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Oct 2, 2021

Mike Isaacson: Ride the tiger, bro.

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Nazi SS UFOs
Lizards wearing human clothes
Hinduism’s secret codes
These are nazi lies

Race and IQ are in genes
Warfare keeps the nation clean
Whiteness is an AIDS vaccine
These are nazi lies

Hollow earth, white genocide
Muslim’s rampant femicide
Shooting suspects named Sam Hyde
Hiter lived and no Jews died

Army, navy, and the cops
Secret service, special ops
They protect us, not sweatshops
These are nazi lies

Mike Isaacson: Thanks for joining us for another episode of The Nazi Lies Podcast. You can support the podcast by subscribing to our Patreon or donating to our PayPal or CashApp. Today, we’re going to touch on esoteric fascism by talking to someone who actually knows something about Hinduism. Shyam Ranganathan is a translation theorist and philosopher at York University in Canada. He is the author of several books including his most recent, Hinduism: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation. Thanks for coming on the podcast Dr. Ranganathan.

Shyam Ranganathan: Thanks for having me.

Mike Isaacson: Okay. So the central contention in your book is that the West has gotten Hinduism wrong. How does the West get Hinduism wrong?

Shyam Ranganathan: Right. It's an even weirder contention. There are two parts to this. There's first a historical observation that religious identity is actually a creation of Western colonialism. You wouldn't know this if you only paid attention to the exemplars from the Western tradition, but even then the evidence is pretty much there. Jesus was crucified by the Romans, and Christian identity was formed within the context of Roman imperialism. So even that isn't really an exception to this rule, and of course Jews were colonized by the Egyptians and the Romans and it's within the context of Roman imperialism that we first get this idea of religion, which is the precursor to our idea of religion. So the Romans had this idea that there was some type of acceptable traditional practice but wasn't the standard practice. There's some type of standard practice that everybody has to be involved in, and that evolves into our idea of secularism and then there are these kind of traditions that are tolerated. Overtime what happens is this then gets converted into a way of making sense of the European tradition as a kind of universal standard, and then anything that's got origins outside of Europe, any origins at all, ends up being called religion. Now this is most obvious, I mean, it's kind of stark when you look at the development to religious identity in Asia, because prior to Western colonialism there was no religious identity. So one of the things I point out is that if you look at the history of South Asian philosophy, they disagreed about the right and the good, and that's just what you disagree about in moral philosophy. They had a word Dharma that they use to disagree about the right or the good, and that was just how they got along. They had different views on Dharma, and some people were really famous like the Buddha. He had a very influential view and lots of followers. But under Western colonialism, there's this need to box in the people that are being colonized. And so the British end up using a Persian word for South Asia Hinduism or rather Hindu was the Persian word. And it has a similar route to our word India, and there's a place in Northern India called the Sindu, and these are all cognates. So anyways, the Persians had this way of talking to South Asians and the British decided to use that as a word for all indigenous South Asian religion, whatever that is, and it was a way to try and make sense of South Asians in contradistinction to Islam, which has a long history, but not a very ancient history in South Asia. So the British wanted to try and just have a word to refer to some type of native or indigenous practice.

Now the thing is prior to this, no South Asian called themselves a Hindu, and then overnight you have like millions of people calling themselves Hindus because it happened under a condition of colonialism where people had to conform to these expectations in order to be recognized. So there's a kind of before and after moment when we want to study Hinduism, because there's the before moment where there's the entire history of South Asian philosophy and everybody was just happy to disagree with each other. And then there's the moment of naming this tradition of religion Hinduism, and then there's the after history that we have inherited where South Asians and everybody else tries to make sense of the indigenous tradition in terms of religious categories. And then they read these categories backwards into the history of South Asia. So people ask nonsensical questions like what did Hindus disagree with? What were the disagreements between Buddhists and Hindus in ancient times? There were no Hindus, there were just people who disagreed about how to live and what to do. So in so far as there's a misunderstanding, it's a misunderstanding that comes from taking really seriously these artifacts of colonialism.

