Standing up against hatred is the duty of all citizens, writes Harini Calamur
Haridwar is one of the holiest cities for Hindus. At the foot of the Shivalik Range, the city sits on the banks of the Ganges, as it moves from its source in the mountains to the plains. In both, the Shaivite tradition and in the Vaishnavite tradition, the city is of great importance. Interchangeably referred to as Haridwar and Haradwar – the gates of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, respectively – the place attracts millions of pilgrims every year, who hope to achieve salvation by diving into the Ganges in the most sacred place.
Last week, this Hindu holiest site was desecrated by those who wish to hijack religion. The government, as always, was silent and frozen in inaction. The Hindu Dharam Sansad held in Haridwar, among others, called for the murder of Muslims, the overthrow of a future government and the takeover of India by force. Among the more moderate comments were the call for the murder of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the setting aside of the Constitution and the lessons learned from Godse instead. A self-proclaimed preacher, Annapurna said: “We are ready to kill them; we are ready to go to jail. We need 100 soldiers to kill 20 lakh. Only if you are ready to dedicate yourself in this way can you save Sanatan Dharma. And remember, we are the protectors of Sanatan Dharma. Keep your books aside and take up arms. She was just one of the people who vomited venom at those who didn’t have the same ideas.
For many of us who have grown up in the Hindu faith and tradition, this is a violation of everything that religion talks about. It is not our religion, but an ugly, malformed and violent shadow of it. It is almost as if all the evil spoken of in Hindu theology had coalesced into this ugly manifestation of it; who preaches hatred, violence and destruction. This strain of ugliness and hatred is the embodiment of the Asuras and Rakshasas of mythology – the kind that the gods are said to be born to overcome. And for some reason, he’s identified with the faith of millions of people – most of whom won’t even hurt a fly. It is not Hinduism. It may be Hindutva, and it is time for those who follow the ideology of religious nationalism to speak up to clarify if this is not the case.
In recent years, we have seen a surge in such radicalization. We are talking about people who are ready to murder other people (in cold blood) for perceived offenses against their faith. We have seen radical Hindutvadis disrupting Friday prayers in Gurugram, with chants by Jai Shri Ram. We have seen radical Hindutvadis break into schools where Christmas carols are performed, asking them to shout Jai Shri Ram and force others to do the same. We have heard of Muslim traders beaten with chants of Jai Shri Ram. In all of this, as prominent right wing spokespersons valiantly defended the disbelievers – oh, they prayed in public spaces; oh why should Hindu children sing Christmas carols? oh, did the trader have a license. What these luminaries of the right ignore is the desecration of one of Hinduism’s most sacred symbols – Ram. When violent men, with hatred in their hearts and murderous intent, prey on innocent people in the name of “God”, you are really just defiling God.
Hinduism is a faith. A current of consciousness. A way of living. Hindutva is a political movement trying to create a Hindu state. While all HIndutvadis could be Hindus, not all Hindus are HIndutvadis. There’s no point in apologizing and calling that bangs. It wasn’t a fringe when one of his supporters murdered Gandhi. It was not a fringe, when he succeeded in mobilizing the kar sevaks to break the law, violate the Constitution and bring down the Babri Masjid; And, it’s not bangs anymore.
We have vivid examples of what happens when believers do not oppose fundamentalists who attempt to hijack religion to establish political power. We have seen it in the United States, when religious fundamentalists hijacked the Republican Party and are now trying to destroy women’s rights. We have seen it in Iran as the once proud Persian people struggle under the boot of the Islamist mullahs. And we see it in Pakistan. We should pray that future generations do not see this in India. For this, Hindus must stand up to be counted. We must call the enemies among us and tell them that it is not in our name. We must stand up – without violence and with love in our hearts – against those who attempt to hijack our faith, defile our gods and desecrate our holiest places.
The Hindu Dharm Sansad was certainly not a Hindu, violated all Dharma standards and was completely out of step with the sansad (parliament). We the people of faith and the citizens of India must do something since our government has stuck in inaction. It starts by pressuring the government to take action against those who have made the sacred vow to put aside the will of the people, to overthrow a future legally elected government and to commit genocide against millions of co-workers. citizens. We do not have the choice. This would be called dharma (duty / justice). To stand up against those who violate the constitutional dharma is the duty not only of all citizens, but also of the government. And we have to make sure it’s followed.
Posted on: Monday December 27th, 2021 08:44 IST