|CULTU & SO|
CULTURE & SOCIETY
Balancing Change Continuous
THE SECOND DISCUSSION IN THE SERIES COMMEMORATING FIVE YEARS OF TEHELKA BROUGHT TOGETHER AN ARTICULATE PANEL THAT DEBATED TRADITION, MODERNITY AND THE INDIAN. PHOTOS: SAGGERE RADHAKRISHNA
|The Panel (from left) Ashis Nandy, Jaggi Vasudev, Shobhaa Dé, Tehelka Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury, Karan Johar, Sarika and Tarun Vijay|
Talking Heads Tarun Vijay (from left) has his say as Karan Johar, Shobhaa Dé and Sarika listen in. Sitting next to Jaggi Vasudev Ashis Nandy speaks his mind on whether our transformation from the traditional to the modern has only been skin deep — the theme of the panel discussion
‘We Are The Worst Hypocrites’
|Photo: SHAILENDRA PANDEY|
Do you think of India as a modern nation?
I think India is one of the most modern nations on this planet. I can cite examples of 50 countries where modernity was accepted at a very late stage, if at all. Modernity means to be able to adapt with the tune of the times and to change with the era. Adaptability is the best in India because of its Hindu ethos and culture.
When young people are attacked by right-wing groups, is it because your ideas about change and an adaptable Indian culture have not trickled down to the grassroots within the Sangh Parivar?
We have never supported these attacks. Never. Secondly these attacks are also a reaction; a precipitated anger caused by the vicious attacks of a section that calls itself ‘secular’. This ‘secular’ section goes against Hindu sensibilities and attacks the Hindu worldview. This is fashionable and simply unacceptable. These are Talibanised secular groups who think that encouraging the calendar marketing of women, to use them to sell beedies, tyres, furniture, whiskey are permissible and acceptable labels of modernity and women’s empowerment.
What about discriminatory practices that seem very specific to India such as the caste system? Or expectations of women in our personal lives?
We are the worst hypocrites as a society. We worship Durga for power, we worship Lakshmi for wealth, Saraswati for knowledge and yet we’ve become the worst murderers of the devi. We keep our temples dirty. We say that we are Hindus but we don’t give an honourable and exalted place to Sanskrit scholars. ‘Pandit’ has become a hated name, even among the elite and English speaking, de-Indianised sections. We are adapting to modern values. We are forgetting the soul of this country.