Intrusions On Hinduism And Its Fallouts
The Malda violence by a mob of over 2 lakh law-breakers isn’t any single incident to be afraid of. With political patronage to minority (Muslims), a warning bell rings for Hindus. Incidents of violent protest in areas where the minority community is a weighty portion of total population are common, yet Indian media, most political parties and the intelligentsia remain silent on the issue. With this unending uprising at one end, the other end depicts a dark picture for the Hindus, who are not fortunate enough to relish the same privileges, rights and freedom as are being enjoyed, many a time illegally, by the minority. Indeed, an eye for an eye is no answer, but for Hinduism to survive this phase, Hindus are to realise that intrusions in their religion may have significant fallouts; even the return of the oppression and ransacking as witnessed in the Mughal rule or during the Delhi Sultanate can be predicted. Until the Indian Muslims of today rid themselves of the influence of Mullahs, who need a pity reason to come down to streets and demand death for the defamer of Prophet, thousands and lakhs of men from this religion will keep falling prey to violent parading and ransacking in the name of religious pride and honor. When did you last see Muslims in such numbers asking for betterment in education, personal law and for modernization of their Madrasas? You are to realise that you are intruding into Hindus’ rights, which too is a defamation of the law of the land, the Indian Constitution.
Identifying this Intrusion
While many gaps have been created and can be rightly attributed to the so-called secular fabric of India, some have arisen owing to the lack of agreement between different schools of thought, castes, sub-castes, leaders, cultures, living standards and other contrasts in the world’s third largest followed religion, Hinduism. Politicians and other communities have thrived on this rampant divide, new social norms have been created where non-Hindus are relishing the fruits of secularism and the majority religion is losing its command. It is not to be repeated how India was woven into an all-inclusive and embracing culture under the rule of Hindu rulers and what devastations did the country see when Muslim invaders ransacked places of inhabitation and worship; but what they could not change even after so much oppression and bloodbath was the now-forgotten dedication of Hindus, something that played a crucial role in our independence from the Islamic and colonial rule. The datum of Hindus’ inclination towards tolerance and harmony is substantiated in the Indian Constitution that was framed in Hindu-majority nation and accorded freedom of religion to all. While many Islam-majority nations chose Islamic legal system, the Sharia, as the law of their lands, India respected the tenets of all religions and even until today, the Uniform Civil Code (law not based on any religious preference) seeks approval from legislators.
Political Intrusion : An Outcome of Vote-Bank Politics
Focusing back to the divide we realise today among followers of Hinduism, it is time to throw light on not just why these divides were even allowed in the first place, but also to assess how Hindus are losing their very basis of existence and dignity because of such events. Experts have debated and assessed the recent Bihar legislative assembly election verdict as a battle between the BJP and the non-BJP conglomerate. From where has the political troposphere of India become so Modi-wave centric is a worrisome notion and this ‘one-man for or against’ mindset has to be changed since the same has led to a misbelief that one of the Indian political parties is for the Hindus while the rest are against them or to be particular are for the minorities. When U.P. gave an overwhelming verdict for the BJP in 2014 general elections, the media, which finds it lucrative to construe election results as caste/ religion shifts, alleged swing of sentiments of Hindus towards the so-called ‘saffron’ party, and the same media and its experts, after the Bihar legislative elections, spared not a single chance to blame the BJP top leadership for the debacle. For any conscious mind, which has even a trivial understanding of Indian politics, it is clear that Bihar state polls became a battleground of caste and communal differences, where the Hindu lower castes and sub-castes and the minorities took shelter in the RJD or the JD(U) camp.
The outcome – you can find it in all newspapers which carry daily reports of murders and abductions, a clear sign of return of jungle-raj in Bihar. Up next to go to elections later this year is the state of West Bengal. Mamta Banerjee, who was capable of turning the wind against the communists in Bengal is sadly riding on the same formula of divide and rule politics. In the month of December 2015, a leader of Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha purportedly said some words that are said to have hurt the sentiments of Muslims. Some protests, which weren’t at all violent, were carried out in many parts of the country; however, in the Malda district of WB, a mob consisting of more than 2 lakh men from the minority community took the protest further in January 2016 by thrashing policemen and setting ablaze BSF vehicles and a police station in Kaliachak. The incident (if justly investigated will come out as a planned one by the locals to destroy evidences of illegal opium poppy cultivation and fake currency racket in Malda), which failed to make it to front pages of news websites and the Breaking News or Prime Time Debate fragments of elite news channels of the country, is a clear example of deviation of interest of political men towards appeasement for votes rather than ensuring a just environment for all castes and religions. Sorry to say, Muslims and Hindus are facing more or less the same brunt, still, Muslims are more united, the Hindus are scuffling with the divide in the name of castes, sub-castes, tribes and living standards.
Tolerance of Hindus and the Sensational Media
It is a fact, widely known but rarely accepted, that after independence Muslims have been on an advantageous side due to the secular and all-inclusive nature of the Indian Republic. The Hindus, on the other side, have lost the ground, some because of their fate of being the majority religion and some because of the internal rift among them. The statistics of progress, however, indicate that Muslims are still lesser developed than Hindus, be it in education, employment or on other economic parameters. The reason for this is the patience and tolerance of Hindus that help them steer clear of dirty political turnarounds and concentrate on the well-being of their own and their families. But the same patience has had an adverse impact on the entire Hindu religion, and Hindus are still not aware of the same. When some men killed a Muslim man in Dadri for beef consumption even the international media talked and debated the issue. Violence of any nature and against any human is condemnable but according sensationalism to any such event just to reflect your concerns for any particular religion is even a more violent attack on the harmonious fabric of the society. Was a mob of 10-20 men a more terrifying one or was the one that engaged lakhs of men in Malda more perilous? In fact, both of them are equally prohibited, cannot be allowed in any society where peaceful existence is a constitutional right of all.
