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Parsis and Hindutva's Ethnic Nationalism in India

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padamchen

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'The World's Best Minority': Parsis and Hindutva's ethnic nationalism in India
Jesse Buck
Research School of Humanities and the Arts, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Abstract
There is an assumption that nationalist movements which are constituted by an ethnic majority are hostile towards all minorities, so how does one account for such a movement's affection for one minority and hostility for another? In this paper I explore this question using the case study of a Hindu nationalist movement in India called Hindutva which simultaneously expresses hostility towards Muslims and affection for another minority known as the Parsis. I argue in societies that imagine themselves as plural there is a type of nationalist thought premised upon the existence of both exemplary and threatening minorities. An exemplary minority is imagined as loyal and acculturating, illustrating both how a minority should relate to the majority and why other minorities are threatening. While an historical argument enables the distinction between the majority and minorities, a plural hierarchy of minorities is enabled by mythical stories of coexistence and conflict.

Introduction
We had always been hospitable. Anyone was welcome to stay here. But all of them were required to act up to our national codes and conventions. Several centuries ago, when barbaric hordes of Arabs and Turks invaded Persia, some Parsis left their motherland and sailed forth with their Holy Fire and Holy Book and landed at Surat. King Yadava Rana welcomed them with open arms and consulted the Shankarachrya of Dwaraka Math as to how to accept them. They were asked to give up beef-eating, respect mother-cow as an object of national faith and live here in peace. These followers of Zaratushtra have kept up their promise even to this day. - Madhavrao Sadashivrao Golwalkar (1966, 114-5)

The above story is from a book by one of the progenitors of an ethnic nationalist movement in India called Hindutva. The movement asserts the Hinduness of the Indian nation as the majority ethnic group and is founded on hostility to Muslims. The story expresses this hostility and a Hindu majoritarianism but also affection for another minority community called the Parsis. Golwalkar, a founder of the Hindutva ideology, uses the Parsis to illustrate how Muslims should relate to Hindus and to imagine India as a hierarchically plural nation where minorities are conditionally accepted.

The existing scholarship on nationalism, minorities and Hindutva does not explain an ethnic nationalist movement’s affection for a minority. In this paper I seek to fill this void by advancing a theory to understand nationalist movements that imagine themselves as plural. I use Hindutva's fondness for the Parsis to reflect upon the assumptions that underpin the scholarship on nationalism and the relationship between the majority and minorities. Scholars have argued that the creation of a majoritarian ethnic nation is detrimental for the minorities who are excluded from it (Triandafyllidou 1998; Wimmer 2002; Rouhana 1998; Tan 2001; Staerklé et al. 2010). It has been argued that Hindutva is antagonistic towards non-Hindu communities (Thapar 2007, 193,196; S. Sarkar 1993, 166; Engineer 2004, 1379; Kumar 2013; Appadurai 2006) seeking to create a singular Hindu identity where minorities are forcibly assimilated into a uniform national Hindu culture (Prakash 2007, 188; Clarke 2002, 95; Jaffrelot 2011, 39). How does one reconcile the scholarly argument that Hindutva are hostile towards minorities with their affection for the Parsis? Why are some minorities referred to affectionately and others disparagingly? Is it exclusionary to demand that minorities and migrants publicly profess loyalty and acculturate the symbols and practices of the majority? The discursive use of different types of minorities is not unique to Hindutva or India. In the United States of America the term Model Minority has gained currency to describe the experience of minorities who are not discriminated against. Pettersen (1966) first described Japanese Americans as a model minority. Subsequently the term has been applied to other migrant groups and most recently to Indians (Richwine 2009). The applicability of this thesis has been debated (Tang 1997; Chou and Feagin 2008). Anecdotally in Australia I have observed similar expressions of affection for one migrant minority and hostility towards another.

My point of entry into these debates is to illuminate a form of nationalism in which exemplary and threatening minorities are comparatively constituted and the majority is imagined against both. The exemplary minority possesses the traits which all minorities should have and they illustrate how minorities should relate to the majority. These traits depend upon the political requirements of the majoritarian movement. The exemplary Other is a symbol of what the threatening Other should, but cannot be. They are not imagined in isolation but against each other; the Parsis are exemplary because Muslims are threatening and vice versa. The use of exemplary minorities is not benign; it is not a testament to inclusiveness as it is bound to the exclusion of other communities.

