Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

No secular India if Hindu ethos undermined: Advani

Apr. 30, 2005

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president L.K. Advani Saturday warned that India would not remain secular and would even cease to be India if its Hindu identity was undermined. Making a pitch for next year's Tamil Nadu elections while addressing a seminar in the state capital, Advani gave a strong call for protecting Hindu ethos while deploring what he described as a penchant for running down Hindus. "The BJP will raise its powerful voice against any attempts to dilute or erase the essentially Hindu identity and personality of Tamil Nadu - indeed, of India as a whole," he said. "We believe firmly and unreservedly in secularism but, equally, we hold that India is secular because of her Hindu ethos. In other words, India will not remain secular - indeed, India will not remain India as we know it and Tamil Nadu will not remain Tamil Nadu as the people of this great state know it - if this essential Hindu ethos and identity are undermined." Advani said the BJP had decided to go it alone in the state because one of the two main regional parties chose to part ways with it while the other "has conducted itself in such a manner that it became impossible to continue our alliance with it". "We believe that Tamil Nadu is waiting for, and fully deserves, liberation from the politics of vendetta, confrontation and negativism that has marked the alternating regimes of the two main parties in the state," he said. Stating that his party was proud of its ideology, Advani asserted that when the BJP spoke of cultural nationalism, it was not only about the construction of a Hindu temple at the site of the razed Babri mosque in Ayodhya. The BJP would not allow Hindus to be divided on caste lines by "pseudo-secular" parties with an eye on votes, he said, appealing to people of the state to embrace a new political culture. This, he said, entailed protecting and celebrating the hallowed Hindu history, spirituality, art and culture, and personality of Tamil Nadu. Advani said he was "distressed" to see how certain parties in Tamil Nadu had propagated atheism as their credo. "What is especially disturbing is their penchant to deride Hinduism and Hindu society. I wonder why they don''t preach atheism to Muslims and Christians, and why they don''t ever raise issues of social reform and social justice among non-Hindu communities. "The time has come for the people of Tamil Nadu to boldly question those who think that, it is alright if someone says ''I am proud to be a Muslim'' or ''I am proud to be a Christian'', but it is downright communal and obscurantist if a Hindu says ''I am proud to be a Hindu''." The BJP's ideology had three salient points, said Advani: commitment to nationalism, healthy regional pride and a belief that religion is the soul of India.

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