One of the things I point out is that religious identity is just a precursor to racial identity. So racial identity is born out of the West treating itself as a kind of standard of what it is to be a full fledged person, and then everybody's judged by way of their conformity or deviation to that. And so brown people of color we get this funny expression. Europeans don't have any color, everybody else does. And religion is the same thing, it's the racialization of BIPOC intellectual traditions. What people don't often realize is the same position said by Plato, for instance, that there's a God and afterlife. And in fact, reincarnation is treated as secular philosophy because there's no extra European origin. But if it's said by a brown guy from the Middle East, it's religion, and you can find all sorts of Atheist positions in South Asia where there's no God, history of reality is just the evolution of matter. If it's said by a brown guy 2000 years ago in Sanskrit, it's Hinduism. If it said by someone of European descent today on the basis of Democritus or something, it's secular philosophy. So the misunderstanding then is in a way a matter of taking these artifacts of Western colonialism seriously as though they map out the way things really are when in reality they're just artifacts of colonialism.

Mike Isaacson: In the book, you said that Hinduism basically encapsulates four separate traditions, at least. There's the Vedic tradition, there's the Dravidian tradition, the Adivasi tradition, and then there was one other one that I forgot.

Shyam Ranganathan: Oh, I see. Well, in the sense that... I didn't say that, van Buitenen said that. [The book gives the citation as Klostermaier] But I was pointing out that there is... If you try to harvest all the things that get called Hindu, there's basically nothing that's left out of it. So my analogy here is that it's an odd kind of category, a class category like fruit salad. So some categories are kind categories, and in a kind category the criterion of inclusion is also exemplified by its members. So red is a kind category. So the category of red things is the set of things that display redness. But fruit salad is a collection of different pieces of fruit, so it doesn't follow that a piece of fruit salad is a collection of different pieces of fruit. A piece of fruit salad could be a piece of apple or an orange, but when you put them together, fruit salad. And so if we want to think about Hinduism, we can certainly catalog different traditions that go into it. But I think what's really illuminating is that it wasn't created by a matter of self representation, in exactly the way racial categories are created, they were created as a way for a hostile outsider to box people in. So I just describe it, I say the founding membership criterion of something being Hindu is South Asian, no common founder. So this leads to funny logical properties like so you could be a Hindu and say a Christian in so far as you could be a Christian South Asian, but you couldn't be a Christian first and a Hindu second because Christianity is a kind category. So all Christian things are going to display some type of commitment to Jesus, etc. But just in the same way that a piece of fruit salad can be an apple but a piece of an apple is not fruit salad. So we have to just appreciate there's more than one kind of category that we're invoking when we talk about religion. And so Hinduism, even though all religious identity is really a creation or function of Western colonialism, Hinduism is odd in simply being the disagreements of philosophy. There's no common position or text or commitment that defines what it is to be Hindu. So I argue that thinking about Hinduism historically, not what comes after people try to make sense of it as a religion, but historically has just this openness to diversity of philosophical disagreement is a model for us to think about how we can move forward from a Westernized world where there's one tradition that's used as a standard to judge everything else.

Mike Isaacson: Okay. So let's jump into the part that everybody's looking for, the fascist part. So esoteric fascists make a lot of noise about living in the Kali Yuga. “We’re living in the Kali Yuga. Everything’s fucked. Ride the tiger.” So what is the Kali Yuga? What is a yuga? Are we in the Kali Yuga? And what would that mean for us?

Shyam Ranganathan: So a yuga is a period or an aeon. It's a large increment of time. And in many stories that are part of the Hindu tradition, there are these cosmologies that divide up time into the cyclical patterns. Just like Monday will repeat itself next week and so will Saturday, the yuga as well too, but they're large scale increments of time. And according to one very popular cosmology, there are four basic yugas and it starts off with the best yuga, where it's all based on truth. And then it's a slow descent to the fourth, which we're supposed to be in Kali Yuga. And so what defines Kali Yuga in a lot of descriptions is that it's just this moral degradation. And but by moral degradation, the descriptions usually turn on violence, fear and anger as being defining features of Kali Yuga. So I think it's funny the fascists like this because they're actually evidence that we're in Kali cause they trade in things like fear and anger. So if we're in Kali Yuga, it's their fault, we can blame them for it.

Mike Isaacson: Okay. You ready for some fascist lore?

Shyam Ranganathan: Sure, yeah.

Mike Isaacson: Okay. Strap in for this one. So Greco-French Nazi and self-styled Hindu Savitri Devi like to claim that Hitler was an avatar of Vishnu, specifically the ninth avatar, describing him as a man against time and the greatest European who ever lived. I don't want to spend too much time on Hitler but I do want to talk about his Vishnu and his avatars. So what kinds of people were Vishnu's avatars and what did they do in life?