For Hindutva, minorities are imagined in a fluid hierarchy from the exemplary Parsis to Jews, Christians and lastly Muslims. These relationships are constituted by rhetorically questioning the minority's loyalty and demanding they acculturate the symbols and practices of the majority. The same rhetorical question produces different responses depending upon which minority the question is posed. The answer is prefigured by how it has previously been answered. It is the remembering of a story of coexistence or conflict. The questioning of Parsi loyalty and the demand that they acculturate is part of a tradition that is at least four hundred years old. It is their dominant story explaining how they came to be. In the story their loyalty is questioned, their acculturation is demanded and they respond with an affirmation. To question the Parsis' loyalty is to affirm it. The question and demand is an expression of their agency that constitutes them as a unique entity that is favourable for the Hindu majority. This is not the case for Muslims. The question and demand is asked by others of them, it denies their agency. For more than a century the question of their loyalty has evoked equivocation or a claim of disloyalty. To question their loyalty is to deny it. Whether a minority is exemplary or threatening has little to do with whether they are in fact loyal or do acculturate. The question and answer does not reflect the practice. Rather it is part of a process that imagines a relationship relative to other communities. It negotiates the meeting points and differences as well as the majority's affection or hostility towards the minority.

For ethnically diverse societies from India, to Australia and the U.S.A, an exemplary minority enables an imagination of the society as plural and accepting. In the case of India, the Hindu majority is not only imagined against threatening Others of Muslims and Christians but also the exemplary Others of Parsis and Jews. The threatening Other defines the majority nation by what it is not, that Hindus are not Muslims. It enables an imagination of a monolithic Hindu bloc. The exemplary Other is used to imagine the Hindu nation as plural in its acceptance of diversity, but it is a pluralism predicated on a hierarchy with Hindus as paramount.

To be continued ....

@MilSpec @Joe Shearer @T90TankGuy @third eye @Sharma Ji @-=virus=- @jamahir @xeuss @magra @gulli @Srinivas @Juggernaut_Flat_Plane_V8 @Jugger @Bagheera @Naofumi @cchatrapati @KedarT @Jackdaws @Chanakya @IMARV @halupridol @Protest_again @HalfMoon

Cheers, Doc
 
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padamchen

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Parsis and Hindutva's ethnic nationalism

Hindutva is highly influential in India. It is comprised of a section of largely upper caste Hindus and is distinct from the religion of Hinduism (Jaffrelot 1993). The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the political wing of this movement (Hansen 1999, 10) and in the 2014 national elections the BJP was elected and Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India. Modi has spent his entire adult life advancing the Hindutva ideology (Teltumbde 2014; Jaffrelot 2008). Prior to his election as Prime Minister he was the Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat, which has been described as the 'Laboratory of Hindutva' (Spodek 2010, 349). Several authors argue that a pogrom or state sanctioned violence against Muslims occurred in 2002 whilst Modi was Chief Minister, although his culpability is disputed (Spodek 2010, 363; Berenschot 2011, 181–182; Patel 2002, 4826; Sarkar 2002, 2874); Ashis Nandy (2002, 106) has described Modi as fitting the clinical diagnosis of a fascist and a Muslim leader described his model of governance as one of marginalisation (Seervai 2014).

I draw upon Christophe Jaffrelot's (2011, 44–45, 85) reading of Hindutva as an ethnic nationalist movement in order to explicate it and the scholarly framework for understanding such movements. Jaffrelot destabilises the popular position that Hindutva is an anti-secular movement. For an example of such a position see Amartya Sen's comments (Guha 2014). Jaffrelot argues that Hindutva constructs' Hindu identity and the Indian nation by drawing upon European theories. The nation is defined by race, religion, language and a sacred land encapsulated in the phrase 'Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan' (Jaffrelot 2011, 45). In this schema Hindus are defined as an ethnic group. Such an approach enables Hindutva actors to sidestep the unanswerable question of what Hinduism is. It decouples the question of Hindu identity from a definition of Hinduism. In Hindutva thought, the Indian nation has been weakened by Muslim and British conquest. For Hindutva, the Indian nation is defined by a threatening Other of Muslims and Christians.

Hostility to Muslims is central to the founder of the movement, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who invented the term Hindutva. Savarkar began his political career opposing British rule in India for which he was jailed for two consecutive life terms. In prison he came into contact with Muslims involved in the pan-Islamic Khilafat movement that developed from 1919 in the wake of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. This contact transformed him from a revolutionary into a Hindu nationalist. He became convinced that Muslims, with their pan-Islamic sympathies, were more of a threat to Hindus than the British.

