Hinduism and Indian Religions at the Crossroads in New India
Problem Statement of Present day Hinduism
Hinduism, a way of life for Humanity over several tens of thousands of years has been under threat in the recent few centuries. First it had to suffer under cruel Islamic rulers, later under British occupation and of late, by its own followers. It is facing several challenges some of which are mentioned below: -
- There is no single apex religious body who could be considered as supreme in the understanding of this religion who could clarify many of the misgivings voiced by some ignorant people.
- The basic principles of conduct of the Hinduism are seemingly fading away under false customs, rituals and traditions. Vedic and Aadhyatmic teaching has been dealt with severe body blow. Most of such pathshalas and Gurukuls have been closed and a superficial/shallow teaching introduced along with English pattern. The depth of knowledge of our ancient literature are lacking among the newer generations of the scholars.
- There is no formal platform where the basic teachings of Humanity could be imparted to all that will teach everyone to love and respect the creation of the almighty irrespective of one’s faith.
- There are some monotheistic faiths being imposed on the followers of peace-loving Hindu either by threats of life or by allurement. This has created an imbalance and is marginalising other religions which don’t impose it. Many faiths and religions have been swallowed away by Islam and Christianity by threat of sword or allurement of means.
- The basic foundation of Hinduism evolved around the revered temples and teachings that were severely dented and damaged under the cruel Islamic invaders. Entire Nalanda Vishwavidyalay was destroyed. Precious books and writings burnt and looted from most of the temples.
- The Four-Varna system of Hinduism has been long under misinterpretation giving rise to hereditary caste systems that has divided people. Although a similar caste-division exists in other faiths and religions too, it is not in such overt conflict.
- The poverty of the common men keeps them away from exercising the principles of Hinduism. Majority of Hindus are never taught the basic principles of the religion for generations yet it survives.
- Some ignorant people are trying to defame Hindu and the religion…comparing with hateful and intolerant Talibans and other Islamic radicals and terrorists.
There was a time when many Hindus were made to feel worthless under Islamic and British India and pushed/resigned to change their religion, often en-mass. The visionary founder of the Arya Samaj started some limited reforms to revive Hinduism. After independence, our secular constitution has hardly done any good to the Hindu religion. Two other monotheistic faiths in India were able to manoeuvre themselves to have own personal laws. Whether good or bad, they seem by and large satisfied or happy…BUT…India is become a strange sovereign democracy where Churches are governed from Vatican, Muslim clerics look at Mecca for guidance and Hinduism is rudderless for the reasons mentioned above. There also seems to be a widening gap between Hinduism and the religions that branched out of it. Further, there are varied interest groups of pseudo-seculars, pseudo-liberals and largely irreligious communists who take pleasure in demeaning, denigrating and taking dig at both Hindu and Hinduism. Although there is no immediate threat to the Hindu religion per se, surely it is at a crossroads, unsure of which way to move.
War of perceptions on Hindu and Hinduism
Bharteeya Janta Party (BJP) and its leaders are being blamed by the pseudo-liberals and pseudo-seculars to have caused the biggest damage to Hindu and Hindu Religion…by awakening them…from their deep sleep…of both Nindra and Tandra. They feel the docile, mainstream Hindu populace were better unconcerned of the emerging threats from various corners. They were better aloof of the challenges to the community posed by the politico-religious vultures in the country. For them, the compromised and divided Hindu along various political lines were ideal. It was good that they did not know of the ‘vote-bank’ politics of Congress and some other parties. In the times of Congress, anyone claiming loudly to be a Hindu was a communal. While Christians or Muslims standing in solidarity with fellow communities are considered acceptable for them, a Hindu bearing allegiance to another Hindu is termed a communal act. They want Hindu mass to remain in the submissiveness under the political vultures. For our political vultures in near 60 yrs of ruling congress, Rashtreey Swayam Sevak Sangh’s moto of Hindu Rashtra, awakening Hindu nationalism, Hindu spiritualism, promoting our traditional culture of Yog, is being communal. Making the Hindu aware of the various reasons of Hindu grudges in India mentioned below, disturbs them the most.
