. Many, like Jefferson, rejected him altogether and placed man at the center of the world. The young Lincoln wrote a pamphlet against Christianity, which friends persuaded him to burn. Needless to say, word got around about both Jefferson and Lincoln and each had to cover his tracks. Jefferson said he was a deist, which could mean anything or nothing, while Lincoln, hand on heart and tongue in cheek, said he could not support for office anyone who “scoffed” at religion.

      From the beginning, sky-godders have always exerted great pressure in our secular republic. Also, evangelical Christian groups have traditionally drawn strength from the suppressed. African slaves were allowed to organise heavenly sky-god churches, as a surrogate for earthly freedom. White churches were organised in order to make certain that the rights of property were respected and that the numerous religious taboos in the New and Old Testaments would be enforced, if necessary, by civil law. The ideal to which John Adams subscribed –that we should be a nation of laws, not of men– was quickly subverted when the churches forced upon everyone, through supposedly neutral and just laws, their innumerable taboos on sex, alcohol, gambling. We are now indeed a nation of laws, mostly bad and certainly anti-human.

      Roman Catholic migrations in the last century further re-enforced the Puritan sky-god. The Church has also put itself on a collision course with the Bill of Rights when it asserts as it always has, that “error has no rights.” The last correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson expressed their alarm that the Jesuits were to be allowed into the United States. Although the Jews were sky-god folk, they followed Book One, not Book Two, so they have no mission to convert others; rather the reverse. Also, as they have been systematically demonized by the Christian sky-godders, they tended to be liberal and so turned not to their temple but to the A.C.L.U. Unfortunately, the recent discovery that the sky-god, in his capacity as realtor, had given them, in perpetuity, some parcels of unattractive land called Judea and Samaria has, in my mind, unhinged many of them. I hope this is temporary.

      In the First Amendment to the Constitution the Founders made it clear that this was not to be a sky-god nation with a national religion like that of England, from whom we had just separated. It is curious how little understood this amendment is –yes, everyone has a right to worship any god he chooses but he does not have the right to impose his beliefs on others who do not happen to share in his superstitions and taboos. This separation was absolute in our original Republic. But the sky-godders do not give up easily. In the 1950′s they actually got the phrase “In God We Trust” onto the currency, in direct violation of the First Amendment.

      Go read it all. This is just a small indication of why I hate the monotheist religions. Islam actually perfected the hatred and the anti-human character of that set.

  • Sundried Atheist

    According to me the problem with monotheism is that it is too ridgid, when you say that there is only one god and that god is my god, you are basically closing all avenues for all kinds of dialogue.
    Hinduism is a varied religion, from downright polytheism to monotheism to atheism and agnosticism. Same is true for Buddhism and Jainism.
    Now while Sikhism is also a monotheistic religion, it does not in its texts make the claim of being the sole truth. It has also borrowed heavily from other Indic religion as far as the concept of rebirth and karma is concerned. This somewhat softens the stand of Sikhism.
    How Abhrahmic faiths know for a certainity that their god is the real god and all other gods are false. So even if a Sikh were to go to a Muslim and tell him that he is a monotheist, the Muslim would tell him “That fine mate, but that god is allah and not the one you believe in.”
    See the nature of a god created by a people is to be understood by the nature of the texts that are supposedly “his” revelations. However this is not how Sikhs understand god. For Sikhs, god is not a personal being but an impersonal being. Somewhat a ripoff from the Adiatva which talks of the possibilty of an impersonal creator spirit.

    While I know that theism and monotheism in itslef is not something healthy, Abhrahmic faiths take this hatred of the other to a very different level. Hence, where there is no possibilty for dialogue there cannot be any discussions or any form of real understanding. This automatically leads to conflicts of the worst kind. You can’t speak with a fanatic who knows with certainity that his dogma is the right dogma and his god is the right god.

  • http://pravinpillai.wordpress.com/ Pravin Pillai

    Atanu,

    I think its a bit of a simplification to lump the monotheisms together. I think Judaism is a bit different from its child monotheisms in the fact that it is way more pagan and tribal in its outlook than Christianity and Islam. Also, something that sets it apart from the other two is its tradition of questioning god. There are several instances in the Pentateuch of various figures not only talking to God(in the Abrahamic sense), but also violently disagreeing with him and debating him. There is also talk of “Courts” and “Courtiers” in the same sense as in Hindu mythology and human qualities are ascribed to him.