Hindutva took form in the 1920s against and in parallel with the secular nationalism of the Indian National Congress. They each represent a different strand of nationalist thought. Broadly the Congress subscribes to Mahatma Gandhi’s conception of India as a collection of equal religious communities. Secular in this sense does not mean a separation of religion and state, rather the state did not privilege one religion over another. Although it has been argued that there is a form of soft Hindutva within the Congress, it is generally understood that it is not the Hinduness that constitutes India, the nation is not constituted by an ethnic group or one religion, rather the secular nationalism of the Congress seeks to address each community’s distinct traditions and desires. The difference between them can be seen in the origins of Hindutva as a splinter group within the Congress opposed to Gandhi's alliance with the Khilafat movement. Whilst Gandhi used a Hindu idiom to express his political agenda this did not preclude supporting a pan-Islamic movement. The Hindutva group was eventually ejected from the Congress due to its radical communal ideology. Today the foremost Hindutva political party, the BJP and the Congress are political opponents (Jaffrelot 2007, 14, 17). One of the key contemporary differences emerging from ethnic and secular imaginations of the nation can be seen in the language they and their supporters use to describe each other. The Congress are derided as “pseudo-secularists” for their support of special status provisions for minority communities such as personal law relating to divorce. In turn the BJP are derided as “communalist” for advancing the interests of one community over another.

However, both Hindutva and the Congress share a similar conception of India as divided into a majority and minorities. Appadurai (2006) and Pandey (1999) have both pointed out, the conception of ethnic majority and minorities developed by borrowing the language of parliamentary democracy and jurisprudence. It is the ascribing of terms developed in the context of temporary political majorities and minorities to the permanency of ethnicity. It is numerical strength that determines who is a minority and who is a majority legally, politically and nationally. Muslims and Parsis are minorities in India because they are numerically less than Hindus. Conversely, in Pakistan and Bangladesh it is Muslims who are the majority and Hindus the minority. For the Congress the Indian nation is constituted by both majority and minority communities, for Hindutva it is the majority who constitute the nation. It is important to note that majority and minorities are mutually constituted, there can be no question of majority and minority without the existence of the other, If there were no minority communities there can be no majority. (Pandey 1999, 608)

In Hindutva thought the majority Hindu Indian nation and its minorities are delineated by an historical argument. The title page of Savarkar's (1923) seminal book, Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? defines a Hindu as 'a person who regards this land of Bharatvarsha, from the Indus to the Seas as his Father-Land as well as his Holy-Land that is the cradle land of his religion'. Savarkar distinguishes Hindus from non-Hindus by the Indic or non-Indic origins of a community's religion. Hindus embody the Indian nation because their religion originated in India and they are the most numerous (Jaffrelot 2011, 45). Christians and Muslims, as followers of non-Indic religions were assigned subordinate positions in a Hindu nation (Pirbhai 2008, 39). Scholars have understood history as an integral component of the Hindutva ideology; the Hindu nation is defined by it, Muslims and Christians excluded by it (Thapar 2007; Michael Gottlob 2007, 181–3; Nandy 1995, 64–65). An historical definition includes all Hindu castes, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Dalits and Adivasis as Hindus because their religions are of Indian origin. Such a definition excludes Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews because their religions are of foreign origin.

Yet Hindutva does not represent a threat to the Parsis. The Parsis are a tiny ethno-religious community of Zoroastrians who claim descent from Iranians who fled religious persecution in the centuries following the Islamic conquest of Iran. They are the world’s foremost adherents of a religion that is at least three thousand years old which once dominated what is now the Middle East and Central Asia. Today they number about 61,000 in India and are disproportionately wealthy. While initially reticent about Modi and the BJP, the Parsis have recently begun to support him. Numerous Parsis expressed their support for Modi to me during fieldwork in India during 2013; also see (Sunavala 2014). The BJP together with the Congress have supported efforts by the community to reverse their demographic decline. Both parties have supported various efforts to preserve and publicise the community's achievements and unique culture (India-Asia News Service 2014; Chakrabarty 2013). The absence of a threat posed by Hindutva towards the Parsis is illustrated by a story a Parsi told to me about his father's experience with the Shiv Sena, an ethnic nationalist movement in the Hindutva fold. For a study of Shiv Sena see (Lele 1995). During the 1992-3 Hindu-Muslim riots in Mumbai his father was driving to the airport to greet a guest and came to a temporary road block run by Shiv Sena members. They pulled his father from the car believing him to be a Muslim because of his beard. They ripped his shirt off and saw that he was wearing the sacred shirt and thread that identify him as a Parsi. The Shiv Sena workers apologised and let him go. I was told that the Shiv Sena is not hostile towards Parsis because when the founder of the movement first came to Bombay he stayed with Parsi friends. This is not to suggest that all Parsis support Hindutva. Many socially conscious Parsis I have interviewed are appalled by the ideology of Hindutva and the actions of Modi, but they do not perceive a threat to themselves.

