Tuesday, March 28, 2006
GOOD HINDU – So Far, But NO MORE!
A virile Hindu Agenda must have two components:  What Hindus should believe in and do, to qualify to be a good Hindu;  What Hindus, being the overwhelming majority of the nation’s population, should be obliged to do for the religious minorities and what Hindus have a right to expect from them in the national interest. At present, most Hindus think that if they go to temples, sing bhajans, and participate in festivals, they become good Hindus. While that is necessary, it is, however, not sufficient in the present historical context to be a good Hindu. At present, Hinduism is under siege from foreign religious forces and is suffering from apathy of Hindus at home. Moreover, just because Hindu religion says ‘Sarva Dharma Samabhaav’, we as Hindus cannot treat all religions as equal and let preachers and missionaries of other religions do what they like in the country. In fact all religions are not equal. Till 1000 years ago the Hindu religion was the most humane religion, with practical prescriptions on how to lead a peaceful life, stress free and regarded other religions as alternative, even if more obscure, paths to God. It had a magnificent record of human rights in receiving from abroad those persecuted in their own countries and giving them full freedom to practice their religious beliefs here. No other religion has had such a track record of practising ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakkam’. Hence, Hinduism can not be equated to other religions. Of course, due to subsequent degeneration and treacherous foreign invasions, the Hindu religion developed certain retrograde practices, most pernicious being linking the caste of a person to his birth antecedents. Nowhere in our holy scriptures is this linkage mentioned. In Uttara Gita, Krishna Bhagwan specifically states that caste has no connection with birth but to gunas [attributes]. The idea of varna vyavastha was not a hegemonist order but for decentralising the sources of power in a society. These sources were identified as knowledge, the state, commerce, and land. Whoever made a life using any one of these sources of power then acquired that caste, viz., designated as Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Shudra respectively. To ensure that there is no concentration of power, nobody could have more than one caste. If a person committed any heinous crime, then that person was ostracised. That person’s children were not automatically ostracised if they were not in the same mould. For example, Valmiki was born to an ostracised parent, but Goddess Saraswati herself taught him mantras and gave him vidya. He then became a rishi and wrote the Ramayana. Veda Vyasa was similiarly born to a shudra fisherwoman. But as a rishi he wrote the Mahabharata. Same is true of our greatest poet Kalidasa born to a vanavasi, but circumstances enabled him to be accepted as a scholar. Vishwamitra was born in a Kshatriya family and became the rishi of rishis. On the other hand, Ravana was recognised as a scholarly Brahmin having done tapasya in Kailash and received boons directly from Lord Shiva. But he lost it all due to his torment of an innocent lady, Sita. In the great debate between two rishis, Bhrigu and Bhardwaja, this conception of castes as having nothing to do with birth was made amply clear. But the British imperialists and later their Oxbridge educated Indian stooge historians— mostly professors in JNU in Delhi—twisted all this and linked it to the completely bogus Aryan-Dravidian race divide concoction to generate caste hatred, and subsequently to Marxist class struggle to please their new bosses, the KGB. Hence, Hindu religion is not equal to other religions but in fact better structured for pursuit of happiness through devotion. Because of it’s commonwealth character of having no one God but manifested in many, not one Mecca or Church but temples galore, nor just one book of scripture but a feast of rich religious texts, Hinduism is the most democratic and tolerant religion. It is distinguished from other religions in that it charts a way of discipline for everyone, virtuous or past sinner, to have God’s darshan in this life. In Islam and In Uttara Gita, Krishna Bhagwan specifically states that caste has no connection with birth but to gunas [attributes]. The idea of varna vyavastha was not a hegemonist order but for decentralising the sources of power in a society. Christianity, one can meet God only after death. I am writing all this to say that when we say “Garv se bolo ham Hindu Hain” it is not because we are proud to be born Hindu but