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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beacons of Hindu spiritual Mission

By R. Balashankar

Let me begin this piece by narrating a real life incident that unfolded before me. Because it will illustrate how the UPA government has successfully created a situation in the country that has the potential to undermine Hinduism in a big way.

Suchitra and Sujata are cousins. They are adivasis from Jharkhand working as maid servants in a South Delhi colony. Suchitra is married and has a son attending school. Her husband left her many years ago, and she is single-handedly educating her son. He is in ninth standard in a Delhi government school near Shapur Jat. She works in three houses to eke out a living and send her son to school. The boy too works part-time in a grocery shop after school hours to supplicate their income. Sujata also is a ninth standard student in the same school and she too works in a house after school hours. She lives with her aunt who a few years ago became a Christian because her husband works as a peon in a missionary school. Now the girl is also a Christian because she accompanies her aunt every Sunday to the local church.

Last week Sujata along with other students were told by the class teacher to get their religion certificates to prove that they are Christian or Muslim so that they could claim special benefits including pocket money being offered by the government. Sujata was excited, she realised being a Christian is cool. But her classmate, Suchitra’s son Suman was sad. He said he deserved government support more because he lived in exceedingly pitiable condition than Sujata. His mother works 18 hours a day. They live in a servant’s quarter with a PSU executive and for that accommodation she has to work the whole day and night in the house. In between when her house owner is out for work she finds time to go to two other houses to do cleaning job by which she makes some extra money.

Sujata got a certificate to claim that she is a tribal Christian. Now she can avail the financial assistance from the central government. The benefits she will be getting for the first time. Because the Sachar Committee report has been implemented by the back door. The benefits from the church and now from the school are tempting for Suchitra and her son to become Christians. But she still continues to be a Hindu. I asked her if she ever thought of converting. She said, if she converts, it will make her and her son’s life better but her father will not let her enter the village back home. This is so in all Vanvasi villages. A convert becomes an outcaste unless his community is in a majority. Christians have now Indianised their God, to deceive the gullible villagers. They don’t insist on Christian names. They have even adopted some of the Hindu customs and rituals to again beguile the poor adivasis. And they offer free education, medical facilities, even career gain. Now the government is also offering them all possible help, which they call affirmative action, so that Hindus will one day stop claiming that they are the majority and that this is a Hindu country. The harvest of soul and harvest of terror have become commonplace under UPA.

It is here that our Hindu organisations, temples and institutions become the beacons of hope, sustenance, national pride and most significantly sentinels of patriotism. Bhakti is a defensive mechanism and an offensive weapon. Magnificent institutions, charismatic personality and spiritual glow of many of our Hindu saviours bestowed them with huge appeal among all sections of society. By interpreting the scriptures, the Hindu way of life, the Gita, as the most modern and scientific technique of the new age they construct nationalist fervour and raison d’etre for the Hindu resurgence.

In this Independence Day special we track some of these great men and their mission. Unlike the missionaries and the venom-spewing terror merchants their appeal is universal, their message is for peace and prosperity and they serve humans as a whole. They are winning hearts not harvesting souls for demographic invasion.

But for such men, the shenanigans of the UPA would have produced faster result. For today, for a Hindu to remain a Hindu -- other than his tradition-loving family elders, the good work of thousands of our iconic spiritual leaders who have become cult figures of universal appeal and the great service activities they have taken up in the length and breadth of the country -- there is nothing left. It is a disadvantage in a professional sense to be a Hindu.

The torch-bearers of Hindu spiritual mission have made their work very large and growing -- all encompassing, reformist and service oriented -- but all these put together is like a drop in the ocean. The challenges are so daunting. There is no political or administrative incentive to be a Hindu in Hindustan. Are we fighting a losing battle? I get hundreds of hate mail, many of them from serious Christian and Muslim Organiser readers and they tell me that they have already succeeded, that the Hindu has no political future.

No matter how educated or how liberal or intellectual one might be, but at some level it hurts. People from the same social background, steeped in identical social condition but some are preferred for special treatment because they have converted. They have said goodbye to their ancestral faith, and vowed their loyalty to the alien. Because they are not Hindu. In this land of the Hindus being Hindu has become a handicap.

Swami Dayananda Saraswati in a touching interview tells our readers, "India is the only country in the world where the majority community is discriminated against." He had given this interview to a leading South Indian daily. The editor of the paper after getting the interview corrected by Swamiji returned it saying that he cannot publish it because the Swamiji was too outspoken.

It may sound strange but the fact is that the anti-Hindu utterances have become fashionable. Anything pro-Hindu is communal, fanatic, abusive and what not. The media is hugely funded by foreign, Christian and Islamic money and they are expected to be anti-Hindu. During the debate in the Lok Sabha on July 21 and 22, every single Muslim leader who spoke for the Confidence Motion recounted the number of benefits Muslims have got under UPA. They were conspicuous in their unconcern for national issues. All that mattered was what benefited the Muslims. The crowning shame was Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Farooq from the Valley lecturing to Hindus on secularism and defending their offensively parochial stand denying land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. For the last 40 days the Hindus in Jammu have been protesting as one man but the centre was forced to move only when supplies to Kashmir valley got disturbed.

The decision of the Supreme Court allowing the Andhra Congress government quota on religious lines will prove yet another encroachment on Hindu rights. The Constitution does not allow reservations on religious lines. The court has now allowed to factor in the four per cent Muslim reservation into the Hindu OBC quota, again depriving the Hindus of their share. There is no need any more for the Hindus to prove secular. What Hindus have to prove is that they are concerned, caring, political Hindus.

I do not believe you will meet many of this generation who do not still revere although perhaps in a secret way our great gurus. You cannot grow in this country and remain impervious to what is happening around us, how systematically our icons are being demolished, how our pride as a nation is being cynically diluted. Every country has to define itself. It has to underline its core values and concerns. That is what every secular country does.

In the biography of J.F. Kennedy, Theodore C. Sorensen, who was special counsel to the late President of America notes, when he was thinking of applying for a job with the new Senator he was informed by a friend, "Joe Kennedy hasn’t hired a non-Catholic in fifty years." At another place he recounts that though Kennedy was not an orthodox Catholic and did not prefer Catholics in his staff and not even deeply religious, "he faithfully attended Mass each Sunday, even in the midst of fatiguing out-of-state travels when no voter would know whether he attended services or not." The writer was explaining how it was important for a politician in America to convincingly prove his religious identity to be successful. The situation is the same even today. The manner in which the presidential campaign is progressing, illustrates this. It is only in India again as the Swamiji emphasised that in politics Hindu identity is sought to be made into a disadvantage.

The power of the vote bank is vastly exaggerated. Compared to the strength of the nationalist forces the anti-Hindus are in a minority. The tyranny of circumstances should not blind our vision.

Here we are looking at our strength. In most cases we have approached the organisations to give us a brief sketch of their philosophy and activity. We have tried to make it as authentic as possible without mixing it with our interpretations. Generally the articles have been written by authorised office-bearers of the organisations concerned. This is a new approach. There are hundreds of organisations in the country and abroad who work among Hindus helping them protect their faith. These organisations work silently among the labourers, slum-dwellers, adivasis and in the remotest corners offering hope and succour to millions of men and women to stand on their feet.

We have not been able to report on all of them. What we have here is a few of such organisations, perhaps more known of them. We have the constraint of space and resources to bring the entire gamut of Hindu resistance under one cover. But we have a sufficiently representative canvas. We hope this will inspire more such efforts to raise Hindu consciousness in the country.

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