Ever sat down in the dark of the night besides vast and violent river Ganga and watched a lonely earthen lamp floating its way into oblivion? When I look at the way world has changed in the recent centuries, and two leading younger religions overwhelmed the globe, I often feel, India as that singular, silent lamp floating amid turbulent waves in a hostile world. When I look at the way things happen all around, makes me believe even more on that.
We mostly look at the small, mischievous gestures and wave it off as routine impertinence of the intellectual elites. But the meanings often are deeper and the game, much bigger. We always think a small piece does not matter, a little giveaway here and there, after all, life is but a criss-cross of well-meaning mutual compromises. But what we miss is the key term- mutual. Unless it is mutual, it is not compromise, it is subjugation, even if it means yielding an inch. That is what Five villages meant for the Pandavas in The Mahabharata. The five villages were neither just, fair nor needed. But the offer of the same and the rejection of the same by the Kaurav king Duryodhana (who incidentally thought he had dynastic right to rule and that Indians loved a corrupt dynast) provided a justification of great war which was no longer the war for throne; rather became a just war for Dharma.
I have a strange feeling that the response of what the leftist-liberal-Islamist term Right-wing towards deliberate provocations of the former is not in line. As much as the provocations are not innocent banters, the responses too are way too feeble and miss a key point. Hinduism has always been a religion of debate and rationale. But you cannot debate with a noise, you cannot have dialogue with a slogan. Some five Thousand years back, Manu wrote his laws, which without reading many condemn for being too stringent. They say ritualistic Hinduism draws its inspirations from the rigid rules of Manu. The many who condemn Manu for the rigidity of his rules ignore two facts which demolishes the two carefully-crafted (and cunningly as well) narrative of anti-feminism and rigidity of rituals. Manu's daughter Devahuti - a wise, intellectual woman poetess (yes, we used to have them even before the west civilized us native pagans), married outside royal lineage with poor sage Kardama and wrote hymns in Rig-Veda , the first Veda which is praises to the nature and ritual sacrifices to fire. The second part is about the rigidity. Well, Devahuti's son, or Great king Manu's grandson Kapila became the founder of Sankhya philosophy which denounces ritual sacrifices as a way to attain spiritual liberation. It became a part of six major Hindu philosophy.
Since we come from that world, we are culturally and historically steeped in that kind of thinking. We think debate is to learn, that banter is the amuse. But no. I have wandered far and wide, so let me quickly come to few things I have noticed in recent past. The day, Muslim day of mourning, Muharram was over, which is known for processions of blood-soaked bodies, beating themselves in sad memories of last relative of Prophet Mohammad, who was killed in one of the bloodiest battles known to humanity till then where even little kids were not spared by fellow Muslims, with no infidels around, in a battle of supremacy for the empire which the Prophet sought to build, perhaps not even realizing that this empire building will later day become a religion. Internet was flooded by pictures of the day, blood on the streets and the saddest, a kid being given a cut on the forehead to make him bleed. To think that to avoid 'accidental' hurt that may come to the kids in the wake of crowded Dahi handi, Indian courts have come to not only set the heights of Dahi Handi also has it fixed the age limit for participation. Not one person would demand, nor one court will prohibit kids from attending the Muharram procession, where the hurt is deliberate and the scene is inhuman.
The intellectuals came out of huddle immediately and noted journalist, Sagarika Ghosh, noted for her rhetorical tweets declaring riots in India, declared- "I am celebrating a green Deepawali, what about you?" Note that Diwali one of the biggest Hindu festivals is still a fortnight away. When we do not know how you celebrate Muharram why would we be keen to know how you celebrate Diwali, or if you celebrate it at all. It is of no purpose except to provoke and some how create mistrust in Hindu culture and heritage. No self-respecting journalist will leave the cushy chairs in Delhi and check the status of the implementation of no-crop burning policy in Punjab and Haryana, which is major cause of pollution.
This Diwali one they claim, is purely out of altruistic reasons, for the general good of the mankind, to fight pollution. During Dussehera there was interesting tweets which similarly or differently worded came from different quarters mentioning how great a saint Ravana was as he never touched Sita, without consent, even after kidnapping her. That did not even meet the requirement of altruism. There was no general public good being achieved. Just think why those posts came about? To make the Hindus question their own faith. Faith is the foundation on which religion stands. If you shake the foundation, it will be easier to move the mountain.
