Continued from “The Way Around”
The Hindu fundamentalism is a misnomer, coined by the cunning and subscribed by the naïve, which had come in handy to the Semitic proselytizers to undermine the Indian nationalism. Why, it should be apparent to the discerning that while the Brahmanism is orthodox, the sanatana dharma, exemplified by swadharma, is amorphous, and in them lay the social diversity of the Hindu spiritual ethos.
By the time India gained independence, what with the gurukuls having given way to the missionary schools for long, the Brahmans, by and large, were an unemployed lot for in spite of their depleted landholding, their exalted position in the polity precluded them from engaging in non-traditional activities. What with the deprived social patronage adding to their economic woes, they became moribund to end up being the parasites and it is probable that the prejudices that bedevil the Hindu spirituality might have been the products of the idle minds in those lazy Brahman bodies.
Whatever, in India today, the backward classes that form the teeming Hindu multitudes, whose backs the Brahmanism had broken, no longer have to blame their karma, and instead they have every reason to thank the Hindu gods for their improved lot, which changed their religious attitude as well.
However, after the trauma of the partition was lived down, the Brahman exodus to the urban centers started in earnest, which eroded their village presence, and with it their social influence as well. Nevertheless, settling in the urban settings, they, as McCauley’s chelas (what a fall for the Hindu gurus of yore), began bracing themselves to take up the clerical spaces that were up for grabs in Bharat’s administrative corridors. Consequently, while the weakened Brahman hold on the village grassroots began to dent the power of the Manu dharma on the Hindu fold as its guardians had begun to desert their swadharma. Finally, as the Nehru’s public sector undertakings, supposed pillars of the Indian economy, began to absorb the Brahmans in their numbers, which turned their economic tide, sanatana dharma became a relic of the Aryavarta.
Exposed to the liberal ideas that held sway all over the world during the sixties of the last century, the Brahmans in towns began distancing themselves from the orthodox ways and the social prejudices of their forefathers. That was the beginning of the modern Hindu middle class phenomenon shaped by them that set the trend for the great Indian social upsurge of the later days. However, the cow belt in the Gangetic plains has been slow in catching up with the changing times, maybe because the Brahmans in numbers held on to their village land and their old values alike to retain their socio-religious hold on it.
Whatever, with the easing of the Brahman social-yoke, even though the backward castes have come to breathe easier, yet they had to bear the brunt of the centuries-old neglect of India’s economy that was till the Green Revolution, which had put more money into more of their hands for most of them to think in terms of educating their children. Moreover, even as the modern economy occasioned a fusion of the four varnas that helped the once segregated Hindu society shed part of its past caste prejudices, thanks to Gandhi’s crusade for their uplift, finally the harijans, nay dalits, too began to get under the shade of the Hindu urban socio-religious umbrella. Yet, it was the pragmatic policy of positive discrimination, adopted by the polity to lend dalits a helping hand with reservations in education and employment, which enabled them to emerge on the Indian economic scene as well. That’s about the leveling of Mother India’s lopsided socio-economic ground for making it a level playing field for its hitherto neglected children.
However, on the Hindu political ground, slowly but surely, the Congress party that began catering to the Islamic whims of the Indian Musalmans in the guise of secularism had started losing its electoral hold. Meanwhile the backward classes with a pie in every sphere of the national activity began foraying into the political arena on their own; though their elders habitually defaced the Congress symbol on their ballot papers, the younger voters, perceiving it as Brahman dominated, began to put their franchise to good use against it. Nevertheless, the opposition plants sprouted by these backward caste-seeds couldn’t survive for long under the banyan tree of a political party that the Congress had been that was till the regional parties began to have their electoral sway outside the Hindi-heartland. What with the coming of age of the educated voters from the forward castes, they began to abhor its dynastic odor; Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress started losing its electoral grip on the Indian political stage.
Finally, the dalit resentment against the caste Hindus too found its expression in Kanshi Ram-Mayawati combine with the electoral slogan, tilak taraaju aur talwaar, sabko maaro joote chaar – Brahmins, Banias be Thakurs, bash them all with no respite. Why that the old Hindu outcasts could resort to such sloganeering on the soil of Aryavarta underscores the changed Indian caste reality; isn’t it the payback time of sorts for the caste Hindus for their one time suppression of the outcasts?
