Breaking India : Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines

via http://www.breakingindia.com/?page=home published on January 30, 2011

Publisher: Amaryllis. Pages: 640. Price: 695 INR

India’s integrity is being undermined by three global networks that have well-established operating bases inside India: (i) Islamic radicalism linked with Pakistan, (ii) Maoists and Marxist radicals supported by China via intermediaries such as Nepal, and (iii) Dravidian and Dalit identity separatism being fostered by the West in the name of human rights. This book focuses on the third: the role of U.S. and European churches, academics, think-tanks, foundations, government and human rights groups in fostering separation of the identities of Dravidian and Dalit communities from the rest of India. The book is the result of five years of research, and uses information obtained in the West about foreign funding of these Indian-based activities. The research tracked the money trails that start out claiming to be for “education,” “human rights,” “empowerment training,” and “leadership training,” but end up in programs designed to produce angry youths who feel disenfranchised from Indian identity.

The book reveals how outdated racial theories continue to provide academic frameworks and fuel the rhetoric that can trigger civil wars and genocides in developing countries. The Dravidian movement’s 200-year history has such origins. Its latest manifestation is the “Dravidian Christianity” movement that fabricates a political and cultural history to exploit old faultlines. The book explicitly names individuals and institutions, including prominent Western ones and their Indian affiliates. Its goal is to spark an honest debate on the extent to which human rights and other “empowerment” projects are cover-ups for these nefarious activities.

Introduction

This book has emerged as a result of several experiences that have deeply influenced my research and scholarship over the past decade. In the 1990s, an African-American scholar at Princeton University casually told me that he had returned from a trip to India, where he was working with the ‘Afro-Dalit Project’. I learnt that this USoperated and -financed project frames inter-jati/varna interactions and the Dalit movement using American cultural and historical lenses. The Afro-Dalit project purports to paint Dalits as the ‘Blacks’ of India and non-Dalits as India’s ‘Whites’. The history of American racism, slavery and Black/White relations is thus superimposed onto Indian society. While modern caste structures and inter-relationships have included long periods of prejudice toward Dalits, the Dalit experience bears little resemblance to the African slave experience of America. But taking its cue from the American experience, the Afro-Dalit project attempts to empower Dalits by casting them as victims at the hands of a different race.

Separately, I had been studying and writing about the ‘Aryans’, as to who they were, and whether the origin of Sanskrit and Vedas was an import by ‘invaders’ or indigenous to India. In this context, I sponsored numerous archeological, linguistic and historical conferences and book projects, in order to get deeper into the discourse. This led me to research the colonial-era construction of the Dravidian identity, which did not exist prior to the nineteenth century and was fabricated as an identity in opposition to the Aryans. Its survival depends upon belief in the theory of foreign Aryans and their misdeeds.

I had also been researching the US Church’s funding of activities in India, such as the popularly advertised campaigns to ‘save’ poor children by feeding, clothing and educating them. In fact, when I was in my twenties living in the US, I sponsored one such child in South India. However, during trips to India, I often felt that the funds collected were being used not so much for the purposes indicated to sponsors, but for indoctrination and conversion activities. Additionally, I have been involved in numerous debates in the US with think-tanks, independent scholars, human rights groups and academics, specifically on their treatment of Indian society as a sort of scourge that the west had to ‘civilize’. I coined the phrase ‘caste, cows and curry’ to represent the exotic and sensational portrayals of India’s social and economic problems and their interpretation these as ‘human rights’ issues.

I decided to track the major organizations involved in promulgating these various theories, as well as those spearheading political pressure, and eventually the prosecution of India on the grounds of human rights violations. My research included following the money trail by using the provisions of financial disclosure in the US, studying the promotional materials given out by most such organizations, and monitoring their conferences, workshops and publications. I investigated the individuals behind such activities and their institutional affiliations.

