Tolerance or Intolerance . . .

It is saddening that any time one writes of a kind of rightist element that has penetrated into the socio political ethos of the country, then there will be the intellectual types, the highly qualified and well educated who will react. And in this reaction, they will bring in the Islamic or Christian factor as reactionary forces.

I am not denying the fact that Christianity has a proselytizing zeal, and the existence of Islamic fundamentalists both in India and abroad, have threatened to disintegrate not only our country but even parts of the world. But, is the American policy of Balkanization correct? Is their intervention into Islamic countries as a saviour, ethical, is not contradictory to their tall claims of peace. In the process have not women and children been exterminated.

India is a secular country, this enshrined in the Constitution, it has to look after the interests of the minorities, it has to profess not only religious tolerance, but accommodate all kinds of religious views, take into account the socio economic status of minorities, why they live in ghettos, their impoverishment etc.

Recently I wrote articles on two websites regarding what I called the new found love of a rightist organization for the people of North East India. I meant the Assam violence and how this organization rallied round the people of North East which is exemplary. But I could not help but detect an agenda behind it which sprang more from their dislike of a minority community than anything else. This is my interpretation and I have a right to it. But I was surprised to see the reaction in these websites, the first which called me an Ostrich with shortsighted world view. The second said that I have less depth in my knowledge of North East India.

I have been saying again and again that the immigration issue is deepening crises in North East India, but the immigrants could be Hindus as well, from a neighbouring country. That was also a genesis of the Assam Movement. Why are we silent on this? To see the problems of North East India as only that of immigration is to be myopic and severely constrained in our thinking. It also does not look at the historical realities of certain states of North East India such as Manipur and Nagaland, to some extent Meghalaya which had remained largely independent from British Dominion. And the British meant to keep it that way. With the formation of the Indian Union the assimilation process has always been difficult and trying even to this day.

Secondly, in the larger context of the country the Islamic culture having its origin in history cannot be wished away because this is a historical reality. It is alright to call the Muslims invaders and plunderers, but the fact remains that through this torturous process there has been cultural assimilation. The common Hindu and Muslim have lived side by side for centuries in India and they will continue to do so. If we find things so abhorrent about Islamic religion then we should not accept Islamic architecture as being an integral part of our cultural ethos. Similarly, we should remember that their have been attacks and very physical attacks against Christians in the recent past. Have we forgotten the Graham Staines episode.

If they are so much detrimental to our interest or the interest of Hindu societies we should have the guts and the moral courage and conviction not to admit our children to their school. But there is an ironic contradiction: in one breath we criticize them and in the same breath we extol them for their contribution to education and send our children to their schools and colleges. It is painful to read what educated people write.

All I am pleading for is to put things in the correct historical and social perspectives and not to generalize about minority religious communities. The RSS working in North East for four decades as someone has pointed out as a response to my article is not the point. The point is we must tolerate religious and social views of others; Hindus, Christians and Muslims alike. 
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More by :  Ananya S Guha

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Views: 3399      Comments: 3

Comment Islamic architecture is no more a part of India's cultural heritage than British architecture is. There is no "Muslim period" or "British/Christian" period" in Indian history, nor is there any "composite culture." The creation of Pakistan, which has essentially purged itself of all Hindu/Indian influence, as well as the Christian insurgency in North-East India, is testament to this fact. There is only Dharmic history and Dharmic culture. Both of these periods are periods of illegal, immoral foreign occupations of India by alien cultures and civilizations, and Dharmic resistance to them. Both Christianity and Islam are predatory religions that openly and unashamedly express their contempt for Dharmic religions and their desire to destroy them. It is not Hindus who need lectures on "tolerance" but rather people who murder their neighbors in response to youtube videos created halfway around the world, who need to be censured. It is people who constantly condemn Hindu and tribal deities as "pagan" and "Satanic" and say that all Hindus and tribals will burn in hell for eternity, for worshiping their "false gods", and use foreign funds to take advantage of Indian poverty to "harvest souls" for Christ that need to be lectured on "tolerating" other people's views.

14-Sep-2012 18:09 PM

Comment ) In India, with 80% Hindu population, and the only homeland of Hindus in the world, the birthdays of great sons of the soil, Shri Ram and Shri Krishna, are not compulsory central government holidays, while the birthday of Saudi Arabia born prophet Mohammad and both the birth and crucification day of Bethlehem born Jesus, are compulsory holidays throughout India. This seems in sync with the secular hypothesis that Ram and Krishna are imaginary comic characters while Mohammad and Jesus are actual historical characters. There are only 2 Hindu holidays out of compulsory 14, in contrast with 4 Muslim ones.

2) The Constitution of India enables the government to take control of Hindu temples and trusts and appoint its nominees in their controlling body and even control its funds. The government doesn't have this privilege for the mosques or churches. The government cannot interfere in the functioning of the mosques, madarsas and any minority institutions even if they receive government aid, which is taxpayers' money. The minority institutions are not bound to comply with the Right to Education act either. This can be seen as a lighter version of Pakistan and Bangladesh's enemy property laws which enable their governments to confiscate the propeties of Hindus by declaring them enemy properties.

3) Everyone knows that India doesn't have uniform civil code. Indian muslim males are legally allowed to have up to 4 wives at a time, and can divorce them by saying 'Talaaq' thrice, in compliance with Sharia. Hindus and Christians have to follow proper court procedures to file for divorce. The women right activists who organise 'slut-walks' to celebrate their 'rights' and advocate girls visiting pubs, do not speak on this matter. Shah Bano case stands as a glaring example of how secularism is a constitutionally prescribed drug meant only for Hindus, not for minorities.

4) Prayagraj, one of the holiest pilgrimages of Hindus, is called Allah-abad. Kashi, Ayodhya and Mathura, each of these 3 holy sites has been desecrated and yet not fully restored. The signboards of Auragzeb road in Delhi stand as the testimony to India's slavery that Indian secularism celebrates so profusely. In 2007, over 1 lakh Indian muslims paid homage to Aurangzeb's tomb on his 300th anniversary, that's when Aurangzeb is known to be the perpetrator of the largest Hindu genocide ever. Aurangzeb had even got Guru Teg Bahadur beheaded in his court for his refusal to convert to Islam.

These and few others are reasons for intolerance

14-Sep-2012 14:10 PM

Comment Well written.I am responding as a common man and from a place outside India from where you can get a better overview and perspective.Tolerance or rather intolerance has become a bigger issue in the last few years more so after the 1980s. India is a secular country but that does not mean the interests of the majority are to be totally overlooked, just because the otherside has bulk votes. I have read in a missionary school and college and had and still have friends who are Muslims.Christians and have nothing have against them as individuals.Rather no common man has anything against any religion or communities. It hurts when the Govt. takes one sided view thereby hurting the interests of the majority. India is a secular country mainly because of Hindu tolerance and Hindu cowardism. Yes the majority community is weak in almost all non islamic countries just because they tolerate the activites of the minorities. But in the Islamic countries like Pakistan,Afghanistan, ME,Turkey even the other sects like Shia or Ahmediyas are not tolerated. See the condition of the Hindus in Bangladesh or Pakistan they are not even second class citizens.Just see how many temples and other Hindu religious temples are destroyed over the centuries. While Muslims are hurt over one video or a cartoon the Hindus cannot even write about their own religious losses much less protest ... It is good that the so called rightists have atleast become paper tigers. Wish they get much more strength to fight for their own cause.
Yes I do enjoy your writing and read every writing of yours diligently. More might to your pen.

14-Sep-2012 13:27 PM

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