In my last essay, I talked about demolishing places of religion as their place in the world is done, but the blanketed destruction of these places of worship will create a further circle of violence that well into the future. One idea would be to convert these spaces into museums of “what-went-wrong-with-the-world”, museums of archaic thought whose cultural and moral relevance can be talked and debated about, without the central authority of a God or in extension, a cabal of humans propping up a mythical demagogue to further their interests.

Religion through the ages shaped our culture and paradigms , which in a scientific world can be distilled through means of reason and calculation. It is important to know our history and where we come from and in this sense religious institution can serve as existing set-pieces of knowledge of times past. Stripping these spaces of all power and converting them into places of real education will serve as a net positive for society, for when the dust settles the world will be a better place without imaginary control. What will become of such a world is a mystery, but it requires a belief in the total renegotiation with the ways of life as we know them now. These actions cannot stem from smaller ones, as the forces that wield this power will not yield their access to them. Cumulative, coordinated radical action is the only hope, erasing millennia of human inquiry (worthless for our age) in hopes of a better time to come. The moral learning from these religions have now formed the core of our social character, it is time to move on to pastures that can help us unveil our true potential.

As I write this, there's a new conflagration in India regarding Hindu temple remnants in the Gyan Vapi mosque in Varanasi, another burning flame to further fuel the right wing Hindutva ideology of the RSS/BJP. Issues like hunger, reducing power of democratic institutions, inflation, income inequality have all taken a back seat in the big dick competition of which stone has to be worshiped. Though the current batch of hyper-religious, politicized Hindus might want to avenge for past wrongs, the future will not be so kind for their misgivings in other fields.

#religion #politics #philosophy

A few days ago I wrote an essay about the plight of the Indian Muslims and the perils of rising Hindu majoritarianism in India. Though it was a small slice of refracting India through a religious lens, the basic point remains that a State should be free of all religious influence, no matter how hard it is to shake individual religious beliefs before getting into political office. Can religion stop being a performative act, with thousands upon thousands and of temples, mosques and churches, each vying for a growing market share? Are the subliminal metaphysical beliefs be outsourced to a cheap god, expending our collective energies in the worship of the unknown unconscious? Can we dream of a world without the weight of idle stones and crosses, our beliefs extending to the primitive beliefs from nascent past civilizations?

A true land of for the people will not harp over imaginative pasts and glorious futures, our dreams should structure around what is possible, through work that is legitimate not mythical. Break those temples, stone the mosques, raze them churches, what is political is not hidden in the confines of a book or that appeals to the lowest common denominator of the human self. A true leadership will rid of the ills of past lives we cannot shake off, our culture is worth only if there is space for us to live within it. For all the blood spilled over the name of religion, let's shun ourselves from the intoxication from a false set of beliefs.From the dust that will remain in our public spaces, let us fill our amnesia with rational knowledge. A desire for a sip from the fountain of knowledge must remain, but the methodology shouldn't be outsourced to abstract gods created in our identity. As long as these archaic institutions remain in our midst, we will be draining our precious mental resources for stone cold pieces that have no interest in our lives. Burn them, break them, bury them, their job here is done.

#religion #politics #philosophy

If you are thinking seriously of developing the social consciousness of the masses, if you believe that the middle class cannot come to power without the active participation of the illiterate and property-less majority of our people, then you should not dismiss the discontent of the workers and peasants as “simply economic”. No community is ever involved in any political movement unless urged on by economic motives. The patriotism of the “thinking portion” of our population originates in the clearly-defined consciousness which this class has of its own economic needs. If you want the masses to take an active part in the political movement, you will have to go down into the economics of their lives, find out their basic necessities, and arouse in them the consciousness of these necessities and how to go about winning them in the political struggle.

Why do the so-called “thinking” elements of our people take a more active part in the political movement than the “common” people? It is not because this class is specially created by God to monopolize the political destinies of the nation, but because as a class, it is more conscious of its own economic interests. And why? Not because of any natural superiority, but because they have more access to education. Some want industrial development, which will increase the amount of their profits; others want the doors to the higher government positions thrown open to them; still others want such a system of education as will enable them to earn more wages, etc. etc. Politics is based upon economic interests and necessities. Consequently, the political movement in which we want the masses of our people to take active part, must take into consideration the economic desires and necessities of the latter. That is all I have to say. If a party will be organized in India upon this principle, with an economic programme translated into political activities, backed up by direct action of the masses, there will be no further need to bother you with unwelcome heaps of literature.

A few concrete points. You seem to be very much concerned with the problem of Hindu-Muslim unity. This is the logical reaction of our old exclusively Hindu Nationalism, which was simply Pan-Hinduism when carried to its extreme conclusion, forming the antithesis of the aggressive Pan-Islamism. Now permit me to point out to you that, so long as you will endeavor to rear the structure of this much-needed Hindu-Muslim unity upon the thin surface of the “thinking portion” of our people exclusively, you may achieve mutual cordiality, but real unity will remain an unsolved problem. Here again, we must go down to the roots of things. It is upon the dynamics and not the statics of the question that we must base our calculations. The preachings and exhortations of well-meaning patriots have their subjective significance, but the main problem can be solved only by the development of objective forces. The unity of the various communities inhabiting India should not be regarded as a mere political exigency. This unity will be achieved only by a social readjustment taking place as a result of the growth of new economic forces.

The vertical divisions of our society can be eliminated only by the intensification of the horizontal division. That is to say, the divisions of caste, creed and religion will be replaced by class-cleavage, which divides society as a whole into two great, hostile camps, – that of the propertied exploiter and that of the expropriated and exploited working class. Such being the case, Hindu-Muslim and every other communal unity can and will be realized only through the gradual process of development of class-demarcation. There is no other way. You may hate it; you may try by all means to prevent it; but it will be in vain, since the natural and inevitable development of social forces cannot be set at nought by our desires. If you are courageous enough to get a firm grip on the economic foundations of our movement, the question of communal unity will not worry you so much; because then you will see how the pressure of economic forces is breaking down the ancient communal and religious prejudices and traditions.

A landlord is first of all a landlord, and a Hindu or Mussulman or anything else after that. He does not take any less rent from a tenant who is his co-religionist than from one who is not. The same holds true of employers of labour. Have you ever seen a Muslim or Hindu or Parsi employer paying. a higher scale of wages to his brothers in the faith? These are general laws of economics that hold good everywhere. One can take them a priori for granted, because they have been proved and are proven true wherever tested. One dare not say that they are applicable to some countries and inapplicable to others. We cannot seek to escape from the working of these economic laws by trying to believe that.

India is a special creation of Providence. Our communal unity will be realized through the economic development of the country, just as communal unity has been realized everywhere else. Sentimental propaganda is useless. Your “thinking portion of the people” will on the contrary, try to preserve our communal animosities, since by this way they can keep their hold on the situation. No my dear friend, we must determine our method of work, not according to the convenience and capability of our handful of intellectual aristocrats, but according to the economic interests of the overwhelming majority of our people. Just so long as we delude ourselves and others on the subject of superiority as measured by a university degree, just so long will we live in our heaven of intellectual isolation, happy perhaps, but condemned forever to our chains of slavery.

— M.N. Roy, 10.11.1922 (Source: Marxist Internet Archive)

#India #communalism #caste #religion