Interview yet to be published by Christian Post.
Many months ago I was approached by a journalist named Myles Collier from Christian Post, who told me that their media wanted to interview me on BD. I asked that it be done by email, so that there is an accurate record and no misunderstanding later. This was accepted by his editors, and what followed was an email exchange in which I answered every question asked of me. Below is a complete list of all the questions and my answers.
As you can see from their questions, this organizations has deep rooted d ideas supporting Dalit Christianity. I was told that the interview would appear very soon and that I would receive the url. I never heard back after the interview was one. My prediction at the time was that once the senior editors saw my responses, they would not want to publish it, because one of my conditions was that any alterations in what I said required my prior written approval.
Rajiv Malhotra’s Interview with Myles Collierfrom Christian Post
1. Question: For those not familiarwith your work what is the main thesis of your book, Breaking India?
a) Thebook explains the role of U.S. and European churches, academics, think-tanks,foundations, government and human rights groups in fostering divisiveidentities between the Dravidian and Dalit communities on the one hand and therest of India based on outdated racial theories.
b) Itshows how outdated racial theories continue to provide academic frameworks andfuel the rhetoric that can trigger civil wars and genocides in developingcountries.
c) The Dravidian movement’s 200-year history hassuch origins. Its latest manifestation is the “Dravidian Christianity” movementthat fabricates a political and cultural history to exploit old fault lines. Irefer to this as the “breaking India project”. Please see: http://www.breakingindia.com/
2. Question: What kind of reception hasyour book garnered?
a) The reception in Indian thinktanks and defensestudy networks has been very good. The book was launched by senior Indian retiredsecurity and military officials. See videos at:
b) Therehas also been a very good reception among the general public in both India andthe US. The book has already gone through 5 print runs and become a nationalbest-seller. Breaking India was quoted during the recent controversialKodankulam protests.
c) The latest jacket’s endorsements are also self-explanatory– please see:
d) Ithas been translated into Tamil and the Hindi edition will soon be ready as well.
3. Question: When specificallyconsidering the situation of the Dalit’s Dr. Joseph D’souza describes it as the”greatest human rights violation in history” — is this an accurate portrayal?
a) Callingthe situation of the Dalits the “greatest human rights violation in history” isan example of the sensationalist pandering and politicization thatBreaking India explains. Anyone researchingatrocities objectively must examine the following ones: White EuropeanChristian conquerors of America against Native Americans and Australianaborigines, Spanish Inquisition against women and native faiths, PortugueseInquisition against Indians, Christian slavery of Africans, Christiancolonization of Asia and other continents during which hundreds of millionswere killed. In fact, Christianity wasbuilt by the sword ever since the time Emperor Constantine hijacked it andturned it into a dogma for state theocracy.
b) JosephD’souza is trying to help cover up this White Christian guilt of perpetrating manyof history’s worst atrocities. Non-White Christians like D’souza perform thiscover up for White Christians, and for this they earn funding and careeropportunities. I refer to such persons as `sepoys’, after the Indians whoserved under British rule and helped police and control other Indians. Thisrole is similar to that of the Anglo-Irishmen who were used by the English tocolonize Ireland.
c) Ofcourse, all violations of human rights are to be condemned, and we must workhard to give dignity to every human across the globe. But one cannot distorthistory in order to open the door for Western interventions as has been theirstrategy for centuries.
d) Thereis a long history of many Indian communities becoming poor and disenfranchised dueto dislocation under Islamic and British oppression, and many of them turnedinto present day Dalits. This is not a “Hindu problem” per se as is the fashionto call it in the Christian press. In fact, Dalit Christians have litigatedagainst the Indian Church for prejudices against them that areinstitutionalized within Christianity – including separate burial grounds, andbias in the allocation of funds.
e) Most Christian nations that were formercolonies, such as the ones in Latin America, Philippines, etc. have far worseper capita statistics of crimes than India does.
f) Also,the Church remains racially very much divided even in rich Christian countrieslike USA: That’s why there are separate Black churches, Korean churches,Hispanic churches, etc. Even among Indian Christians in USA there are separatechurches for Tamils and Malayalees, etc.
g) Sohuman rights activism must begin at home – Christians must work withinChristian society to solve internal problems, rather than trying to exportcures for social maladies they are suffering themselves, and especiallydiseases they have spread elsewhere. The human rights record of atrocities by Christendomis woven deeply into the tapestry of world history.
h) TheChurch has no moral authority to intervene in other countries using the pretextof bringing them human rights.
i) India’s sovereignty and its internal institutionsfor improving the lot of all its citizens must be respected and strengthened.
