Hinduism Lite

Thanks to an email from good friend Harikiran Vadlamani, I caught up with R. Jagannathan’s article on developing ‘Hinduism lite’. I liked it very much. Some specific comments and then a general comment follows:

they have a greater need for intellectual stimulation that takes you beyond narrow religious dogma

Jaggi is talking about Westerners here. Yes. In addition, there is also a sense of vacuum – more existential questions that suggest the need for spiritual fulfilment as much as for intellectual stimulation.

If Hinduism Lite (or a new form of Hindutva) is to succeed, it needs to be more radical on the social messaging, and more simple in terms of the expected spirituality of its target audience, which is still at survival or basic needs stage.

He touched upon three specific examples of ‘being radical on the social messaging’ – caste discrimination, women empowerment and social welfare.

Indeed he is right. The vocal Religious Right has somehow failed, so far, to convince the vast numbers out there that it champions an end to caste discrimination by standing in the forefront of the battle against it.

My column in MINT today is somewhat related to this. Actually, it complements his piece. If his piece made a case for ‘Hinduism lite’, I was making a case for ‘Economic Liberalism Lite’. My piece was about the need for ‘Economic Right’ to get its messaging right. He had spoken of the work that still awaits the ‘Religious Right’. I did that with respect to the ‘Economic Right’.

‘Economic Right’ has to think of its philosophy as one of ‘Heart for Ends and Head for Means’. I just did a blog post with that header.

This means they have to become proselytising faiths themselves. A new, improved “Ghar Wapsi” product is needed back home.

Wow! That is quite direct, bold and good too. I love it because it is not apologetic. Indeed, it is worth holding a weekend workshop just to get the specifics of the ‘call for action’ embedded in these two sentences.

 The problem is we want to see greatness only in our past, whereas greatness lies in what you do now.

Hear, hear!

 We are proud of what we achieved in the past. But will our ancestors be proud of what we are doing now?

Just thought of another line for this:

 “We are proud of what our ancestors achieved.  But, will our children be proud of us?”

Besides these specific thoughts, I left the following comment on the article in ‘Swarajya’:

“Easily one of your best, Jaggi. Not that this piece does not have competition from many of your pieces from the past – not just on religion but on other topics too. But, this is a strong contender for the top honours because of its very pragmatic, action-oriented and contemporary message.”

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