Humanisms - Hindutva and Neohumanism

"Morality comes from Humanism and is stolen by Religion for its purposes.

                                   - Christopher Hitchens

From Dogma to Reason:

During the 14th century Europe, Francesco Petrarch discovered and translated the literature of Greco-Roman philosophers and is known as the 'founder of Humanism'. The belief that human experience and rational thinking provide the only source of both knowledge and a moral code to live by is' - Humanism. 

Empathy and Humanism:

We define Humanism as any system, mode of thought or action, in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate. It influenced the growth of learning for the transformation of self, society and human affairs and gave humanity the concept of Progress. It freed the individuals and culture from a fatalistic approach to reality and inspired human effort to change for the better. Under the Humanistic thought wave, Art, Architecture, and Science flourished for human betterment. From the 18th century onwards, momentous modern-age changes in  Science and Technology have transformed the world. The global population, remaining stagnant for millennia, exploded from 1000 million in 1800 to 7800 Million in 2020.

The impact of the idea of Humanism, however, lies in the golden rule of humanistic principle, that is "empathy", which we find in many of the traditions of the world: "One should never do something to others that one would regard as an injury to one's self" (Mahabharata); "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Matthew); Samgachchadvam Samvadadhvam …." (Rig Veda)

Creeds: Past and Present

Humanism gained political ascendency with the French Revolution (1789-1799). Scientific method and series of discoveries freed intellectuals from the web of irrational dogmas. The old order of predominant classes' - nobility and clergy, collapsed after World War I (1914-1918). The age of kingdoms, dynasts and empire-building came to an end. 

Dogma-centred religions gave way to god-less Ideologies that claim to be based on natural laws, such as Liberalism, Communism, Capitalism, and Nazism. The geo-sentiment took the form of construction of National identities in Europe, primarily based on Language. 

If, suppose religion is a system of human norms and values of an 'Ideal society', then, in that case, the modern-day ideologies that share the same objective can be treated as natural-law religions. Soviet Communism was no less a religion than Islam.

Humanisms: Liberal, Socialist, and Evolutionary

"All humanists worship humanity, but they disagree on its definition. Humanism has split into three rival sects that fight over the exact definition of humanity. Today, the most important humanist sect is liberal Humanism, which believes that 'humanity is a quality of individual humans, and that the liberty of individuals is therefore sacrosanct. .. Another important sect is socialist Humanism. Socialists believe that humanity is collective rather than individualistic. They hold as sacred, not the inner voice of each individual, but the species Homo sapiens as a whole. Whereas liberal Humanism seeks as much freedom as possible for individual humans, socialist Humanism seeks equality between humans. According to socialists, inequality is the worst blasphemy against humanity's sanctity because it privileges humans' peripheral qualities over their universal essence. For example, when the rich are privileged over the poor, it means that we value money more than the universal essence of all humans, which is the same, for rich and poor alike. The third sect of Humanism breaks away from this conviction of all humans as one species - Homo sapien, embracing the idea of evolutionary Humanism. Its most famous representatives are the Nazis. The theory of evolution profoundly influences their definition. For them, 'humankind' is not universal and eternal, but rather a mutable species that can evolve or degenerate into a subhuman. … That is why the Nazis said that the Aryan race, the most advanced form of humanity, had to be protected and fostered. In contrast, degenerate kinds of Homo sapiens like Jews, Roma, being transgender, and the mentally ill had to be quarantined and even exterminated." (Yuval Noah Harari: Sapiens). Biologists have since debunked the Nazi race theory.

George Floyd (USA)  

Majoritarian Religio-national Groups:

Acquisitive classes (capitalists) operate behind the facades of potent satellite groups, capable of securing markets to satisfy their greed. The satellite groups of Liberal and Socialist humanisms have failed in this role, in the last three decades, in both the capitalist West and communist Asia. When capitalism is dying, it converts to Fascism to survive! Now, Capitalist elements protect their interests by promoting majoritarian religious-nationalist groups, which espouse evolutionary Humanism. These supremacist humanisms'- white (USA), Han (China), IS (Middle East) Taliban (Asia), and such other movements, led by State or Non-state actors are proliferating. If the acquisitive (capitalist) classes succeed in this fraud, the blood of innocents will flow on the streets, and humanistic principles of love and compassion, will gasp for breath' - symbolised by the recent asphyxiation death the Black, George Floyd in the USA. Millions of Uyghur minority in China are being subjected to mass 'indoctrination' and 'sterilisation' to erase their identity and establish supremacist Han Chinese. 

 Uyghurs (China)

"Patriotism is when the love of your people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first."                               - Charles de Gaulle      

Savarkar’s Hindutva Narrative: V D Savarkar (1883-1966) popularised the word Hindutva. His essay called 'Essentials of Hindutva' was published as a booklet in May 1923. The newly minted word Hindutva was much broader than Hinduism, as it hinted at 'hindu-ness'. It included all those who collectively had three things in common: land, shared ancestry and culture. All this was valid, again, only when this is also one's holy land. Accordingly, Sikhs, Lingayats and Jains, and atheists were Hindus, but not Muslims or Christians whose holy land is outside India. Thus, Inter-faith marriage involving a Muslim or a Christian raises hackles on these grounds. 

