Friday, November 20, 2015

India is the most tolerant Nation

For someone who has lived his entire life ONLY in India or ONLY in Saudi Arabia, that is what life is. They have no perspective to look at things from the other’s viewpoint. The Saudi would believe that life is just as strict everywhere as it is in Saudi Arabia and SOME Indians would think that WELL, they are facing a lot of intolerance. Hence, it becomes important to get an understanding of what the reality is. To see this, let’s look it from the perspective of someone who has been to both places. Here is a brilliant article by Saudi Arabian columnist Khalaf Al-Harbi on the tolerance of India:

I am writing to you from India, the land of wonders. Right now, I am in Mumbai which was once the farthest place travelers on the Arabian Sea dreamed of reaching.
Huge waves of humans fan out in all directions and fill the city’s streets. A river of sheepish eyes will look at you, immediately recognise that you are not a local and then try to figure out where you are from.

In Mumbai, luxurious building towers neighbour tin slums and such contradictions are an entertaining game which, despite the efforts of numerous thinkers, cannot be explained but only experienced.

In India, there are more than 100 religions and more than 100 languages. Yet, the people live in peace and harmony. They have all joined hands to build a strong nation that can produce everything from a sewing needle to the rocket which is preparing to go to Mars.

I must say that I feel a bit jealous because I come from a part of the world which has one religion and one language and yet there is killing everywhere.

No matter how the world speaks about tolerance, India remains the oldest and most important school to teach tolerance and peaceful co-existence regardless of the religious, social, political or ethnical differences.

The stereotypical picture of India in the minds of many of us is linked to poverty and backwardness. This is a totally false picture which has nothing to do with reality.

It is a picture which was created by our extreme judgment of things. When we were poor before the era of oil, the picture of India in our minds was linked to richness and civilisation but immediately after our financial conditions improved, we converted India’s picture to one of poverty and backwardness.

If we had any sort of wisdom, we would never have been occupied by India’s richness or poverty.

Rather, we would have been impressed by India’s immense ability to contain and respect the conflicting ideologies and thoughts so that people would flood the streets without any feeling of fear or anxiety.

If we took all the Arabs and placed them in India as part of a grand experiment, they would not make up any recognisable majority. They would, instead, dissolve in a fearless human ocean. Their nationalistic trends and sectarian extremism would also dissolve with them and they would realise that nothing in the world can justify the killing of their brothers and sisters in humanity.
India is one of the largest and oldest democracies in the world. It had never known huge differences in religions or races. The country does not disdain its poor people nor hate its rich citizens. It is a nation which is proud of Gandhi and the British colonialists at the same time.
The Indian people are distinguished in many ways. They are great people. Nobody can deny this fact except the envious or the ungrateful.

The only problem with the hypothetical trip of the Arabs to India is that they may contaminate the Indians and remind them of their religious and ethnical differences. The Arabs may be able to convince the Indians that their religious and racial disparities may be enough of reason to kill each other.

This article, written by Khalaf Al-Harbi, was originally published in the Saudi Gazette. The views expressed are personal.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sanatana Dharma- A Universal Dharma and a Way of Living