This dalit resurgence in the end proved to be the undoing of the stranglehold of the Congress Party on the Indian polity. Whatever, in India today, the backward classes that form the teeming Hindu multitudes, whose backs the Brahmanism had broken, no longer have to blame their karma, and instead they have every reason to thank the Hindu gods for their improved lot, which changed their religious attitude as well.
What with the ever-growing middle class component from these castes making the bulk of the devout, in a curious phenomenon, the Hindu society began to unite itself religiously even as it retained its fractured caste quality. That was how the once insular Brahmanism had given way to the open-end Hinduism with an expanded mass base to maintain its identity and protect its interests. This newfound religious orientation amongst the backward classes and the other backward castes brought in, in its wake, the fellowship of Hindutva; it’s no longer the India of old where the Brahmans lived in their agrahaaraas and the kshatriyas in their forts, both insensitive to the happenings around. These new Hindu breeds have come to believe that the country is theirs own, and thus are in no mood to concede further demographic ground to India’s minorities so it seems.
True, for centuries, the hapless Hindu masses had to share the land of their forefathers with the antagonistic Musalmans, to whom their classes had foolhardily conceded it but the new concept of the Indian nation-state occasioned in them an emotional attachment to it that the minorities don’t seem to recognize. Why for the new Hindu masses, India is no longer a mere piece of land that they happen to share with the Musalmans but it is a nation of theirs, which they would like to cherish and protect for all times to come. And it is in this mind-set that the Hindus are increasingly becoming sensitive to the omissions and commissions of the Indian Musalmans; more so, the Mohammedan excuse for family planning under Islamic pretexts makes them wary of the Muslim intentions. Rightly or wrongly, the Hindus have come to believe that the Musalmans are out to multiply themselves with a long-term demographic goal that demonically suits the short-term vote bank politics of the self, or family serving parties! What baffles them is that if checking the country’s population growth is in the national interest, then why do the Congress-led band shies away from encouraging the Musalmans to exercise restraint on the family front? Moreover, the obduracy of the Indian Musalamns in adhering to their personal laws, abandoned even in the Muslim countries, in the Indian secular setting is increasingly earning them the Hindu ill-will in good measure.
Moreover, the apathy of the Musalmans for a planned family betrays their insensitivity towards their own women; won’t their persistent refusal to adopt the family planning methods that avert the health-hampering carriages and miscarriages render their fair sex into despondency? Oh how the Musalmans burden their women with a child in the lap and another in the womb till they can bear no longer, and as the moulvis aver they have a duty to procreate for the sake of Islam regardless that is. Yet, the women don’t seem to be complaining either, well if they don’t comply, how they could ever be believers?
Though the moulvi imposed religious obligation to numerically strengthen Islam is at odds with the welfare of the umma itself, for the religiously blinded Musalmans, the deprivation that large families bring to their members is not something to lose sleep about! After all, for the believing souls, the life ‘here’ is of no avail and the purpose of being born a Musalman is to hope for the ‘hereafter’, isn’t it? Thus, as the religious bigotry of the Indian Musalmans besides hurting their standard of living is upsetting the Indian demographic order, the Hindu patience with the Muslim obstinacy is seemingly running out as can be seen from Narendra Modi’s, ham paanch, hamara pachhis – We’re five and ours twenty-five – taunt.
