Hindu Khatre Mein Hai: Vakey Hi Hai
After the release of the Kerala Story and the aftermath of the Meiti insurgency in Manipur, PM Modi gave a convincing speech in his Mann ki Baat, or as his enemies say, Monkey Bath. It was compelling making the non-believers like me see the point that there is indeed a conspiracy brewing across the world against the Hindus in India. It is another thing whether they will succeed against the swathes of humanity called Hindus with their tiny bands of militia, irrespective of the sophistications in their strike powers. But they will be after us; one after the other, Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs. They will come after us, not irrespective of the religions but because of their religion. I believe in the speech, and I see the point.
When Georgie was alive, we used to watch a show called the Dog Whisperer by Caesar Millan, a dog trainer in the west coast of USA who is now a sort of a universal animal behaviour theoretician. Caesar’s principles are important because they can be generalized to human behaviour as well and to behaviour in general, at least of living organisms. For instance, in a zoo in Russia, a goat placed as prey for a tiger grew healthy and old without the tiger ever harming it. When the goat was placed inside the confines of the tiger, it was not scared of the tiger. Seeing its confidence, the tiger grew diffident and even subservient to it. Throughout its life, the goat was the dominant partner. It never considered itself as prey, the tiger was led to believe so.
Throughout the history of time, humans have dominated animals. Elephants, ten times the size and weight of a human, are controlled by humans. Men have driven chariots of six horses, ridden camels, and even bulls and cows are much bigger and heavier than humans, so size does not matter. What matters is the game playing, who becomes the victim and who claims the status of the boss.
In India we always knew that the Hindus are a majority. Even at the height of Muslim rulers, Islam touched us nowhere, neither in our learning, nor in our beliefs, neither in customs, nor in clothes, neither in food nor in rituals. Hindus were indomitable. Even when the violence was physical, Muslim rule could never intimidate the Hindu mind. The most opulent temples, the most verbose texts, the most extravagant performances thrived during the Muslim rule. The Muslim rule, which consists of the Sultanate and the Mughals, not only shaped and firmed up the Hindu identity, but Hinduism flowered in such times as never before. Nothing could be done to the Hindus.
During the British rule, Hindus grew into a massive power. The social reforms of the Hindus reinvented its Vedic source, the delving into its universalistic principles by Raja Rammohun Roy and then by the Brahmo Samaj and eventually Tagore, raised Hinduism into a world religion. Later in the day, Vivekananda lived more like Elvis than only a monk, his glamour glitzed the western world with snazzy Vedanta societies been set up and visited by the who’s who of the respective societies. Hinduism flared up during the Vietnam war when the Hare Rama Hare Krishna became a global chant for peace with Prabhupad and Iskon walking the talk. Rajneesh eventually avalanched into the most esoteric and abstract understanding of all religions and faiths using the concepts formed within the Upanishads. Such is the global power of the Hinduism; much of the worldwide respect for Indians is because we are Hindus. No exaggeration there.
But in the recent times, the less educated and less endowed persons who have automatically risen to levels of articulation and hence acquired decision making powers in our democracy, have suddenly felt that the Hindu is endangered. This population, whom neither the providence of wealth and even less the fortune of education have graced, suddenly waking up to public life, as yet unable to detach themselves into civic beings, holding close to their homes and private selves find themselves beaten by a world in which they are ill equipped to compete. All they have, as legacies, are rituals, beliefs, and superstitions. Their families have never read history, ancestors never known science and hence in their dinner table conversations all they could repeat were the false associations of religion which were couched in the language of modern theory. That’s all they knew; vaguely imagining that the writings of Baudhayan contained the Pythagoras theorem, that the Vedas contained maths and that one knew the principles of aviation just because a culture imagined the Pushpak Vimana. That small mind looked at itself and the world in a small way. In its memories, yet undeveloped beyond medieval times found itself trapped amidst the raids of Mohammad Ghori and the conquests of Babur. Not knowing the difference between history and myth, this class can only access what has already come into myth. In other words, it can access mythic history.
It is this class, the new kids on the block of democracy which is at risk because it is unable to find its space in the modern world. India’s poor quality of education has failed them. The lack of unemployment is the lack of unemployability. The lack of skills has also made this group vulnerable to unemployment, dismissals, and failures. As a social class, this group is indeed in danger. Hence, everything that qualifies this group, the coordinates of its identities, its beliefs, superstitions, rituals, way of life is dangerous. Hence, we have videos of sari clad women doing gymnastics, yoga and the marathon, a covert imposition of the saree a la the hijab. We have of course the celebrated go mutra and ineffectual ayurveda cures of unfiltered substances not fit for the human gut.
The Hinduism as believed by this weak social class is indeed in danger because this very social class is in danger. It uses politics to compensate its failure as an economic power; the phenomenon of political parties appointing their unqualified members in posts of importance stems from this use of political power as a compensation for the loss of educational and economic power. The Hinduism that rules the world is both affluent and erudite. It belongs to the upper classes, the class enemy of the presently politically empowered but educationally and culturally weak social class.
The political weapon of an emergent social class post the French Revolution is the construction of itself as a victim. In a democracy of universal adult suffrage based on the language of rights, victimhood has the best chances of cornering entitlements. But, in the natural world, and humans are at the level of instinct, natural beings, weakness is never tolerated. In the survival of the fittest, nature lets those who are strong to survive. The animal senses weakness very well and attacks those beings which are perceived to be weak. Let it never be overlooked that humans are animals and whenever you project yourself as weak, the stray dog will start to intimidate you. By constantly posing Hindu to be a weak person, one may gain in the political world, but thus arouses the natural instincts among others to attack us. Women, especially those as unchaperoned as I know this fact instinctively.
If today, the Hindu projects herself as a weak person, she will now in reality invite attacks upon her by communities of other religion. It will start with jeers, then teasing, then harming and eventually war. Such is the instinct with which humans are born. The myth of danger, used for political gains may translate into a reality when all of us will become endangered in the real sense of the term. Human history is replete with instances of religious persecution; persecute none and none will persecute you.