Sanatana Dharma- A Universal Dharma and a Way of Living

Hinduism is the only religion which is non-dogmatic, amenable to criticism, adaptable to new situations and has the power to reinvent itself. Hence it does not hinder a practicing Hindu to live according to changing times and in different parts of the globe. It is these qualities which has helped Hinduism to survive the onslaught of Semitic religions like Christianity and Islam.
In its journey in pursuit of Reality, Sanatana Dharma has come a long way. In the beginning our sages looked at nature with awe and showed reverence to various forces of nature like wind, fire, thunder and lightning. In the next stage they composed hymns to propitiate these nature forces and expected boons from them. In the third stage they composed elaborate rituals and believed that if correctly conducted the gods will be forced to give them the boons so desired. The fourth stage was the stage when they transcended from the materialistic plane of worship and contemplated on concepts like karma, rebirth, soul, ultimate reality and (moksha) salvation. The result of this contemplation was the Upanishads, the essence of Hindu philosophy.
Sometimes it may appear strange that the way majority of Hindus worship is in contradictory to the philosophy of Upanishads. Why did our spiritual leaders allowed the continuation of the ritualistic practices instead of encouraging the practice of contemplation and meditation as enunciated in the Upanishads? This is because our wise seers knew the nature of human mind. Men have different aptitudes, mental set-up, desires and goals which in total was called gunas by our ancients. These gunas were categorized into sathvika, rajasika and tamasic. The practice of contemplation and meditation could have been followed by those possessing the sathvika guna, but what about others? If our seers had insisted only in one medium as a path for realization for a spiritual aspirant, a large number of people with rajasika and tamasic gunas could had turned irreligious. Hence they allowed the continuation of the old rites and rituals so that at least they do not turn into atheists.
Different Paths for Salvation
In fact the Bhagavad Gita gave a death blow to the performance of Vedic yajna and nishkaama karma (activities without expectation of results) took the place of kaamya karma. But the Vedic mantras survived as it was uttered by the Brahmins during their daily prayers. In imitation to the Vedic worship, the tantric form of worship came into vogue and was adapted by all class of people. In this form of worship devotion is the chief element. While the Upanishads propounds the Jnanamarga (knowledge path), the Bhagavad Gita Karmamarga (activity without expectation of results), the most popular form of Self Realization was enunciated by the saints of south India, the Alwars and Nayanmars, which is Bhaktimarga (devotional path). It was the saints who followed this path who tried to reform the Hindu society and spoke against the futility of caste inequalities and meaningless rituals associated with Hinduism. They created awareness among the masses the need to develop true love towards god and consider all men as the children of god. These saints played an important role in unifying the Hindu society and strengthening its morals.
Hinduism is the only religion which has shed practices considered obnoxious. One may point out that Hinduism too had their share of prohibitions and discriminatory practices as evidence in their dharmashastras and smriti texts. But just notice the so called ancient texts of the Hindus. It comprises of the Vedas, Vedangas, Upanishads, Puranas, Bhagavad Gita, epics (Ramayana and Mahabharatha), Dharmashastras and Aagamashastras. Of these only the Dharmashastras which are works of Brahmins prohibits sea travel, inter caste marriages and dining; and has expiratory rites and rules for worshiping manes, all meant for Brahmins who form a minuscule percentage of the Hindu population. This has nothing to do with Hinduism. The reactionary views on women and non-Brahmins found in these works were written by unscrupulous persons with an intention to protect their interests. One may find offensive and derogatory remarks against women and non-Brahmins even in the epics and Bhagavad Gita. This is due to the interpolation done at the time of putting the texts into writing or during subsequent revisions once again by unscrupulous persons. At that time few people knew Sanskrit and hence only after these texts were translated into English that we know these kinds of omissions done to our religious texts by a microscopic minority for selfish ends. The real philosophies of the Hindus are contained in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedanta theories propounded by our Acharyas. While Buddhism and Jainism denied the infallibility of the Vedas, they did not repudiate the philosophy of Upanishads. The main grouse of these two religions was against the burden of ritualism and domination of the Brahmins in the religious sphere.    
Hinduism has no qualms even in adapting practices followed by religions which grew as a protest against the Vedic practices of ritualistic worship. Under the influence of Buddhism and Jainism, Hindus gave up animal sacrifice and adapted idol worship. The devotional form of worship as enunciated in the tantra form of worship also gave impetus for idol worship. Hinduism gradually incorporated the folk gods into its fold and these folk gods were associated with the Vedic gods. For instance Thimappa of Tirumala became Venkateshwara or Balaji, another name of Vishnu and Manjunatha of Dharmasthala was associated with Lord Shiva and in these temples the Vedic form of worship was introduced. Today new gods like Ayappa and Shirdi Sai Baba has crores of adherents who come from all castes and classes of the society. For devotees who take vows to visit the shrine of Ayappa at Shabarimalai, the initiation is given by mostly non-Brahmins.
Universal appeal of Hinduism
The uniqueness of Hinduism is its philosophy contained in the Upanishads which has a universal appeal. One may be an atheist, an agnostic, may question the infallibility of the Vedas, could be a theist but anti ritualistic, may be a follower of any faith; but still by adapting the path enunciated by the Upanishad could realize his true nature and obtain salvation. Over-all the philosophy of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) is
  • Universally applicable for all times
  • Have different paths for people with different temperaments for achieving self-realization.
  • Hinduism does not believe in attracting adherents by using force, by inducement or by trickery.
  • It is not a religion with dogmatic rules and regulation. Even followers of other religions without giving up their faiths can obtain salvation by following the teachings contained in the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.
  • Hinduism does not believe in a God sitting in the cloud, dictating people to do this and not to do that and punishing those who do not obey him or promising a place in the heaven for sense indulgence for those who obey his orders.
  • Normally in all religions an adherent prays and begs God to fulfill his/her wishes; seek blessings and repents for his/her sins so that he may seek a place in the heaven. But in Hinduism one can transcend from this materialistic mode of worship and seek for the ultimate bliss by knowing his true Self. Who I am, is the enquiry a Hindu makes and finally realizes that he is a part of the divine.
  • While in other religions it is a sacrilege even to praise or show reverence to gods of rival religions, Hinduism believes that everything (animate and inanimate) is a manifestation of Brahman (God), Sarvam Brahmamaya. This was a bold declaration by our ancient seers. When each one of us is God, where is the need for fear, to feel guilty or even the need to put efforts for salvation? The only thing is to realize our true being and this realization happens through contemplation and meditation.
Sabhar from ThinkersPad.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Achieving Hindu unity