Maybe, the ideology of M.S. Golwalkar, the Brahman nationalist with a Mohammedan bias has begun to appeal to more and more Hindus owing to this Muslim indifference to matters of national interest. It was at this juncture of increasing Hindu misgivings about the Muslim intentions that Rajiv Gandhi so naively surrendered Shah Bano to the Islamic obscurantism, and the Sangh Parivar, of Golwalkar’s creed, sensed the outraged Hindu mood and went for the Congress kill. As if fortuitously, the decrepit Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Sri Rama, which was neither a functional masjid nor a structured mandir, came in handy for them to bring it onto the national agenda as Ram Janma Bhoomi movement. Yet it might not have made any impact on the Hindu minds, long reconciled to the demolitions of their temples of yore, had not the appeasement brigade, who saw electoral dividends in this local dispute, egged on the Musalmans not to yield an inch of the land to the Hindu sentiment. But for the ensuing Muslim objection to the Sangh Parivar’s floater, the Ram Janma Bhoomi issue could have never snowballed into a Hindu national movement that it turned out to be. And as if to direct the Hindu resentment in his tracks into the ballot boxes, Lal Krishna Advani, a la Bhagirath, flagged off his Rath Yathra from Somnath, the temple town once ransacked by Mahmud Ghazni, but rebuilt by the independent Hindustan. Needless to say, this master move was meant to remind the Hindus, just in case they forgot about the age-old Musalman habit of pulling down the Hindu temples, nay the derogatory buth-khanas.
Advani almost pulled the rabbit out of the Congress hat for the Bharatiya Janata Party, but almost; mid-course the elections, the sympathy the Indian voters felt for Rajiv dead whom they had ignored when alive, spoiled the party for the Sangh Parivar. Narasimha Rao, whom circumstances ascended to the gaddi, believed it was his destiny to be remembered as the ‘father of economic reforms’ in the Indian history, but, as the Sangh Parivar’s, mandir wahi banaayenge’ clamor and the Musalmans’ banaane nahi daenge crusade were diverting the national political focus and the public attention from his ‘reforms agenda’, he might have wished that Allah would somehow shift the dilapidated masjid to Pakistan for renovation. However, his wish to be rid of the vexatious problem was fulfilled, not by divine means but by temporal tools of the kar sevaks who pulled down the contentious structure that 6th December 1992.
Not surprisingly, the said opinion poll of ‘The India Today’ revealed the Muslim aversion for building the Ram Mandir at the disputed site; what is more, 21% of them, who are aware of the India history, consider Mahmud a hero, notwithstanding his vandalism at the venerated Hindu temples of that time. And yet, the Musalmans think that the Hindus, who pulled down the dilapidated Masjid, are the villains, never mind the mandir demolition creed of Islam, and so religiously observe 6th December as a Black Day! That itself speaks for the twisted sense of the Muslim logic and proves that they think with their Islamic heart but not with the Indian mind. It’s time the Indian Musalmans contemplate whether they could hero-worship the marauders of the Hindu mandirs (Aurangazeb, the despoiler of the Kashi Viswanath temple, the next most revered after Somnath, has a Muslim approval rating of 39%) and in the same vein condemn those that pulled down the decrepit Babri masjid! Well, all this won’t be amusing to the Hindus; the mind-set of double standards is troublesome even in the majority community but it would be eminently unwise for the minorities to develop the proclivity of reading the Indian history from the Pakistani text books.
However, Ram Lalla, sheltered under a shamiana over the Babri debris, is made to wait for the Indian judicial verdict to grant or deny him a Bhavya Mandir that the Vishva Hindu Parishad is itching to build. What if the Lordships fail to construe something as incontrovertible evidence for or against Lord Rama’s abode of yore; then should not the established Muslim guilt of demolishing many a Hindu mandir make a compelling case for Sri Rama’s entitlement to ‘the benefit of doubt’? But, that, anyway, is in the realms of the judicial discretion, amounting to inaction, in the times of its activism!
When the jihadi driven amongst the Indian Musalmans, in lieu of the Babri debris, turned some of Bombay’s buildings into rubble, the equally bigoted Shiv Sainiks rioted to pay them back with Islamic body bags. Be that as it may, one wonders whether it was the Hindu apologia, the Muslim hypocrisy or the Indian intellectual naivety that is on display in the media in the wake of the communal riots! One of the reasons why the communal riots raise their ugly head at intervals in India is the tendency of the intellectuals, from both the communities, to push the issue of the Hindu-Muslim divide under the carpet lest their honest views should be misconstrued as the anti-other. Whatever, the Decommissioned Adult of the fanatic Mohammedan, for his part, wouldn’t appreciate that the Hindu-Muslim disputes tend to be subjected to the Moses’ Law Square - two eyes for an eye, two teeth for one and two slain for one killed.
