An editor once asked me on what basis I used terms like Left and Right in my tweets and columns.
For me, Left and Right are codes for two forms of extremism. Both display moral certitude. Neither can handle diversity, hence seeks division and elimination of the other. Both bring value, but only when used in moderation.
I use a simple mythological checklist to identify the leanings of people because everyone has certain assumptions about mythology. Below is a simplified version of that checklist.
|Left-wing views on mythology (at least one)||Right-wing views on mythology (at least one)|
|Mythology is falsehood.||Mythology is history.|
|Christianity, Islam, Sufism, Buddhism, Nationalism are not myths.||Hinduism is not myth. Real Hinduism is same as Nationalism.|
|Aryans invaded India and displaced Dravidians/tribals.||Aryans originated from India and spread everywhere.|
|Ram was a misogynist and a patriarch.||Ram is the perfect son and king.|
|Ravana respected women.||Ravana was evil.|
|Krishna was an immortal flirt.||Krishna’s love is pure, not sexual.|
|Krishna uses complex arguments to justify violence.||Krishna motivated Arjun to kill for righteousness.|
|Shiva was a rebel who smoked pot.||Shiva was manly destroyer of evil.|
|Durga was ‘fair-skinned’ Aryan agent against subaltern leaders.||Durga is a Vedic woman power who fought against vulgar men.|
|Asuras were Dravidians/tribals.||Asuras were evil.|
|Manusmriti is a Hindu holy book.||Gita is Hindu holy book.|
|Hinduism endorses caste system.||In Vedic times, there was no caste.|
|India is not just Hinduism that has essentially become Brahminism.||Hinduism once thrived in South Asia and South East Asia.|
|Brahmin Chanakya was manipulative and Buddhist Ashoka was secular.||Brahmin Chanakya was realist and Buddhist Ashoka was a propagandist.|
|Buddha preached equality, secularism.||Buddha is another avatar of Vishnu.|
|Jains, Buddhist and Sikhism are anti-Hindu faiths.||Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism are essentially Hindu in spirit.|
|Muslims did not break any temples in India for religious reasons.||Muslims broke temples to establish their faith and destroy Hinduism.|
|Christian missionaries empower Dalits against Brahmins.||Christian missionaries convert Dalits to destroy Hinduism.|
|Hinduism is an oppressive hierarchical religion favouring Brahmins.||Hinduism is an inclusive and non-violent way of life.|
|Beef should be served everywhere.||Cow is my mother.|
|Pork? We must respect minority faiths.||Pork is dirty: eaten by untouchables.|
Note: These boxes are not sealed, and there is much space between the two of them. People often jump from one to the other, depending on context and even audience. Those who don’t jump between boxes see themselves as purists. They accuse the rest of being fence sitters and opportunists. They refuse to see their stand as stubborn and stagnant. It is what stops them from listening, or growing.