Savarkar, Modi and other Hindutva actors have consistently expressed a fondness for individual Parsis and the community as a whole (Savarkar, n.d.; Savarkar 1984; Golwalkar 1966; Madhok 1970, 33). In 2011 Modi commissioned the construction of 'World Heritage Centres for Religious Harmony' in the Gujarati villages of Udvada and Sanjan (Dna 2011). These centres celebrate Parsi heritage in Gujarat and India. Modi said at the announcement 'When the world's smallest minority gives a political leader a standing ovation, no greater stamp of approval is required.' (Sunavala 2014) When Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat he recited a version of the Parsi story at a press conference to announce his successful inducement of a Parsi industrial conglomerate's planned new car factory (The Economic Times 2008). In 2013 the Parsis were celebrated as 'The World's Best Minority' by Modi’s state government in a play performed as part of an annual celebration of the creation of the state known as Gujarat Day.

@waz @AgNoStiC MuSliM @SQ8 @Indus Pakistan @El Sidd @masterchief_mirza @PakistaniAtBahrain @hussain0216 @Kabira @Dalit @fitpOsitive @lastofthepatriots @DESERT FIGHTER @Iltutmish @Maarkhoor @Imran Khan @Cliftonite @pakistan forever @Irfan Baloch @Windjammer @Areesh @Baibars_1260

To be continued ...

Cheers, Doc
I was recently in conversation with 2 friends - one an Indian Catholic who resides in Canada and another a Parsi lawyer from Bombay. Both are virulently anti Muslim. It kind of shocked me - because I can expect such language from Hindutva trolls on Twitter.
Have you come across anything that led you to believe that Parsis loved Muslims, to explain your shock?

There are at most cultural affinities of food. And mingling in the upper crust. Where religion is kept safely aside.

Cheers, Doc
 
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magra

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'The World's Best Minority': Parsis and Hindutva's ethnic nationalism in India
Jesse Buck
Research School of Humanities and the Arts, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Abstract
There is an assumption that nationalist movements which are constituted by an ethnic majority are hostile towards all minorities, so how does one account for such a movement's affection for one minority and hostility for another? In this paper I explore this question using the case study of a Hindu nationalist movement in India called Hindutva which simultaneously expresses hostility towards Muslims and affection for another minority known as the Parsis. I argue in societies that imagine themselves as plural there is a type of nationalist thought premised upon the existence of both exemplary and threatening minorities. An exemplary minority is imagined as loyal and acculturating, illustrating both how a minority should relate to the majority and why other minorities are threatening. While an historical argument enables the distinction between the majority and minorities, a plural hierarchy of minorities is enabled by mythical stories of coexistence and conflict.

Introduction
We had always been hospitable. Anyone was welcome to stay here. But all of them were required to act up to our national codes and conventions. Several centuries ago, when barbaric hordes of Arabs and Turks invaded Persia, some Parsis left their motherland and sailed forth with their Holy Fire and Holy Book and landed at Surat. King Yadava Rana welcomed them with open arms and consulted the Shankarachrya of Dwaraka Math as to how to accept them. They were asked to give up beef-eating, respect mother-cow as an object of national faith and live here in peace. These followers of Zaratushtra have kept up their promise even to this day. - Madhavrao Sadashivrao Golwalkar (1966, 114-5)

The above story is from a book by one of the progenitors of an ethnic nationalist movement in India called Hindutva. The movement asserts the Hinduness of the Indian nation as the majority ethnic group and is founded on hostility to Muslims. The story expresses this hostility and a Hindu majoritarianism but also affection for another minority community called the Parsis. Golwalkar, a founder of the Hindutva ideology, uses the Parsis to illustrate how Muslims should relate to Hindus and to imagine India as a hierarchically plural nation where minorities are conditionally accepted.