Achieving Hindu unity

The Hindu Mahasabha was founded in 1911 and the RSS in 1925. The growth of RSS has been tremendous with shakas in every nook and corner of the country. The political front of the RSS, the BJP (now the ruling party at the Centre) has tasted power not only in the Centre for one full term but also has been ruling in several states for decades. But still let alone establishing a Hindu Rashtra, even taking pride about ones Hindu identity, its history, tradition and culture is met with ridicule and having the stigma of being called communal. This is the reality in a country where nearly 80 percent of the populations are Hindus. Contrast this with other movements and organization. The Muslim League was established in 1906 and in 1940 it resolved to have a separate Muslim nation and within seven years realized it. When unity among Muslims could be achieved, what is hindering unity and consensus among Hindus? Even in its own land Hindus have been divided into plethora of castes, sub-castes, sects, sub-sects and creeds. Having produced philosophical and spiritual treatises like the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Advaita philosophy, Hindus have failed to give spiritual solace to the world while fanatical cults masquerading as peaceful religion have been able to attract worldwide adherents. In spite of centuries of political slavery, Hindus are little prepared to face the imminent threat to their religion and culture from alien forces. All these need critical evaluation and honest introspection among Hindus. Only when we go to the root of an ailment, can remedy be found. Some of the causes hindering Hindu unity and the probable steps to remedy it are analyzed here.
Establishing our real identity
The first step towards achieving Hindu unity is to become aware of who we are. Are we Hindus or Sanatanis? Is our nation- India, Hindustan or Bharath? Just because some x cannot pronounce your name and misspells it, do you repeat that name which that x had spelled or tell your correct name if someone asks your name? Commonsense tells us that we introduce ourselves with our real name and not the misspelt name given by some x. The name Hindu was the word used by the Persians (Iranians) to describe the religion practiced by the people living on the eastern side of River Sindhu which they pronounced as Hindu. Hence the name Hindu for Sanatanis, Hinduism for Sanatana Dharma and Hindustan for Bharath (the real name of India) came into vogue. For centuries we Sanatanis have been unknowing using the word Hindu religion to describe the spiritual ideals of Sanatana Dharma. The time has now come for us to declare that we are not Hindus but Sanatanis and ours is not a religion but a way of life which any one could adapt. Sanatana Dharma is not like other religious faiths which are restrictive and dogmatic but a way of life containing spiritual ideals which are transcendental in nature.
Showcase Sanatana Dharma as a way of life than a religion
Religion means belief, faith in a god; wherein a follower has to obey his (god’s) commands, so as not to displease him, beg him for material needs and appease him so that he gives him a place in the heaven to enjoy unlimited sensual pleasures. Religions are dogmatic, restrictive and irrational. Using the word religion for Sanatana Dharma will be wrong and degrading. Sanatana Dharma is not a religion like Islam or Christianity with strict dos and don’ts. It is a way of life with high spiritual ideals contained in the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and the Advaita philosophy.
Lala Hardayal, the great patriot had once remarked that if we have to keep our children and grandchildren safe from Islam, we need to convert not only the whole of Pakistan (and Bangladesh) but also Afghanistan into Hindus. Keeping this in view, Hindu should put efforts to bring more and more non-Hindus into the Sanatana fold. This they can achieve only if they reform Hinduism and get rid it of obnoxious belief and practices. At present Hindu organisations try to impose their opinion and views on the way people should dress, what not to eat and how to behave in public. For instance they are against women wearing western dresses, mingling of boys and girls, celebrating Valentine’s Day, eating beef and consuming alcohol, to mention a few. But spirituality has nothing to do with diet, dress or what one does during his/her leisure time. Hindu organizations should not interfere in the personal affairs of individuals, if not they will antagonize the youths who will develop a negative attitude towards Hinduism and its culture. Though our youths may initially feel attracted towards western culture, as they mature they will definitely return back to their roots. To give an instance it was the young men and women working in corporate sectors, having gone abroad and exposed to western culture who showed enthusiasm and worked for getting Modi elected as Prime Minister of India. Why, because they felt that only Modi can bring back the lost glory of India and Hinduism. Non-Hindus should be able to find Hindu religion attractive and progressive to accept it. Otherwise Hinduism will be like just another religion with dos and don’ts. For instance if a Muslim converts to Hinduism he/she finds that instead of burqa, devote Hindu women are supposed to cover their head with pallu, instead of fasting from dawn to dusk in the month of Ramdan, devote Hindus are supposed to fast on ekadashi day and if as a Muslim consuming pork becomes haram, after becoming a Hindu, consuming beef becomes haram. Sanatana Dharma is a way of life which even an atheist or agonistic can follow. It is a life of freedom. To follow the spiritual ideals of Sanatana Dharma one need not have to believe in God or a prophet, chant mantras or read holy books. Sanatana Dharma with its motto Sarvam Brahmamaya believes in the divinity in all forms; with or without consciousness. To become aware of this divinity is the final goal in life for all who adapt the way of life prescribed by Sanatana Dharma. See
Hindu organizations should shed conservatism
Whether it is RSS, BJP or VHP, all organizations advocating the cause of Hindus and Hinduism are led by orthodox minded people and influenced by conservative ideology. One fact which all Hindus should be aware of is that if the Muslims become conservative, they attract adherents and achieve unity. For instance see how the Taliban, Al-Qaida and the Islamic State of Syria are attracting educated Muslims all over the world. But if the Hindus become conservative, it will be a hindrance for Hindu unity; because a conservative Hindu means belief in caste system, touch-me-notism, polytheism, prejudice against meat eaters, western culture, etc. The percentage of Hindu conservatives may be about five percent of the total Hindu population. Now how can we accept that 95% of the population adhere to the way of life followed by 5% of the population and which include many obnoxious and hypocritical practices. India is a land of diverse culture and tradition and achieving Hindu unity by enforcing conformism is going to boomerang. Unlike in the past today the subaltern class is well-read, well organized and are proud of their customs, culture and tradition. They are aware of the happening around the world including progress in the field of science and technology. Unlike their forefathers they have developed the power of reasoning are not willing to believe in the cock and bull stories parroted by conservative elements to preserve their monopoly in the society. Hence to achieve Hindu unity Hindus must adapt a liberal attitude and shed conservatism. This will also attract new adherents to Hinduism from outside India.
