Monday, May 5, 2014

Hinduism and today's Hindutwa are totally different.

Some self proclaimed Hindutwa forces are in full swing now a days in India, they are smelling fresh ray of hope because of emergence of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Mr. Narendra Modi in political arena. Mr. Modi is leading the race for the job of next prime minister of India, his RSS background and image of Hindu nationalist leader makes these people very optimistic about their future. There are many religious or cultural organizations all over the world, they all try to propagate agenda of their own religion or cult using various ways. There are many organizations like RSS, VHP, Bajarang Dal, etc. in India, they all claim to be flag bearers of Hindu ideology. There are many others who focus on propagating ideas of other faiths also but in this post I want to focus on some organizations which claim to propagate message of Hinduism. They all claim that their ideology is synonymous with Hinduism, which is considered as one of the oldest practicing religions of the world. All these organizations have very sizable number of followers in India. Religion plays very important role in day to day life on many Indians and because of this it is also widely used in politics also (in various forms like caste, communalism, etc.).

Organized and aggressive campaigning by all these organizations, their strong cadre base and supply of sufficient amount of funding from various sources help these organizations to spread their message. All these resources also helped them to create the perception that Hinduism and the Hindutwa ideology which they propagate are one and the same thing. They claim to be protector of Hinduism (as if it needs one), they create a perception that Hinduism is under threat by some invaders and other religions (like Islam or Christianity) are trying to destroy it. Similar line of thought (threat from other religions) is used by almost all religions all over the world, it helps them to polarize the society in favor of their own religion (if they are in majority), or if they are in minority, it helps them to instill feeling of insecurity among their followers which in turn increase their dependence on such organizations, these people look towards them as protector of their identity. This type of propaganda is specially dangerous in plural society like India as it creates communal tension and religious animosity. This divide and rule policy can take many ugly turns which results in incidents like communal riots, forceful religious conversions, casteism, discrimination based of religion, etc. There are many example of such incidents from history to support this hypothesis.

The perception created by these organizations has worked very well for them, we can see that at least to some extend they were successful in propagating some of their hard line Hindutwa ideology among people and create division between them based on their religious beliefs. Coexistence of many religions (or faiths) at the same time (pluralism) is central feature of India. Pluralism was key feature of all civilizations which existed in that region, Hinduism itself is a very good example of a religion where variety of traditions and beliefs coexist without having any single book or saint dictating the terms. Some countries from south east Asia after their gaining their independence chose to follow religious path (for example Pakistan) and we all can see what is their situation today. India fortunately chose to follow a secular path which keeps religion and state separate, there is freedom to choose and practice any religion, state laws are not based on any single religion or particular philosophy. But it is also true that even in today's modern world no one can ignore the need and role of religion in any society or country. Many people still need support of religion and religious beliefs play very important role in their lives, many associate their identity with their religion. Because of such a strong influence of religion on society many politicians and political parties cannot avoid temptation to use it as a tool to attain their political goals. For this purpose, many of these organizations twist and turn the facts as per their convenience, they try to propagate very conservative or sectarian views to oppose certain culture (for example so called western culture). They try to create as much animosity among people as possible as it helps them to polarize people's opinion. This game is going on for very long everywhere in world, India is one of major victims of this type of politics, British rulers started it and now Indian political parties are continue to play the same game. India has suffered at the hands of various political outfits which either play politics of appeasement or division. These type of policies have created huge problems, some gruesome and inhuman communal riots also happened but still neither political parties nor people are willing to desert this approach.

This hard line Hindutwa philosophy which these organizations are preaching is totally different than Hinduism. Many people don't consider Hinduism as religion but consider it as a way of life or call by some other name like Sanatan Dharma. Like all other religions Hinduism has its own pros and cons. But in general it is one of the peaceful religions of the world, with very tolerant views and inclusive nature. But over the years lot of bad traditions creeped in (like casteism, discrimination of women, superstitions, etc.) and like any other religion hardliners emerged to claim the ownership of it and its welfare. These hardliners are the people who create problem in every religion, they are the ones who are always interested in conflicts. They are the one who think that some conflict is always necessary to keep their religious movement alive and active. And to keep their so called religious movement alive they can go to any extend (even to the extend of creating a communal riot which results in loss of many innocent lives). There are many rules and laws in place to keep check on these type of activities (where some social elements and organizations try to disturb social harmony), but at the same time there are many loopholes in these laws which allows these people to bypass them or get away without any punishment. There is no strong deterrent which can stop these people from using such politics of hatred and divisiveness. It's entirely up to people to understand this dirty trick and oppose these efforts to divide the society on religious or political grounds. In any civilized or progressive society their should be complete freedom of expression, so all these people have right to express their ideas and views but at the same time more liberal people from each religion should come forward to oppose such sectarian views.

Hinduism and this so called Hindutwa are totally different things. Their Hindutwa is totally political which is designed to suit some particular organizations and their aim is to target minorities. Any religion which targets minorities can not be considered as tolerant or inclusive. Let's oppose this fake ideology which is trying to camouflage its divisive agenda under the name of Hindutwa. Hinduism and this Hindutwa are totally different things, sooner we understand this better it is for our country and society, otherwise we don't know how long this game will continue and how many lives it will claim.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

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