The existing scholarship on nationalism, minorities and Hindutva does not explain an ethnic nationalist movement’s affection for a minority. In this paper I seek to fill this void by advancing a theory to understand nationalist movements that imagine themselves as plural. I use Hindutva's fondness for the Parsis to reflect upon the assumptions that underpin the scholarship on nationalism and the relationship between the majority and minorities. Scholars have argued that the creation of a majoritarian ethnic nation is detrimental for the minorities who are excluded from it (Triandafyllidou 1998; Wimmer 2002; Rouhana 1998; Tan 2001; Staerklé et al. 2010). It has been argued that Hindutva is antagonistic towards non-Hindu communities (Thapar 2007, 193,196; S. Sarkar 1993, 166; Engineer 2004, 1379; Kumar 2013; Appadurai 2006) seeking to create a singular Hindu identity where minorities are forcibly assimilated into a uniform national Hindu culture (Prakash 2007, 188; Clarke 2002, 95; Jaffrelot 2011, 39). How does one reconcile the scholarly argument that Hindutva are hostile towards minorities with their affection for the Parsis? Why are some minorities referred to affectionately and others disparagingly? Is it exclusionary to demand that minorities and migrants publicly profess loyalty and acculturate the symbols and practices of the majority? The discursive use of different types of minorities is not unique to Hindutva or India. In the United States of America the term Model Minority has gained currency to describe the experience of minorities who are not discriminated against. Pettersen (1966) first described Japanese Americans as a model minority. Subsequently the term has been applied to other migrant groups and most recently to Indians (Richwine 2009). The applicability of this thesis has been debated (Tang 1997; Chou and Feagin 2008). Anecdotally in Australia I have observed similar expressions of affection for one migrant minority and hostility towards another.

My point of entry into these debates is to illuminate a form of nationalism in which exemplary and threatening minorities are comparatively constituted and the majority is imagined against both. The exemplary minority possesses the traits which all minorities should have and they illustrate how minorities should relate to the majority. These traits depend upon the political requirements of the majoritarian movement. The exemplary Other is a symbol of what the threatening Other should, but cannot be. They are not imagined in isolation but against each other; the Parsis are exemplary because Muslims are threatening and vice versa. The use of exemplary minorities is not benign; it is not a testament to inclusiveness as it is bound to the exclusion of other communities.

For Hindutva, minorities are imagined in a fluid hierarchy from the exemplary Parsis to Jews, Christians and lastly Muslims. These relationships are constituted by rhetorically questioning the minority's loyalty and demanding they acculturate the symbols and practices of the majority. The same rhetorical question produces different responses depending upon which minority the question is posed. The answer is prefigured by how it has previously been answered. It is the remembering of a story of coexistence or conflict. The questioning of Parsi loyalty and the demand that they acculturate is part of a tradition that is at least four hundred years old. It is their dominant story explaining how they came to be. In the story their loyalty is questioned, their acculturation is demanded and they respond with an affirmation. To question the Parsis' loyalty is to affirm it. The question and demand is an expression of their agency that constitutes them as a unique entity that is favourable for the Hindu majority. This is not the case for Muslims. The question and demand is asked by others of them, it denies their agency. For more than a century the question of their loyalty has evoked equivocation or a claim of disloyalty. To question their loyalty is to deny it. Whether a minority is exemplary or threatening has little to do with whether they are in fact loyal or do acculturate. The question and answer does not reflect the practice. Rather it is part of a process that imagines a relationship relative to other communities. It negotiates the meeting points and differences as well as the majority's affection or hostility towards the minority.

For ethnically diverse societies from India, to Australia and the U.S.A, an exemplary minority enables an imagination of the society as plural and accepting. In the case of India, the Hindu majority is not only imagined against threatening Others of Muslims and Christians but also the exemplary Others of Parsis and Jews. The threatening Other defines the majority nation by what it is not, that Hindus are not Muslims. It enables an imagination of a monolithic Hindu bloc. The exemplary Other is used to imagine the Hindu nation as plural in its acceptance of diversity, but it is a pluralism predicated on a hierarchy with Hindus as paramount.

To be continued ....

