Would The Construction Of A Ram Mandir Satisfy Hindus?
The Lucknow High Court judgment gladdened the hearts of Hindus worldwide, but contrary to general belief, a grand Ram temple is nowhere in sight. The Sunni Central Waqf Board has filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court challenging the verdict. The Hindu Mahasabha will be filing an appeal as well. If the case for conviction of those responsible for the 1993 Mumbai Blasts is a yardstick, the case could take years.
Further, a Ram mandir is only a part of what the majority community wants in order to regain its self-respect in this country where, right from Independence, it has been treated by successive governments as one that must bear the cross in deference to its siblings—the minority communities.
No one can claim to speak on behalf of 80 crore plus Hindus! Having said that, this article focuses on discrimination faced by Hindus that are unknown to most and cannot be construed to be called ‘Communal’ just because a Hindu is raising them. These demands and grievances hold well irrespective of the party in power. The demand for a Uniform Civil Code is well known hence not dwelt upon in this article.
According to former President and scholar Dr S Radhakrishnan, the term Hindu had originally a territorial and not religious significance. All those who resided to the east of the Sindhu or Indus River were called Hindus. Since over 16 per cent of India’s population is not Hindu, the description has become irrelevant.
The religion of the Hindus, Hinduism should be replaced by its pure form Sanatan Dharm (eternal righteousness). It would include followers of all sects, sub-sects, faiths as is the case today. So also Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism can be called Baudh Dharam, Jain Dharam and Sikh Dharam if their followers so desire. For the purposes of customary laws like the Hindu Marriage Act that applies to today’s Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jain they would be referred to as the ‘Followers of Dharma’.
Two, unlike others, Hindu temples are subject to state government control and in some states temple collections become part of the state treasury. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said in 2003, “There are as many as 2,07,000 temples in Karnataka and the total income of these temples amounts to Rs 72 crore. Only a sum of Rs 6 crore is being spent by the government for their upkeep. On the other hand, the government spent a phenomenal amount of Rs 50 crore for the madrasas and Rs 10 crore for the churches.”
The Hindus want that temple collections in any form should, by law, be spent only on Hindus—for stipulated purposes such as education, teaching of Hindu culture in its various forms, religious and otherwise.
Three, under the FCRA (Foreign Contributions Regulation Act), a sum of Rs 73,379 crore was reported as received (actual much higher) by Indian NGO’s during the period 1993-94 to 2007-08. A review of top donor agencies indicate that majority are Christian organisations. (http://business.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/apr/13/slide-show-1-do-foreign-contributions-to-india-impact-security.htm).
Hindus believe that this money is used to convert which lead to social tension and conflict. Liberals might disagree but the dividing line between selfless service and conversion is very thin. The same argument holds good for contributions from Islamic organisations even though they seem to come substantially through the hawala route.
Hindus want such contributions to be disallowed. Surely, Indian Christians and Muslims residing abroad can donate like Hindus do. Further, there should be a strictly enforced ban on religious conversions.
Four, Article 30 of the Constitution permits minorities to establish and run their own educational institutions. The basic objective behind these special rights was to enable the minority to protect its religion and culture. A survey of Jesuit run schools in the country would show that the majority of students are invariably Hindu in which case how is Christian culture being protected. How do Christian schools in Muslim majority Kashmir Valley protect Christian religion? This provision has allowed the Church to create a web of educational institutions across the country and wield influence far in excess of the 2.5 per cent Christian population in India.
Therefore, Hindus want removed special privileges granted to educational institutions run by all denominations of Christians.
Five, an increasing number of Hindu students grow up devoid of any knowledge or understanding of Indian culture and thought. Just like religious education is imparted in state-funded Madrasas so also Hindus should be allowed to impart religious education in their schools.
Six, India is amongst the worst victims of terror yet the conviction rate is low. Some egs. Seventeen years have passed since the 1993 Mumbai blasts. The trial in the 2006 Mumbai train blast is proceeding at snail’s pace in Mumbai. In March 2010, the Supreme Court (SC) stayed the trial of 64 Indian Mujahideen (IM) members allegedly involved for 2008 blasts in Ahmedabad, Delhi, and Jaipur etc. The same IM claimed responsibility for the recent Varanasi blasts. In September 2010 the SC stayed the death sentence of the three men for the Akshardham temple attack of 2002. Delayed and negligible conviction would encourage any terrorist.
Probably, the SC has valid reasons for doing so and its hands full. For the aam aadmi delayed justice has removed fear of law from the terrorist mind. A good idea is to set up Fast Track courts in Supreme Court and High Courts to deal with all terrorism-related cases in a time bound manner.
Seven, since India was partitioned on the basis of religion there is a growing unease at illegal infiltration from Bangladesh i.e. predominantly Muslim. Secularists ask why nationalists do not protest over the presence of Nepalis in India but forget that the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed between Nepal and India permits Nepalis to work in India including government jobs except foreign service. A Bangladeshi Muslim tantric was recently arrested in Mumbai for raping seven. (http://www.hindustantimes.com/tabloid-news/mumbai/Tantrik-arrested-for-raping-seven-a-Bangladeshi-national/Article1-637541.aspx). The government must identify and deport Bangladeshis on a war footing.
Eight, a July 2005 SC judgment ordered that loudspeakers shall not be used between 10 pm and 6 am. (http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/Noise-pollution,-restrictions-on-use-of-Loudpspeakers-1.aspx). Further decibel levels were laid down. The Mumbai police do an excellent job at controlling decibel levels during Ganesh Chaturthi/Navaratri but loudspeakers blare Azaan before 6 am and during the day at volumes that are surely above laid down levels. The SC said that nobody can claim a fundamental right to create noise by amplifying the sound of his speech with the help of loudspeakers. If permitted, the Mumbai Police shall implement the law equally for all and not want to invite contempt of court proceedings.
Nine, by virtue of not being defined in the Indian Constitution the words ‘Minority and Secularism’ are the most abused words in India today. A Constitutional Bench of the SC should define these two words. In no country is the majority community denied equal rights as in Bharat!
By Sanjeev Nayyar