Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump, Religion and India


The day Donald Trump strutted proudly to the White House, The Guardian concluded an article about Trumpism with the following paragraph:

The religious right is in retreat, and the political appeal of free-market fundamentalism is fading. Republican strategists will now turn to Trumpism to replenish the well, enlisting its many supporters and sympathizers as foot soldiers for a new era of rightwing ascendancy. Now that Trump has reached the White House, the era of Trumpism has just begun.

Source: Trump As Lord Vishnu? How Hindus In America
Are Campaigning For Donald Trump
Some sort of right wing balderdash always holds sway over collective imagination whether in America or India.  Religion may be losing its traditional sheen.  But it keeps reincarnating in the form of gau mata or Trumpism or something of the sort.

But is religion really “in retreat”?  This is one question that refused to leave me after reading the Guardian article yesterday.  So I researched using Google (what else?)

The first result I stumbled on is:

*For the first time in Norwegian history, there are more atheists and agnostics than believers in God.

* For the first time in British history, there are now more atheists and agnostics than believers in God. And church attendance rates in the UK are at an all-time low, with less than 2% of British men and women attending church on any given Sunday.

* A recent survey found that 0% of Icelanders believe that God created the Earth. That's correct: 0%. And whereas 20 years ago, 90% of Icelanders claimed to be religious, today less than 50% claim to be.

I carried on and arrived at an article in Psychology Today titled The Real Reason Religion is Declining in America which was based on some serious research (unlike mine) whose conclusion may be summarised as: When individualism rises, religion declines.  The writer argues that there are more positive self-views in the individualistic culture in America.  The culture is also marked by more tolerance and equality with respect to race, gender and sexual orientation, less adherence to social rules (on, for example, premarital sex), less social support and less interest in large groups.  Some things have improved and some became worse.  “But,” concludes the study, “American society is more focused on individual freedom, and less focused on social rules, than it used to be.”

America exported that individualistic culture to the world in the garb of globalisation and free trade.  But with the triumph of Trumpism, America seems to be backtracking from globalisation and free trade.  After all, individualism does not really match with globalisation and free trade which demand opening up borders and boundaries while individualism demands closing many doors and windows. 

Source: BBC
Trumpism is actually about closing many doors and windows.  Trumpism and individualism will match well.  And individualism does not go well with religion if Psychology Today is to be believed. 

So America may become more secular in Trump’s reign.  Will the right wing in India learn something from that?  After all, the worshippers of gau mata had also placed an image of Donald Trump along with those of Hindu deities and prayed for his victory

Now that Mr Modi has burned all black money in the country, can we hope for the ‘whiteening’ of Indian hearts?  A little less of religious bigotry, at least?


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