Pseudo-Secularism

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, June 21, 2008

Anything anti-Hindu means to be perfectly secular

The highbrow correctionists
20 Jun 2008, 1920 hrs IST
Tarun Vijay

Suppose in a distant city of India, a college had announced 80 per cent reservation for Hindus and had said it would lower the admission criteria for disadvantaged Hindus by 25 per cent. The secular sirens of the media class would have rushed there, braving weather and bad roads, and their first question to the principal and his masters would have been: "Aren't you ashamed to bruise and brutalise the spirit of the Constitution while enjoying the fruits of it?"

But since the college in question is St Stephen's, the mecca of all that is good and shining, the seculars are looking the other way over the arrogant orders of the bishop, who has targeted Hindus again like his British proselytizer masters of the colonial era.

There is just no merit or desire to help Christians in his order that seeks to ensure 50 per cent seats for Christians – it's an open announcement that if someone wants to have the privilege of studying in this Christian college, he must convert.

At least his predecessors were doing some hard work, but this gentleman has abused the generosity of the Hindu majority. All over India, Christian schools are run on Hindu money yet they abuse Hindu sensibilities and offend their religious beliefs. It's a shame that in spite of this, a large number of Hindus feel good about advertising in newspapers boasting that their marriageable daughter is "convent educated". True, not all Christian sects indulge in this nefarious activity of hurting Hindus. The Syrian Christians for instance. They are one of the most tolerant sects and are closest to the spiritualism that Hindus understand and adore.

St Stephen's has come up with pressure tactics earlier to get Hindus aspiring for a good education to convert but its hyped-up image in the media ensured that no one spoke up, thus further inflating the false egos of its masters, who have been entangled just recently in an ugly internal power struggle. Now the bishop has slapped the secular drumbeaters of the Durban variety who see everything "great" in anything that's Vaticanised. It’s happening when India's 80 per cent Hindus celebrate Independence Day and they are the ones who rule through any party, any colour. They look at this colonial chapter being re-enacted and turn their face the other way for fear of being branded "anti-minority". The certifiers sitting in the corridors of power ensure that anything against Hindus is stamped and rewarded as secular. Fellowships and accolades from foreign lands follow.

That's where BJP president Rajnath Singh's call to change the word dharmanirpekshata to the constitutionally enacted word " panth nirpekshata " becomes relevant. Naturally Sitaram Yechury has denounced it in a half-baked column that exposes the left ignorance about Bharat. Dharma is NOT religion, Panth is. Dharma as interpreted by the Upanishads and re-emphasised by scholars like Balgangadhar Tilak, Swami Vivekananda, and Dr Radhakrishnan is the universal righteousness, duty, or any virtuous path. It's the dharma of the soldier to defend the motherland and of teacher to impart knowledge to students. How can a constitution call upon its citizens to abandon his duties and righteousness? When this was brought to the knowledge of Indira Gandhi, she agreed and the word dharmanirpekshta in the preamble of the Constitution was translated as panth nirpekshta . The seat of the Speaker in Parliament has engraved over its head the words Dharma Chakra Paravartanaye which means to set in motion the wheel of righteousness. That is the purpose the creator of the Constitution intended for lawmakers. The Supreme Court's official logo declares Yato Dharmah Tato Jayah which means the victory is where dharma i.e. righteousness is.

The contemporary secular crowd has given a new word to the Indian lexicon – anything anti-Hindu means to be perfectly secular. Is that what the Indian soul, an embodiment of dharma and virtuosity, is expected to accept?

It's ironical that the clique that hurts Hindus the most is voted to power by Hindus, financed and facilitated by them and yet what they get in return is platitudes and sermons by the hardest Hindu baiters on how a Hindu should behave. Patronisingly they will advise – you are very nice, good boy, behave like the Rai Bahadurs behaved when Bhagat Singh was being hanged. Recently at a television discussion, a gentleman arguing that Afzal's capital sentence be commuted to life imprisonment told me: "Look at your Hindu scriptures, they have always advocated peace and mercy. Then why hang Afzal?" I said: "Read the Gita . The order to the followers of that great scripture by the Lord is protect the noble and annihilate the wicked. Those who behave otherwise must reflect whether they are following the Gita or not. Not a single God in the Hindu pantheon is without weapons and none has ever pardoned an unrepentant wicked."

Another news channel, while presenting a special feature on the Shivaji controversy said that "in spite of being a Hindu, Shivaji never discriminated against any other religion – in fact he had a Muslim bodyguard".

Why was the phrase "in spite" used? It's the natural virtue of a Hindu to be non-discriminatory, hence the anchor should have said – "like a true Hindu, Shivaji never discriminated against any other faith". It is this kind of blind hate and contempt about Hindus and their sensibilities that is making a section among Hindus behave like Islamic zealots and secular fundamentalists. Getting violent against a person of a different opinion was never a signature tune for Hindus. Intolerant Semitic religionists and Communists introduced it to us. Hence the stone-pelting by a few at the residence of an editor in Thane must be condemned. But pray, those who show their brevity in assaulting icons of Hindu nationalism would also do well to introspect if their actions are triggering an Islamisation of Hindu behavior?

Nothing can be more un-Hindu than to be intolerant to other viewpoints, but Hindus have been subjected to many years of intolerance that has made them think that unless they too behave like the assaulters, their existence will remain under constant threat.

The highbrow correctionists of Hindu behaviour have positioned themselves as certifiers of an acceptable norm in a secular (read 'distanced from Hindu heritage') polity. They are busy in the old Communist jihadi practices of enlisting, delisting and blacklisting. Their reactions to a different view show it all. It certainly is changing the contours of Hindu response. The secular certifiers may trigger another renaissance through precipitating the angst accumulating inside the Hindu heart – and certainly like this land of sages and noble warriors has always shown the change that would come will be in accordance with the vision of seers like Sri Aurobindo.

The author is the Director, Dr Syamaprasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

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