@MilSpec @Joe Shearer @T90TankGuy @third eye @Sharma Ji @-=virus=- @jamahir @xeuss @magra @gulli @Srinivas @Juggernaut_Flat_Plane_V8 @Jugger @Bagheera @Naofumi @cchatrapati @KedarT @Jackdaws @Chanakya @IMARV @halupridol @Protest_again @HalfMoon

Cheers, Doc
Hindus are fearful of 2 kinds of minorities
1. Who can lead to a further breakup of India. A section of Muslims demanded and got Pakistan (and BD) separated from 1947, so that fear of a repeat will probably remain till we have peaceful relations with Pakistan.
2. Who can lure Hindus out of dharmic tradition. Christian missionaries, some of them having done good in education sector, have lured poor Hindus giving monetary incentives for conversion. But I would like to add here that the fear is only directed to the missionaries and not in general to the Christian population, as there is no realistic demand or possibility for a separate nation for them.

All other minorities in India are too small in numbers, do not seek separate nation, and are not proselytizing. Hence, they are shown as exemplary.
 

padamchen

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Hindus are fearful of 2 kinds of minorities
1. Who can lead to a further breakup of India. A section of Muslims demanded and got Pakistan (and BD) separated from 1947, so that fear of a repeat will probably remain till we have peaceful relations with Pakistan.
2. Who can lure Hindus out of dharmic tradition. Christian missionaries, some of them having done good in education sector, have lured poor Hindus giving monetary incentives for conversion. But I would like to add here that the fear is only directed to the missionaries and not in general to the Christian population, as there is no realistic demand or possibility for a separate nation for them.

All other minorities in India are too small in numbers, do not seek separate nation, and are not proselytizing. Hence, they are shown as exemplary.
These are legitimate concerns. And cannot be laughed away.

Cheers, Doc
 

magra

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These are legitimate concerns. And cannot be laughed away.

Cheers, Doc
Having said that Hindus will remain fearful of Muslim till peace with Pakistan, it is not the fault of majority of Indian muslims of today. While it may be a natural tendency to mistrust all Muslims because of 1947, it is not wise. Faultines within India due to such mistrust are easily exploited by anti-Indian forces against us.
We have to learn to trust all Indians and only act on concrete evidence, rather than hearsay.
 

jamahir

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These are legitimate concerns. And cannot be laughed away.

Cheers, Doc
What about Yogi Adityanath passing a law punishing the en masse conversion of Dalits to Buddhism ( supposedly a brotherly Dharmic religion ) ?

About the OP, there are a few things. As @Jackdaws indicated ( Sorry, it was @magra ), the Parsis are too few in number. Their spiritual homeland is a Muslim-majority country which allows for the Hindutvadis and Parsis to bond over. The Parsi stereotype is harmless socially, economically and politically while the Muslim stereotype is threatening and isolationist. There is no Parsi Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid. The only political statement I have seen from Ratan Tata ( though it is a welcome one ) is against the obscene "house" of Ambani. Statement here.
 

padamchen

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Hierarchical pluralism

How does one account for Hindutva's expressed affection for Parsis? As Jaffrelot’s analysis suggests, Hindutva seeks to create a uniform Hindu bloc through the use of a threatening Other of Muslims. But the ethnic nationalist argument does not account for Hindutva’s affection for the Parsis. I argue the Hindutva discourse on minorities is premised upon an imagination of the Indian nation as hierarchically plural. Different communities are imagined relative to each other in hierarchy from Hindus to Parsis then Jews, Christians and lastly Muslims. Parsis are exemplary because Muslims are threatening. Muslims enable an imagination of the Hindu nation as unitary and Parsis enable an imagination of it as plural and munificent. This was succinctly expressed by Golwalkar when he wrote of India 'here was already a full-fledged ancient nation of the Hindus and the various communities which were living in the country were here either as guests, the Jews and Parsis, or as invaders, the Muslim and Christians.' (Golwalkar 1966, 119)

