India's dharmic traditions have always had a different view of society than either the Right or the Left in Western political thought, just as India has different civilisational values and follows a different spiritual view of humanity.

Yet to understand these Indic views, we must look at India's dharmic traditions as stated in the modern era from Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Chinmayananda and many other great gurus who have not only honoured the higher teachings but were social reformers as well. 

Hindu dharma has no fixed sharia, law code or set of customs but develops over time, adapting itself on various levels relative to the changing circumstances of human life. Certainly, aspects of Hindu society today still require reform, but Hindu values and insights from within the tradition can facilitate this process without leaving India's great civilisational heritage behind, such as occurs with those trying to change India's society from the outside.

Left and Right in India and the world

The Left in India is closely connected to the Left in Western political thought, particularly the far or radical Left. We can see this by the prominence Marxists and communists have in India's Leftist groups and their policies, particularly at universities like JNU and in state governments like Kerala. They are alienated from India's own traditions and ways of thought, which they are virulently against. Such a political influence of the radical Left is more prominent in India today than in any Western country, perhaps even more so than communist China that follows a nationalistic agenda.

On other the hand, Hindu and dharmic groups called right wing in India have little connection with the Right in Western political thought, which particularly in the United States is allied with Christian missionary forces, or which follow some sort of Eurocentric civilisational supremacy, Western nationalism or Western exceptionalism. India's so-called right wing looks to India's own thinkers going back to the Vedas, not mimicking those of the West.

Dharmic traditions and values

Dharmic traditions, with their emphasis on recognising the divine, self or Buddha nature in all people and in the whole of life, are rooted in a universal view of truth and consciousness. This extends to dharmic values of unity, interdependence, and honouring all life as sacred. It provides the basis for affirming individual rights, cultural rights, non-violence, ecology, and protection of nature. There is nothing in these dharmic traditions of aggression, conquest, suppression or promoting any uniformity or exclusivity of thought or action.

Hindu views, properly understood, include women's rights and worshipping the divine as mother, religious diversity and cultural diversity. Views like those of RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat accepting LGBTQ, criticising caste discrimination and accepting people of all backgrounds, have long existed in Indian society. This expansive and accepting trend within Hindu thought is clearly alive and powerful and has much transformational value for India and for the world.

Distortions by the radical Left

Yet the radical Left in India, reflecting its communist orientation, deems anyone who opposes it as fascist, though it has no qualms about resorting to violence to promote its own views. Chinese communists have similarly designated the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan independence movement as fascist. And of course India's radical Left has always sided with China against Tibet, in spite its claim to be in favour of human rights and freedom of speech.

India's Marxists from Kerala to JNU still honour Stalin and Mao, who killed as many people as Hitler, and have as their mascot Che Guevara, the violent Cuban revolutionary from the 1960s. The battle is not fascist Hindus versus the liberal Left but dharmic traditions versus the radical Left that is opposed to India's great cultural and civilisational heritage.

A new vision of India/Bharat

India's dharmic traditions stand beyond the materialistic views of the Right or Left in the West, which are both rooted in an outer view of life, while India's dharmic values are based upon understanding our unity and kinship with all, recognising the same self in all beings as the Upanishads teach. RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, in his recent speeches, has once more renewed this profound dharmic vision for a resurgent India.