When Hinduism meets the internet

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by Ray, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    When Hinduism meets the internet

    By Vinay Lal

    Hinduism, most of its adherents believe, is the oldest religion in the world. They are not excessively or even at all bothered by arguments that Hinduism may be an 'invented religion', or the view that until the 18th century, those we describe as Hindus would have known themselves as Vaishnavas, Saivites, Tantrics, Shaktos, and so on.

    The internet, on the other hand, is a little more than two decades old, and it has been fashioned largely in the United States. So do the startlingly old and the exceedingly young make for strange bedfellows? Or might one well argue the extreme opposite, namely that the internet and Hinduism exist in a marriage that appears to have been made in heaven?

    There is but no question that Hinduism is the most apposite religion for our age. As is commonly known, Hinduism is a highly decentralized faith. Unlike Muslims and Christians, Hindus do not uniformly adhere to the precepts of a single book. Hinduism has neither a historical founder nor a Mecca; and its Shankaracharyas represent competing schools of authority. Only Hinduism can match the internet's playfulness: the religion's proverbial "330 million" gods and goddesses, a testimony to the intrinsically decentered and polyphonic nature of the faith, find correspondence in the world wide web's billion points of origin, intersection, and dispersal.

    Hinduism has thus appeared to anticipate many of the internet's most characteristic features, from its lack of any central regulatory authority and anarchism to its alleged intrinsic spirit of free inquiry and abhorrence of censorship. If, moreover, cyberspace is awash with images, no religion is more fecund in this respect than Hinduism.

    Not only do Hindus keep images of their gods and goddesses everywhere around them, but the notion of darshan, or the gaze, is central to popular Hindu religiosity.

    What is equally clear is that Hinduism's adherents, nowhere more so than in the US, have displayed a marked tendency to turn towards various forms of digital media, and in particular the internet, to forge new forms of Hindu identity, endow Hinduism with a purportedly more coherent and monotheistic form, refashion our understanding of the history of Hinduism's engagement with practitioners of other faiths in India, and even engage in debates on American multiculturalism.

    Furthermore, the aspiration to create linkages across Hindu groups worldwide and create something of global Hindu consciousness, has a fundamental relationship to India's ascendancy as an 'emerging economy' and the confidence with which its Hindu elites increasingly view the world and their prospects for prosperity and political gain.

    While adherents of Hinduism are by no means singular in being predisposed towards digital media, there is nonetheless an overwhelming amount of anecdotal and circumstantial evidence to suggest that Hindus have been particularly conscientious in mobilizing members of the perceived Hindu community through the internet.

    The rise of Hindu militancy in India since the late 1980s, signalled by the term Hindutva, had its counterpart in the creation of new Hindutva histories on the internet. The internet was but a few years old when the Global Hindu Electronic Network (GHEN), an exhaustive site on Hinduism and its enemies, was put up by an Indian American student in the US as a point of entry into 'the Hindu Universe'.

    Some of the other manifestations of viewing history as the terrain on which new and more robust conceptions of Hindu identity were to be shaped can be seen in the creation of the virtual Hindu Holocaust Memorial Museum, dedicated to advancing the argument that the holocaust against Hindus in India over a thousand years is without comparison, and in the manner in which Hindu parents in the US waged a determined struggle, largely over the internet, on the question of the representation of Hinduism and ancient India in history textbooks intended for middle school students in California.

    In some respects, however, we are on wholly uncharted territory in thinking of the future of Hinduism in cyberspace. A good illustration of some of the difficulties that might creep in is furnished by the phenomenon that is described as online puja. The altar, or alcove where the deities are housed, in the Hindu home is kept clean. Now suppose that a person wishes to perform online puja on his computer screen. What if that same computer screen had been used fifteen minutes earlier to watch pornography? Can one 'clean' the computer, and erase all traces of one's activity?

