What Is Hindu Liberation by Rajiv Malhotra


Pranaam Rajiv ji. This Q is in continuation
with the previous one. Where does liberalism fit in the idea or narrative of Indology. Our
society is liberal in nature, though my context is, we have Sadhus saying the girl should
not wear jeans. So, that is not my Hindu history. We were liberal in all our thoughts right.
So, what is, how do we perceive the idea of liberalism for current context. So, the
word Liberal is misused because anybody can start, anybody can start calling himself liberal.
Like when George Bush attacked Iraq, it was called “Operation Desert Freedom”. Haan, Desert
Freedom. I mean, it’s like Sheldon Pollock’s Liberation Philology. We are liberating you.
So, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a bit of sham the way these words gets appropriated, these powerful
words people appropriate, humanism, liberal, all this kind of stuff. I don’t know what
you mean by liberalism because to me the Sanskrit tradition is highly liberating. In fact, the
by-line of my book is “Is Sanskrit Political or Sacred” because that’s one debate. “Oppressive
or Liberating” that’s a debate. “Dead or Alive”. These are the 3 Qs I have answered in this
book. Discussed in this book. So, I consider our tradition to be liberating. I do not consider
it to be oppressive. They consider it to be oppressive. And they want to liberate us from
this tradition. So, the debate is over what constitutes liberation? And liberation from
what? So, liberation is from bondage. So, depends on what is your bondage. What are
you in bondage to that you need liberation? So, that’s the debate. What is the human condition
from which you want liberation? So, there is material level, you know you want liberation from poverty. There is liberation from the bondage of you know, kind of oppression, social oppression,
injustice, you want liberation from that. There is also liberation from the ego. There is a
bondage to the ego which makes you go running around until you are dead, you are basically a slave
of it. That is also a bondage. So, there is different levels of bondage. There is different
levels of liberation. So, that’s, our tradition discusses all of this. It is not just moksha.
We have become moksh centric. Lot of the Hindus have become moksh centric. But there is also
arth, there is also kaamm, there is also, you know, there is different kinds of pursuits
that are legitimate and there is nothing wrong in pursuing all these in balance, as long as you
do it in balance. So, liberation also has many facets to it. It’s a big subject what
is, what is Hindu Liberation? What is Hindu model for liberation? Is a very large subject.
It is not just one little thing. Even, you know, I would say the ISIS is probably
saying they are liberal. Because they will say we are liberate the world from kafirs.
Ya, we will liberate the world, because their definition of the problem is such that they
are solving that problem as they define it. So, everybody thinks that their ideology requires
them to do whatever they are doing because they are liberating us from that particular
problem which their ideology sees. So, that’s the thing, you know.

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