Urgent need to annihilate Caste
If one has keenly observed, Muslims can be assembled at a place for a cause more easily than Hindus. Also compared to mobilizing Hindus it is easy to mobilize the members of a caste group. This shows how caste has entrenched in the psyche of Hindus and hindering Hindu unity. The indifference shown by Hindu leaders towards the plight of Dalits and other marginalized section of the Hindu society made Islam carry out its conversion activities even when Muslims had lost their political power and India was under the British rule. Ram Gopal in his work, Indian MuslimsA Political History (1858-1947) (Asia Publishing House, 1964, p.8) writes that Census Report revealed, unabated conversion during British regime and this proved beyond doubt that Islam was bound to grow in Bengal whether the backing of political power was available of not. The reason for this conversion is well analyzed by Nitish Sengupta in his work, History of the Bengali speaking people, (U.B.S.P.D. Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, 2002, p 67) wherein he says that people dissatisfied with the rigours of a caste-ridden society and a religion based on vulgar ritualism turned to the new faith which promised common brotherhood, liberation from the offensive yoke of the Brahman priests and some material incentives such as easy appointments to government jobs. The process of conversion was facilitated by the practices of Hindu society, such as the one that closed the doors of the society to anyone who had been forcibly fed beef or who had taken food or water from the hands of a Muslim, or any woman who had been abducted by force and wished to return to her home and faith but was denied that right. Islam also offered young widows, the prospect of a normal and honoured life which, the   Hindu society had denied and imposed upon them a life of privation and indignity. According to Ram Gopal, the converts in Bengal remained as ignorant of Islam as of Hinduism. “Some of them” says the Imperial Gazetteer of India Vol I (1885) “have never heard of Mohammed; some regard him as a person corresponding in their system of religion to Rama or Lakshman of the Hindus. The Koran is hardly read even in Bengali and in the original Arabic not at all. Many of those who have heard of it cannot tell who wrote it. Yet any Muslim peasant is able to repeat a few scraps of prayer in Arabic. This prayer gave him a sense of religion and he considered himself as a member of a socio cum religious system, which he did not have it when he was, a Hindu. (Indian Muslims – A Political History (1858-1947), Asia Publishing House, 1964. p.9) Early Smriti writers had stated that if a woman was criminally assaulted, she was not to be socially ostracized and readmitted into the family and society after some penance and purification. This procedure was followed in the beginning in the case of women forcibly converted and violated. The Devala Smriti went to the extent of declaring that women of this unfortunate category should be readmitted to the fold of Hinduism even if their violation was followed by pregnancy. This liberal viewpoint was however given up by 1000 A.D. From that time onwards, Hindu women once carried away by force into the fold of Islam had no hope of return to the religion of their birth. They had to reconcile themselves with their captors and live a miserable life, not much different from a concubine. (Swami Madhavananda and R.C.Majumdar (Edited), Great Women of India, Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta, P. 44) According to Anil A.Athale, in Kashmir the majority of the people were forced to give up the religion of their forefathers in the 17th and 18th century under the rule of fanatic Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In the later part of the 19th century, a delegation of Kashmiri Muslims went to Varanasi, to get the approval of Brahmins there to return to Hindu fold, but the priests declined their request. Even today most common family name in Kashmir is Butt, a distortion of Bhatt, a Hindu surname common amongst the Brahmins in India. (Let the Jhelum Smile Again. Adithya Prakashan, Mumbai, 1997, p.33). In fact the Jamait- ul- Ulema was opposed to Pakistan, as it would affect its propagation of Islam. Maulana Madani delivering a speech on 19th September 1945 in Delhi on the occasion of the formation of the Azad Muslim Parliamentary Board to fight the last constitutional battle against the demand of Pakistan said that at the termination of the Muslim rule, there were about 25 million Muslims in India. Within a period of less than a century their number increased up to 100 million. The missionary work of the Jamait has a great share in this increase. The great object of an overall spread of Islam in the whole of India cannot be realized by appealing to passion of hatred and antagonism. It is the non-Muslims who are the field of action for the tabligh (spread of Islam) and form the raw material for this splendid activity. (Ziya ul Hasan Faruqi, The Deoband School and the demand of Pakistan, Asia Publishing House, 1963. pp: 116-117) The above facts definitely reveal that lack of social cohesion had weakened the Hindu society and evangelists of various faiths had reaped its advantage.
Neglecting Upanishads and clinging to the Vedas
The Vedas form the early stage of spiritual ideals and practices of Sanatana Dharma. But the matured spiritual ideals and practices of Sanatana Dharma are found in the Upanishads. But a majority of those who identify themselves as Hindus still believe in the tenets and practices as espoused in the Vedas and the Tantras, (Spiritual practices meant for the commoners as against the Vedas which is meant for the elite class) which in today’s world have become obsolete and superfluous. The continuation of Vedic rites and rituals resulted in the orthodoxy and conservatism to gain an upper hand in Hindu religion and the Hindu society to become highly superstitious. Polytheism, caste system, silly rites and beliefs; are all the baggage which Hindus are carrying today due to their clinging of the Vedas. It is high time that Hindus adapt the Upanishad way of contemplation and meditation and also the Bhakti form of worship as enunciated by the Bhagavatas. See  and