    In recent years, advocates of Hindutva, online and offline, have been staunch supporters of the view that Israel, India, and the US are three democracies that are besieged by the soldiers of Islam. The website, HinduUnity .org, describes Hindus and Jews as natural allies in the allegedly global struggle against Islam. Digital media technologies have thus created new interfaces for articulations of rights, grievances, and interests in a world where rules of civic engagement on the internet are still under negotiation. Just how far internet Hinduism will proceed in helping us understand changing protocols of citizenship in a transnational world remains to be seen.

    When Hinduism meets the internet - The Times of India

    *****************************************

    One finds very interesting interesting discourses on the internet fora on Hinduism and explanations including it being Indic, Sanatan, Hinduvta and a variety of other, for the want of a better word, images.

    In this context this article gives an interesting explanation of Hinduism and its evolution, if you will, through the internet interaction.

    This article attempt to highlight the attempts to give a monolith character to a Faith that is so decentralised that there being no regimented approach in seeking the Creator have a myriad of ways for the Seeker unshackled or bigoted.

    Interesting thought!
     
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  3. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Meet the Internet Hindus

    DAIPAYAN HALDER

    A fast-growing tribe of fanatics who tweet, are e-friends of the BJP, or scuppies on a self-awareness drive. They are out to own the web, finds Daipayan Halder

    Anonymity is powerful. Ask Ranojoy.

    The web designer dropped his surname from his passport to do away with his caste identity, and has taken up a new name for his Twitter account to say what he feels.

    [​IMG]

    And Ranojoy feels strongly about his Hindu-ness, which he loves asserting from behind the veil of Internet anonymity.

    He is part of a growing tribe called Internet Hindus, a term coined by journalist Sagarika Ghose after she blocked on Twitter those who aggressively and often abusively commented on her "pseudo-secular thoughts".

    "The ones I came across are defined by their total hatred for Muslims, Pakistan, so-called pseudosecular journalists and activist women. Narendra Modi is their hero," Ghose said, when asked why she blocked them.

    Other journalists and bloggers also described Internet Hindus as "loonies", "online friends of the BJP", "fanatics", "Hindu Taliban" and "gutter snipes".

    [​IMG]
    SANJAY KAUL
    Member of Delhi BJP's executive council, Internet Hindu.


    However, this is what Internet Hindus claim they are achieving, and it is significant, if insidious: They are cornering public opinion online. They argue that the Left-liberal intelligentsia monopolise opinion on television and newspapers, no TV anchor calls people who speak up for Hindus or Hinduism. But the Internet is ours, they say.

    Ranojoy, for instance, admits that a lot is not right with his religion, including the caste system. "But it is still the most tolerant of all religions and shouldn't be allowed to be hijacked by fanatics or derided by pseudo-secularists," he says.

    In his article 'Don't block the Internet Hindus', journalist Kanchan Gupta wrote that tired of being derided by pseudo-secularists in media "who see nothing wrong with Muslim communalism and Christian fundamentalism but are swift to pounce upon Hindus for being "intolerant, their cultural ethos crudely denigrated by the Left-liberal intelligentsia as antediluvian, Hindus have begun to harness technology to strike back with deadly effect".

    [​IMG]
    Sanjay Kumar teaches Art of Living and is a proud Internet Hindu.
    He says you don't have to be a Muslim-basher to assert your Hindu identity.


    Gupta also says Internet Hindus are not just supporters of the BJP, even some of those who are critical of the party's policies belong to the tribe. "They are bright, well-educated, not burdened with regional and caste biases, amazingly wellinformed on national issues and world affairs, rooted in Indian culture and are politically alert," he says.

    If Arundhati can cheer Maoists...

    Sanjay Kaul, member of Delhi BJP's executive council and a self-confessed Internet Hindu, says it is not just about a political party.

    "This is about being self-aware, taking pride in something fundamental: your religion. If you can publish Arundhati Roy who supports Maoists, why do you have a problem with us? For too long, the Left-Liberal media has tried to suppress Hindu identity. Internet is changing the game."

