Radicalized

Radicalized June 18, 2015

I’m not quite sure how to say this. I don’t want to be misunderstood here. And I’m going to say something that may sound a little outrageous. Please don’t have me committed!

My trip to India dramatically changed my perspective on the world and I can kind of see how outfits like Isis recruit westerners.

We talk about how people become “radicalized” by bad influences. But from their point of view, their eyes are being opened to the truth and everyone who says they’ve fallen in with a bad crowd seems like woefully ignorant sheep. To be clear, I don’t think this is real truth.

I just understand what it feels like to have your eyes opened. I returned from India with a very different understanding of the places where my religion and politics intersect. The politics that people have been telling me about for years. It suddenly clicked. I still don’t 100% agree with all of it, but I’d say that how I see the world has changed tremendously as a result of my time in India.

And I’m very lucky that Hinduism doesn’t have a tradition of exclusion and violence. (Not to say that there aren’t incidents of violence and people who advocate violence). It doesn’t have the kinds of groups that Islam has where they are ingrained with a very dangerous and scary interpretation of scripture and justice. Even radical Hindu groups don’t advocate that everyone in the world should be or has to be Hindu (not that I’ve encountered, anyway, after eleven years as living as a Hindu and six years of blogging).

I may be becoming radicalized but I’m lucky that being radicalized in Hinduism is quite different (and much safer for everyone) than being radicalized in most other religions.

 

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  • Agni Ashwin

    Most Hindus are Rādhā-calized.

    • Ambaa

      That is so AWESOME!

  • SK

    For your reading pleasure :
    Let’s all be Hindu fundamentalists – Maria Wirth
    https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/lets-all-be-hindu-fundamentalists/

  • Shesh

    Sanatan Dharma teaches dharma. Ahimsa is the base of the dharma in hinduism. It is impossible to radicalize a hindu. As soon as a hindu goes away from ahimsa he goes away from dharma. “One who protects dharma, dharma protects him “.

    • Hidimbi Hidimbaa

      Maybe she means, feeling sympathetic to causes that originate outside one’s country of origin? But, I think even if there was conflict between the U.S. and India, an American Hindu could never take up arms against the U.S. because it would go against our patriotic duty.

      Just like Arjuna had to make Bhishma’s bed of arrows, we would have to support our own country. So, the U.S. government has nothing to fear from radicalized American Hindus, even if India and the U.S. ever do clash.

  • Hidimbi Hidimbaa

    After my first trip to India, I felt very depressed for a long time after returning to the United States.

    It was exacerbated both by returning from a month in a hot climate to a freezing U.S. winter climate, and by going back to work as an assistant to a racist boss, who began recruiting new hires and very openly screened applicants with Desi names or accents. I began wearing thick sindoor and a bindi to work and was very promptly fired. It was really for the best.

    In any case, if you’re facing the post-India visit blues, just know it gets better. 😛

  • Vineet Menon

    I often say that ‘Fundamentalism’ is good if your fundamentals are good (borrowed from Arun Shourie). Jainism (a Dharmic religion) for example, have their fundamentals in non-violence. Now, a fundamental Jain would starve himself to death than commit even a shred of violence to plants and animals for his own sustenance.