By Parmanand Pandey
‘Snakes in the Ganga- breaking India 2.0’ by Rajeev Malhotra and Vijaya Viswanathan is a highly revealing and eye-opening book. It is a mine of information and it exposes the forces with convincing evidence that have been active in dismantling India, its traditions and cultures etc. These forces are active inside as well as outside India but the main role is played by some of the western universities. The book is a tome of nearly 800 pages containing some 22 chapters but the subject matter and the style is very engrossing. The book explains with copious evidence how these forces have been working to brainwash, manipulate and evangelise the rural poor with the end goal of destroying the civilisation fabric of India. It is very shocking that the premier educational centre of the world, Harvard University is playing the lead role in building a troubling alliance between a few leading Black Americans and ambitious young Dalits encouraging them to map India’s caste system onto the western concept of race. Theories known as Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Critical Dalit Theory are built on this framework and taught at Harvard as established facts in their curriculum. Most surprisingly no counter position is either presented or entertained at Harvard.
Snakes in the Ganga brings forth the Indian funding of far-Left scholars’ activists that push the tenets of the new moral orthodoxy. Why some Indian capitalists are promoting it is a puzzling question. The book has successfully debunked the western theory of the Aryan/ Dravidian divide. The proponents of Critical Race Theory have no qualms in declaring Sanskrit as an oppressive language. They are of the view that Sanskrit perpetuates Brahmin privilege as a tool for exploiting the lower castes and Dalits. The Critical Race Theory’s application to Indian society comes wrapped in a bundle of lies and exaggerations that nobody is allowed to question.
Ruse of Wokeism to Dismantle India
A new term ‘Woke’ is the popular equivalent of the more academic term for Critical Race Theory. It started in the Black American Community as a means of spreading awareness and being woken up to the social realities. Snakes in the Ganga is a metaphor for some foreign institutions that are mapping ideas of Wokeism to India, thereby undermining India’s ancient civilisational fabric. A praiseworthy effort has been made through the book to inform Indians who might be supporting Wokeism, often unintentionally, without an understanding of the endgame of these projects.
The book throws light on many philosophical theories like those of Kant, Hegel, Karl Marx and Herbert Marcuse etc, who explained how capitalism had won over the oppressed masses psychologically. At the same time. Postmodernism has been characterised by its scepticism of any objective reality; the influence of Nietzsche, Immanuel Kant, Hegel and others is evident. Postmodernism is based on the principles like general scepticism about the existence of objective knowledge or universal truth. Boundaries between categories are considered inherently blurry and are merely arbitrary human conventions. It says that power structures and hierarchies exist in all societies, and this is how knowledge gets created. Language itself embeds the power of elites who have developed it. Hence, the use of language is always biased and oppressive.
Alignment of CRT with Queer Theory
The proponents of Critical Race Theory, which is aligned with Queer Theory make a ridiculous comparison with Vedanta and Buddhism. This theory also takes the liberty of comparing skin colour as the marker for caste. It is assumed, which is highly erroneous, that low caste persons in India are dark-skinned and upper casts are light-skinned. This section conveniently forgets the fact that most Hindu deities like Ram. Krishna, Kali and Durga are dark-skinned. The book quotes Isabel Wilkerson, who in her book ‘Caste is the Grammar of Racism’, says the relationship between caste and race is simple and direct. In a way, she is partially correct when she says that while race is flexible, caste is rigid. Hence, most of the time caste is the real problem, because it is like bones and race is like skin. It is fluid and superficial, subject to periodic redefinition to meet the needs of the dominant class.
She is more influenced by Dr BR Ambedkar, who was also of the view that caste is frozen in social structure. However, a fact can hardly be denied that different regions of India have had different dynamics of caste. The situation in the north is not the same as in the South. Hindus in the Caribbean countries do not have the same caste dynamics as in India. Hindus of all castes were brought to the Caribbean and enslaved under the cover of indentured labour, but Madam Wilkerson is silent on this. She appears to be unaware of the fact that Hinduism has got itself transformed in different countries. It is not uniform and homogenous like other Abrahamic religions. She (Wilkerson) does not realise that the Indian people, even when poor take pride in their specific community. It is an identity with cultural significance: festivals, traditions and specific deities. So, in the West, every attempt is made by some people to find fault with Hinduism and they try to dismantle its belief in Karma theory.
Attacking the meritocracy
There are some professors at Harvard like Ajanta Subramaniam who in her book the Caste of merit: Engineering education in India has tried to prove that IITs in India are the main centres of the upper castes, what she eventually insinuates is that the lower castes cannot compete on merit when provided equal opportunities so the merit has been confined to the upper castes instead of diligence, discipline and frugality of the other castes, it has been considered to be the tyranny of merit. She has compared the academic qualifications at IITs with a form of cultural capital in which the upper castes are the capitalists and this form of capital is considered as merit because it appears to be the objective, autonomous and genuine type of competence. The leveraging of merit is an upper-caste conspiracy to perpetuate its capitalism. She further says that this is the reason IITians stick together and close rank to prevent the emergence of an egalitarian society because that will wipe out its cultural capital advantages, she has further gone on to stipulate that merit is mainly a male-dominated capital.