Need to identify interpolations and remove offensive remarks against non-Brahmins in our religious texts
Non-Brahmins account for nearly 95% of the Hindu population in India. Due to the mischief of some unscrupulous elements, all our religious texts have been interpolated and interspersed with offensive remarks against non-Brahmins. This was done when our sacred works were put into writing and when they were revised. To give a few instances, the majority of Hindus are degraded by inserting hymns like Purusha Sukta in the tenth mandala of Rig-Veda which mentions that from the mouth of God came the Brahmin and from his legs, the Shudras and other such nonsense. Similarly in several verses in Bhagavad Gita, the creation of castes and allotting duties to them by God are found. How can we believe in a God who preaches discrimination and inequalities? More so is the obnoxious statements made by Manu in his Manu Smriti against the majority of Hindus. These types of statements found in our religious texts provide fodder to Hindu haters like the Marxists, Christian evangelists and Muslim fundamentalists to show that Hinduism practices discrimination and this has led Hindus to convert to other religions. By highlighting these offensive remarks these Hindu haters are able to create animosity among Hindus and try to make the non-Brahmins believe that Hinduism is partial towards Brahmins. If this belief is not erased non-Brahmins comprising 95% of the Hindu population will not show interests in Hindu unity. Today there is an urgent need to remove these interpolations from our religious texts.
Establishing pro-Hindu regional organisations and parties
One allegation against Hindu organizations and parties in India is that they neglect regional languages and tradition and impose Sanskrit/Hindi and believe in enforcing cultural conformity. This allegation has become potent weapon for so called Hindu hating intellectuals; mostly Marxist to create animosity between Hindi and regional linguistic groups and prevents the growth of Hindu organisations in non-Hindi speaking states. Most of the leaders of Hindu organisations are from north India. In all their party and public meetings the medium of communication is Hindi, even when held in areas outside the Hindi belt. Not all people in India understand Hindi and they feel a sense of alienation in these meetings. As we know Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan when the latter tried to undermine Bengali, the language of Bangladeshis. Here Islam did not become a unifying factor. In Europe, countries like France, Spain, Portugal and Poland are proud of their language and culture and are not willing to give up their unique identity even though they profess Catholic religion. This shows that while religion unites the minds, language unites the hearts. Though we have many regional parties in India which try to promote and preserve their State’s language, culture and unique identity, they are not pro-Hindu in their attitude due to their fear of losing the minority votes. The sole exception is the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. Hence we need regional organizations and political parties who take pride in their state’s language and culture and at the same time are pro-Hindu, just like the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
Power sharing at the Centre
Since independence it is mostly a person from north India especially Uttar Pradesh who have occupied the position of Prime Minister of India. If at all others have occupied that position it is by fluke. But if a law is made by which the post of Prime Minister is rotated among different states in India, most of the leaders of regional parties in the south and east and north-eastern parts of India will definitely take a pro Hindu stance. As nearly 80 % of the populations in India are Hindus, neglecting the sentiments of the majority will cost them dearly in the elections. This move will also tone down their anti-outsider stance; promote Hindi (as they have to woo voters in other states) and bring unity among Hindus of different states.
Hindu should become pro-active and militant
Today Hindu groups protesting against the celebration of Valentine’s Day, against films hurting Hindu sentiments or against personalities/write-ups insulting Hinduism can be seen assaulting Hindu boys and girls, breaking windows, tearing posters, shouting slogans or burning tyres. Once the police with a lathi come they run away. The real need of the hour is formation of Hindu legions possessing modern firearms, highly trained and wholly devoted to the cause of Hindus and Hinduism. They should assist the army and police in apprehending and killing terrorists; in developing intelligence network of their own to gather information about possible terrorist attacks, identify sleeper’s cell and hatch plans to eliminate high profile terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim, Sayeed Lakvi, etc. If in any part of the world if even an American pet dog is accidentally hurt or injured the American government sends its war ships and fighter planes to punish the culprit. But if Hindus are butchered, raped and forcibly converted in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh; harassed and humiliated in countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia (Tamil Hindus), Afghanistan    (the Sikhs) and Australia (where the Lebanese Arabs used to target Hindu students), the spineless Indian government does not do anything except issue statements. If there is an exclusive Hindu brigade, Hindus all over the world can expect timely help and their tormenters will think twice before attacking Hindus. The Hindu legions should establish sleeper cells in all countries where considerable numbers of Hindus live and the members of these cells should be trained and equipped with sniper rifles, pistols/revolvers with silencers and explosives. The said Hindu militia should infiltrate into the territories of Pakistan and Bangladesh and target high profile personalities like Army officers, politicians and the clerics working against Hindus and India.
At present such Hindu militia cannot be formed and will be considered as illegal by the government. But clandestinely Hindus must arm themselves and become so formidable that it must become impossible for any government to disarm them. Formation of a Hindu militia is very essential as the Indian electorate being politically immature could elect a Congress or Third Front government in future (for instance the recent victory of AAP in Delhi). And that government may ban Hindu organisations like R.S.S. and also take measures to fill the police and armed forces with members of the minority community. We should not forget that the R.S.S. was banned by the Congress government when it declared emergency during 1975. Only the existence of a powerful Hindu militia would prevent such moves by a futuristic so called secular government.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Introspection Time for Hindu Society

