(for proper context please read Culture Clash)
India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.
— Hu Shih, former Ambassador of China to USA
Hindu civilization, in its history of over 5,000 years, has never engaged in missionary-style expansion or imperialist expansion. Most wars have been related to border-conflicts to protect its sovereignty, only upon provocation. Even India’s very method of gaining Independence was not through waging war with its colonizer but through non-violence.
India on the other hand has been attacked, invaded, colonized, looted, for almost eight centuries by the Persians, Turks, Arabs, Mongols, Portuguese, Dutch, British, French, etc.
Wherever Hindu culture has spread, it has been more by merit to satisfy a spiritual thirst (not through forced conversion; similar to the spread of yoga, ayurveda, chakras, vegetarianism, etc). Hindus could care less about what faith or spiritual tradition you practice, as long as you reciprocate the same (i.e. the freedom of expression given to you). This is why there are thousands of cultures, spiritual traditions, languages, etc. thriving in any place where Hindu culture is the majority. This is why, for example, countries in the South East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, etc) adopted the Hindu culture, which lasted many centuries — till the advent of intolerant fundamentalist religions like Christianity and Islam that converted them by the sword to a mono-culture (intolerant by nature). There is plenty of record of this across the globe.
India’s political and cultural growth has been (and continues to be) by evolution not by revolution (i.e. violent uprisings and upheavals). It is what sociology calls as evolution by “punctuated equilibrium” (i.e. flash-points of internal conflict in relatively small distributed pockets, i.e. compared with full-scale civil wars).
In contrast, just about every nation that calls itself modern/civilized today has had civil wars and/or has been part of World Wars. It was only after such wars that these nations came to their senses and became the more civilized society as we see them today (and with still more to go). A kind of shock-therapy to make it sober up. Devastating huge wars, like World War II, were turning points that radically transformed them almost overnight, from barbarians with alpha-male complex (hungry for power and tribal identity) to being civilized (and “inventing” multiculturalism). That is, at the expense of tens of millions of lives and the horrors of war:
- Germany is what it is today only after it sobered up after killing over 6 million Jews.
- Europe is what it is today only after it sobered up after death of 60 million in World War II.
- Japan is what it is today only after it sobered up after killing 30 million Filipinos, Malays, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Indonesians and Burmese, at least 23 million of them ethnic Chinese, and after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- The USA is what it is today, after it sobered up after the death of 750,000 soldiers in the American Civil War. I was going to say that the USA sobered up after the genocide of over 50 million Native Americans… but that would be untrue considering it still continues its marauding wars: Indonesia, Guatemala, Congo, Peru, Laos, Vietnam (4 million), Cambodia, Guatemala, Grenada, Libya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan,…) — all under the pretense of “saving them” or “giving them democracy”. See Imperialism.
- France is what it is today only after it sobered up after the death of over 3 million in its Napoleonic Wars.
- The UK is what it is today only after it sobered up after killing of millions (at least 6 million in India alone through artificial famines and other unspeakable brutalities, during its over 200 years of brutal British pillaging, plundering, torture, maiming, killing, looting, and siphoning out all of wealth of the Indian subcontinent, and leaving and effectively dividing, dismantling, destroying, and leaving it almost beyond repair by the time they left; see Indian Economy and the Hindu Holocaust).
- The list does not end there: Spain (internal civil wars, genocides and pogrom all across South America), Italy (brutal colonization of Africa), Russia (internal civil wars), Turkey (genocide of 1.5 million Armenians), China (mass execution of its own people during years of brutal Communist Rule),… before they all sobered up.
- Let’s not forget the horrors of war, lest they just disappear into the above numbers: orphaned/traumatized children, rape, violent deaths due to torture, disease, starvation, etc.
- Add to that the brutality and savagery of slavery (just about every possible culture on the planet came under slavery by Christianity, Biblically justified by considering darker races as descendant of Ham, destined to be enslaved).
- Add to that at least a century of Christian Inquisitions and genocides of entire populations and cultures off the face of the Earth, which was also the period when the most heinous torture techniques were developed to coerce people into Christianity (in order to “save them” — how hypocritical or delusional can people get), including branding them as pagans (a demeaning word for nature worshipers), witches, heathens, heretics. Their idea of saving people is by displacing the native/indigenous culture, and if necessary (more often than not) gutting the people with it. This continues still today (see article on Christian Missionary Aggression).
- If you add up all the numbers in just the last 2,000 years, all the non-Hindu civilizations (Western, Middle-East, Far East Asian) have killed over 300 million people in wars, genocide, slavery, etc (and still counting, by the millions).
When Western media points fingers at India’s “backwardness” (not withstanding the 300 years of draining of India’s wealth by brutal European Imperialism and at the same time the expropriation of its knowledge and technologies from India), they should ask themselves what it took for them (i.e. the millions of lives, wars, civil wars, genocides) before they woke up to being more civilized? But has the West really sobered up? For they are still always eager to beat their war drums. Like the knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 (where two entire countries were wiped out, millions dead, the equivalent of thousands of World Trade Center buildings).
When Gandhi was asked what he thought about Western civilization, he replied: “I think it’s a good idea”.
It’s time Asian nations turn the lens around and take up Western nations as a specimens for study, by examining their pathologies (just as Western nations have been arrogantly doing for centuries to other cultures). Not saying Asian countries don’t have their share of problems, but it’s about balancing the equation, the media bias. Else in the global politics, Western nations automatically assume moral superiority, which can be blind-sight them, and can be disastrous.
Feudal Wars (between Kingdoms, Serfdoms, and Tribes)
I decided to not include that into the statistics for comparison because almost every country in the evolution of humankind has had wars between local kingdoms, serfdoms, and tribes.
Adding that statistics to all continents effectively cancels it out. But note the following differences:
- The causalities due to wars between local kingdoms and serfdoms within the Indian Subcontinent were nowhere close to the genocidal numbers above (though no wars are justified, it is a pin drop in the bucket compared with the numbers above). And it is the likely the reason why the population of India is and has always been so large. For people complaining about India’s lack of population control, see the above war statistics of the West, and factor-in all the number of victims, and scale by the population at that time, and you’ll see why the Western population is low, and India (a size one-third of the USA, holds over 1.2 billion).
- Internal wars (between kingdoms and tribes) in India were waged not for want of material resources, not for conquering their culture, but for expanding the extent of their kingdom — with the regions culture (belief system, language, etc) kept untouched. In fact, it is through such consolidated only the nation of Bharat (India) evolved, extending all the way from Afghanistan to the tip of South India. This is why India has so numerous distinct faiths, languages, arts, cultures, literature, philosophies, etc. — all co-existing squeezed into an area that is one-third that of the USA (all without trying to decimate each others culture). This is also why most of the 28 states of India have extremely distinct language, culture, food, attire, etc (and numerous variations of expressions within each state). If it these were brutal wars to conquer/subdue/enslave, India would be a a mono-culture (or maybe just one or two), not so as diverse.
- Contrast this with brutal Christianization or Islamization of entire continents in the West — where almost nothing of the native cultures survive today (other than in the victors reservation camps and tourist attractions “showcasing” what’s left of that indigenous culture — ironically showcasing how forward thinking the indigenous cultures were – i.e. spiritual, sustainable, peaceful, all-accepting, environmental, etc).