Cultural asymmetries and challenges for peaceful co-existence in Western societies — a Talk by Dr Gautam SEN

Date: Oct 15, 2022

Internationally renowned expert on International Politics & Economics and a former faculty member at the London School of Economics, Dr Gautam Sen spoke on cultural asymmetries and peaceful co-existence in Western societies at a webinar organised by India Knowledge Consortium (INK) on 15th Oct 2022. He spoke at length offering historical roots for the cultural differences amongst Christians, Muslims, and Hindus.

Dr Sen suggested there are cultural asymmetries between Hindus and Muslims, particularly South Asian Muslims, who are distinctive in seeking to maintain their identity and subscribe to what they perceive as Islamic precepts. The distinctive manifestations of Islamic traditions and practices are deeply at variance with secular Western and other immigrant cultures. He concluded that the reason why traditional Islam survives is that it has long been a useful ally of Western imperialism. The British imperialism history showed how British collusion with theocratic Islam marginalised Hindus, and how Islamic movements in India were influenced by London. He also cited the example of how, currently the US government is paying Al Qaeda members and ISIS terrorists to fight in Ukraine against Russian forces.

Dr Sen said that the recent violence in Leicester and Birmingham was a part of a global campaign to discredit India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and destabilise his government in the hope of achieving a regime change. As an example, he cited the extraordinarily virulent paid advertisement that ran a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal. This advertisement denounced the visiting Indian ministers, including Nirmala Sitharaman (Minister of Finance), who were attending an IMF meeting in Washington DC. Dr Sen also suggested the intervention of the British Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, on the recent Leicester and Birmingham riots falls into the same pattern. He said that in this pattern, the violence is legitimised by blaming the Hindus as the cause even though they are at the receiving end.