Modi's government, Savarkar, Golwalkar all use the Parsis to illustrate that they are not hostile to minorities but to the actions of minorities that threaten Hindus. Savarkar expressed a hierarchical pluralism in a 1938 speech. It was delivered shortly after his release from 27 years imprisonment. Savarkar said 'The Hindus will assure them all that we hate none, neither the Moslem nor the Christians nor the Indian Europeans but henceforth we shall take good care to see that none of them dares to hate or belittle the Hindus also.' (Savarkar 1984, 31) Of the 32 points in the speech, Muslims are directly addressed in ten, and indirectly in eight. Savarkar argues that Muslims are hostile to Indian territorial nationalism for four reasons. First, because they 'have not as yet grown out of the historical stage, of intense religiosity and the theological concept of state'. Second, they 'divide the human world into two groups only; The Moslem land and the enemy land.' Third, Muslim theologians look upon Hindus as the most damned. Fourth, they are conscious 'that they entered India as conquerors and subjected the Hindus to their rule.' (Savarkar 1984, 27–28) In point 25 of his speech he addressed the place of non-Muslim minorities in the Hindu nation. Non-Muslim minorities are constituted relative to Muslims and the threat they pose to the Hindu nation. A minority's place in the hierarchy is gauged by their loyalty and commonality with Hindus (Savarkar 1984, 31).

Savarkar's hostility to Muslims was inversely matched by his affection for Parsis illustrated by his affection for his Parsi friend Madame Cama (Savarkar, n.d., 13, 19, 22, 28; Savarkar 1984, 13, 31). The first minority he addressed are the Parsis, whom he said

"are by race, religion, language and culture most akin to us. They have greatfully [sic] been loyal to India and have made her their only home. They have produced some of the best Indian patriots and revolutionists like Dada Bhai and Madam Cama. They will have to be and therefore, shall be incorporated into the common Indian State with perfectly equal rights and trust." (Savarkar 1984, 31)

In the writings of Savarkar and Golwalkar, Christians and Jews switch places depending upon the requirements of the present. In Savarkar's 1938 speech Christians followed Parsis because they have 'no extra-territorial political designs against India, are not linguistically and culturally averse to the Hindus and therefore, can be politically assimilated with us. Only in religion they differ from us and are a proselytizing church.' (Savarkar 1984, 31–2) Third are Jews, of whom he says 'they are too few, have given us no political or cultural troubles and are not in the main a proselytising people.' (Savarkar 1984, 31–2) At this time Savarkar was wary of the Jews due to Congress' proposal to allow a Jewish colony in India. He said in response to the proposal 'India must be a Hindu land, reserved for the Hindus.' (Savarkar 1984, 31–2) In the later writings of Golwalkar, when this threat had passed and acculturation had become a significant differentiator, Christians and Jews switch places (Jaffrelot 2007, 101). Then, Savarkar came to Muslims, writing, 'So far as the Moslem minority is concerned...we must watch it in all its actions with the greatest distrust possible.' (Savarkar 1984, 31–2)

Contemporary Hindutva supporters also imagine Parsis in contrast with Muslims. One of the organisers of the 2013 Gujarat Day play told me an interview that 'the Parsis are the most patriotic minority especially compared to Muslims,' and that, 'most importantly they are not antiIndian like Muslims.' Responding to a question about how Modi's new national government proposed to take Muslim welfare forward, the new Minister of Minority Affairs Najma Heptullah from the BJP, who is married to a Parsi, said 'Muslims are not minorities. Parsis are.' (Times News Network 2014)

To be continued ...

Cheers, Doc
 

magra

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What about Yogi Adityanath passing a law punishing the en masse conversion of Dalits to Buddhism ( supposedly a brotherly Dharmic religion ) ?

About the OP, there are a few things. As @Jackdaws indicated ( Sorry, it was @magra ), the Parsis are too few in number. Their spiritual homeland is a Muslim-majority country which allows for the Hindutvadis and Parsis to bond over. The Parsi stereotype is harmless socially, economically and politically while the Muslim stereotype is threatening and isolationist. There is no Parsi Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid. The only political statement I have seen from Ratan Tata ( though it is a welcome one ) is against the obscene "house" of Ambani. Statement here.
Yogi is the biggest threat to India's secularism and unity. He is calling 'secularism' as a threat to India.
See this.
 

padamchen

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What about Yogi Adityanath passing a law punishing the en masse conversion of Dalits to Buddhism ( supposedly a brotherly Dharmic religion ) ?

About the OP, there are a few things. As @Jackdaws indicated ( Sorry, it was @magra ), the Parsis are too few in number. Their spiritual homeland is a Muslim-majority country which allows for the Hindutvadis and Parsis to bond over. The Parsi stereotype is harmless socially, economically and politically while the Muslim stereotype is threatening and isolationist. There is no Parsi Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid. The only political statement I have seen from Ratan Tata ( though it is a welcome one ) is against the obscene "house" of Ambani. Statement here.
Buddhism is currently seen as the middle stepping stone to Islam (or to an extent Christianity).