Introspection Time for Narendra Modi & Hindu Society
"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.
 Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
 Sun Tzu , the renowned  Chinese strategist.
Ram Kumar Ohri, IPS (Retd) Nov. 9, 2015
                                              - - - - - - - -                   
         Barely   18 months  after the historic win in  the 2014  elections  today the Indian nation once again stands at the crossroads of history. The resounding victory of  the so-called secular group led by Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav in Bihar elections has set alarm bells ringing among nationalist Hindus. The leaders of the Mahagathbandhan have declared a war on the popularly elected nationalist leader, Narendra Modi.
         Today within India itself, the Hindu society faces multiple dangers from different quarters some of which are quite daunting and mindboggling.   Anyone who reads English newspapers, or watches television programmes, can notice the widespread use of drivel against Hindu ethos,     Surely there is something morbid and ugly in the  spectacle of educated Hindus deriding their own civilizational values. In this context, for the benefit of our younger generations, it may be worthwhile to recall the exhortations of Dr. Annie Besant, who was President of the Indian National Congress in 1917, calling upon Hindus to defend and guard their faith and motherland. In a soul-stirring call to the Hindu society she spoke thus :
          " If Hindus don't maintain Hinduism, who shall save it ? If India's own
 children don't cling to their faith, who shall guard it ? Indians alone
 can save India, and India and Hinduism are one." 
But in today's decadent cultural milieu, dominated by self-serving political buccaneers, who bothers for Annie Besant ?  The new crop of  sham-secularists won't even know who she was and how enormous was her contribution to our freedom movement. Somehow the left-oriented  sermonising secularists are unable to fully  comprehend the intensity of Annie Besant's commitment to India and  the Hindu values.  
          It is time that Hindus reorganised themselves and threw out all  false rituals and obscurantism. The orthodox among them have not only to change their outlook but also get rid of  their passive attitude.  Yet  the Hindu tradition  of "universal humanism"  must be zealously protected.   At the same  time, the fraternity of Hindus and allied faiths, call them Omkar Parivar, if you will,  must  make a new resolve to ensure survival of their identity  at all costs.
          This is a time for strategic introspection by the political and spiritual leaders of Hindus and allied faiths.  One important step towards restructuring the Hindu society will be to summon a major conclave of  representatives of all sections of the Hindu community from the four corners of India, including all reform-minded religious leaders and preachers.  
          The Hindu society must make bold to abolish all caste distinctions in one go and once for all. A Mahayagna should be organised on the pattern of the one held several hundred years ago in the Aravalli hills, perhaps at  Mount Abu, when a similar crisis situation arose for the embattled Hindu civilization because of rapid decimation of Kshatriya warriors while battling the hordes of  invaders. At that critical juncture  by it was considered essential by common consensus to co-opt scores of non-Kshatriya clans and tribal communities into the Kshatriya fold by baptising them as "warriors" through the medium of a formal yagna or "havan". And by that single fiat they came to be known as "Agnikula" Rajputs. The result was electrifying and the crisis caused by the shortage of warriors was overcome by adding a new crop of youthful warriors to fight the onslaught on dharma and freedom.
           It may be recalled that Muslim atrocities reached its peak during the reign of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb who resorted to senseless killings of innocent masses and razed hundreds of temples. While the renowned Hindu warrior Shivaji rallied brave Marathas to join the battle against Aurangzeb's savagery in western India,  another saviour of the oppressed masses rose in north India. Born in Patna in 1666, he was the famous tenth Guru of Sikhs, the Warrior Saint, Guru Gobind Singh, who challenged the might of Mughal empire by taking up arms. Before doing so, however, he wrote a letter to the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, in which he warned  the tyrant   that when "all other means have proven ineffective, it is right then to take up the sword."  
          Those were difficult times for the disunited Hindu society,  divided by caste-based discrimination and trapped in meaningless rituals.  On the auspicious day of Baisakhi, the great Guru created "Khalsa" by baptising five meek Hindus handpicked from different castes and regions of India whom he imbued with rare zeal to fight the growing repression and  injustice. The five disciples handpicked by Guru Gobind Singh came from different castes, including the highest and the lowest, and belonged to different regions of Bharat Varsha. Among them were Daya Ram Kohli, a Kshatriya from Lahore in the north, Dharam Dass, a Jat from Delhi, Mohkam Chand, a low-caste washerman from Dwarka (Gujarat) in the west , Himmat Rai, a cook from Jagannath Puri (Orissa) in the east, and Sahib Chand, a barber from Bidar in the south. The significance of the transformation brought by Guru Gobind Singh was that in one go he removed all inequalities and abrogated all religious prerogatives of higher castes. By moulding them into "Khalsa" he  made all Hindus sit together, eat together and take up arms together to fight to save their dharma and motherland. He was indeed a very worthy son of his heroic father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, who had sacrificed his life to protect the Hindu faith and honour of Kashmiri Pandits when the latter were ordered to embrace Islam on pain of death.  Guru Gobind Singh was both a warrior and a learned scholar who led by personal example.  In one of the famous stanzas of his celebrated hymns he prayed thus to Lord Shiva:
