TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT HINDU-MOSLEM CONFLICTS IN INDIA
......................By Pandita Indrani
(Pandita Indrani was born in Trinidad, West Indies, has been visiting India since 1973, and spent the last 2 years interviewing senior journalists across India for her PhD thesis on educating journalists for the information age)
The western media are fed by large global news agencies whose agendas transcend national loyalties to espouse multinational concerns. And dead Hindus and Moslems in India, or dead Africans in Africa are only newsworthy if the spin will promote the foreign policies of western governments. India is a land of complex diversities - once a leader in the non-aligned movement, but today a follower in the globalization race. India's social institutions have been torn apart, first by the Moslem invaders and later by the British. The British entrenched the caste system in India's socio-political life such that it strengthened caste differentiations rather than reducing them. Every government since Independence has failed to correct this for fear of unsettling vote banks.
The Indian constitution divides its nation on the basis of religion, giving minority status and benefits to all religions that are not classified as "Hindu," and to groups that are in the lower socio-economic scale within the Hindu classification. At present Moslems and Christians are classified as minorities along with those castes that were at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. The Indian constitution classifies Jains, Buddhist and Sikhs as Hindus since they have come from the same womb. Today these groups wish to declare themselves as independent religions, thereby giving them minority status and access to affirmative action benefits. The Ramakrishna Mission tried to get minority status some years ago but the courts denied them the same. Other Hindu groups have been making a similar call for independent status too. The caste and minority classifications of Indian society are institutions that need reform in order to carry the Indian society forward. These are millstones for post-modern India.
Against this background lies much of motivation that drives the Hindu-Moslem-Christian conflicts in India. The Godhra incident that started the present Hindu-Moslem conflicts occurred when a Moslem mob of over 2,000, burnt alive, several Hindus in a train that had stopped at that station. There was an instant backlash by Hindus. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad openly requested, in the Press, that Moslem organizations condemn the attack but not one of them did so.
It is always unfortunate when the innocent become victims of the anger and hatred of leaders, especially in the name of religion. It is equally unfortunate that this was allowed to occur because the Hindu and Moslem intelligentsia remained silent. No Moslem body condemned the attack on the Hindus, just as they failed to condemn the attack on America on 9/11/01, opting instead to openly declare allegiance to a Pan-Islamic ideology and identity that transcended their Indian nationality and identity. The Communist intelligentsia stereotyped all Hindus as aggressors and all Moslems and minorities as victims. Such broad generalizations paint an inaccurate picture of India's complex realities.
When Hindus destroyed the Babri structure (an unused, I stress, unused, dilapidated mosque that, Hindus say, was built on a Ram mandir destroyed by the Moslem invaders in earlier history) and sought to rebuild the part that is their functional mandir, there were a number of bombings as a backlash against Hindus across India. The world remained silent and the Hindu and Moslem intelligentsia remained silent. The unscrupulous politicians convinced Moslems that the unused Babri structure was indeed a functional mosque - which it is not. When the genocide of Hindus started in Bangladesh in the last couple months, the world remained silent and the Hindu intelligentsia remained silent. Some Moslem journalists spoke out and were persecuted for doing so. Hindu numbers have dropped dramatically in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir but the world and the Hindu intelligentsia remained silent. The murder of outstanding Hindus in India goes unnoticed and uncommented upon in India. The headquarters of one the largest Hindu organizations was bombed in Madras a few years back. And these are just incidents that I am randomly recalling from my visits to India.
Many Hindus see the Godhra incident as the last straw. Some see the need for a firewall against the sustained and well-organized offensives being waged against Hindus on political and religious grounds. The militancy of Hindu groups is a reaction to these offensives. It would be wrong to associate this type of militancy, which is a reaction to aggressors, with the militancy that marks aggressors on a peaceful people. I unequivocally condemn the attacks by Hindus on innocent people in the current backlash as I unequivocally condemn the aggression of militant Islam and militant Christianity on innocent Hindus in India. It is a great shame when the innocent, children and women are raped, burnt alive, tortured and so on in the name of religion.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad is a firewall against aggression on Hindus. And it is in this context that one needs to read what is happening now. Christian and Moslem bodies have been aggressively working with the American government to deny any legitimacy to militant Hinduism. Having read the Indian scene you may agree with me that militancy is going to rise in India as Hindus rise up to defend the handsomely funded and well designed pogroms against them. We may wish for peace, but it is not going to come as long as the aggressor is pointing a gun at your head and your back is against the wall.