4. Question: There are manyorganizations dedicated to helping and empowering the Dalit’s, yet you havemade the claim that western influences actually hinder progressive movementsand contribute to an ever hostile social environment—why is this?
a) India,like any former colony, has its own share of social injustices that need to becontinually addressed and resolved.
b) Butseparatist forces supported and funded by external nexuses are constructing adangerous and fictitious anti-national grand narrative. This has been forgedspecifically to alienate Dalits from their own culture and country byexacerbating societal divisions. This is the latest version of the olddivide-and-rule strategy practiced by European colonizers everywhere.
c) Alldemocracy-loving Americans should worry about the consequences of allowingnarrow-minded Christian organizations to undermine the largest democracy in theworld.
d) Dalitcommunities are not monolithic and have extremely diverse histories and socialdynamics – so you cannot lump all of them in one box. Also, not all Dalitcommunities are at the same socio-economic level or homogeneously poor. Nor arethey static or inherently subordinate to others. Indeed, there are several Dalitbillionaires, top politicians and other leaders – a Dalit has even been the Presidentof India.
e) WhileDravidian and Dalit identities were initially constructed separately, there is nowa strategy at work to link them in order to denigrate and demonize Indianclassical traditions as a common enemy. This, in turn, has been mapped on to anewly manufactured Afro-Dalit narrative which claims that Dalits are raciallyrelated to Africans and all other Indians are “whites.” Thus, Indiancivilization itself is demonized as anti-humanistic and oppressive.
f) Thishas become the playground of major foreign players, both from the evangelicalright and from the academic left. It has opened huge career opportunities foran assortment of middlemen including foreign-funded NGOs, intellectuals and”champions of the oppressed.”
g) While the need for relief and structural changeis immense, the shortsighted selfish politics is often empowering someindividual leaders rather than the people whose cause is being championed. The”solutions” often exacerbate the problems. See:
5. Question: What is your currentfeeling as to the situation created by outside organizations and the impactthat has on the Dalit population?
a) Genuinegrievances and injustices certainly do exist. There is no whitewashing here.
b) Butthe book shows how such existing fault lines are used by transnational forcesto subvert India and brand Indian civilization as hopeless and in need of beingreplaced by a superior imported variety. This can make Dalits believe thattheir liberation lies in toppling India’s civilization and nationhood.
c) PoliticizedChristianity in India maps Biblical notions on to a Marxist interpretation of”class struggle”, i.e. Liberation Theology, even though the American sponsorsdo not support such ideology domestically where they live. So they are pullingthe strings of society and politics half way around the world in an alien placewithout having any skin in the game. This is hypocrisy.
d) My research tracked the money trails from theWest where funds are raised for “education,” “human rights,” “empowermenttraining,” and “leadership training,” but end up in programs designed toproduce angry youths who feel disenfranchised from Indian identity. Already theBaptists have created separatist movements in India’s northeast region byconverting the natives and shifting their loyalties.
e) Similarinterventions by some of the same global forces have resulted in genocides andcivil wars in Sri Lanka, Rwanda, etc.
6. Question: There has been a greatdeal of discussion over the role of Hinduism in India and its propensity tokeep “undesired” individuals oppressed, I was curious as to your thoughts aboutthe role of Hinduism and the Hindutva in India?
a) Itis ironic that Christians are able to make such assumptions at a time when Hinduideas are being appropriated into Christianity to create a more benevolenttheology for Christianity. Hindu metaphysics and praxis have been digested intoChristianity for a long time, but very systematically for at least 200 years,into such diverse areas as: sacredness of the earth and the divine feminine;yoga and the human body as not being inherently sinful but being inherentlydivine; animal rights and vegetarianism; the inherent unity of consciousness asopposed to the dualism of Judeo-Christianity; etc.
b) Iam writing a whole series of books on how major Christian thinkers have acknowledgedHindu sources for some of their most important rethinking on Christianity.Unfortunately, subsequent Christians like to dilute these Hindu influences andeventually forget them entirely, and replace them with Judeo-Christian sources,in order to hide the “Hinduism inside” that exists at the heart of much of today’sreinterpreted Christianity.
c) So,on the one hand, we have this very frantic appropriation going on, and the Hinduorigins are being erased. Simultaneously, on the other hand, the very sameHindu sources are being abused as “oppressive”. How could Hindu ideas be usefulto liberate Christianity from Christianity’s own shackles, and yet Hinduism bebranded so vehemently as oppressive?
d) Iam reminded of the way Greek thought was appropriated by St. Augustine andothers in order to start Christian theology (prior to which Christianhistorians admit that the Bible lacked philosophical content), and yet the verysame Greek society was condemned as “pagan” and finished off. I have referredto this as a form of arson: the arsonist robs the bank and then burns it downto hide the evidence. The Christian West has perfected this type of activityover the centuries: appropriate and simultaneously destroy the source.
e) Iam amazed at the sweeping assumptions in your question. It is hypocritical forChristians to point fingers at the alleged “propensity to keep undesiredindividuals oppressed” in Hinduism, given Christianity’s track record onoppression of indigenous cultures, sexual abuse of children, persecution ofgreat scientists and thinkers who did not accede to Christian dogma of thetime, systemic repression of women and homophobia.
f) Asfor Hindutva, that is a specific political movement and you will have tointerview its leaders for their views. I can only speak for Hindu dharma as anindividual practitioner-scholar, and not for any institution.
