The Hindu nationalists in India fail to realize that the unity that they wish to ensure is most threatened when it is pressed on others in a provocative manner. If history has any lessons, it is precisely this, argues Guwahati Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil in this column.
June 20,2006, IndianCatholic.COM
Behind the present day tribulations of India’s minorities lie an insecurity pumped into the Hindu majority by a pre-meditated five-decade campaign that portrayed Muslims and Christians as disloyal, anti-national or criminal.
Militant nationalists always need an enemy in order to grow. Hitler had the Jews. In India there are the minorities (Muslims, Christians, Dalits, Tribals) within and Pakistan, China and the West outside.
For Hindu chauvinists the greatest national crime has been the 'pampering' of the minorities. They conscientise the masses about setting right all historical wrongs.
Today’s Muslims must make amends for what the Muslim princess did centuries ago. All ancient Hindu temple sites must be restored. They forget that even Hindu princess looted their own temples, Buddhist viharas were converted into Hindu temples, Jains were harased, Shaivite temples were turned into Vaishnavite temples and vice versa.
The Hindutvawadis are evolving new ways of humiliating, marginalizing and crushing their opponents (minorities, Muslims, Christians, tribals, dalits). They humiliate and disarm their critics by accusing them of being foreigners and anti-nationals. They provoke them beyond endurance and any self-defence is described as violent. They keep spreading misinformation in a studied and systematic way so that at least half of it will be believed.
For this, they take inspiration from the manuals of the Nazis whom they greatly admire. They harass minorities with court cases so as to wear them down. They seek to pack all the national parties with their people so that they will be in command no matter what party comes to power and it is irrelevant which religion India’s Prime Minister, India’s President or the Congress president belong to.
They believe that only Hindus should have civic and land rights. That was the programme set by Golwalkar, the former RSS supremo, whom Advani calls Parampujya Guruji.
Uma Bharati, the former BJP member of Parliament serenaded: "If Muslims are to live in India, it will be at the mercy of the Hindus."
Then, what chances are left for smaller minorities like the Christians?
VHP spokesman wants Christians to pack up and leave for some 'Christian countries'. That, in spite of the fact that the origins of the Christian communities go back to 52 AD, when the Apostle Thomas set foot on Indian soil, a period when Hinduism itself had not yet taken on its present identity.
It was Sankarcharya in the eight century that re-established Brahminism in the present form while trying to root out Budhism from Indian soil.
The Hindutwavadis use the print, celluloid, audio and video media to further their cause, especially during elections. One cannot underestimate the vastness of their designs. If you send a Christian explanation to the press against false accusations, it is ignored.
The organs of the state bureaucracy, the judiciary, police and armed forces are polarized.
When one officer takes action, another rushes to the rescue of the communalists.
Anti-democratic attitudes are today widespread in the same urban middle class in India that was the backbone of democracy.
Gone are the days of slogans like "Unity in Diversity."
Today it is "Quit India" for Muslims and Christians.
The Hindu Nationalists fail to realize that the Unity that they wish to ensure is most threatened when it is pressed on others in a provocative manner. If history has any lessons, it is precisely this.