because Hinduism is the world’s most well structured and practical theology, besides being the oldest and continuing religion. Those who want to know how practical it is, need only to read Chapter 12 of the Bhagavat Gita for a synopsis on how to be near and dear to God for anyone, high or low. Hence Hindus must believe that while we respect all other religions as equally capable of leading to God, even if not as sensibly, nevertheless it is the duty of a Hindu to propagate Hinduism, defend it collectively, and organise for it. Because of Hinduism’s contemporary relevance, we should see that Hindus remain not less than 85 percent of the population. Hindu religion is not safe if it is in a minority as the experience in Kashmir, Bangladesh and Pakistan has proved to us. Hence, we should stoutly oppose religious conversion of Hindus to other faiths. Such conversions are bound to be on inducements or by a confidence trick of the missionary. We should, therefore, not be spectators as we were when the Kanchi Mutt Shankaracharya was dragged as a common criminal to prison on a cooked up case or the Pakistani-Bangladeshi conspiracy to damage temples and kill innocent people in Varanasi. Since the Indian Airlines plane hijack to Kandhahar in December 1999, the terrorists have become more audacious as we have tried to quietly suffer their atrocities or capitulated to their demands. Now to be a good Hindu one should stand up and say “Thus far, but no more !” Those who lack the spine or the stomach to say so, should be asked to get out of the way. We need today a virat Hindu samaj, and not a collection of selfish bhajan mandalis claiming to be Hindus petitioning God to give them some goodies. One Hindu lion is better than ten thousand Hindu goats. Either Hindus must learn to hunt when attacked, or be hunted and consumed. So, what should a good Hindu believe in ? In my view such a Hindu should hold that:  India is an ancient land of the Hindus with the longest unbroken civilisation; Every Hindu must, therefore, debunk and reject the Aryan-Dravidian race migration theory;  A Hindu should retaliate in hot pursuit of aggressors when his religious symbols and his country are attacked, and a good Hindu would prefer to lose everything than submit to tyranny or blackmail, or be afraid of risking nuclear war when the nation’s integrity is at stake;  A Hindu must repudiate the birth-based concept of caste system and seek Hindu consolidation by recognising no other social categorisation except by educational attainment;  A Hindu must strive to communicate with other Hindus in Hindi with a Sanskrit vocabulary, and keep Sanskritising Hindi till it becomes Sanskrit;  A Hindu will resolutely oppose collective or group conversion of Hindus to other religious faiths by demanding a comprehensive legislation to ban such conversions, while the same time being ever ready to welcome back to the Hindu fold any Muslim or Christian by conversion without allowing the caste factor to be an obstacle in their assimilation. Such a good Hindu has an obligation to defend religious minorities but only if the obligation bilateral. When the Kanchi Mutt Shankaracharyas were arrested on a false case, not one Christian or Muslim organisation condemned it even though the Supreme Court described the foisted cases as “without prima facie merit”. Why do Christian and Muslim feel this disconnect with the travails of the Hindu community? This disconnect has enraged the Hindus who feel that secularism is a one-way traffic of Hindu largesse to minorities, with no reverse obligations. This needs to be corrected by creating an environment in the country in which Hindus and other minorities feel that they are joint legatees of the Hindu civilisation. This can be achieved if Muslims and Christians accept that their ancestors are Hindus and cherish this legacy. If they do, and I believe the silent majority amongst them do, then India will become a family of Hindus and those whose ancestors are Hindus. India can then justifiably be called Hindustan. In such a Hindustan, there will be no majority and minority but only rich and poor, privileged and deprived, and educated and illiterate. Difference in religion need not mean a difference in culture. That is the Hindustani mindset, a sixth requirement of a good Hindu. Thus, a Hindu agenda aims at building a national outlook in which Hindus and minorities accept that they are from a common lineage and equal partners, and thus have a equal responsibility to fight and sacrifice for the Hindu heritage. All six items of the Agenda would then apply not only Hindus but on the minorities as well.