Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Dubious Term Called Westernization - III

Neo-pagan movement:
I do not know how relevant this movement is in Indian context. I believe some Hindu organisations try to portray Hinduism along Saiva, Vaisnava , Saktya lines to give it a monotheistic touch. I think this is an attempt to appeal sensibilities of Abrahmic religionists. But ground reality is that majority Hindus at present are Pagans though in the past these divisions might have made sense for certain sections.

But I have come across in e-groups an attempt to revive once wide spread local god worship traditions in the name of neo-Paganism. Probably, it is trying to make these gods mainstream as they have become minor deities in the present day Hinduism. But they should first lay down proper fundamentals/constitution for their movement.

What I found disturbing was the gross generalizations by the members of these movements. I get an impression that this neo-Pagan movement is against Individualism. They are discovering the cultural heritage of "Orientals"(India and China)! Okay, now I call this cultural heritage "Herdism" as against "Individualism". Let us get few facts right here.

Herdists and Individualists are/were there in every society. In some societies Herdists could control the power and in some societies Individualists did it. Now, consider the opposite views in those societies. A Herdist society true to its nature would suppress all other views and thoughts. However, an Individualist society would have no restrictions on Herdists. If we observe the societies which are now considered Individualist then noticeable expression of Herd mentality once in a while is not uncommon. But in a Herdist society the Individualist glory is almost nil.

With this background, I am afraid neo-Paganist movement has got its philosophical base wrong. Some of them gloat that vast majority of Hindus have native cultural alternative to "Anglo-Saxon" Individualism. This kind of generalizations depress me and I consider them evil. The need of the hour is many among that vast majority of Hindus need to feel comfortable and assured(probably, feel legitimate) about their Individualism.

Debates and generalizations:
I think statements in the debates by the participants that have a tone "let's admit it, Indians..." is invalid. Many a time they talk about practices that are vulgur, un-ethical etc... This tone always forgets that many have to follow that out of sheer helplessness in the face of overwhelming presence of Herdists. Probably, there are three kinds of people. Individualists, Herdists and the commoners.

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