What I found out should sound the alarm bell for every Indian concerned about our national integrity. India is the prime target of a huge enterprise—a ‘network’ of organizations, individuals and churches—that seems intensely devoted to the task of creating a separatist identity, history and even religion for the vulnerable sections of India. This nexus of players includes not only church groups, government bodies and related organizations, but also private thinktanks and academics. On the surface they appear to be separate and isolated from one another, but in fact, as I found, their activities are well coordinated and well funded from the US and Europe. I was impressed by the degree of interlocking and cooperation among these entities. Their resolutions, position papers and strategies are well articulated, and beneath the veneer of helping the downtrodden, there seem to be objectives that would be inimical to India’s unity and sovereignty.

A few Indians from the communities being ‘empowered’ were in top positions in these Western organizations, and the whole enterprise was initially conceived, funded and strategically managed by Westerners. However, there are now a growing number of Indian individuals and NGOs who have become co-opted by them, and receive funding and mentorship from the West. The south Asian studies in the US and European universities invite many such ‘activists’ regularly and give them prominence. The same organizations had also been inviting and giving intellectual support to Khalistanis, Kashmir militants, Maoists, and other subversive elements in India. So I began to wonder whether the campaigns to mobilize Dalits, Dravidians and other minorities in India were somehow part of the foreign policy of certain Western countries, if not openly then at least as an option kept in reserve. I am unaware of any other major country in which such large-scale processes prevail without monitoring or concern by the local authorities. No wonder so much has to be spent in India after such a separatist identity gets weaponized into all out militancy or political fragmentation.

The link between academic manipulations and subsequent violence is also evident in Sri Lanka, where manufactured divisiveness caused one of the bloodiest civil wars. The same also happened in Africa where foreign-engineered identity conflicts led to one of the worst ethnic genocides ever in the world.

About three years ago, my research and data had become considerable. Moreover, many Indians are simply unaware of the subversive forces at work against their country, and I felt that it ought to be organized for wider dissemination and debate. I started working with Aravindan Neelakandan, based in Tamil Nadu, to complement my foreign data with his access to the ground reality in India’s backwaters.

This book looks at the historical origins of both the Dravidian movement and Dalit identity, as well as the current players involved in shaping these separatist identities. It includes an analysis of the individuals and institutions involved and their motivations, activities, and desired endgame. While many are located in the US and the European Union, there are an increasing number in India too, the latter often functioning like the local branch offices of these foreign entities.

The goal of this book is not to sensationalize or predict any outcomes. Rather, it is to expand the debate about India and its future. Much is being written about India’s rise in economic terms and its implications to India’s overall clout. But not enough is written on what can go wrong given the rapidly expanding programs exposed in this book and the stress they put on India’s faultlines. My hope is that this book fills this gap to some extent.

Rajiv Malhotra Princeton, USA January 2011

Authors

Rajiv Malhotra

Rajiv Malhotra is a public intellectual on current affairs, world religions and cross-cultural encounters between East and West. His career has spanned the corporate world as a senior executive, strategic consultant and successful entrepreneur in the information technology and media industries. His Infinity Foundation, seeks to foster a better global understanding of Indian civilization. Rajiv’s work argues that the dharma offers a complex and open framework for a genuine dialogue among diverse peoples, rather then a zero sum game. He shows the limitations of globalization when it is a parochial imposition of Western paradigms. He is well known as a speaker and writer for a wide audience and is frequently interviewed and invited to deliver keynote addresses. He serves on the Board of Governors of the India Studies program at the University of Massachusetts, and served as a Chairman for the Asian Studies Education Committee of the State of New Jersey.

Aravindan Neelakandan

Aravindan Neelakandan has worked for the past decade with an NGO in Tamil Nadu serving marginalized rural communities in sustainable agriculture. He was awarded a junior research fellowship in cultural economics by the India’s Ministry of Tourism to research the economic potentials of the neglected ruins in Kanyakumari district, in southern Tamil Nadu. These experiences provided him with in-depth knowledge of the history and sociology of Tamil people. He is also a popular science writer in Tamil and a columnist with UPI-Asia, a leading news portal. He is part of the editorial team of highly popular Tamil web portal www.tamilhindu.com.

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