An open letter to right-wing hardliners, please stop spewing venom
To whom it may concern
I write this letter, first of all, to let you know that though I have not got my DNA tested, I am quite sure it does not say I am a Hindu of the kind you want me to be.
To put it clearly, I do not believe that the Indian past is a Hindu past, that Hinduism is under threat in India or that we should pick up weapons against the minorities. On the contrary, I believe that majoritarian communalism has been wreaking havoc in the country for a long time now.
And, I write this in response to what one of RSS's prominent leaders said last Friday—that all Indians are 'culturally, nationally and DNA-wise Hindus'.
History and its analysis, you know, are not very easy things. And if I try to convince you quoting the Thapars and Habibs, you will immediately shut me up saying they are 'Left-liberals' who have hijacked the study of history. Instead, you will bludgeon me with evidences of how we Indians (read Hindus) had discovered the aeroplane 7,000 years ago and how Qutub Minar was built by Samudragupta. That is why in this letter I will not debate like an academic, rather I will try to convey to you some of my heartfelt concerns.
It is very disturbing to think of how the leaders of various Sangh factions have been persistently spewing venom in their comments every other day. Sometimes it is about Hindu women producing 4 kids and sometimes it is about digging up dead Muslim women and raping them. Subramanian Swamy says mosques are not places of worship and can be destroyed at any time, while someone else says that all that Mother Teresa cared for was Christianity.
It seems there is no end to this barrage of hate-speech.
The other day I read about a young woman called Sadhvi Balika Saraswati who has threatened that 'all those who live in India and praise Pakistan should be hit with shoes' and insisted that people need to pick up weapons to defend Hinduism.
You know what, when I watched videos of her virulent speeches I realised she was anything but an avatar of Saraswati. Saraswati is the symbol of knowledge, and this young lady is a reservoir of ignorant hatred. Every line she utters reeks of malaise towards Muslims and Christians.
I want to ask you why, on every occasion, is it so important to malign the 'other' and alienate them? Why is attacking the minorities so paramount to your politics? Is that the only way you think you can capture power?
You will agree, I think, when I say that we are a very vulnerable people. On the one hand, a mere Facebook post can lead to the lynching of a Muslim man, and on the other, churches in Delhi are attacked like never before. If Gujarat in the west cries for justice about 2002, so does Nellie in the northeast regarding 1983. Your 'love jihad' and 'ghar wapsi’', I hope you realise, have vitiated the country's secular fabric quite bad.
To speak the truth, I do not know much about Hinduism—having given up on the practices of organised religion when I was a teenager. I ceased to close my eyes and stand still in front of idols, whispering wish-lists. But, of course, whether I believe in the advice which Krishna gave to Arjun in the Mahabharata or in the philosophy of karma is a completely different discourse.
But from whatever little I do know of religion, I can tell you that stoking religious sentiments for political gains, has nothing to do with religion and spirituality itself, other than the obvious—dividing people and germinating hatred.
And the day the aam aadmi realises the futility of this partisan hatred, I believe your game will be up. But till then, an earnest request, please stop this mindless communal banter every time you open your mouth.
A wary countryman