[dropcap]H[/dropcap]oli, easily one of the most widely celebrated Hindu festivals, has unfortunately been targeted by the propagandist leftists of the Jawaharlal Nehru University who have branded it as a celebration of Brahminical oppression. Not only does this sound extremely bizzare for most Hindus, but also, as we shall see, it is based on false premises and ignored evidence.
The traditional understanding of Holika dahana (burning of the demon Holika in a pyre on the eve of Holi) comes from the story in a Purana of the man-lion avatara (incarnation) of Vishnu, Lord Narasimha, and his devotee Prahlāda, whose father, the asura (demon) Hiranyakashipu, was hell bent on not letting his son worship Vishnu. On being disobeyed, the asura king sent his sister Holika to kill Prahlāda, who had a special cloak that could protect her from being burnt in fire (the alternative story is that she was blessed by Brahma with immunity from fire). Holika sat on a pyre with Prahlāda in her lap; the child prayed to Vishnu for protection, who ensured that the child escaped unhurt while Holika eventually burned to death (the precondition for the boon of Brahma was that she would be saved only if she entered fire alone; Holika is said to have forgotten this clause while conspiring to kill her brother’s son). The next day is commemorated as Holi across India.
In the JNU version of mythology, we are told that Holika was a bahujan/Dalit (a member of the Scheduled Castes) woman who was tricked by the Brahmins and burnt to death! We are not offered any clear logic or evidence of how this is derived and why we must accept this version to be true.
The poster says:
“Could it be possible that Holika was forced against her will to sit in the pyre?”
Not only is there any trace of evidence to prove that Holika may have been “forced” to sit on the pyre, given also the fact that she had a boon to be able to protect herself from fire, it also is an absurd question. If she was forced, who forced her? Hiranyakashyipu? But he is the asura king, the very side in this story that the JNU myth-making brigade is so keen on eulogizing! In short, any fool can ask any random question, it takes a bit of thinking to come up with some serious and genuine questions.
The poster also goes:
“Aren’t our default ideas of Holika merely indoctrination by Brahminical Vedas and Puranas?”
Hiranyakashipu, who was the asura king, whose side these innovative JNU myth-makers are trying so hard to champion, was, according to the Bhagawata Purana, which the poster itself quotes, an incarnation of Vishnu’s doorkeeper, who was cursed to be born on earth until he got liberated by dying at the hands of Vishnu. In Hinduism, Brahminical or otherwise, the belief exists that any interaction with God, whether positive or negative, is always beneficial to the individual in the ultimate equation. Thus, death in the hands of an avatara is glorified as a rare honour, which few can achieve.
Further, Hiranyakashipu is supposed to have been born of Diti, the second wife of the Vedic Rishi Kashyapa, who was one of the seven major rishis (sages). Since castes are supposed to pass on through a pratriarchal lineage, it makes our asura king and his sister Holika Brahmanas by birth. How, therefore, does the Dalit outrage story hold up? This is a clear case of taking a completely disconnected topic and using it to rake up a malicious controversy driven purely by an indomitable and blind hatred for all things Hindu, without an iota of real evidence on their side.
In the third part of the poster, in a typical example of extreme shallowness and superficiality, Holika is confidently appropriated as a “Dalit Bahujan”, without telling us how such a ‘fact’ was established. The problem with ‘scholars’ who are eternally driven to react, rather than create, is that they have no source material other than what is accepted by the mainstream. They use this, but only selectively, picking a line here and a line there, blotting out whatever does not serve their agenda, to create a false narrative which self-destructs swift and fast with the slightest investigation into the source material.
An unbiased study of Hindu scriptures can prove conclusively that those who are called asuras or rakshashas were often of higher castes too, like Ravana, or Hiranyaksha (brother of Hiranyakashipu), both of whom were Brahmins. This implies that terms like asuras and rakshashas are more representative of psychological and personality traits manifested in individuals rather than races in human societies.
If Holika was a Brahmin, the JNU mythology lies in a shambles. And we are not even questioning the moral and ethical validity of a strange line of argument that a woman out to murder a child is the victim, while the child and the culture which celebrates the child’s victory is the oppressor! The argumentative JNU-breed communist violates even a simple and natural sense of human justice.
Does Hinduism reject the so-called lower castes from spiritual positions? Historical evidence says otherwise. Some of the most notable Dalit Hindu saints are Ravidas, Kabir, Namdev, Chokha Mela, Sant Kanhoputra etc.
While it is true that there have been cases of oppression of avarnas (those born in supposedly lower caste families), and genuine efforts have been made to rectify the same, using the occasion of Holi to create a false, baseless narrative of oppression for political mileage does more harm than good to the cause of Dalits. Let these peddlers of falsehood be shunned and shamed.
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The self-styled students outfit that was on the front of this politically motivated campaign is BAPSA. It stands for Birsa, Ambedkar, Phule Students Association. They are fairly active in JNU. They claim to be the voice of marginalised communities. In reality, they are part of the ploy of crypto-Christian missionaries operating with an aim to disintegrate this country by instilling a sense of disgust in the minds of the poor so that they convert to the Christian fold. The following is an example of propaganda material (unedited) they had been circulating via WhatsApp before Holi:
“Hindu Rashtra is celebrating the murder by burning alive, of dalit bahujan woman Holika today by getting drunk on marijuana and splashing colour. The children of Holika are still being subjugated by the brahmanical system, her daughters raped and denied dignity, her sons forced to enter shit filled sewers. And it is this Bharat, steeped in casteism and discrimination, that is now being projected as “Mata” and we are supposed to shout its victory. Let us boycott the murderous, racial, feudal and patriarchial festival of holi and remember the sacrifices of our anscestors and the indignities heaped on them. And on this day let us rededicate ourselves to realising the dream of an India where all are equal. Where a persons status is determined by the content of his character and calibre rather than his caste.