Who is responsible for the mess?
One legitimate question arises whether todays’ Muslims are responsible for the above grudges. The answer is NOT. Surely present Muslims of India are not responsible for the atrocities committed by the cruel medieval rulers BUT…many of the Muslims of today bear allegiance to those rulers and that hurts the Hindu sentiments. Most of the reasons enumerated above involve the Muslim bodies of todays’ India and unfortunately most if not all political outfits practising ‘Muslim Vote-Bank politics’ esp Congress (incl TMC & NCP) and M-Y exploiting Yadavs (Mulayam-Akhilesh duo of SP and Lalu-Tejaswi duo of RJD) indulge in it…and that is infuriating the Hindu psyche of today.
Anyone pointing fingers on the growing Muslim percentage in India from ~9.8% after partition to now nearing 17% is communal in their eyes. Such people earlier feared persecution in Congress regimes. It is only now when an open debate is taking place on the issues. Such discriminatory mind-set existed before BJP led NDA govt came to power at the centre in 2014. Hereafter only, Hindu could talk openly that he was a proud Hindu. People started speaking openly how Hinduism was under eclipse under Islamic, British or Congress rules of the past. Now they talk openly about how Muslims are proliferating in India at an unprecedented rate that Hindus have already become the minority in 12 districts (besides J&K). Some Hindus have started objecting to cow slaughter in the states where it was banned and started vigilantism which is severely criticised by the pseudo-secularists/liberals. More and more Hindu, both individuals and groups started aligning with BJP and RSS ideologies of nationalism. These happenings are severely criticised today in one voice by all vote-bank politicians. They are dividing Hindu on caste lines…OBC, SC/ST against the other castes…for the sake of garnering their votes.
The Past and Present crisis
Indian medieval history is a stark reminder of how cruel Islamic rulers overwhelmed the divided Hindu to submission in the early 2nd millennia. While some lower caste Hindu greeted and welcomed the Muslim victory over Hindu Kingdoms with drums and dances, numerous Rajputs and many Brahmins among many others gave away their lives in an attempt to protect the motherland. The ‘vote-bank politicians’ of today are indulging in dividing the Hindu once again. Today, in the 75th year of our independence from the British at mammoth cost, once again some semblance of those weaknesses are showing up. The cost of the independence was the partition of our motherland, the great human tragedy of the post-partition violence, near genocide of the left-over Hindu in Pakistan, Hindu made to believe that Roti, Kapda aur Makan was all that they needed…and worst, some radical Muslim leaders are hinting another partition-like situation gradually emerging in India. Hindu as community and Hindustan as nation has suffered the most. BUT…our Hindu community has apparently not learnt lessons of disunity.
While the nation is grateful to Sardar Patel to have united the territories held under various smaller kingdoms, some 565-odd princely states, Nehru’s (congress) greed for power made the biggest loss to our society when he indulged in the vote-bank politics by Muslim appeasements, by keeping sizable amounts of Muslims in India and later unilateral compliance to Nehru-Liyaqat pact of 1950. While Liyaqat backed out from the pact that resulted in the gradual genocide of Hindu in Pak, Muslim appeasement policies have made Muslims in India to proliferate to an extent that Hindu are made to flee in own land. Muslim appeasement has run so deep in to the DNA of some of the political outfits indulging in ‘vote-bank politics’ that they often ignore ‘national and Hindu’ interests, taking them for granted. They are compromising national interest by turning blind-eyes to the Pakistan-sponsored Islamic radicalism and terrorism in India right from the late 1980s. As a result, Hindu are being threatened in their own nation. Besides, whenever there are communal attacks on Hindu in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh, they flee to India to seek shelter and there are natural reactions here against the intolerant and Jihadi Islam.