Shyam Ranganathan: Yeah, so I want to take a step back before I answer this question and just provide some context for deities from South Asia. So one of the important traditions of philosophy in South Asia, and we don't have this philosophical theory anywhere else is yoga or sometimes called devotion. And so I'm going to distinguish yoga from three very common ethical theories we have and three very common theories in the Western tradition. One is virtue ethics, the idea that in order to know the right thing to do you have to be a good person. So theism is a version of virtue ethics, God is the ultimately good person whose preferences are what we should follow. Then there's consequentialism, this idea that there are these good ends that we should aim for and then the right thing to do is instrumental to that. And then there's deontology, the idea that there are a bunch of good things that we can do, but only some of them we have special reason to do. These are very popular, salient, iconic, ethical theories in the Western tradition. We find them also in South Asia, but South Asians also had a fourth ethical theory, namely that... Well, the right thing to do involves devotion to an ideal of right doing, and then as you perfect that devotional practice, you bring about the good, but the good is just the success of that practice. So when we look at deities in South Asia, they often play a role not as good agents whose preferences are what we should follow, but rather as procedural ideals, ways of living or choosing that when we are devoted to we work on emulating those kinds of procedures ourselves. So Vishnu represents one of the essential features of the ultimate procedural ideal according to yoga, which is unconservatism, so self-challenge, not being ruled by one's own past choices, working through difficulties, and his partner Lakshmi is the goddess of self-determination, she's depicted as a lotus who sits on herself. And these two, being unconservative and self-governing, make up the ideal of what it is to be a person in the yoga tradition. So when you read a lot of the stuff about Vishnu, it makes more sense when you realize that he's that procedural ideal. Now there's a story as to why he has to have avatars, I'm sure there's lots of stories. But one story is that he was just kind of doing his own thing his realm. And these youthful people who look like kids approached the gate and he had entrusted these two guards to act as sentries, and the guards wouldn't let them in to see Vishnu because they assumed they were... They claimed to be sages, but they looked too young. And so they barred entry to these very useful looking child-like figures. But they were really sages and they look really young because of their personal work and transformation. And so they curse the gatekeepers and then Vishnu has to take responsibility for that for empowering those gatekeepers. Now, one of the interesting features of this story is that it's a criticism of patriarchy. Patriarchy is the theory that, well, not only are men superior to women, but importantly, age is an important factor in authority or being taken seriously. So the older are treated as though they are to be deferred to over the anger. But also there's this prejudice that set foot, it's a prejudice against novelty. So this story is a metaphor for that, that there are these kind of novel-looking people come along and they're not allowed to see Vishnu. So then he has to... So the story goes... Anyway, these are all thought experiments, they're just ways to think about what these ideals are like. The story goes that he has to take on these life experiences to work through basically all the issues and prejudices and problems that gave rise to that encounter. And so he has lots of different incarnations or avatars. They span species. And they choose to kind of mimic a bit of our understanding of evolution, starts with a fish and an eternal amphibian and then a boar and then half-lion half man, small man. And in every case, in virtually every incarnation, there are some themes about Vishnu. First, he is a deity of working on problems, overcoming challenges, but there's always a theme of friendship, loyalty, and diversity. So Vishnu himself presents in these diverse ways. And his friends are diverse too, and they come from all sorts of different walks of life and species. So it's really weird that fascists think that Hitler could be an avatar of Vishnu because Hitler wasn't really interested in diversity, and he also wasn't really interested in overcoming his prejudices and his assumptions. So that's entirely bizarre. And another thing that's entirely bizarre is that Vishnu as someone who's challenging himself is aware of himself by self triangulation. And that triangulation is when you look at something from two different points, but then he also triangulates the activity of triangulation. And that's actually represented as a disc. But if you look at the disc, it's got superimposed triangles that look like the star of David. So that's even weirder that Nazis would think that there's anything going on with Vishnu there. So, yeah, so I would say that as a kind of character in the stories is he's compassionate, social relationships are important and so is diversity. And one of the themes of a lot of the stories where Vishnu is concerned is that you make room for yourself or Vishnu makes room for himself by making room for other people. So he's the preserver of a world of diverse beings.

Mike Isaacson: Okay. Now surprise, surprise, there's a big reverence for caste among the esoteric fascists. So what is caste? Where did caste come from? What place does it hold in Hinduism?

