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
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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.