    On the other hand, in the New Testament and the Islamic texts, God becomes infallible and promises torture/damnation etc. etc. to anyone who disagrees. Judaism is almost like a separate entity in itself and, in my opinion, has a bit of a flavor lacking in the other Abrahamic religions.

  • Sundried Atheist

    Pravin

    I strongly disagree with you. I wonder if you have read the Torah, also know as the Old Testament. Also the Talmud, which is a commentary on the Torah by several Jewish rabbis, is full of vile racism and hatred.
    While it is true that Judaism borrowed heavily from pagan sources, it is also true that in its essence Judaism is an extremely tribalistic and hate filled religion.
    Read Deutronomy to know about the fate of Amelekites who had even their pregnant women killed with the their babies dashed on the rocks. I know its mythology meant for the puprose of self glorification, but at the same time it also shows the mentality of the tribes that believed in such evil stuff.
    The fact is Judaism and Islam are not very different from each other in their essence. The only difference is that while Hebrews didnot partake in a far too many conversions, islam pretends to be a universal faith.

  • http://pravinpillai.wordpress.com/ Pravin Pillai

    Sundried Atheist,

    You missed my point a little. I wasn’t claiming that Judaism is somehow full of rainbows and teddy bears. I’m also aware that Deuteronomy and Leviticus, which are some of the most hate-filled religious texts also, are part of the Old Testament. The point I was trying to make was that the God in the Old Testament behaves essentially as a human with supernatural powers. The motivations ascribed to him are predominantly human. His emotions are human. There is nothing of the divinely motivated about it.

    Where I think Judaism becomes morally superior to Christianity and Islam, is the fact that there are instances where human being are shown quarreling with and debating God, who also appears in human form. Contrast this with God who becomes totally inaccessible in the Old Testament, and the Koran being the “Word of God”. There is no wriggle room in them.

    On the other hand, I think it is precisely because of specific instances of debate with God within the Pentateuch, that rabbis and even regular Jews have no real qualms about mot strictly following the texts, but also debating them sometimes. This, on the other hand, is frowned upon in Christianity, and more extremely, considered apostasy or heresy in Islam.

    The difference then, is not that there is some tangible moral superiority in the tales or stories, but in some specific instances, which lend the Jewish books to be scrutinized even by fundamentalist Jews in a more constructive way than the Christian or Islamic texts.

  • http://pravinpillai.wordpress.com/ Pravin Pillai

    Oops, I made a typo, please change “Old Testament” to “New Testament” in line 4 of para 2 in my entry above, if your brain hasn’t already exploded with the sheer forcefulness of my argument. :-)

  • Sundried Atheist

    Hello Pravin

    I knew that you had made that mistake and replaced “New” with “Old’.
    What you say is true to some extent.
    Infact the word “Israel” is derived from “Yisrael” which means someone who wrestles with god. The reason why the early Hebrews god was an early god was because YVWH or Yahweh (anglicised version) was just one of the many deities in the Torah. The remaining deities were given up for this particular deity. YVWH was the storm god who competed with another very popular god called El.

    The god in the New Testament was also the same god as that of the OT, with very human emotions. You have to bear in mind that most of the New Testament was written by Jews and not by Gentiles.
    Christians maintain that this god of their is not an impersonal god, but a very personal one without anyone can have a personal relationship.

    One thing that I do credit the Jews for is that they never had the concept of hell. So basically once the YVWH god was done with your tribe killing and buttering your babies and raining hailstorms and the earth covered you, he was basically done with you. No more punishment of the grave.

    It was the call of the day, until came along “Gentle Jesus meek and mild” and that was when the concept of an everlasting hellfire was introduced.

    Islam basically worked this concept of hell further up by describing hell more vividly. You can say it was a kind of an improvisation or an upgrade on the previous understandings of god and his nature.
    Had it not been for the religion of Hebrews, Christianity and Islam would never have existed.

    What the people who wrote the NT gospels and the Koran did was the basically make a few more additions and improvisations to the already existing evils of the religion of the Hebrews.
    Of course Christianity was also influenced by other religions including Greek Hellenistic orders. But then again Christianity as with Islam happened to take the worst of all these beliefs and claimed them as their own.