The rich Islamic world is using American technology and public relations know-how to market itself globally. Islamic governments, through their foreign policies, fund American academia and others around the world to institutionalize Islamic studies in their education system. This is not an attempt at disseminating innocent religious perspectives but an attempt at controlling academia and the dissemination of knowledge and information. And they are doing a pretty fine job. America, Britain and most of the European countries may call themselves secular but they promote a Christian agenda along with their foreign policies. India calls itself secular and, in the process, seeks to deny its Hindu culture and religion as defining its national ethos. So Hindus have no governmental infrastructure, as Islam or Christianity, to defend their religion and culture in any part of the world. Nepal (sic)**, nominally a Hindu kingdom, has failed miserably.
(** WHEN ELEPHANT SIZED UNITED HINDUSTAN HAS BEEN MUTILATED AND KILLED, HOW CAN ONE EXPECT LITTLE STARVING RABBIT CALLED NEPAL TO STAND UP TO THE 'LAND GRABBING HUNGRY PACK OF WOLVES OF ISLAM' ATTACKING HER FROM ALL SIDES?)
So, who speaks for the Hindus, who takes up their causes? Well the Hindu intelligentsia has failed to do so and there is no governmental infrastructure for doing so. The Hindu people are among the most misunderstood in the world. They cannot be viewed through the Judeo-Christian lens.
It is my projection that Hindus are going to become like the Jews - scattered over the globe, and having to fight for some space that they may call their own. While the Americans will support the Jews (because of their economic might within America) Hindus will never get the support of Christian countries like America and Britain nor the Islamic countries - for obvious reasons. It is about the weak and the strong. The Tibetans became a celebrated "American and movie star" cause only when they lost their homeland. In the process of losing their country, the world remained silent and the Hindu intelligentsia remained silent.
The challenge before us is how to live in harmony amidst our diversity. You will no doubt agree with me that Hindus are among the best that have mastered this art of living in harmony with others. Conflicts originating out of the struggle for harmony in diversity are expected to heighten as the global village gets smaller and neo-colonialism takes another avatar in globalization, and refugees migrate in large blocs to societies that are different to the countries of their birth. We cannot sit in the west and prescribe for peoples in the East, whose societies and ways of life are being destabilized by western and imperialistic religious, economic and technological initiatives - without having walked in their shoes. We need to be more vociferous in condemning crimes against humanity and not wait until the last minute to do so. I, too, would like peace but I am not going to close my eyes and pray for it; I will pray for peace with my eyes wide open - all the better to see with.
ARMED MUSLIM MILITANTS (Hamas fighters) have sought refuge in the CHURCH OF NATIVITY in Betlehem. (April 8, 202).
The "beast" knows the art of survival perfectly. What respect does it have for churches in Northern Cyprus, East Timur, South Philippines, Kosova, BOGUSdesh, BAHAWALPUR and ISLAMABAD in Pakistan?
What respect for the places of worship of the othres, does this MOHAMMEDAN "beast" have in AYODHYA (Babri mosque), JERUSALEM (Al Aqsa mosque) and ISTANBUL (the grand Cathedral turned into mosque)?
What respect for GOLDEN TEMPLE, a place of worship in Amritsar, did the trecherous female AGENT OF MOHAMMED (Mrs. India KHAN, masquerading under the surname of "GANDHI" to fool the simple Hindus, who later captured EAST Bengal only to return it to her ISLAMIC "BROTHERS") have in our PARTITIONED India when she sent the Indian Army and destroyed SRI AKAL TAKHT SAHIB in the manner of Barbaric BABUR'S DESTRUCTION OF THE GRAND TEMPLE IN AYODHYA, on a cunning, politically suspect pretext, and imposed SIX-DAY LONG CURFEW on the whole State of EAST Punjab?
Can a MOHAMMEDAN act so cowardly and shamelessly as to take shelter in a CHURCH, which in his own good time in an ISLAMIC republic, he wishes to destroy, plunder, or set fire to?