Than I remember a JNU scholar (well, research student, they go by the name of scholar these days) wrote on Beef and its place in Hindu culture. She conveniently missed the point that the Rig-vedas were written 5000 years back. Hindus have grown, and Hinduism is not a religion which demanded stunted growth ever. No, that is not us. So, assuming for a moment that beef was eaten 5000 years back, Hindus of this great nation understood the value of Cow as an important member of Hindu agriculturist family. Still, I try to put things in perspective. There are instances in Rig-Veda of making an offering of Cow to the gods. That means it is divine, that means it dear, that means it is so very critical, important and valuable to me, but I still am offering it to the Gods. Rig-veda has clear hymns mentioning that the Cow is one not to be killed. Wars were fought not over lands, rather over cows and were called Gavisti in the Rig-Vedic. The first great battle of Rig-Vedic Aryans which is also called as the Battle of Ten Kings, was fought over the armies of Ten kings coming together to steal the cows of king Sudasa. I am sure the researcher who wrote that knows that kings don't go at war for someone stealing the meals. Now think, what she wrote doesn't make sense, only provokes, will not convert people into beef-eating en-masse'. Why was this piece written? Some publicity is good publicity could be one reason. Secondly, anything denouncing Hinduism more likely to be published in Western media like Huff-Post. But then the question comes back to why? If majority of people in India do not eat Cow-meat, and we know Beef as an industry, has damaging impact on the environment. Thus here again, unlike Deepavali, there is no greater cause to hide behind. Then why was piece like that written?
Then we come to the Rohingya Crisis. Islamists were trying to carve out an entirely Muslim state out of Myanmar. They attack government establishment with the kind of brutality which ISIS demonstrates. The Burmese government responds with its full might. The same thing has been happening in Kashmir. But one has the consider the geographical shape and size of India and contrast it with Myanmar. In India, it was a small valley, where Islamists did do what they do with clinical precision, but it did not impact the huge part of a big nation, so we did not go the whole hog. Who knows in 90s if India had undertaken an operation similar to what Myanmar government took against the Rohingyas, when the first lot of Kashmiri Pandits arrived as refugees in Jammu, the problem would have been resolved then. That is a different debate but the common thread begins to emerge here. UN and Global community, Petroleum-funded and Vatican-backed, marching in unison urge India to offer humanitarian refuge to Rohingyas. They do not request China which is next door to do that. Neither Rohingyas show any interest in going to China. China has been so cleverly kept out of everything happening in Myanmar with which shares a border twice as compared to the India -Myanmar shared border (India- 1331 Kms, China - 2192 kms). China is a nation which is interested in looking into everyone's border, but is totally unconcerned about Myanmar crisis.
I have been troubled by these thoughts. There are people thoroughly funded to make destroy the basic cultural fabric of India. It is a danger which has many layers and many facets. The world as we look at it gives a grim picture behind all those fancy talks about multi-cultural world. The world today has broadly 32 Christian countries, 24 Islamic states and 6 Buddhist nations. Rest are secular states. Nepal used to be a Hindu nation, but ceased to be one since 2006. India is a secular Hindu-majority state. Nehru at Independence, insisted that India is a secular state and Jinnah argued that India essentially is a Hindu state. So they carved two arms out of India and both won, creating a Muslim state out of what Nehru said was Secular and Jinnah said was Hindu state. The Hindus of this nation, open-mouthed sat wondering. There are three ways to break a culture, a religion. Attack their sense of History, sense of Unity and sense of pride. As I have tried to show, it is being driven at all the three ends. Why would a Muslim political activist mock Hindu women fasting on Karwa Chauth? Does it serve any political purpose? No. Then why? because the Congress seemingly is a part of the grand plan, knowingly or unknowingly. So mock the heritage, deride the sense of history, laugh at the culture. Another is to create language divide, caste-divide, now even division of Gods. Where is it happening? Karnataka. Possibly for the powers-that-be, the partition of 47 was failed attempt. They hoped it to be supplemented by Junagarh, Hyderabad, Kashmir as Islamic fiefdom and some states in North East as Vatican state. Fortunately, Patel prevailed.
Because India as an open, proud, forward-looking society with an enviable past stands as a sore thumb. To the West, we are a sore thumb. India is a distant story to the western media. They would not know a Sikh from a Sheikh, and they preach. India has given refuge to Afghans, Iranians and all. But refugees do not walk in demanding the host to adhere to their rules. That is not migration, that is invasion. Every nation has a right to its natural hue. India has, so has Myanmar. A young girl is stripped off her title because she spoke of Rohingya atrocities on the locals and the great warriors of freedom of expression stand not only in silence, rather with a smile of satisfaction on their stupid faces. Little do they realize that unlike the US with 0.5 percent Muslim population for cultural melting-pot, this girl has lived in a country which has over the century seen an extended multi-religional, multi-faith land of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists extending from Afghanistan to Indonesia, slowly becoming islands of existence surrounded by Muslim only states like Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is always easy to judge from a distance, more so, if it is driven by an agenda. India is that earthen lamp floating into the deep darkness of the night on the dark blue waters of the holy Ganga. Let us be watchful, waters are turbulent. Let us grow stronger out of their disdain. Let us read more about our history and heritage and call out their lies. It is not innocent, it is not accidental that lies get printed in leading media houses, quickly picked up by international media. Let us be loud enough. Rather than mocking Pakistan funded khalistanis for raising funds for Rohingya Muslims, let us raise funds out of Hindu temples for displaced Myanmar's Hindus.