My idle browsing this time took me to S. Gurumurthy’s articles. I used to read his columns in the IE and had always found his venom quite shocking. But my just completed exercise of reading article after article at one sitting as is possible on the net, compels me to react. Even though, I am fully aware, that it could possibly be a knee jerk reaction. If I put it off for another day, this blog might not happen. My diffidence, which has temporarily taken a backseat in the after math of what I read just now, might assert itself. So big a name is Sri Gurumurthy’s. So, braving the risk of being ridiculed for my presumptuous effort to react to so established and versatile a person, I am going to use this space to deconstruct (as the term is loosely used) Sri S. Gurumurthy or Gurumurthyism (my coinage).
What do I mean by Gurumurthyism? From what I understand, it comprises
- an intense resentment towards non Hindu communities in India for their locus standi as Indian citizens.
- equating patriotism with hatred for non majority communities.
- denouncing secularism as unpatriotic.
- intolerance of any remark against India, Indian culture, Hinduism
- a violent urge to justify anything Indian, be it good, bad or ugly
The long and short of it is: Gurumurthyism is an ideology of national exclusivism informed by a philosophy of hate.
But Gurumurthyism is a far cry from the celebrated, traditional Indian Weltanschauung. The Indian world view is an expansive, genial, generous, inclusive, tolerant, humanistic and spiritual one. Is it this worldview that Sri Gurumurthy is trying to resurrect and reinstate? No way! Gurumurthyism is the indigenous version of divide and rule. No. Exclude and rule.
I am a proud inheritor of what was the greatest of known civilizations – a civilization that produced a Buddha more than five hundred years before Christ, a Shankara who brought about a massive religious reform without shedding a drop of blood, for which more than half the credit goes to the practitioners of Hindu religion, and a Gandhi who , for a brief moment, could make Indians become intensely conscious of their identity as human beings by enabling them to go beyond their cultural identities. Ours is a civilization which made space for every persecuted race who turned to the subcontinent for refuge.
These are but some highlights of the great Indian civilization. I will not use past tense to refer to this civilization, for it still lives on in the hearts and minds of the ordinary Indian - in spite of Gurumurthyism, which I would describe as an aberration, a hiccup in the process of the evolution of a great people – an aberration the great people must confront, deal with and then overcome.
To the Gurumurthys of India, I would like to say this. While it is true there is no future without past, there is no future for a people trapped in the past too. One cannot put the clock back. If one must do it, who is to decide how far back it must be set? No one can appropriate proprietorship over history.