          "De Shiva bar mohe aiyhe 
 Shubh karman te main kabhun na darun
 Na darun Ari se jab jaiye larun 
 Nishche kar apni jeet karun."    
Translated into English the above mentioned mantra means:  "O Shiva, grant me this boon that may I never turn away from doing good deeds, that may I always join the battle against the enemy fearlessly, and by your grace may I always emerge as victor by sheer resolve to win." 
          The difficult times presently facing India demand that all segments of the Hindu society, including the scheduled castes, the scheduled tribes, backward classes and the higher castes should  be brought into the mainstream by abolishing all distinctions of caste and creed. Today in the echelons of political power there is hardly any voice of  the Hindu identity because our fractured society was totally fragmented after Mandal Commission delivered a virtual coup de grace. There are hardly any Hindus left because most  Hindus now tend to identify themselves as backwards, scheduled castes, Yadavas, Jats, Brahmins or  Kshatriyas,  Then there is another tendency among Hindus to define themselves in regional terms  like Marathas, Tamilians or Punjabis. In such a scenario there is  no chance of the voice of Hindu masses being heard in the corridors of power.  Time has come to carry out a radical reform to reinvent the Hindu faith by holding an all encompassing representative conclave of different sections of Hindu society. The need of the hour is to confer the status of twice-born, that is "dwijya", on all categories of Hindus by throwing out  all caste labels by organiosing  a Mahayagna. Only such a bold and dynamic step, remniscent of the one taken in the hoary past in the Aravalies at Mount Abu in Rajasthan, and later on successfully repeated in the seventeenth century by Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, is the pressing need of the hour.  
          All community leaders and intellectuals of Hindus and allied faiths should be involved in this national endeavour to unite, galvanize and restructure the Hindu society. A national level conclave of Hindus  needs to be organised to take stock of the grave situation arising out of the ganging together of anti-national forces. Later on, similar conclaves and yagnas should be held in every State to create mass awareness.
Learn From Our Past
          Decades ago in 1940s the whispers of a folklore could be heard in the dusty villages located around Kala Aamb in Haryana (close to the battleground of Panipat) about how the  Marathas  lost to the army of Ahmed Shah Abdali in the third battle of Panipat. According to the rural legend, on a dark night a few days before the day of the battle, when Abdali went around among his camping soldiers he saw a number of kitchen fires burning in the Maratha camp across the river. Out of sheer curiosity he asked one of his commanders that why were there  so many kitchen fires burning in the enemy camp. He was told that the Hindus were divided into a number of castes  due to which they did not cook and eat together. His instantaneous response was: "Insha Allaha, then I will surely defeat the  infidels". The rest is history.
          After independence at least the above cited folklore should  have awakened  the slumbering Hindu leaders. Alas, they did not wake up, nor tried to learn from their past mistakes ! 
          It will do good to the Hindu society if for the time being all controversial and peripheral issues are placed on the backburner. The focus should be on  unifying the Hindu society by winning back into the Hindu fold all those who deserted it by opening the doors for return to their ancient faith, i.e., "ghar wapasi".  In these troubled times we must adopt a rationalist approach, as was advocated by Swami Vivekananda and Veer Savarkar. Wisdom and sagacity should be the key watchwords in these times of  existential  crisis. 
Need for Public Discourse 
Without such a "samvad" or open public debate it will be difficult to awaken the self-styled secularists and their camp followers to the true dimensions of the multiple threats facing India. Otherwise they will continue to mislead the gullible Hindu masses by deliberately belting out their trade mark dope-laced lullabies from multiple bandstands.
The proposed Hindu conclave must also consider various other options for evolving an effective national strategy, including the need for evolving a dynamic, energetic and vibrant leadership in every State.
 One important step to revitalise the Hindu society would be to assign a more dynamic and purposeful role to women whose participation in nation-building has to be substantially increased. It is not a difficult task because traditionally India has been the continent of Shakti and Hindus have worshipped Mother Goddess for thousands of years.  Therefore all gender discrimination should be ruthlessly put down. and weeded out. Let us not forget that for centuries Lakshmi, Durga and Saraswati have been our role models. Therefore vesting more power in Hindu women and ridding the Indian society of gender bias is an important goal which brooks no more delay.
          Lastly, time has come to boldly remind the Hindu masses by relaying the wake up call to every village, every hearth and every home that those who don't learn from  history will ultimately end up as bad history. That important lesson all Hindus and Sikhs must learn  from our troubled,  eerie  past.   
          Here and now the Hindus must wake up to the call of history, our history and civilization whose very continuance is in peril. To listen to it is to live; to remain deaf or diffident, will mean death.  Every son and daughter of our great ancient land has to make a choice -  and act before it is too late.  
Real Model of Secularism