Islamic Threats in Modern India
It is not only the population of Muslim that is threatening, it is their radical behaviours and Jihadi acts too. Influenced by 2014 call for Global Islamic Caliphate by Abu Al-Baghdadi, many Muslim organisations are actively working for it. There are numerous mosques in Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala and UP where terrorists are believed to be making IEDs, or stock-piling firearms and other weapons within its premises to wage jihad at a ripe time. It is happening in other states too. Foreign flow of funds has been traced out to radical and Jihadi outfits. Muslims also shelter and protect terrorists from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Illegal Bengali and Rohingya Muslim migrants are being sheltered and shielded in their ghettos who could be used as mob for attacks. With increasing numbers and mob mentality witnessed during Shaheenbaghs and in Bangalore attacks last year. In all radical Islamic attacks whether in Kashmir, Mumbai train attacks, 26/11, Parliament attacks, Godhara killings and so on, there have also been Indian Muslim elements colluding with them. Hence, the concerns of Hindu are natural to increasing Muslims population who have radicalism inherent to it. Of late, there are increasing Hindu tendency to retaliate and that is not good.
Why so deeply concerned about Islamists?
It is another legitimate question by the commoners as to why should Hindu be so much of concerned about Muslims or Islamists to be precise and not others…say Christians, Jews, Parsis or others. The answer is straight forward. Christians seldom attacked Hindus as mobs. Christians have no agenda of Caliphate. Christianity has no religious weapon of Jihad. Unlike Islam, we have never heard their slogan…Christianity khatare me hai. There is no doubt that missionaries gradually started converting major part of the North-East India even before independence that continued in Congress India and even now. Unlike Islam, they have seldom converted on threats of sword (except ‘Army of God’ in N-E states). They converted for lure of better education, better social status esp for the low caste Hindu. Whether mother Teresa or the other missionaries, they all lured the underprivileged Hindus…it is something that the Hindu community is slowly getting warry of and started reacting in the recent decades. This is the reason some Hindu outfits like Bajrang dal and Sriram sene mounted isolated sporadic attacks on missionaries and churches to prevent their bids to convert. Recently, ‘missionary of charities’ founded by mother Teresa also has been found to be receiving foreign funds for illegal conversions. This is highly condemnable.
Impacts of the neighbourhood
Hindu and Indian Religion cannot remain isolated and untouched with atrocities committed against them in the erstwhile undivided India…in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Right from the time of partition, whenever atrocities are committed against them, they flee to India. Hence, govt must take a firm stand in guarantying their citizenship rights under CAA presently held in abeyance. An enquiry commission may also be set-up with information to the UN Human Rights body to investigate the genocide of Hindu and Indian Religions in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh…on the similar lines of ‘Jeremy Hunt commission’ constituted in the Middle-East which established that the persecution of the Christians in those nations amounted to their Genocide. Thereafter, India will have a firm ground to be a homeland for Indian Religions and be free to act to safeguard the interest of all individuals and families belonging to Indian Religion. This could also be a basis for forming a ‘Hindu or Indian Religion’ State…that every religion in the world incl Islam, Christian, Buddhist, Jews have for themselves (read ‘भारत में हिन्दू असहायक्यों?’ https://articles.thecounterviews.com/articles/hindu-helpless-in-india/).
The Way Ahead
Clearly, Hindu and Hinduism in India has been at a crossroads for many decades that calls for corrective measures. The first and foremost concern is the rise in the percentages of Muslims and Islamic radicalism incl Jihadists. A retaliatory or reactionary response will not work in our democratic and secular set-up. We witnessed a poorly conducted ‘Dharm-Sansad’ at Haridwar in Dec 2021 where some ill-informed law makers made objectionable statements of taking law in own hands against Muslims. Such irresponsible statements are condemnable. It could have been appropriate to caution Hindus to remain vigilant against any flash Jihadi attacks and take community and individual based protective measures. A “Dharm Sansad’ of learned religious scholars may be encouraged to find out a way to bring back more and more people in to Hinduism. ‘Ghar wapasi’ through re-conversion in line with pre-independence approach Dayanand Saraswati’s Arya Samaj. A voluntary conversion by non-radical Muslims could pave the way. It is believed that majority of Indian Muslims are peace-loving. Effort must be made to bring them back to Hinduism. No violent means can be adopted. Some restrictions on the Tabligi Jamat may also have to be initiated which encourage conversions to Islam in India.