Shyam Ranganathan: All right. So caste, there's two things going on. There's three things actually, I think, going on when we think about caste. First of all, I think it's really important to note, and I'm always surprised that people don't talk about this, they're not aware of this, that clearest philosophical defense of caste is to be found in Plato's Republic. And Plato argues there that there are three castes. There's kind of work or appetitive class and there's kind of implementing motivative class and then the philosophers who rules. And the state is on Plato's account the soul writ large. So just as the soul has to be, the individual soul has to be governed with reason at the top providing both motivation and appetite their proper place, so to in society should there be this hierarchy, and the hierarchy should be a kind of meritocracy. Now, one of the really important features of Plato's theory of caste, well, there's a couple of interesting features. First of all, it's hierarchical. So it's really important in the Plato story that there are some people who really should be in the position of telling other people what to do. And other people would really be smart to listen to what these wise people have to tell them, but because they're not smart, they're not going to be able to recognize that. So Plato actually thinks you have to lie to them, and you have to tell them a noble lie that they were all created by the same loving God. So I think when people think about caste, a lot of times their idea of caste is actually this Platonic idea where there are people who need to be directed, and then there are people who need to do the directing. Now in South Asia, caste goes all the way back to the start of the Indo-European peoples there. So you can find in the Vedas that caste there, I think, was different because one of the things that's really different about South Asia or rather one of the things that's really peculiar about the Western tradition is that in the Western tradition community was the basic category of political explanation. So not the individual, it was community. So you understood your place, what to do by understanding your place in your society. So we find this in Plato, find it in Aristotle, and there's a long tradition of thinking just this way in the Western tradition. But in South Asia community was not the basic unit of explanation. So if you were going to understand caste, caste allows people to have a vocational identity that they can pass, that they can inherit and then pass down, but it allows them to be modular. So they can actually float in and out of different societies because they understand what kind of contribution they could make if they were part of a society. And so that way of thinking about caste takes away a lot of the hierarchy only because it's not tied to community in the way you find it in Plato. Now in South Asia, there is a long tradition of one caste, the Brahmins, of them doing all the writing. So what ends up happening and the Brahmins are kind of the intelligentsia, the literati, and they're tasked with conserving the Vedas, which is this kind of ancient corpus of the Indo-European peoples. But they're also often the intellectuals and the advisers and stuff, but they have a class interest in making themselves seem like they're top of the [heap 26.23]. So in most of the literature that was created by Brahmins, you get this story of a hierarchy where the Brahmins are supposed to be regarded as the most important. Now the funny thing about the Brahmins is that they weren't a rich group. They didn't have a lot of money. Just that most had the ability to legitimize and influence political leaders. So if you could get a Brahmin on board, it was like saying, "Oh, well, this intellectual approves of what I'm doing." So in Brahminical literature, there's a lot of propaganda where these Brahmins try to tell the story of themselves at the top of this heap. And like most people before I started doing, well, becoming a scholar of South Asia, I believed that that's what caste was. And I remember very clearly sitting in my historiography class in Master's in South Asian studies and we're doing the history of history-- is what historiography is— and I learned for the first time that even though there's a chart for your class, which is a martial class that's supposed to be the ruling class, there were lots of kings from various castes. There were kings in dynasties from the Shudra caste, which is according to Brahminical reckoning, the lowest caste because they do all the kind of the hard labor, etc. So there's this kind of story that gets told in literature, and then there's the reality of how people related to each other. And so the story that gets told in literature is this very stylized for caste story where there is the Brahmin intellectuals, and then there are the warrior Kshatriyas, and then there are these kind of merchant class folks, and then there's a fourth caste which are the Shudras, who kind of do the heavy lifting. But the reality of South Asia is there's just a million castes. Everybody has their own story about how important they are and everybody has a caste. So Jews, Christians, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, it's just kind of what South Asians do. They have this history of understanding themselves in terms of this idea of inherited vocation. So when the British come along and they decide that they need to figure out what's going on with these South Asians, they turn to the Brahmins and the literati who have all these stories. And so one of the funny things that starts to happen is these stories and these ritual manuals that were largely just part fantasy, part propaganda, part self idealization, gets legitimized as Hindu law. So these books where you see Brahmins talking about ritual purity and how they're so important gets retold in the colonial period as what was law for Hindus prior to colonialism. Now, there are lots of funny things about that. First of all, there was no Hinduism before British colonialism. And second of all, you have this writing of a history based on the literature of a small group of people who had a class interest. Now once this gets created as the narrative, it starts to become more and more real. And so colonialism really then ends up weaponizing caste in ways that it was probably far more benign. I'm not saying that it was perfect, people use distinctions as a way to be crappy to each other all the time, but it gets ramped up in terms of its weaponization because it gets part of the official story that people believe under colonialism and then it just ends up being what people inherit. And so there's this fantasy or myth that colonialism in South Asia is over, it's not cause people still believe all these things that were formulated during that time.

