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.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Pro-Muslim to anti-Hindu?

A perverse Government rules India
Praful Goradia, Pioneer

The Manmohan Singh Government has been candidly pro-Muslim from the day it was formed in 2004. Soon it appointed four committees for minorities, the leading one headed by Justice RS Sachar. By 2007, ‘Muslims first’ became a slogan often voiced by the Prime Minister. This year the UPA Government has turned from being pro-Muslim to Anti-Hindu.

On the morrow of winning the July 22 confidence vote, its advocate in the Supreme Court declared that Sri Ram had himself destroyed the Ram Setu after defeating Ravan and crossing back to home soil. Presumably, the stone setu that is visible immediately under the water surface is a Hindu illusion.

Earlier, the Solicitor-General had denied the existence of Ram. The historicity of Ram was not only questioned but also denied -- how irrational! Even the factor of faith cherished by Hindus over the centuries was conveniently overlooked. The oversight was merely to serve the desire of the DMK, a partner of the UPA Ministry. What was the vested interest of the south Indian party is difficult to tell. The Congress Prime Minister’s interest was confined to appeasing a coalition partner.

For so small an advantage, how low could the UPA descend? Would the same Government have questioned the historicity of Jesus Christ or discussed the legend of his birth or the name of his father or was he god? Would the Government have dared to question anything about Prophet Mohammed and not accepted whatever has been stated in the Quran, the Hadith and the Sunnah? No one debates the attributes of allah; he is omniscient and omnipresent, period.

There is, however, no hesitation on the part of self-styled secularists who are born Hindus and who are likely to die Hindus to be cremated in grand style with the help of pure ghee and sandalwood. Hindus denying Ram in order to oblige some shipping companies is a moral nadir below which it is not possible to descend. And only a convinced anti-Hindu can do it. Uncannily, neither a Muslim nor a Christian would denigrate Ram. On the contrary, poet Mohammed Iqbal had described him as Imam-e-Hind.

A Hindu condemning his community or denying a Hindu avatar is an indication of mental or moral derangement. Could it be attributed to the Hindu suppression for centuries first by Muslim invaders and then by British conquerors? Sections of Hindus must have felt enslaved and helpless. A slave has access to few pleasures in life and in frustration might turn to masochism, so called after an Austrian psychologist Chevalier Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, who discovered that there are people who derive pleasure by experiencing pain or humiliation. Is the Hindu fringe which runs down Hindus and denies their avatars suffering from this mental illness?

The radical humanist MN Roy was earlier a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist. At a young age and although an Indian, he was an elected member of VI Lenin’s Presidium in Moscow. He was an atheist and yet in 1930 he named himself ‘Mahmood’. In Volume IV of his Selected Works (OUP, 2000), he wrote, “Hindu superciliousness towards the religion and culture of the Muslims is absurd.”

More Hindu historians have been anti-Hindu rather than objective scholars. Take Prof Romila Thapar who has defended Mahmud Ghazni’s idol-breaking with an extraordinary argument: He was a robber and not an iconoclast. Not satisfied with the strength of her defence, she went on to argue that even King Harsh Vardhan also used to desecrate temples in order to appropriate wealth.

Prof Gargi Chakravarthy, another historian, claimed that Mahmud Ghazni was not a religious fanatic because he neither converted the defeated people nor disallowed his soldiers to blow the sankh.

The same distinguished scholar has defended Temur Lang’s massacres on the ground that he had butchered more Muslims in Central Asia than Hindus in India. The same book of history published by People’s Publishing House carries forward Prof Harbans Mukhia’s defence of temple desecration by Aurangzeb: The emperor did not destroy temples unless they became centres of conspiracy or rebellion against the state. Prof Bipan Chandra, another well-known historian, has taken great pains to prove that Rana Pratap, Shivaji and Guru Gobind Singh did much to undermine secularism and national integration.

Such anti-Hindu perversion is not confined to historians. It extends to political figures from early-20th century. Abdul Rashid murdered Swami Shraddhananda in 1926 because he persevered with offering shuddhi or return to Hinduism. In court, Asaf Ali, Jawaharlal Nehru’s friend, defended him but failed. Rashid was hanged by the British Government. At the Guwahati session of the Congress in the same year, Gandhiji described Abdul Rashid as his "brother".

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