7. Question: How do you respond tothose who would call the research found in your book sound, however claim thatyour interpretation and subsequent propaganda message is wrong?
a) Thisstatement is too general to be possible to answer. There are many issuesdiscussed in my works, and hence you have to cite a concrete example of whattroubles you, so I may be able to address it. Breaking India exposes propaganda; it does not create it. It is the result of a fact finding missionundertaken over decades and the result of rigorous analysis, not sloganeering.
b) Ianticipated that my findings will trouble many persons who have a vestedinterest to defend a fabricated history, a fabricated grandiose notion of theirown religious supremacy and exclusivity, and who are in many cases alsosustaining their careers and lifestyles based on pushing ideas on behalf ofpowerful global nexuses.
c) Ifany objections to my research come from persons who do not fall in thesecategories and are based on primary sources, I will consider them respectfullyand modify my views if necessary.
8. Question: The Dalit Freedom Networkand Operation Mobilization are two groups that are building schools which offera English-medium education with a Christian world-view perspective while alsooffering vocational training to help abused and trafficked individuals inIndia. If local programs are not offering opportunities for marginalized peoplewhy would it be negative for Dalit’s and other lower caste members to exercisechoice and work towards a better future?
a) MahatmaGandhi lashed out against Christian missionaries numerous times because theylinked their social work to conversion. I agree with his posture. Christianswho are genuinely motivated must provide unconditionalhelp from one human to another.
b) Todenigrate another’s culture is a form of himsa (harm) and violates the dharmicprinciple known as ahimsa. Christians must learn mutual respect for others andnot use mere “tolerance” as a cover up of hatred. (For more details on myprinciple of mutual respect and how it differs from tolerance, please see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rajiv-malhotra/religious-difference-with-mutual-respect_b_1165589.html)
c) Regardingthe groups you have named, I oppose their political projects and my bookexposes what they are up to. DFN (with two directors from OM) uses the Dalitface to hide that it is a hardcore operational wing of American right-wing agendasin India. The Dalit label gives it the emotional appeal and aura of legitimacyto intervene in India’s affairs. DFN brings speakers and activists from Indiato testify before US government commissions, policy think-tanks and churches,with the explicit goal of promoting US intervention in India (Breaking India, pages 222-223).
d) Whatmost of my American Christian friends are shocked to learn is that the kind ofChristianity being propagated in India is often similar to the radical,medieval Christianity that was based on performing “miracles” and on hatespeech. Most modern Christians in USA have rejected that Christianity, but theobsession for numerical growth in Christian population has become theevangelical obsession. The sole focus is on numbers, not quality or genuinereligiosity.
e) Thereare also many good indigenous grassroots movements in India working for Dalit causes,which do not get the type of prominence or funding that Western-supported NGOsdo. They are sadly underfunded because they lack the sophisticated fundraisingand publicity machinery. Yet such indigenous organizations have a far betterefficiency in the use of funds for making a positive impact than the foreignones do.
f) MyAmerican Christian friends are grateful to get informed about this, as itenables them to make better choices in philanthropy, and be more careful beforethey fund certain foreign missions. Since my book is beginning to impact theevangelists’ fund-raising in the US, they want Christian media like yours to poisonthe credibility of my work.
g) Butany religious community must be open to external criticism and self-reflectionin order to improve its religious standards. Given Christianity’s long historyof abuses, it would be foolish for American Christians to fail to examine myfindings with a receptive mind.
9. Question: Can you explain yourthoughts related to difference anxiety?
a) Icoined the term “difference anxiety” to refer to one’s anxiety thatthe other is different in some way—be it gender, sexual orientation, race,ethnicity, age or religion. The alternative is difference without anxiety, and better still is celebration of difference.
b) Toappreciate this very Hindu principle, one must start by observing that thecosmos is built on the principle of difference—in plants, animals, geographies,and even each moment in time is unique. So differences in culture, humancognition and worldviews are entirely natural.
c) Itis interesting that westerners are so protective of the diversity of plants andanimals, but the same emphasis is not placed on protecting civilizational andfaith diversity. The reason is that Westerners are driven by the urge tocontrol externally – control over other humans, nature, etc. Homogeneity basedon fixed canonized norms helps one control; hence difference and especiallyflux are a cause for anxiety. Therefore, Western religions have traditionallypushed for monocultures.
d) WesternMonotheism is more appropriately described as “my-theism,” meaningthat my idea of theism is the only valid one.
e) InHinduism, sva-dharma is the path for a given individual, the “sva”prefix literally meaning “my.” It’s like “My Documents” or”My Favorites” on your computer. God made us unique individuals, eachwith a purpose based on past conditioning, including experiences in pastbirths, and each of us is equipped to discover his or her sva-dharma.
f) Toprevent repetition of some of the worst organized, large scale atrocities inworld history that were committed for the sake of spreading a uniform theology,it is time we respected difference. Please see: http://www.patheos.com/Books/Book-Club/Rajiv-Malhotra-Being-Different/Importance-of-Being-Different-QA-Rajiv-Malhotra-02-20-2012