Criticism: you are peddling a ‘wannabe Indianism’!

Is there a ‘wannabe Indianism’ in our attempts to understand our tradition? I am not sure: maybe there is, maybe there is not. Of course, the question is why is this relevant? Whatever the motives or the contexts of any individual writer why should that be an argument for either accepting or rejecting or even putting his opinions on hold? The way I see it, the nature of the phenomenon is of another level altogether: I think that the intellectuals from India will increasingly be confronted with the question of what it is to be an Indian. There are many reasons for it: the political, the social, the economic as well as cultural. In fact, I think that this is not merely an Indian phenomenon but an Asian one. Today, the centre of gravity (in economic, geo-political terms) is slowly shifting towards Asia, a non-white, non-Christian culture. That is why you and I (and many others like us) are discussing these issues passionately. To us, these issues are not ‘abstract’; it is very much a part of our daily life (in the appropriate sense of the term). When I was started working on these issues some two decades ago, I could count the number of interested people on the fingers of my one hand. Today, two decades later, look at what is happening: we are discussing, with a passion born out of our daily experiences, what appears from the outside as esoteric issues. But it is not ‘esoteric’ to us, is it? I think the scale, depth, and the intensity of these discussions (both in India and outside) transcend any ‘wannabe Indian’ motive.

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