Mike Isaacson: Okay. So lastly, you reserve an entire chapter in your book to discuss what you call the global alt-right. How has the alt-right interacted with Hinduism?

Shyam Ranganathan: Yeah, so that chapter is me providing an explanation for how conservativism and xenophobia and this idea of the new conservatives, so more conservative than conservatives, it's this kind of contemporary invention of some type of path that doesn't really exist except in these people's heads. How does that happen at all? So as I was writing it, things were starting to get pretty wild in the US with the rise of the far right. And for South Asianist it wasn't anything particularly new because South Asianists have been watching the rise of the far right in South Asia for some time. And so in this chapter, I'm thinking about or I'm asking the question of how is this a global... In what way is this a global phenomenon? Or how can you account for the same weird thing happening in different places? Now in the case of South Asia, it's particularly weird because South Asians historically were super open to diversity. So people fleeing persecution elsewhere often had a place to settle down in South Asia. I don't know how old the Bene Israel is, but there's a group of Jews who've been there for some reckonings to millennia in India. And then the Farsis when Iran became Islamicized, they had to leave and a large number of those folks settled down in India, and Christians came and it was just... And the thing about South Asia traditionally, which is something that I was interested in in this book and in this chapter, was a place where two things happened.

People were okay with disagreeing and they also thought that they were right. So everybody thought that they were right and everybody else was wrong, but they were also okay for that just to be the way things are. So they were okay that they thought that they were right and everybody was wrong, and they were okay to live like that, which meant that they were really okay with diversity. So diversity for them wasn't this kind of liberal relativism or skepticism that you see now, where people go, "Oh, it's just all about your perspective." People took their philosophical commitment seriously, but they also had this long tradition of not thinking that somehow the existence of other people who didn't agree with them was a problem for them. Most people thought, "Oh, well, it's a problem..." If I was really committed to some philosophical position, I might think it's a problem for the people who don't agree with me cause they're just going to lose out. But the reality is that I'm just still going to do my own thing. And that was really a very dominant feature of the history of South Asia. And I think it's quite historically unique amongst the three major philosophical traditions with ancient roots. So in China you have Confucianism from ancient times really stressed the importance of social cohesion and conformity. And then there was Daoism that also rejected that, but there is a strong tradition in Chinese thinking about the importance of social agreement and practice. That's a major mind in Confucian thinking. And if you go back all the way to the beginning of the Western tradition with Plato and Aristotle, it was all about the centralization of all decisions in a community in the hands of a few elevated individuals. But in South Asia there was always this kind of decentralized idea. There were empires and there were kingdoms, but they tended to be fluid and people were just far more okay with diversity and disagreement. So one of the questions I ask is how is it that South Asians can go from being so comfortable with diversity in descent to being so fascist and xenophobic? So in South Asia with the rise of the Hindu right, you see all this Islamophobia, and there's this creation of this kind of very strange Brahminical Hinduism that tries to deny caste and historical injustices against marginalized peoples. And there's also just this rise of violence and lynchings or perceived slights against being Hindu. So it's remarkable, within a span of few hundred years, a whole continent, sub-continent where people knew how to get along with diversity, a large number of those people lost the ability. They went from being reasonable about diversity to being progressively and increasingly unreasonable. Not everybody but enough people to cement a new political reality of the Hindu right. So most people who try to write about these things, the phenomena fascism in the far right, etc, they'll focus on the values of the people in question. And my account of this is that it's not about the values that people say they profess because so many times you would have say Christians talking about love and then participating in genocide or forced conversion, colonialism, and kind of horrible... There's a kind of disconnect between the values that people pass and what they're actually doing. And so my story says, well, let's look at what model of thought people are operating with, not the values that they claim to endorse, but how they model thought. And so there's two options that I compare.