However, after a relatively long lull on the communal front, a bunch of fanatical, thus stupid, Indian Musalman zealots targeted some Ram Sevaks, returning from a rally at Ayodhya, for the cause of the Ram temple, which lost its momentum by then that was before its eventual dissipation. Reminiscent of their Naokhali barbarity, the Musalman mob torched a railway coach at Godhra in which 58 Hindus, 40 of whom were women and children, had perished; it’s as if these bigots had for inspiration Mahmud’s butchery of the Hindus at Somnath in the same province. But unlike in the times gone by, led by the Sangh Parivar, the Gujarati Hindu retaliation that followed accounted for 790 Musalmans (falsified by the Congress chamchas in the TV circuit as 2000-odd to politically hurt the irrepressible Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of the State) in which rioting 254 Hindus too were dead, which fact was equally glossed over by the pseudo-secular media. Yet in a weird way, some of the body bags had revealed the changed face of the Hindutva; that the backward dalits, ever averse to the Hindu cause, and more so, the tribal poor, hitherto lukewarm to the same, too participated in the carnage against the Musalmans had put the Hindu consolidation on display for all to see.
Why, didn’t Ashok Singhal of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, echo all this by blowing the Sangh Parivar’s paanchajanya thus: “It was for the first time in thousand years the Hindus got united and gave a befitting reply to those who attacked them in Godhra”. He further thundered that the Gujarat incident was just the beginning and sounded ominous when he declared, “the valour showed by the Hindus in Gujarat is unprecedented. If they are attacked again they will stand in self-defence. This will not end here. The VHP will take this message across the country through its Ram Naam Jap and other programs.” So it seems, history has its own ironies, for Gujarat, where Mahmud Ghazni started it all for the Musalmans, became the first retreat of the Indian Musalmans.
Before the Moses’ Law Square comes into reckoning again in their communal equation, isn’t it incumbent upon the Hindus and the Musalmans alike to honestly admit to their differences, and see how appropriately they could be addressed? But what could be the possible response of the Musalmans? The natural temptation would be to get lulled into a religious slumber by the lullabies set in pseudo-secular tunes by their vote-bank eying Hindu politicians that are fine-tuned by the self-serving media-wallahs. Thus, the Muslim knee-jerk reaction could make them re-embrace the Congress party, being headed by the wily Sonia Gandhi, the Italian born non-Hindu.
But, would the Hindu majority, recovering from the humiliation of a thousand years of alien rule, suffer a foreigner taking the capital seat of Hindustan? The Congressmen, and more so women, though seem not to mind, unmindful of the perils of having a person of foreign origin as the country’s Prime Minister! Wouldn’t every nation be a hostage of its own history that lends itself to color its people’s thinking towards the other countries and their peoples? Could an Israelite origin Prime Minister be objective in India’s ties with the Palestine? What about India’s relations with the Western world under the premiership of some naturalized Iranian or an Iraqi? Wouldn’t an Indian political head of Bangladeshi origin, nursing a grouse of his sister’s molestation by some Punjabi fauzis during the crisis in his parent country be tempted to settle scores with Pakistan with India’s military might? Why, could any such one be what he or she should be as India’s Prime Minister; without a native Indian at the helm of affairs, won’t India’s detractors exploit the handicaps of a foreign origin numero uno to jeopardize the Indian national interests?
More ominously, what about war and peace that national leaders may be called upon to make, especially in India, which had fought many a war in its short independent history? Isn’t that a Capital decision with emotive element and tactical content attached to boot? Wasn’t India at a warlike situation with Pakistan in the wake of the terrorist attack on its parliament on 13th December 2001? Would have a foreign origin Prime Minister served India’s interests judiciously? Why, wasn’t the overwhelming public opinion was to take the plunge; what if Sonia Gandhi on the gaddi went with the popular mood for fear of being perceived as unpatriotic for inaction? If attacking a hostile country seems to serve the long-term Indian national interests, can the foreign origin Premier, unsure about the outcome of the adventure, have the nerve to act? Didn’t Lal Bahadur Shastri, even as Pakistan crossed the Line of Control in Kashmir in 1965, order the Indian troops to cross the International Boarder near Lahore, which none thought India ever would, and what fuss the Great Britain and other Western powers made of that Indian military move.
