An article in Times of India with a catchy title ‘Forgo the Hindu Rashtra’ accompanied by an unflattering caricature of the Mahatma in his trademark ‘Dandi’ stride on the one side and a haughty Sanghi with a Hindu flag on the other, did what the publishers wanted the cover picture to do, i.e., Draw attention.
The author harked exhaustively about increasing exclusiveness creeping into the society, Gau vigilantism, lack of representation of minorities in assemblies , she even drew parallels to Nazi supremacism, Islamic radicalisation and Hindu Nationalism.
Thankfully she just stopped short of equating the Sangh to Nazi’s.
The Author’s primary grouse is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which, in her opinion, never participated in the freedom struggle but after Modi’s ascent to power has increasingly aspired to project itself as contributor to the Freedom struggle.
She wants the Sangh to put the Ram Temple on the back-burner and junk the demand for Hindu Rashtra and instead settle for Indian Rashtra – a secular & inclusive Nation.
While the author quotes from history sermoning about Secularism as one of the important pillars of freedom movement and the inclusive nature of the society post independence etc.
She conveniently ignores an important part of history which clearly establishes the fact that the very foundation of Bharat is on Hinduism.
If she resets the dial on her flashback machine to a few centuries ago, she might get some valuable insights about our country and religion.
We were a Hindu country before the Mughal’s invaded us, then started the saga of suppression, oppression and conversion. Islam took root and since then the Religion is in practice in India. Islam has grown and flourished and it’s a religion that is respected and accepted by Hindus, who to this day believe in peaceful coexistence.
Then came the British and with it came Christianity. The cycle of subjugation, oppression and conversion was repeated.
Earlier it was the Mughal’s imposing Islam on Hindus, now it was the turn of Englishmen to impose their religion. Christianity spread across the country, it prospered and continues to prosper without fear or favor in India.
Unlike countries like Egypt, Greece and numerous other nations of the world where indigenous religions were roughshod into extinction by Islam and Christianity, no such thing happened in India. Not because the stomp of the shoes that wanted to trample Hinduism were soft but because Hinduism is resilient, robust and most importantly because of the unwavering belief of a Hindu in Hinduism.
The problem with this Author and many people like her is the myopic vision. They conveniently fail to narrate one core attribute of Hinduism, that Hinduism was never an oppressive religion, it has always welcomed other Religion with open arms. If there is one country where intermingling of sects, to quote her, is alive and kicking then it’s in India. At the same time, Hinduism has stood the test of time, resisted the onslaught of oppressors and shown to the world that no power on earth can extinguish the glow of Hinduism from a true Hindu ‘.
What does that mean for India?
Does that mean that Muslims have to live in fear, should Christians stop practising Christianity or should the Hebrews throw the Torah away?
No religion peaches the language of violence, least of all Hinduism, hence no religion need live in fear in a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ or ‘Indian Rashtra’.
Religions should stop paying heed to divisive voices , appeasing polity and radical religious practices.
And most importantly citizens should discern the difference between Secularism and pseudo-Secularism. The bile of the pseudos is destroying the delicately interwoven religious fabric of India and the blame is foisted on RSS.
The paranoia of a few, that includes the author, is dismantling the temple of religious harmony, brick by brick .
Picture Credit: Screenshot of the column from Times of India