The Narrative is Churning Away from Pseudo Secularism
This article was co-authored with Rajneesh.
An unfortunate Indian got lynched at Dadri recently.
However, more unfortunately for the nation, the media embarked on a lynching of its own making, and it does not seem to be settling any time soon.
So let us examine the larger picture regarding individual rights, liberty and freedom with respect to India. India, which is characterized by having more ethnic and religious groups than most other countries of the world, has 2000-odd castes, eight major religions, 20-odd languages spoken in various dialects and has a substantial number of tribes and sects.
While there has been historical tension between different religious groups, one of the most sustained religious conflicts has been between Hindus and Muslims for centuries. This struggle has raged since Islam spread into the Indian Peninsula in the early 700s.
In the 20th century, this tension played a vital role in partitioning the country. While Pakistan was declared to be a Muslim state, India kept its intrinsic core intact and remained a secular state.
Pakistan today is the most turbulent state in the world despite industrial-level persecution of other religious communities. In India all communities have coexisted in peace. However, since 1947, the ongoing demographic change suggests that the other communities are growing faster than the majority Hindus. These facts cannot be ignored if we intend to analyze the situation rationally.
Our Value System
The three famous ideals that inspired the French Revolution i.e. Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have subsequently found a place in almost all the democratic constitutions of the world including ours.
Both ‘liberty’ and ‘equality’ are the ideals that can be achieved through constitutional means. But for achieving ‘fraternity’ we need something more than constitutional means.
The magnanimous Indic culture and value system always advocated ‘acceptance of all differences.’ India strives on the principal concept that originates in the Vedic scripture Maha Upanishad (Chapter 6, Verse 71):
अयं बन्धुरयं नेति गणना लघुचेतसाम्।
उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्॥
(Only small men discriminate saying: One is a relative; the other is a stranger. For those who live magnanimously the entire world constitutes but a family.)
Our three common words in public parlance are समता (Samata), समानता (Samaanta) and समरसता (Samarasata). Samata is equality of thoughts and Samaanta is equality in law. But for achieving Samarasata (social harmony), which is equality of emotions and feelings, the fraternity is an essential requirement.
Fraternity unlike institutional reality like Liberty and Equality, has an emotional quotient, a sense of brotherhood and oneness.
From time immemorial, India has championed the model ideal of the oneness of the universe. The world’s ancient-most literature, the Vedas, categorically reject the notion of inequality and insist upon oneness at the emotional level.
अज्येष्ठासो अकनिष्ठास एते सं भ्रातरो वावृधुः सौभगाय ।
(No one is superior or inferior; all are brothers; all should strive for the interest of all and progress collectively.)
समानी व आकूति: समाना हृदयानि व:|
समानमस्तु वो मनो यथा व: सुसहासति ||
(Let there be oneness in your resolutions, hearts and minds; let the determination to live with cooperation be firm with you all.)
The problem exists in the narrative. The feeling of fraternity can never happen without understanding and respecting other’s feelings and emotions. Constitutional rights are at times relinquished to achieve fraternity.
Having a good sleep is an individual’s right. But people residing around a mosque have reconciled and do not complain of morning ‘azaans’ on loud speakers. Similarly, people do face little traffic problems during ‘Shravan’ when (devotees) move on road with ‘kanvar’, but do not complain.
Cow slaughter is one such thing. Mind you, ‘beef’ and ‘cow-slaughter’ are two entirely different things. A glimpse of any village how sacred people regard cows as. I have personally talked to many ‘cheeks’ (butchers, all Muslims) in Bihar. Even they treat cows as sacred, and won’t slaughter a cow, even if given any money, considering it as one of the worst sins.It’s just inculcated in their cultural consciousness and value systems through our old literatures that are filled with descriptions that the cow has been the most valuable friend since time immemorial.
The problem exists in fraudster opinion industry and their political patrons. With political patronage, these fraudsters and sycophants masquerading as opinion makers dictate the perception market. These so called intellectuals, design and propagate communal clashes in the country, all for self-promotion and reward.
In May 2014, the political patronage of these crooks has been uprooted. Since then, the debate on selective intolerance is growing in India.
The following are the three prime hate mongering methods:
1) Be selective, infuse disproportion and make sweeping generalizations:
The horrific incidence of this ‘crowd justice for beef eating’ is indeed the most insensitive, inhuman and utterly criminal act. Surprisingly no secular journo or media house has questioned the UP Govt. on why they failed in maintaining law & order.
A crime is a crime, and the state should deal with it. If the State arrested, tried and convicted the guilty of crimes without fear, favor and discrimination, then there won’t be a need to conflate such issues. But the secular brigade paints an entire nation by giving a political spin to it and dilutes the real issue of Law & Order.
Who is this Sadhvi Prachi and why are her views important and why not that of otherssimilar folks? No media will ask the likes of John Dayal for views on the ban of anti-Catholic ‘Agnes of God.’
Nor will they any Mullah to ask his views on a father killing his four-year-old daughter for not covering the head. Because that will further embarrass the secularists. But every other Sadhvi will be picked up and baited actively for radical views to show her as a representative of all Hindus.
For self-styled secular liberal intellectuals, Hindutva and indeed anybody espousing Hindu causes is equal to right wing fringe. It suits their narrative of fear mongering among minorities.