It took a lot of pain and time for the sensational Indian media to report the violence of Malda and when they did it, it was centered on the upcoming state elections and the role of Muslim and Hindu votes in deciding the fate of contestants. Lakhs of men thrashing the state police and toppling the law and order situation weren’t a matter of worry for the media, for the opposition parties that have been crying over rising intolerance since the BJP has come into power. If this is what secularism and all-inclusiveness mean then we have all the reasons to worry about our peaceful existence. For Muslims, even many of their religious leaders and thinkers have spoken about the concern of rising Islamic-centric violence in the country, and how this has brought more pain to Muslims than any good to the religion. Malda, which has 51 per cent Muslim population (proximity with Bangladesh can be understood as the cause), has so many promises for political parties that follow the appeasement route for victory, and owing to these reasons the mob was and will be allowed to vandalize more public property. Muslim thinkers have realized that this extra-judicial freedom of expression is of much harm to the community, Muslim men are failing to grasp this thought, owing to their easy brain-wash by corrupt leaders both within their religion and in political parties they lend support to.
Hindus’ Obliviousness and the Impact
But it is also time for Hindus to consider these facts and bring about a shift in their approach towards what is happening in the country as well as outside India. ISIS, al-Qaeda, Jaish-e-Mohammad and other terror outfits are not that big a danger, the rift among Hindus is a much bigger one. How many Hindu children and even adults know about the rich Hindu past during the reigns of King Ashoka and Vikramaditya? How many of us remember the teachings of Swami Vivekananda and Gautama Buddha? How many of us are truly proud to be a Hindu? Somewhere we are lost. And this has given an opportunity to traitors to take away our unity and thus our dominance; dominance in sense of our harmony with other religions and a fear among traitors to dare think of subjugating the rights and freedoms of Hindus. Today, even the temples of Hindus are subject to interference and dominance of governments who can take over their control and thus manage the utilization of temple receipts the way they want. While our Constitution guarantees right to religious freedom to all faiths, invasion by the government of Hindu religious institutions is a clear example of contrary government policies for different faiths. And most of the Hindus are still unaware of this intrusion, also that their donations to temples, which shall be utilised for their well-being and for promotion of their faith, are being diverted to other sites, even for endorsing other religions.
Why the political party, the chief of which was convicted by the court won the maximum seats in the Bihar legislative polls is the outcome of the divide among Hindus on lines of castes and sub-castes. The incessant mentality to back caste leaders, even the ones engaged in criminal activities, is the one that has failed the country, has failed its majority. Then is the mindset of better-off segment of Hindus, who are mostly not concerned with the social and political state of affairs of the country, and are thus indifferent towards the allegations and attacks on and sacrilege of their own religion. The middle-class is just trying to maintain the living standard and speaks only when inflation rises, the upper-class is concerned about corporate laws and the policy making aspects of governance, and the underprivileged section seeks shelter in caste-based political structure in the hope of relishing some benefits, which although come at the cost of other castes. Hindu politicians aren’t dedicated towards saving the temples and beliefs of their community; they are rather encouraging other religions towards supremacy and violence. Such is the irony that the only concerned and devoted cluster is being named as right-wing and supporter of intolerance towards the minorities. The same cluster, comprising of RSS, VHP and other Hindu groups are never praised for their selfless service towards mankind and country.
Instances like the one in Malda, which was followed by violence in Purnia district of Bihar (involving ransacking of Baisi police station and setting vehicles and other state property on fire), will never make it to headlines and prime time debates in India unless the Hindus, be them from any caste, political or non-political, or from the media or otherwise, underprivileged, middle-class or upper-class, are concerned about rectifying the mistakes of the past. And this rectification does not call for any hatred towards the minority; it calls for introspection and realization of the fact that Hinduism today is craving for some loyalty and perseverance. The political parties (leaving aside the ones like AIMIM which are growing on support from Muslims), which have Hindu office-bearers and leaders, are to identify the thin line of demarcation between secularism and fake secularism; they are to comprehend the ill-effects of their actions and appeasement on future generations of Hindus, similar to how we are planning for a better tomorrow in terms of global warming and climate change. What news channels of India are broadcasting in the name of journalism is pure commercialisation of news and the misuse of media for political and financial gains. Hindus, yet again, fall trap to reports, and this helps a new political party win Delhi polls and a Grand Alliance win Bihar polls.
The entire system has derailed. And both on the accused end as well as the receiving end are the followers of Hinduism, their interminable silence and tolerance is the reason. Both silence and tolerance are the pillars of the Indian democracy; they, however, cannot outshine Hindus’ unity and dignity. The shift from this silence and tolerance does not seek swing towards violence or intolerance; this seeks active engagement in comprehending and responding to social and political events in a shrewd manner, a manner that can inform the world of Hinduism’s vigor and devoutness. For this to happen, the intrusion in Hinduism by political men, by division in names of castes and tribes, by violent mob of other religions, by our indifference towards the blasphemy of Hinduism and by governments in administration of Hindu’s places of worship has to end. Even Muslim scholars have endorsed peaceful existence only under the majority of Hindus in India, any extra-judicial powers and freedoms to minority will lead us to experiences of Middle East countries. The persecution of Hindus, which lasted for centuries prior to the independence in 1947, is still ongoing in suburbs of many Indian states, sorry to say, but in places where Muslims are a substantial part of population. Then is the infiltration in Indian parts bordering Bangladesh and political patronage to such infiltrators and the Saudi or ISI-funded Madrasas. Introspection and non-violent uprising of Hindus is the need of the hour to curb these fallouts of fake secularism.
By Dr. Sunil Gupta
(The author is a Political Commentator & Chartered Accountant.)