Creative Solutions to Hindu Problems

Dr. Koenraad Elst stands as a lion among sheep when it comes analysis religions and it’s effects of politics in India. Elst is an indologist and has that reputation where he is hated by both Sangh Parivar as well as the secularists alike.

In his latest blog he says that many Hindus seek his advice on how to handle the problem that Hinduism faces. He gives a very generic advice and some points in his advice resonate with me so well. The point which I too had in my mind all along was the one about creativity. The strength of Hinduism lies in creativity but we have not realized it.  Our epics and puranas are work of creativity which have made such an impression on public psyche that it simply refuses to wear out. But in recently history we have not really contributed much as a “Hindu” artists, writer or movie makers.

One very good thing by which Hinduism stood out, both in its Vedic and its Puranic phase, was its unbridled creativity. Today, this is what is sorely lacking. Sita Ram Goel diagnosed the Hindu activists among his fellow students ca. 1940 as the most mediocre of the lot. Those who had nothing to offer individually gravitated towards causes which tilted them above themselves but to which they themselves had indeed little to offer.  They gave their time and energy, nobody can deny them this dedication, but a winning movement cannot be built exclusively of such grey people.

                The creative people are on the other side. Most Bollywood actors and directors are either on the anti-Hindu or, at best, on the mindlessly Hindu side. They have named their industry after its American counterpart and some say their product is lousy, but at least they know how to attract money and they certainly have a good time. Hindus ought to feel jealous, if at all they have the ambition to do as well as Bollywood.


                Creativity was to be found in the late M.F. Husain, hated by the Hindus and disliked by a great many Muslims too. He was driven by hate, old and uninspired hate, but undeniably he created things in painting. Hindus could do nothing but demand a ban, the most humourless and uncreative solution. No Hindu came forward to be the anti-Husain, let alone some original way to silence him.


                It was different once. Every art form was steered to new heights by Hindu artists. Every province of India had its own variation of the performing arts. In the visual arts, no tradition was a match for the richness in characters that the fable collections, epics and Puranas had to offer. Whereas Chinese and Japanese classical music are museum pieces next to omnipresent Western classical music (at performing which the East-Asians excel), Indian classical music remains as the only rival. More individualistic yet more complex, it differs from European classical music the way adult music differs from children’s songs. Hindus are fairly good at maintaining what was great among the inventions of their ancestors, but not so good at giving a creative answer to today’s challenges.
The same ideas had struck me when I spent (and continue to spend) my countless nights working over things. Every night I watch a lot of Japanese Anime. If you dont know what Japanese Anime is please get yourself familiarized. It is one heck of thing. It is an industry which comes up with amazing series. Most of the series are fantasies, these fantasies generally mix well with existing Japanese and world mythology borrows a lot of concepts from Buddhism and generally has a strong influence of traditional Japanese thought. I have learned a lot about Japanese culture and a bit of Japanese language by watching these serials. Also, I am influenced by them and I have come to respect Japan and Japanese people a great deal.
I feel Hinduism should have been positioned well to do such things. We have a vast mythology before which even Lord of the Rings will sound like a bed time story. You can probably take just one small part of Mahabhrata or Ramayana and stretch it to make a multi-episode series. How about a northeastern prince who travels across half the country to fight the battle of kurukshtra ? We can make a fantastic series like the movie “Apocalypto” on this story. Take the war of Mahabharata have we ever given thought to the management of a war? What it must have taken for different kings to gather all their forces and join this war ? How they must have managed to get the people, feed them, arm them and then actually go to the battlefield ? Why cant we make a series on all that ?
Or if we have to put a modern element into it, just like the Japanese “Death Note” we can probably make fantasical story of how an Indian student discovers the secret pathway to communicate with the world of Rakshasas and causes havoc on earth.
Well I am not an artist and coming up with original thoughts is very difficult for me but I wonder why no Hindu is thinking of it. Yeah we do had over Hanuman and Bal Ganesh but to be honest they were mediocre and had not much of creative element. They did not have the power to influence and amaze and adult audience.
We have no other religions or government to blame here. May be we should blame ourselves because many Hindu outfits are pretty much opposed to any modern or creative rendering/interpretation of our epics. Hopefully we will change some day.



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