Monday, December 02, 2013

The Macaulay rebels who conformed

Case 1: Imagine that you were, like many others, a rebel in your teens. You rebelled against Hindu traditions, festivals and other things that we take as culture. For example, touching the feet of an elder was primitive. Or prostrating before old grandparents. Or wearing a bindi. Or going to a religious function because you did not believe in it. Or thinking that going to a temple was a bore. You thought that bhajans was a waste of time. Prayers, Homas and the like were also infra dig. You get the drift.

And thus you were a rebel. But only if your parents and your household believed otherwise.

It is entirely possible that you were not a rebel while doing this, but actually considered cool because your parents also did not believe in any of the above.

If you were trapped in a house that followed Hindu traditions and culture and followed it or believed in it, you were in a tough place. Because all around you, your modern relatives were busy denigrating your Hinduness or making fun of all the things you did. The people who spoke good English and successful did not believe in any of the things that your parents and you did. So, you had two options, rebel or conform. Rebelling made you cool everywhere except in some social circles while conforming did the reverse mostly in mutually exclusive circles.

(I know this is a stereotype and I myself know of many variants to this - many progressives did believe in rituals and many so called regressives did not, but stay with me)

Therefore, if you rebelled, you were not rebelling, but conforming because the Macaulay system is intended to make you do exactly this. So, if you rebelled, you conformed to the Macaulay system, but if you conformed, you were a rebel of the Macaulay system. Interesting no?

(Yes, if your belief system at this point makes you believe that all Hindu rituals are primitive and meaningless ask yourself if you believe so for every other belief system and are willing to condemn every other ritual as meaningless, unequivocally. If yes, great. If not and if you are being a apologist by resorting to stuff like, I will not comment etc. Macaulay succeeded in creating exactly what he wanted.
Of course you should read about other rituals and condemn all religions unequivocally, that is a great place to be, but if you wont and choose to equivocate, well, Macaulay is still laughing at his creation. Ask yourself why.)

Now I am not saying for a moment that go and do everything that your religion demands you do. Actually, your religion demands nothing.

But pause for a moment and think if you have read about ancient Indian history, classics, saints, literature, epics, poems - as opposed to the International ones. And ask why do we tilt toward one and not the other. It is just all the years of Macaulays indoctrination.

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