Thursday, October 16, 2008

Secular India

I read an article written by Shashi Tharoor titled 'The triumph of Hindu resurgence would mark the end of India' , with great interest. I am an absolute fan of Shashi Tharoor and his writings. To me, somehow, he epitomises that rare breed called a Global Citizen. He truly understands global perspectives, by virtue no doubt, of his various postings with the UN, without trying too hard to either blend into the American society (he lives in New York most of the time) like our poor misguided NRIs or retaining his Indian passport and identity. But I somehow, fail to agree with his article.

As an ordinary citizen, a Hindu (I again don't understand what "practising" means) I fail to see why it is so important for political parties to bash up anything remotely Hindu. And why everybody, who is anybody worth his PR salt, should stand on a podium and shout and abuse Hindu and Hinduism. When I turn on the TV, I see an angry and self righteous Barkha Dutt trying to shout down a so called Hindu supporter (read BJP, VHP or Bajrang Dal) into agreeing that if he so much as raises a voice against the so called Secularist then he ought to be hanged. You find half baked young journalists screaming that the so called "Secular thread of Democracy" is being pulled apart by these so called Hindu zealots.

A muslim, may in India, which is supposed to be a democracy with the constitution being the rule of the land, apply the Shariat law whenever and wherever he choses to. He can use the name of religon to turn issues and events around to his convienence. And of course throw in the ocassional jihadi here and a SIMI fundamentalist there and you have a nice hotchpotch of religious fundamentalism. Ah ha! But we are not supposed to be targetting a particular religion or see....he has a right to safeguard his religion and kill in the name of it. No questions asked. After all he is in just a minority of say 140 million and multiplying by the second. And if all fails, just proclaim that you have been marginalised and that not enough efforts have been made to bring you into the mainstream. That should shut those Hindus up for good! ha!

We have the Christians at their missionary best, and I use this term loosely here, quitely going about India and converting hoardes of people in the guise of "missionary" work. Of course, let us not lose perspective that they indeed are doing termendous work. But it worries me that they also want to use the same good work as a guise to convert people to their religion. Why not just do the good work and leave it at that? Isn't the whole purpose of do-gooding lost if one attaches a motive to it? But let a Hindu point that out, and wham! Out come the screaming hoardes of "Secular" zealots.

When the bearded painter whathizname paints Hindu goddesses in the nude, and Hindus protest about the depiction of their gods and goddesses, our "Secularists" shout from the rooftops for freedom of expression. Would the same bearded whathizname dare to paint a portrait of his prophet? Why can he not exercise his freedom of expression? You can be positive that would never happen. After all, freedom of expression and secularism is only for the poor long suffering ignoramus of a Hindu.

Now pan to the most watched election in the world. The American presidential elections. When I listen to the presidential debates, I feel they are really talking about core issues that affect millions of ordinary citizens. Never mind if the Americans themselves feel the whole thing is a sham. I don't hear them talking about religious fundamentalism or pseudo-secularism. What a contrast from our land, where nothing else except religion exists. One can actually win elections by solely playing the "Secular" (also known as Hindu bashing) tag. One need not focus on anything of any importance what so ever. Just talk about religion, and whoa! there you are! At the helm of affairs.

When I switch on my news channel, I find "breaking news" about the health of Amitabh Bachchan, whose sole claim to greatness is romancing a few sleazy heroines and fighting a few cheesy goons on screen. If the channels need to break the monotony, they will bring in a debate, with our sour faced Barkha Dutt about Secularism and fundamentalism. La Dutt, will call people to her cosy studio, have a few obscure polls (how come I am never asked to poll?) give her own loud opinions and never let the panelists complete a sentence (always cutting people short by saying we are running out time). Throw in a few obscure Bengali communists (unknown even in Bengal), some poor bootlicker from the Congress (poor souls) and we have a winner! Democracy and Secularism is safe! la Dutt has saved modern India!

And we poor Hindus, already second class citizens in our own land, will labour on, regardless of rising prices, pollution, regular bomb blasts, floods, droughts, job losses and every other problem known to mankind. We will allow our "Secular" forces to try and subjugate us, convert us and take liberties with us.

And when we dare, when we actually dare to stand up and give back as good as we get, we will find articles like the one written by Shashi Tharoor. Talking about the end of India as we know it if there is a resurgence of Hinduism.