          Before concluding let us make a cursory comparison of our "perverse secularism" with the secular framework of the United Kingdom, a country often cited as role model for India's parliamentary democracy. In the U.K. uniform civil and criminal laws have been enacted for all religious groups and communities and these are equitably applied to all citizens, without making any exception. In the eyes of the law all citizens are equal irrespective of their gender, creed,  religious beliefs, and modes of worship. Equal respect for all faiths and equal treatment of people belonging to diverse religious groups is the quintessential hallmark of secularism. Unfortunately that high ideal, a vital component of the secular ideology, is totally missing in the Indian theory and practice of secularism.  The constitutional and legal position of secularism is more or less the same in almost all European democracies and America. Yet the British commitment to the secular ideal has not been diminished by the state declaring itself a "Christian" nation. The monarch ascending the throne, whether the queen or the king, invariably assumes the title of "Defender of Faith". Interestingly in the U.K. all important state functions like the coronation and inauguration of the Parliament session are accompanied by a Christian prayer, often led by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself. But that does not detract from the state's commitment to secularism.
In sharp contrast, the system which India has evolved is a putrid and perverse variety of secularism. Hindus must understand that in India secularism has become a duplicitous dogma which supports the Muslims and the Christians, but despises and berates the Hindus.
It is a fact that the  adverse demographic trend has gathered a huge momentum after independence primarily because a large majority of Hindus and allied religious groups have readily adopted the small family norm. In the circumstances, the future of Hindus and allied faiths cannot be taken for granted in the face of adverse demography and growing threat of jihadi terrorism.
It may be recalled that when the Muslim population crossed the thresh-hold of 40 percent in the erstwhile communist and secularitis-infected Yugoslavia, all hell broke loose. The Serb leadership was in the hands of Communists, all die-hard secularists, some even more committed than our own home-grown brand of sham secularists. Slobadan Milosevic was the Chairman of the Socialist Party of Serbia (read Communist Party). But when Kosovar Muslims aided by Albanian jihadis started ethnic cleansing of  the minority Serb population of Kosovo, Milosevic and his select team of communists turned aggressive nationalists. That happened entirely due to a call given by 200 Serb intellectuals, retired army officers and journalists to save the Serbs identity and their heritage which led to sudden revival of the instinct for self preservation and soon self-interest got better of the communist ideology nurtured for decades among the Serbs. In a jiffy the primordial urge for survival overtook the communist leadership and obliterated all traces of Serb secularism, including the much-touted socialist ideal. Ultimately the uncontrollable violent events took such an ugly turn that  Milosevic and his communist team-mates lost  head and resorted to large scale atrocities on Muslims by using the Serb militia as an oppressive tool. With the benefit of hindsight soon the Serbs realized that they have paid a heavy price for their decades long dalliance with secularism and communism. But in the meantime immense damage had been done to the Serb cause and Kosovo, the so-called Jerusalem of Serbia (we had better call it Haldighati of Serbs), was permanently lost to Muslims of Albania.  Hopefully the national leadership of India, including Marxists,  will learn some lessons from the fate of the Balkans and Lebanon, even at this belated stage.
We should remember that if freedom is lost, or should  the country go through another partition and spell of bloodshed, as happened 68 years ago in the sub-continent and repeated  in the Balkans, that will  spell end of the road for India's prosperity as well as its future ambition to emerge as a global power. In any case, the entire burden of population planning need not be carried by the fraternity of Hindus and allied faiths. They have already contributed more than proportionate share. That message must go out boldly to all Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, in no uncertain terms, especially in rural areas. Family planning may be practiced only by those Hindus and Sikhs who are pitiably poor and unable to earn two square meals a day. 
In an interesting analysis of the developing threat to India, Prakash Singh, a retired Director General of Police, has referred to the viewpoint of a controversial intellectual who once said that there were only two possible solutions to the persistent problem of communal conflict in India. One solution was that all Muslims should become Hindus, while the second solution was that all Hindus should become Muslims. It was argued by the same intellectual (name withheld by Prakash Singh) that Muslims being what they are will never opt for Hindu faith and therefore the only alternative was for the Hindus to embrace Islam, if the communal question is to be resolved.  Prakash Singh concedes that the proposed solution will outrage the majority community, i.e., the Hindus but candidly posits the million dollar question: are we, the Indians, not already moving in that direction ?   The ethnic cleansing in Kashmir by driving out lakhs of Pandits, the persistent persecution of Hindus and Buddhists in Bangladesh, the massive infiltration from Bangladesh causing Hindus to become a minority in 6 districts of Assam  and the sharp growth of Muslim numbers in West Bengal and Bihar clearly point to  the turmoil likely to overwhelm India in the near future. Prakash Singh has referred to the resolve of an important Lashkar-e-Toiba leader who declared that his organisation would not rest till the Islamic flag flies on Red Fort. Was he day dreaming, asks Prakash Singh ?   

By Sabhar :- Ram Kumar Ohri, IPS (Retd)