    Unlike Kaul, Sanjay Kumar is not a BJP office-bearer. He teaches Art of Living and is a proud Internet Hindu, often commenting on blog posts. He says you don't have to be a Muslimbasher to assert your Hindu identity.

    "Truth or God cannot be monopolised by anybody. Hinduism teaches you that. Hinduism teaches you to be moderate. There is a need to popularise Hindu philosophy, through Internet more than anything else," he says.

    And yes, banning FTV is real silly

    Gupta says that Internet Hindus are open to ideas, believe in a plural, lawabiding society and swear by the Constitution. "They are often appalled by the shenanigans of our politicians, including those of the BJP, and are ruthless in decrying politics of identity and cynical votebank policies. They have no gender prejudices and most of them think banning FTV is downright silly in this day and age."

    Another Internet Hindu, Vivek Srivastava, joint managing director of an advertising agency in Delhi, says his tribe gets a bad name when a few get abusive or obscurantist. "Some use swear words and deride minorities. They are the ones who fail to take recourse to logic in their arguments.

    I have many Muslim friends and we often have healthy debates on Islam. If I blog about them, where is the problem. But yes, abusive language is an absolute no-no."

    Refuge under the Invisibility Cloak

    That, though, remains a problem area. Many feel the anonymity that Internet provides, gives you the chance to express extreme views. Santosh Kumar Patra, who's doing a doctoral research on Space, Identity and Community in Internetbased communication from JNU, says internet allows de-fragmentation of identity, which can be dangerous.

    "You can be a moderate during the day, but at night, in the privacy of your home, with an anonymous online identity, you can give vent to your most extreme sentiments," says Patra.

    "It's a fact that many who assert their Hindu identity online do so by pulling down people of other faith, or by using cuss words. That gives the pseudo-secularists a chance to ridicule us. With time, hopefully, saner voices will speak up for Hindus on the Net," says Ranojoy.

    Till then, we can all play Farmville.

    THE HANDBOOK

    How to be a responsible Internet Hindu


    >>Steer clear of abusive language while commenting on a blogpost, even if you vehemently disagree with the blogger's point of view. While tolerance is Hinduism's basic tenet, Internet Hindus are known for anything but that.
    >>To persuade, use logic, not emotions. That ups your credibility and forces even critics to take you seriously. >>Don't attack a single blogger in hordes. It makes it seem like the whole thing is orchestrated. If someone has already said what you want to say, think of something new to say or restrain yourself.
    >>Narendra Modi cannot be the only Hindu hero of modern times. He has turned into a mascot for Internet Hindus. It's okay to highlight his pluses, but leave room for debate on his flaws too.
    >>Respect women in general, especially on the net. Many women bloggers have complied against the blatantly sexist remarks made by certain Internet Hindus. With all its deliberations on female Shakti, Hinduism does not teach you to disrespect women.

    IDENTITY IN NUMBERS
    Facts thrown up by an ongoing online survey, open to all Hindus who use the Internet:

    Of those who responded, 88.9% identified themselves as 'Internet Hindus', indicating they attach no shame to the term.
    Of these, 4% are aged 20 years and below.
    55% are aged 30 and below.
    31% are 40 and below, and, only 10%are aged above 40. So, 90%of them are young Indians.

    EDUCATIONAL PROFILE OF THE RESPONDENTS

    43% are graduates (most of them from topnotch engineering, science and medical colleges)
    46% are postgraduates (a large number of them have MBA degrees)
    11% have a PhD
    17.3% are without jobs and studying

    EARNINGS:
    Of the 82.7% per cent who are employed, 3.1% earn up to Rs 2 lakh a year 18.4% earn up to Rs 6 lakh a year 34.7% earn up to RS 12 lakh a year 26.5% earn more than Rs 24 lakh a year

    Bloggers say:

    FASCISTS!
    "I was attacked by the Internet Hindus, not only for being pro-Muslim, but for also for being a woman and a Dalit activist. They have called me a prostitute. A fascist mentality prevails among them. I was also attacked for criticising Gandhi for what he did to Ambedkar. There is no logic to what they say, only abuse."
    MEENA KANDASAMY, DALIT ACTIVIST, POET, BLOGGER