Savarkar further states that "the rigidity of caste and endogamy was bogus; The existence of various Jatis (sub-castes) was proof of this. These came into existence through incessant, unauthorised intermingling, producing new Jatis. All that the caste system had done was to regulate bloodlines. Upper caste blood could contribute to enriching what was barren and poor while not polluting itself. It was a good thing because it introduced 'good' blood to the lower castes. To maintain the purity and protect the caste system Puranas fixed the national border at the Indus. Therefore, the word 'Arya' included all those on this side of the Indus, whatever their caste. The term 'mleccha was for foreigners." 

The preceding Hindutva narrative of Savarkar eminently qualifies it as evolutionary Humanism. 

V D Savarkar

When Savarkar lived, the Nazis flaunted pseudo-science (Eugenics) of superior-inferior races with monstrous consequences. The Darwinian theory of evolution and the principle of 'survival of the fittest' were found to provide the ideological justification of inequality - in other words, a legitimacy of social Darwinism. Combined with the 'slight' of colonised Motherland, it drove Savarkar to assert the geo-socio identity aggressively and postulate a theory of exclusion. 

Savarkar did not foresee the role of addressing the challenges of free India. Further, one will draw a blank in Hindutva if looking for social Reforms, a vision of the Economy, or a mission for Change in society. Over time, the concept of Hindutva transmuted itself into the promotion of dogma and a political project of exclusion. The Hindutva proponents did not attempt to define, in any way, Hinduism, and its followers only assume the role as protectors of the syncretic Hindu culture. With an ideology of past bias and weak scholastic capital, a state-sponsored project of re-writing history is now pushed through academia, social media, and the popular format of Films. 

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (1916-1968) said in Pune, "There need not be any doubt as to whether this political problem should be solved or not. It will have to be solved and there is only one way in which it can be solved. It can't be solved unless and until Muslims are politically defeated. It is only after such a defeat that it will be possible to assimilate the Muslims." Statement pretty much defines and remains the undercurrent of the politics of these groups for the present and future.

Prout Rejects the Three Defective Humanisms: 

The fascist practice of evolutionary Humanism, social Darwinism is ultra vires to Humanism and a regressive return to Matsya-Nyaya of the jungle. The liberal and socialist humanisms have produced the global Capitalist and Communist systems of exploitation, respectively. We have witnessed the collapse of Fascism, with the defeat of Germany in World War II (1945); Communism, with the dissolution of Soviet Russia (1991); Liberal capitalism, with the Great Recession (2008). 

Spiritual Humanism: 

In his seminal book ' Idea And Ideology ', Shri P R Sarkar (1921-1990) resolves 300 years of debate of an artificial dichotomy between 'matter and idea'. He propounded the Sanatana spiritual insight, according to which matter and idea are the metamorphosed forms of supreme consciousness (Brahma). His spiritual Humanism of cosmic kinship recognises the inter-dependence of individual and society for welfare; the 'episteme' translates to the legislation of equal opportunity for all living beings as a Right.

Tantric Transhumanism:

Any approach short of Universalism is narrow-ism. Human esoteric spiritual potentiality of 'transhumanism' is solely the function of individual psycho-spirituality - yoga/tantra, meditation, and other similar practices free from all kinds of dogma. The exoteric reality and rituals are manifestations of diversity in the cultural expressions and not the essence.

Humanism Newly-explained: Neohumanism 

"Concern for the vital rhythm throbbing in other human creatures has driven people to the fold of Humanism, has made them humanists. Now, if the same human sentiment is extended to include all creatures of this universe, then and only then can human existence be said to have attained its final consummation. When the underlying spirit of Humanism is extended to everything, animate and inanimate, in this universe' - it is Neohumanism." (Shrii P R Sarkar)

"Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."   

                                                                                                           — Albert Einstein

Marriage & Social Synthesis:

"I am in favour of social synthesis. In my opinion as people come more intimately in contact with one another and the corners of the world come nearer, local customs will assume newer form as a result of frequent interchange. The flowers of different gardens will unite into a bouquet which will be more not less beautiful than the individual flowers themselves. If different communities are anxious to establish social blending through marriages, then social synthesis can be achieved within a short time. Its concrete reflections are already apparent to some extent in cosmopolitan cities." (Shrii P R Sarkar)

Biosphere & Neohumanism:

"…… in the living world, humans are not the only living beings' - there are many other creatures as well .… non-human creatures are psychologically undeveloped. Thus it is easy for human beings to destroy the animal and plant kingdoms. But this destruction will upset the balance among the plant, animal and human worlds, and result in the catastrophic ruin of human life as well." (Shrii P R Sarkar)

Thus, our destiny is Neohumanism or bust.

G Surender Reddy

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