One option is the option that the model of thought that characterizes the Western tradition, there's no second model of thought in the Western tradition. There's this default model of thought. And it's the idea that thought is the same as linguistic meaning or the meaning of what you say. And I started to realize that this was just this hegemonic view when I was writing my dissertation on translation. And the connection between thought and speech goes back all the way to the Greeks who had one word for thought, reason, speech, logos. So if you believe that thought is the meaning of what you say, then you're going to have difficulty understanding what you wouldn't say. So everything then becomes assessable by way of whatever your culture in codes and its language. And at the same time, you lose the ability to understand alternative perspectives because understanding for you becomes a matter of explanation in terms of what you agree to. So it's a very debilitating model. I started to realize not only that it was ubiquitous, but it causes all these technical problems in trying to make sense of translation, etc. And I was thinking about alternative models of thought, and there's a South Asian model of thought that avoids all these problems where you think about thought as what you can do with something meaningful. And so I set up this thought experiment. The thought experiment is... I've written about it in a few different places, some places planted ethics, some places planted subcontinent Dharma, but the thought experiment goes like this: You have a large area where there's several different communities and each community has a national ethical identity. And in every community, the ethical identity is going to be different, it's going to be distinctive, and their word ethics or morality in the case in South Asia Dharma is going to be defined in their language, in their intellect, as their national theory. So you could imagine a place where ethics or morality is just whatever Jesus said. So that ends up you have this kind of Christian nation. Then next to them, you would have this thing you could imagine a Muslim nation where it's whatever Muhammad said. And then in the thought experiment in the South Asian version, I just populate this place with all sorts of different ethical theories, Dharma theories, that people entertained in South Asia. And I asked, "Well, how are they going to understand each other?" Because when everybody says something like hitting your neighbor is not Dharma, they actually are saying something with the different meaning because Dharma means something different in each of their languages. So if you adopt this yogic approach to thought, you would say, "Well, the thought isn't actually the linguistic meaning, but it's the disciplinary use that we can make of it. So insofar as all of those sentences could be used to articulate a philosophical thought about hitting your neighbor being inappropriate, everybody could use their native intellectual resources without having to buy the values of their culture, and it would allow them to also be critical of the values of their culture. But let's say we assume the standard Western account of thought, where thought is just the meaning of what you say, anybody who operates with this will never be able to understand anything except for the values encoded into their language as just the only possible answer. And so what that then does for people is it makes them incapable of operating successfully in a world of diversity because everybody else will seem like a threat to their moral identity. And so what I argue is that the rise of the far right if you really want to understand it, you have to understand it in terms of this adoption of a really bad model of understanding. And I think it's actually a pretty good explanation. So for instance, one of the things I talk about is antithematism, them as in t h e m. And the thems are a bunch of people who are dispersed, and they have two linguistic identities. They have the linguistic identity of the society they live in, and then they have some historical them identity. And if we operated with the yoga model of thought, it would be fine.

We could understand them just like we could understand anybody else. But if we switch to the Western models thought, where thought is the meaning of what you say, these people start to seem like double agents because once they participate, they seem to participate in your culture's linguistic practices, but they also have an allegiance to another value system in another language. So I think, for instance, it explains things like an antisemitism, why was there antisemitism in Europe but not in South Asia? Why does, for instance, why were South Asians generally okay with Muslims and then once they started becoming westernized by adopting this linguistic model of thought, all of a sudden Islamophobia becomes increasingly a problem?. So a lot of people might not be aware of this, but there was one language Hindustani, and then when the British came along and gave South Asians this idea that they had a religious identity or at least there was such a thing as Hindus, then they had to split up the language into two languages, a Muslim language and a Hindu language. And so that's where you get the birth of Urdu, a Muslim language written with an Arabic script in Hindi which is supposed to be a Hindu language written in Devanagari. But it's the same language which is just kind of remarkable. But this is what colonialism does, it convinces people that they are tied to their cultural identity by way of some kind of external threat. And then once they're tied to this cultural identity, they then experience the world from this corner of terror where everyone else is out to get them. And so that's my explanation for what we're seeing in South Asia, but also I think this explains ways in which the far right in Europe and in North America is a continuation of Western colonialism.

Mike Isaacson: Antithematism, I like it.

Shyam Ranganathan: Antithematism, yeah. They were the thems and everybody would refer to them as the thems. And whether you were scared or creeped out depended upon what model of thought you adopted.

Mike Isaacson: Okay. Well, Dr. Ranganathan, thank you so much for coming on The Nazi Lies Podcast to talk to us about Hinduism. Again, the book is Hinduism: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation out from Routledge. Thanks again.

Shyam Ranganathan: Thank you so much.

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