    "I'd rather not generalise. I imagine Sagarika (Ghose) and Kanchan (Gupta) mean different things. But I will share with you one learning as an Internet veteran: in the online world, debate can get much more polarised than in meatspace, and there are far more extreme elements. If their shrill rhetoric disturbs you, there's only one way to react: ignore them. No one listens to them outside their own echo chambers. Sagorika will do well to consider an old Internet saying: Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and the pig enjoys it."
    AMIT VERMA, BLOGGER

    Internet Hindus take on left-liberal media

    The disgusting communal stereotyping notwithstanding, it must be said that Sagarika Ghose's fulminations and Vir Sanghvi's confessions betray a growing disquiet in the Delhi-based leftie media elite, that they are challenged by a generation of Internet-savvy nationalist Center Right Indians who defy the psuedo-Hindutva stereotype. Hence, this new label Internet Hindus. So, thank you Sanghvi and Ghose for labeling us Internet Hindus, we will wear it on our shoulders with pride to remind you of the Center Right movement that shall end the psuedoprogressive monopoly on politics and policy drawing inspiration from Dharma and Constitutionality.

    From Sanjay Kaul's blog
    SANJAY KAUL'S WEBLOG

    Meet the Internet Hindus
     
  5. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    A telling statistic!

    The libtard media tried to label us with a supposedly derogatory term "Internet Hindu"- only for it to blow back at their face. Now more and more Indians are identifying themselves as Internet Hindus and this speaks volumes about the growth of the Right wing!

    As put by Abraham lincoln "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." This quote is very apt for libtard media....

    Proud to be an Internet Hindu/Saffron Terrorist:fyeah:
     
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  6. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    Anyone who outargues you -----> Hate mongering internet Hindu.

    Case in point.

    I don't think any internet Hindu is going to go criticize Gandhi haters. Internet Hindu is just a fall guy here. Too many idiots confusing trolls with IH(which is again a stupid name).
     
  7. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    If a Hindu guy stands up for his community he's label Hindu taliban,cowards and all sorts of denigrating words but if a leftist cheers for Maoist, Islamists then its ok.

    I beg to differ if being a patriot means showing middle finger to the "intellectual" cohort so be it, btw I'm not a fanatic but tired of appeasement in this country had UPA done what a govt should be doing that is good economic policies backed by coherent national and international security policy then perhaps we would not have to voice our frustration through forums.
     
  8. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    Hindus are having an erratic voting pattern they have no one to blame but themselves. Just few Hours ago Home minister 'Shindey' has ranted about Hindu terror.

    Any Hindu who has red blood in his veins and has to face his ancestors one day should not vote for Congress-I and parties who will sell themselves to them for power.
     
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  9. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Dude, Stop being apologetic. Whats wrong with being called a communal/right wing Hindu/ Internet Hindu?

    When leftist retards and Secular pigs can get away with calling themselves that after all the problems they have caused for the country, I dont think there is any reason we should be apologetic about our thoughts and names.

    And I personally like the term Internet Hindu:fyeah:- I am a Hindu-in identity and I will be vocal about it and my rights in Internet:fyeah:
     
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  10. Ancient Land

    Ancient Land Regular Member

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    Having had a mostly Hindu orthodox upbringing I thought I knew pretty well about my faith. But spending a few minutes whenever I logged onto the net and on the subject of religion, particularly Hinduism, I can say that I learnt so much more - for instance the six systems or philosophies (Shad Darshanas) in Hinduism which I wasn't aware of. I knew only broadly like Smarthas, Vaishnavas, etc. Internet made possible for me to search some books and read them.
    And I quite agree with the comparison made of the Internet with Hinduism (that of being decentralised from a central authority). Just take the example of the ongoing Kumbha Mela - just happens and goes about its business without any single, central organisation/body controlling it. Internet has been a catalyst in my quest to know more about my faith (and all without leaving from my chair).
     
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