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ViewsArticleHindus Fend For Themselves, Struggle For Parity

Hindus Fend For Themselves, Struggle For Parity

When it was known from the tweet of a union minister that the government had decided to provide EWS spaces to Rohingyas, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs was compelled to issue a clarification, which only muddied the waters, as saying that "illegal" Rohingya settlers would be deported only meant the government recognised there were legal Rohingyas too! The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) immediately swung into action and opposed the decision. There are numerous other outfits of the kind, netizens and people in general who have been aggressively opposing any such action that is against the interest of the country in general and Hindus in particular. As per these people, organisations and social media enthusiasts, such decisions are tantamount to causing demographic imbalance besides sending other kinds of harm to the country. This is happening at a very fast pace. Such policies have already made Hindus a minority in nine states of the country. A PIL in this regard filed by Ashwini Upadhyay is already pending in the Supreme Court of India. But why is there a sudden change in the attitude of some of the organisations and a huge number of people who used to avoid even talking about such matters, considering the subject was contentious?

There are multiple factors that are causing resentment and people are no more shying away. This is gradually turning into a resurgence of the largest community i.e. Hindus. Some of them feel that they have become second-grade citizens in the country due to appeasement and vote-bank politics where they have their 5,000-10,000 years old cultural, social and religious existence.

Interestingly, most of these critiques of the government policies are BJP supporters and voters who are fiercely taking on the government they always voted for. Some of them claimed that they wanted the government to deliver for what they sought votes and people voted them to power. They are questioning why the CAA has not yet been notified. They are asking why India buckled under pressure of the countries where minorities have no right following a comment by spokesperson Nupur Sharma that was both historically true and endorsed by authentic hadiths. They are annoyed also for the government not doing away with the Places of Worship Act, 1991. They want an explanation for the delay in the population control bill to be brought in the parliament. They are also perturbed by the promised and long overdue Uniform Civil Code not yet seeing the light of the day. They are angry over the selective killings of Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir and rest of the country where the hapless government is a mute spectator. The list of grievances of such people is endless.

The so-called Hindu organisations were apparently not only criticised but pressure was put on them to do something. As a result, in view of ‘sar tan se juda’ threats, Bajrang Dal released helpline numbers and VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal was categorical in saying that one could not imagine the number of calls received on these helpline numbers and threat perception faced by the Bajrag Dal workers while addressing the issues to the satisfaction of callers. He claimed that complications and magnitude of threat to the Bajrang Dal workers was beyond comprehension. But there is one thing that is now giving them strength that they are getting support unlike earlier when dealing such matters was the responsibility of the government. There is a huge number of people who are opposing BJP’s decision to suspend its leaders to purportedly appease Muslims and endear to the left. 

What has happened that is causing this phenomenon that can be seen as a re-awakening of the Hindu community? Now, people have even started criticizing the BJP if decisions taken by the party are not in the interest of the community. This does not, of course, mean that they are going to vote for another party till some other alternative is not available to them. They are very vocal about their cause. So much so that earlier there were only netizens who were opposing the party decision but now party leaders like Charkhari MLA Brijbhushan Rajput wrote a long Facebook post to criticise the decision of his own party. There are many who are doing so unofficially. Some of the noteworthy issues that have annoyed the community of late is government control over temple money, salaries to imams and muezzins while no salary for priests, demolition of Hindu temples on government land while keeping silent on land by building mazars wherever there is no one to raise a voice against it. The list is very long.

But the unheard Hindu voice was amplified by the social media, forcing the people who mattered to pay attention to it. There were instances where people used to abuse Hindu gods and goddesses and get away without any punishment but now at least people like Akbaruddin Owaisi and Mohammad Zubair are jailed, albeit out on bail due to the obsolete legal system of the country which urgently needs reformation. Several PILs filed by Supreme Court lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay are pending in the court.

Various unorganic schisms in the Hindu community were instigated by vested interests but they have been called out and the way resurgence of Hindutva is happening in the southern part of the country as well is unprecedented, making the issue a pan-India affair. States like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha and, up to some extent, Andhra Pradesh are witnessing a Hindutva surge where there is little role of any political party. People are no more shying away from discussing Hindutva, which was earlier a taboo in a country where the majority population is Hindu. Talking Hindutva could have dubbed you as illiterate, backward-looking, conservative and communal and abusing Hindutva was both fashionable and a symbol of intellectualism. In many cases, the abuses catapulted people to coveted positions.

But it may sound contradictory when one says that people who are criticising the ruling party still support and vote for the same party. Actually, supporters of the BJP are learning from others and they will support the party that takes care of their interests. If it fails, people may carry on with it till the time a new alternative is available. Moreover, they will continue to put pressure on the ruling party. They understand that responsibility of the ruling party and of opposition political parties besides the mindset of Islamist organisations that spread a particular narrative that does not find anything good in the ruling party, which is perceptibly a Hindutva organisation.

Another example of Hindu resurgence is observed where every Hindu-bashing movie or a film that misrepresents Hindus is biting the dust. Recent examples are Laal Singh Chaddha, Rakshabandhan, Dobaara and many more. So everyone must understand that now the community is ready to defend and answer by all democratic means unlike ‘sar tan se juda’ call by others. The community is also ready to answer every hypocrite who, in the name of exposing dogma, becomes selective with just one faith. Not only issues of verbal comment against Hindus but issues like Kashi Vishwanath, Krishnajanmabhoomi and Goddess Saraswati in Dhar have been challenged in the court. The community has been demanding for long that these holy places be handed over to them as they are also cultural identities of the country. They are Hindu shrines without any doubt but the claim over them by other communities is nothing but a bid to humiliate Hindus, which in effect is greatly helping in the awakening of the community. These matters are in the court.

It must be kept in mind that no government, organisation or political party has done anything against individuals or organisations that ridicule Hindu beliefs and traditions while no one dared to other faiths. The Hindus stood for themselves.

Sometimes, the finer points of objections are highlighted by people on Twitter and it starts trending, reaching a larger mass. This is what is happening and the community is not ready to settle for anything less than being at par with the minority community. But the biggest paradox is that they were Hindus who were once instrumental in securing every right for the minorities but now they are struggling to be at par with them.

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Vinod Shukla
Vinod Shukla
Senior journalist and political commentator

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