Whatever, would the Hindus in India, or of the diaspora, breathing free after their thousand years’ history of slavery, savor a Sonia sarkar? Here is an Italian woman whom destiny made the daughter-in-law of a household that had a dynastic grip on the democratic India with the clasp of the Congress party; to achieve which, her mother-in-law, by then, had castrated the party men into enervation as family eunuchs, and it was the quirk of her fate that brought about the untimely death of Sanjay her brother-in-law, her mother-in-law’s chosen heir apparent to rule the country. While the dynastic compulsions of her mother-in-law put the party’s reins in her husband Rajiv’s hands, the brutal killing of the old despot by her own bodyguards gave her man the reign of the land. Why, that brought her closer to the seat of political power than ever before, and as if it is her twisted destiny to get ever closer to power over the dead of her family, tragically, she lost her husband in the midst of an election that, anyway, was about to undo his Congress. Though the sentimental turnaround at the hustings put the Congress back into the reckoning, her decency as a widow kept her away from the kursi that was hers for taking, but only till decency demanded.
But, as time is the great healer of grief for the living, and, besides, the dead too wouldn’t be taking away with them the proclivities of their dears, this ‘foreign child of Indian destiny’ found the purpose of her life, and wrested the reins of the Congress party from the ungrateful hands of that Sitaram Kesari, who by then had back-stabbed Narasimha Rao his mentor. At the hustings thereafter, though she led her party to defeat, yet, abetted by the anti-Bharatiya Janata Party elements, beguiled by the age-old Indian realpolitik of settling the native scores with foreign hands, she staked her claim to become India’s Prime Minister. However, in the end, it was the principled opposition from a handful of otherwise self-serving Congressmen that put paid to her eagerness to ascend the gaddi. However, the next time around, thanks to the anti-incumbency vote in a couple of States, she nearly came to power at the Centre that is, just nearly. Maybe, the public outcry at her impending coronation or the troubled conscience of the country’s President, and/or both, made her retreat, albeit, in the halo of sacrifice that the morons in the media and the sycophants of her party vied with each other to accord her. Thus, going by her twice aborted attempts at taking on the reins of the nation, it would appear that the Hindu EQ at last scored over the media IQ as well as the Congress SQ, i.e. the Sycophancy Quotient.
Nevertheless, it was not long before her ‘destiny of power’ overpowered the will of the nation, what with the caste factor of the Hindu franchise, the communal color of the Muslin vote and the political compulsions of the regional parties playing their part in putting the wheels of the democratic omnibus of India into the Congress hands albeit with the regional political masters seated in the backseat. Thus acquiesced by the colluding partners to share the spoils of power, she began ruling the country through proxy, and as if to validate William Congreve’s “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned”, she made Mother India pay the price for that ‘indigestible’ political slight by her children. Oh how she has been wrecking her vengeance on Hindustan by taking the Indian political morality to new lows by corrupting everyone and everything in her sight that is whatever her mother-in-law left uncorrupted in the country’s systemic vitals!
What with the Bharatiya Janata Party having lost some of its nationalistic sheen in the corrupted national social stream, the ‘Hindu Rebound’ all but seemed a ‘political thud’ that was before the coming-of-the-age of Narendra Modi, the ‘action man’ from Gujarat, the land of Saradar Patel the ‘iron man’. What is more, unlike Mahatma Gandhi the Gujarati, whose ‘inclusive ideology’ degenerated into the Indian political expedient of Muslim appeasement, Modi’s redefinition of ‘secular ideology’ as ‘India first’ has begun to capture the middle-class Hindu imagination. But then the fate of the Indian politics has always been in the votes of its masses, and if only they can grasp what the future portends for them and the nation in the ‘Modi vision’ that is before they are called upon to cast their votes the next time. If such a Hindu Rebound could spring out of Hindustan’s caste amalgamated political ground, which, perhaps, is dependent on Sonia’s dynastic destiny, then that might herald India’s turnaround like never before.
Continued to “Wait for the Savant”