A lot more people are dying all around the country. The hate mongering media could not see the streak of intolerance when UP saw 247 full-blown communal riots in 2013. What exactly is the secular narrative about the mass exodus, murders, and rapes of Kashmiri Pandits? Do they give any such data? Here is one.
In the era of social media, this selective and pointed outrage is creating a strong sense of discrimination and insecurity among Hindus. Seculars need to learn a simple truth: that every life has equal value.
Those secular-Lutyens intellectuals that asked “why is Modi silent on Dadri” fell silent on Prasanth Poojary, an animal-rights activist, lynched for resisting cow-killing. Musthafa, Haneef, Ibrahim, Rashid and Mohammad Illiyas have been arrested for killing Poojary in Moodbidri, Karnataka.
Reporting the murder was the media’s job but the real story is in their selective silences.Selective outrage over some murders and complete silence over mass murders has created self-defeating secularism.
Why can’t they honestly report all such incidences as just a crime without giving it any religious flavour?
The unfortunate truth is that Indian media can’t survive without riots.
2) Bash Hindutva:
The very first method of secular bigotry starts with Hindutva-bashing by distorting the very concept of Hindutva.
There isn’t a greater example of distortion of history by ideological radicals than in the case of Veer Savarkar. While undergoing his jail term in Kalapani, he coined and defined the term “Hindutva”.
Savarkar baiters have often accused him of “divisive ideology” but the manifesto of Savarkar’s Hindu Rashtra reads otherwise:
“Religious minorities will have all the right to practice their religion in a Hindu Rashtra, and the state will ensure that, but the Hindu Rashra won’t allow the creation of a nation within a nation in the name of religious minorityism.”
One can call it a Hindu Rashtra, Bharata, India or Hindustan, but his conception of a nation is anything but divisive.
But for the secularists, the issue is not striving for a strong nation and peace for all, but their pathological hatred against the word ‘Hindu’ and the fruits that it offers in electorate politics.
Guru Golwalkar: “Hindu means people who live in Hindustan irrespective of their way of worship. He cannot be a son of this soil at all who is intolerant of other faiths. All that is expected of our co-citizens is the shedding of the notions of their being religious minorities and merging themselves in the common national stream of this soil. As far as the national tradition of this land is concerned, even if one change in the method of worship, an individual remains and should remain an Indian first, Indian last and nothing else but Indian.”
But the detractors of the RSS have tried to create great confusion in the minds of people, especially the minorities about the concept of Hindu Rashtra. When diehard opponents of the RSS heard of Narendra Modi’s victory in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the reactions ranged from shock to disbelief to madness.
In an election speech, Rahul Gandhi even declared that if Modi wins 22,000 people will be killed the next day. As we know, no such thing happened.
Organizations like those formed by the Communists and Naxalites, who openly advocate violence, hatred, and rebellion, are ever hounded by the secularists with such vehement criticism. With the catapulting of RSS Pracharak Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of the country, the RSS has to bear many more punches.
3) Rant against Modi:
Innuendoes about the Prime Minister’s motives are just another form of bigotry. Why is the present Prime Minister held to a different standard?
Of course, the country did elect him as the PM to do better than his predecessors. But I cannot recall any other Prime Minister being subjected to such non-stop, and intense scrutiny and malignant criticism.
Apparently, the government is not being allowed to function as it would like to.Several BJP leaders need to rein in their impulse to indulge in impulsive, loose talk and not distract the Prime Minister from his twin objectives of economic development and building a strong India.
Appeasement must end
At the root of this problem is the game of appeasement played by the media on behalf of their political masters.
In my opinion, this problem has never been that of the minorities per se but that of their leadership. All of them, all the time encouraging the Muslims to maintain their separate identity just because they want their bloc vote. Is this the way to make Indians out of them?
It is true that many Indian Muslims are yet to identify themselves fully with India, its people, and its culture. Even to this day, there are Muslims, who shout ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ in India when Pakistan wins a Cricket match and refuse to sing ‘Vande Mataram.’
The media’s bigotry of India becoming, a Hindu Pakistan, is the worst damage they’ve inflicted on the public discourse yet.
There are twenty Crore Indian Muslims here with us, and media thinks they will be persecuted, moved out or converted? It is their home and each one of them must own the country and its ancient culture as theirs.
The misfortune that India has undergone after its independence lies in its flawed definition of secularism and national ideal. This flawed definition ruled the roost and kept the majority marginalized.
The Congress, since 1947 has created a version of secularism that is based on bashing the majority, aided by a crooked media and later with other so-called secular political parties.
Obviously this has had its impact on the narratives found in the media, writers, elites, and so-called thought leaders.
Now, India is in the process of defining a new ‘center’ for itself, in political, societal and cultural discourses as well as in policies. Being such a vast country, it has taken several decades for this shift to happen. But this shift is here to stay, and rightfully so.
This has made the past opinion makers very nervous, and is the reason they are indulging in all sorts of gimmicks to try and salvage, if not wrest lost ground.
This is what you see on TV channels. The churning is occurring as we speak, and it is very healthy for the future of India. It’s best to let them all come out in the open and realize how marginalized they have become.
The pulse that I get from social media is that we are in a process of redefining ourselves. Beyond the fog of lopsided narratives presented by our media, be it Dadri or Akademi Awards, I strongly sense that the nation is finally finding its central narrative and national identity.