Thus, caste in India has been equated with American-style racism. There is one gentleman Sooraj Yengde who claims himself to be a Dalit and he is a professor at Harvard University who spares no stone to be unturned to defame Hinduism and particularly upper caste Hindus, although Baba Sahab Ambedkar staunchly argued against the Indians converting to Christianity and Islam. He adopted Buddhism before his death because he could not find anything better than Buddhism but Sooraj Yengde has only one point agenda to run down Hinduism at any cost. He has hardly gone through the wholesome study of Doctor Ambedkar although he claims to be a Buddhist but has clearly stated that he does not practice Buddhism therefore his claim to be a Buddhist is a mere subterfuge to go hammer and tongs against Hinduism. He is absolutely unaware of the fact that a large number of temples in India have priests other than Brahmins. Most of the temples are in the government’s hands and the collection from it is used for the welfare of all communities regardless of religion but it is not the case with mosques and churches. He uses Brahmanism as a stick to beat Hinduism and says that the caste is similar to that of American Supremacy.
Harvard and Indian Billionaires
In the second part of the book, the authors demonstrated the role of Oxford University in denigrating or demonising Indian traditions. Harvard has tried to appropriate some of the philosophical theories like Buddhism and yoga to digest them. The book says that ’when Harvard claims it wants to help India’s public health, most assume it would be financing cures for dengue, malaria or other widespread tropical diseases or help champion India’s medical tourism industry that brings in foreign patients for treatment but no such was extended by it. What is most disturbing is that the Hindi courses at Harvard strive to promote Urdu rather than Hindi. The curriculum of Hindi has been prepared in such a manner as women students would bemoan their culture. Hindi content is generally negative, unlike positive Urdu content where interesting and enjoyable issues are discussed.
At Harvard, the Chinese government’s point of view is at times projected as the only relevant point of view on China. China’s human rights abuses are seldom studied and have in fact been covered up. But Harvard regularly chides India on such issues. Harvard has continued to educate Chines students and government officials on technology that would help China’s development but it does not lecture China in the humanities and social sciences. Harvard does not portray China in a manner that the worst type of human rights violation is normal in the country. It does not talk about the issue of Tibetan freedom, the democracy movement in Hong Kong, Taiwanese independence China’s crackdown on Mongolian culture and language is the human rights crisis of Uyghur Muslims. Harvard is silent and the Chines government muzzling and suppressing the billionaire founder of the Ali Baba Group for becoming too successful and outspoken. However, no such concession is given to India. The hypocrisy of Harvard’s claim to champion free speech is clear from the fact that it terminated the economics professor Subramaniam Swami because he has been championing the cause of Hindu culture. Take the example of Covid handling by India. While China miserably failed to handle it, the Indian record has been superb yet the Harvard always praised China and criticised India. The prejudice of Harvard against India and bias in favour of China has been all clear to see.
The perversity of Westerners Against India Knows no Bounds
The perversity of Westerners can be gauged by the way, they look at our age-old Kumbha Mela at Prayagraj which falls every twelve years. Harvard is more interested in exploring uncomfortable issues rather than looking at them as a sacred Hindu event. Harvard asks whether Mela is dominated by males. Do Sadhvis have equal rights as sadhus? Are women being exploited at the event? Are there rapes and harassment? Are there Tantric sex orgies? Are Dalits being oppressed? Do the Hindu groups have equitable representation of LGBTQ? Are people from the south and northeast discriminated against? The fact is that such things never even cross the minds of the people. But the so-called researchers have tried to make it an anthropological hunting ground for exotica and erotica. Some of them even demanded large-scale distribution of condoms at the Kumbha Mela.
The worrying part is that some Indian billionaires like Lakshmi Mittal, Anand Mahindra and Ajay Piramal have given huge amounts of money to perpetuate their names by establishing their seats in the university and those seats work overtime to destabilise India. Some scholars like Homi K Bhabha, and Devdutt Pattnaik play a major role in creating Hindu phobia. Unfortunately, these institutes funded by Indian billionaires support the cause anti -Indian forces like Rohingyas, and Mizos, and decode the Supreme Court verdicts on homosexuality. Harvard University has been able to get a grip and significant control over the media ecosystem., which openly supports the agitations like Shaheen Bagh or the farmers’ movement. The book has rightly asked the question that why Harvard never organises any seminar on the spiritual legacy of Kashmir but discusses the separatist issue.
The third part deals with the issue; Is India for Sale?
The writers of the book are of the definite opinion that Christian missionaries and Marxists resort to ruse and inculturation to indoctrinate the hapless public. It has also exposed the nexus of Saudis, American and Indian billionaires, who work against the sovereignty and integrity of India although they are strange bedfellows. For example, Saudi Arabia is dead against LGBTQ, yet it supports Americans when it comes to sabotaging the cause of India. Some new Indian Universities are also involved in working against India and the burning example is that of Ashoka University, which is funded by the Indian government yet -plays into the hands of the forces like Harvard and other anti-Indians.
The book deserves not only to be read but to be deeply cogitated by all Indians, who are fired with nationalism, patriotism and the progress of the country with pride intact. The book can be treasured as it is more like a reference book.