…and the Range of Meanings

A word can mean many things. Hopefully these definitions will not be seen as definitions, but a “range of meaning” within which discourse can occur. (Some of these ‘definitions’ are taken from answers.com and modified)

his·to·ry (hĭstə-rē) n.

History is a story told usually by the victorious oppressors. We rarely get to hear the ‘other’ side (the side that lost). And reconstructions of the ‘other’ side (the side that lost) are coloured by modern-day agendas and further attempts to oppress or gain standing.

crick·et (krĭkĭt) n.

  1. An outdoor game played with bats, a ball, and wickets by two teams of 11 players each.
  2. An outdoor game on which the collective self-esteem of the Indian nation hinges. If we win, we’re the greatest people on this planet. If we lose, we are the weakest, most shameful ones.
  3. An outdoor game in India in which victory is not measured on the results of a match, but on whether the Indian team is better off than the Pakistani team. Currently, we’re winning!

regeneration (rĭ-jĕnə-rāshən) n./v.

  1. The act or process of regenerating or the state of being regenerated.
  2. Spiritual or moral revival or rebirth.
  3. Biology. Regrowth of lost or destroyed parts or organs.

fundamentalism (fŭndə-mĕntl-ĭzəm) n./v.

  1. A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.
  2. Often Fundamentalism is reflected as an organized, militant religious movement that mixes ideology with belief, and violence with faith.

nationalism (năshə-nə-lĭzəm, năshnə-) n.

  1. Devotion to the interests or culture of one’s nation.
  2. The belief that nations will benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals.
  3. Aspirations for national independence in a country under foreign domination.

Hindu nationalism (Hindu năshə-nə-lĭzəm, năshnə-) n.

Keeping in mind the 1-3 above, Hindu nationalism adds a new dimension to nationalism. While nationalism is possible by all people (I believe and affirm)… Hindu nationalism uses religion as a category with which to define nationality. In effect, those who do not believe in a particular religion (or correspond within the norms set by that religion)… their right for nationalism is withdrawn. So for isntance, if a Muslim and Christian or a Marxist etc… are willing to defend the honour of India… a Hindu nationalist may not accept that defence… because their belief (Islam/Christian/Communism etc)… rejects/denies Hinduism… which for them is fundamental in defining nation-hood and they see it as a contradiction.

Indian Theology v. or n.

1. As noun, Indian theology is usually thought of as some unique theology that arises from the Indian sub-continent. Classical Indian theology usually addressed Indian (national) Christian (religious) identity, revelation, religions, Jesus, morality/ethics etc. Indian theology later took on a more liberative framework and adopted issues of poverty and social justice. Uniquely Indian is Dalit theology. For more information this article offers a fuller traditional meaning.

2. As a verb, theology is often associated as critical reflection on God’s (revealed) words and actions (within the context of human-social-Church understanding). As an Indian, the kind of questions-answers that I raise about God’s words/actions are (need to be) relevant to my own context (human-social-church sphere). Hence, Indian theology is simply doing theology as an Indian. And it is this defintion for theology that I adopt for this space.

biblical cre·a·tion (biblical – krē-āshən) n.

1. The narrative found in Genesis (the first book of the Bible)… which presents an account of how God created the universe.

2. It’s really interesting that a few of my Hindu friends have attempted to discount Christianity on the basis of the fact that some people believed (and still believe) that the earth is 4000 years old. Now, the error is in thinking that Christianity needs Christians to think the world is that old. Not necessarily. Christianity, like Hinduism, is diverse. And many Christians believe that the earth is old… very very old… while still maintaining that God is the creator of the world. I personally don’t believe that the earth is only 4000 years… how old it actually is I don’t know. But I am assured that the book of Genesis and the biblical creation account works on multiple levels… but is certainly not meant to be a scientific description of how the earth was created. More discussions exist, but it is important to reveal that the creation story is important (very important) within Christianity… but not everyone in Christianity believes the same thing about it.

ghe·tto (gĕtō) n.

1. A part of a city, not necessarily a slum area, occupied by a minority group. The term was first used for the enforced concentration of Jews into specific residential areas in European cities from the Middle Ages, but has now spread to include other ethnic groups in unofficial ghettos, especially black minorities in the USA. Lifestyles within the ghetto differ distinctly from those of the ‘host’ population and the prejudices of the host confine the sub-group to particular locations. Although ghettos are characterized by social disadvantage, most ghettos display a spread of socio-economic groups and the better-off may move to the affluence of the ‘gilded ghetto’. see also segregation. (from Geographic Dictionary)

2. Many Christian (and other religious) communities in India

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Passage for this Season

Philippians 2:11-13 (NIV) (12)Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13)for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

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