Parsis are not really harmless. Money and brains can do a world of harm when and where channelled. @Hakikat ve Hikmet will probably agree.

It depends on who is looking at them really and how the Parsis see them.

Yes, they are completely harmless to the vast majority of patriotic Indians.

Cheers, Doc
 

jamahir

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Yogi is the biggest threat to India's secularism and unity. He is calling 'secularism' as a threat to India.
See this.
@padamchen, is Yogi a patriotic Indian ?

Parsis are not really harmless.

It depends on who is looking at them really and how the Parsis see them.
I was speaking about stereotypes. I have already told you yesterday that you seem to look at India as a launchpad and place of gathering for Zoroastrian activism.
 

magra

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Buddhism is currently seen as the middle stepping stone to Islam (or to an extent Christianity).

Parsis are not really harmless. Money and brains can do a world of harm when and where channelled. @Hakikat ve Hikmet will probably agree.

It depends on who is looking at them really and how the Parsis see them.

Yes, they are completely harmless to the vast majority of patriotic Indians.

Cheers, Doc
I do not know who sees Buddhism as a path towards Islam. In fact, through Buddhism, dharmic culture has spread as far as China, Japan, Korea, SE Asia. Buddhism is nothing but an alternative way of Hinduism. The founder Buddha never asked his followers to begin a new religion in his name. He just wanted to improve upon Hinduism.

Parsis have benefited from India and vice-versa. We need Parsis to seriously work in their bedrooms, else we might not have any Parsis in few decades.
 

padamchen

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@padamchen, is Yogi a patriotic Indian ?

I was speaking about stereotypes. I have already told you yesterday that you seem to look at India as a launchpad and place of gathering for Zoroastrian activism.
Yogi is a nationalist. Not a patriot.

There is a difference, if you care to appreciate it.

I have told you before, regardless of where we launch, and when, India will remain our homeland.

Buddy, out of 9 Atash Behram fires (the highest grade of Fire, including the Atash Padshah at Iranshah that comes from the original fire we came here with) 8 are in India.

It is absurd of you to say Parsis are anything but an Indian community.

Your problem is that you are confusing religion and ethnicity.

Parsis are a religious ethnicity of India.

Zoroastrians are followers of a world religion. Some (not even the majority) of whom are Parsi.

Cheers, Doc
 

magra

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Yogi is a nationalist. Not a patriot.

There is a difference, if you care to appreciate it.

I have told you before, regardless of where we launch, and when, India will remain our homeland.

Buddy, out of 9 Atash Behram fires (the highest grade of Fire, including the Atash Padshah at Iranshah that comes from the original fire we came here with) 8 are in India.

It is absurd of you to say Parsis are anything but an Indian community.

Your problem is that you are confusing religion and ethnicity.

Parsis are a religious ethnicity of India.

Zoroastrians are followers of a world religion. Some (not even the majority) of whom are Parsi.

Cheers, Doc
Can you please explain the difference between a nationalist and a patriot?
 

padamchen

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I do not know who sees Buddhism as a path towards Islam. In fact, through Buddhism, dharmic culture has spread as far as China, Japan, Korea, SE Asia. Buddhism is nothing but an alternative way of Hinduism. The founder Buddha never asked his followers to begin a new religion in his name. He just wanted to improve upon Hinduism.

Parsis have benefited from India and vice-versa. We need Parsis to seriously work in their bedrooms, else we might not have any Parsis in few decades.
Your view is the classical historical view of Buddhism.

Mine is the present day street view of the bhim sena boudh dalit converts and their numbers being eaten into by proselytizing faiths, under the radar of the Hindu watch.

Cheers, Doc
 

magra

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Your view is the classical historical view of Buddhism.

Mine is the present day street view of the bhim sena boudh dalit converts and their numbers being eaten into by proselytizing faiths, under the radar of the Hindu watch.

Cheers, Doc
There are some people who are resistant and will not convert out of Hinduism, and there are others who may. People who have already converted to Buddhism were not resistant enough. So it is natural that some of them will move on to other religions.
Instead of getting provocated by the outcome, society needs to address the root cause of conversion. What is making them disillusioned enough to convert? Thats because of deep-rooted casteism in rural areas (as seen in the 'Hathras' episode). If we dont eradicate the ills of casteism, we cant blame the oppressed who seek other alternatives.
 
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