While religious conversions are granted in our constitution, it cannot be a one-way traffic as Islam prohibits converting to other religions. India under present constitution has witnessed accelerated fall in the Hindu demography esp from 1981 onward. This is unacceptable in a country where Hindu and Indian Religions of Jain, Bouddh and Sikhism originated and developed. Hindu or the other Indian Religion followers have no other country to flee or seek shelter. The day Muslims become majority in India, they will start genocide of other religions just like the other 47 Islamic nations; a tragedy to which even UN, UNSC and Human Rights bodies have turned blind eyes (read ‘Shamefully biased Human Rights Council’ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/354753650_Shamefully_Biased_UN_Human_Rights_Council). In Muslim dominated states and provinces, they will repeat ‘Ralive, Tsalive ya Galive’ (of Kashmir against the native Hindu Pandits) or impose ‘Convert, Flee or Die’ (of Iraq against Yezidis). Muslim as a community has demonstrated time and again that they are intolerant and untrustworthy for the followers of other faiths and religions. Hence, a constitutional amendment must be guaranteed to prevent any further reduction in religious demography of Hindu/Indian Religions.
Majority of Hindu in India have lived in poverty and slowly their quality of life is improving with the economic development of the country. In addition, Modi govt is ensuring that the benefit of development are reaching the last men in the social queue. The Schedule caste and Schedule Tribes too are getting the benefit of progress. Schemes like Jandhan, Ujjwala, electricity to all poor, DBT of assistance etc have helped a lot. Of course, more needs to be done.
If Hindu want to indulge in self-destruction, they may remain divided to their perils. Otherwise, to remain strong, they must unite together and must not let be exploited by the political vultures indulging in vote-bank politics. The pseudo-liberals and pseudo-secular with their biased tones must be shown their limits. Hindu and the followers of Indian religions must be made to believe that the nation and its entire resources belong to them and they must preserve it well…much beyond the concerns of Roti, Kapda aur Makan. They must regain their lost glories of Islamic and British period. They must evolve as a united force on the world scenario. Soon it will be an Atmnirbhar Bharat and 4th largest economy of the world. Surely the opponents of Indian Religions will try all means to divide and supress us. We will have to win over them. We must choose our path of development and progress from the present crossroads. The Supreme Court Verdict on Ram-Janmbhumi has been morale-booster for the entire Hindu community in the world and construction of the Ram mandir over lord Ram’s birth-place is an honour for all. It was also good to see the part-revival of Kashi-Vishwanath and Badrinath temples. In the same way, the making of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for the Sikhs and Bouddh corridor for the Buddhists are right steps taken by Modi Govt. Spiritual India seems to be on the right path of reviving its lost pride.
It is concluded that millennia and centuries old religious discord in India has been somewhat kept under carpet for too long…to evade public debate by the present day ‘vote-bank’ politicians. It is obvious that Islam is increasingly turning into an intolerant religion, at odds with almost all other religions & faiths of the world. Hindu grudges against Indian Muslims, esp against their radical elements, have been increasing in the last few decades and apparently nothing much is being done to redress those issues. Hindu and followers of Indian Religions must rise above the requirements of their basic needs and shape-up their own destiny of material and spiritual leadership it enjoyed before Islamic invasion. Radical Islamic behaviours the world over indicate that Islam is highly intolerant and untrustworthy for non-Muslims. Several Islamic attacks are gradually causing Hindu to react/retaliate. There is foreign funding from some radical Islamic states to promote terrorism, radicalism and conversion to Islam. In the same way, Christian missionaries too are indulging in conversions and they too receive foreign funding for it. Hindu and the followers of Indian Religions have waited far too long at the crossroads showing undue sensitivities towards other religions who don’t care for them. It is time for Hindu and Indian religion to regain the lost glories of past and lead the world. There is a saying…destiny favours the brave. Hindu and Hinduism must march ahead and redeem its lost glories.