Wednesday 26 January 2022
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Modi On Way To Winning Information War

There are challenges aplenty but, to the extent his politics permits, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is engineering a change, the results of which will manifest more clearly in the foreseeable future

Until 2014, until Narendra Modi occupied the centre stage that is, and still, as course books are gradually revised, there was no information in government-approved Indian history of the period before the arrival of Babur. The demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992 by karsevaks, about whom the late Balasaheb Thackeray had said he would have been proud if they were Shiv Sainiks, turned the political tide. What was a beginning for the Mughals became, centuries later, a beginning for politically powerful Hindutva.

The gone mosque was built in 1528-29, not by Mughal Emperor Babur but by Mir Baqi, one of his leading generals. But it was Babur who ordered it built on top of the ancient temple to mark the very spot and birthplace of revered Lord Rama. (This building of mosques on top of existing temples became something of an insulting fetish for the Mughals and other Islamic rulers in India).

That the same sarkari historians suggested that Lord Rama was a mythical figure that never existed, in fact, is the kind of malicious lie that gave many a noxious flourish to their twisted version.

From the very start, the Mughals and other Islamic rulers were out to demolish Hinduism and convert its adherents. To a substantial extent, they succeeded in this mission, particularly amongst the and Dalits. But unlike many ancient polytheistic religions like that of the Greeks and Romans that fell before the sword of the Christians and Muslims, Hinduism survived, even if many of its edifices did not.

It triumphantly thrives to this day. In India, Hindus still constitute over 75% of the population, coursing ahead at over 1.40 billion. Tiny Nepal, now buffeted by Chinese Communism and imperialism, is the only other Hindu majority country.

But this innate bloodthirstiness of the Abrahamic religions is not how leftist-Islamic historians such as Irfan Habib, Ramachandra Guha, Romila Thapar and lesser-known legions depicted the Mughals, nizams, sultans such as Tipu. Instead, they were projected as agents of civilisation, nation-building, and peaceful coexistence for 400 years, ousted unfortunately by the British. All the brutal slaughter and forced conversion were airbrushed out of the story.

Even the imperial British who blew 1857 patriots out of cannons and killed a garden full of unarmed men, women, and children at Jallianwala Bagh, were regarded fondly by Brown Sahib Indian politicians and administrators. So much so, that London’s approval mattered more than any other, including that of Moscow and Washington. It was quixotic but true.

The British, who barely acknowledged the Indian contribution in blood and glory to both the world wars. Who destroyed all indigenous industry and looted India’s billions for 200 years.

It is only under Prime Minister Modi that the importance of the UK in our international diplomacy is much reduced. Now we regard them as vendors and merchants out to sell their wares to us. Nothing more. The Commonwealth is an empty construct of little value. We do not care for their unsolicited advice on our internal affairs. We are wary of their back-stabbing cunning and chicanery. But, we are polite. It does not cost anything, as a Gujarati Modi well knows.

That the British and the Portuguese did their own killing, induced and forced conversions is only now being widely exposed and resisted. But still, the Christian numbers are small (2.3%), when compared to those of the Muslims (15%) at around 200 million.

Today, a massive new temple and associated facilities are being built on 100 ac, emanating from the modest footprint of the original temple in Ayodhya. Models of this temple complex are being shown off abroad. It would have been most soon, in Dubai, to coincide with the planned visit of Prime Minister Modi on 6 January 2022, which got postponed due to the Omicron scare. He is expected to reschedule the tour and be there principally to sign a momentous free-trade agreement with the UAE. He was supposed to inaugurate the India Pavilion at the Trade Fair displaying the grand model and other matters.

How things have changed, from when anything that looked beyond the Islamic rulers was both out of favour and preferably out of print. Academics and scholars who tried to fly in the face of this unwritten rule were shunned. Their books were ignored. Their careers were wilfully ruined. Foreign writers who denigrated Hinduism were given prominence.

But the rebel academics, scholars, Hindu Gurus, did not battle the misinformation and propaganda in vain. They pointed towards a huge treasure chest of heritage, tradition, glory, pride and knowledge suppressed from broad public knowledge.

Even today, despite the establishment of the OTT platform, high budget, high-technology, glossy productions of the Mahabharata and Ramayana for example, have not yet arrived. But there was a new series on Babur.

Routine distortions and insults to Hinduism are woven into all sorts of films, TV and OTT serials. That Bollywood also derives substantial funds from Pakistan’s ISI via the underworld based abroad is another factor for the persistent hate-mongering. Top writers, actors, and directors in Bollywood are still eager to promote the narrative of Islamic goodness and superiority at the expense of the venal Hindu. But, fortunately, the fan base is now dwindling as awareness of their manipulations has grown. The well-known Khans are discredited and ageing. The Box Office is not ringing to the old formula. Muslims with jihadi sympathies playing Hindu characters in their films are beginning to anger their audiences. Patriotic films such as Uri and Udham Singh are doing well.

But as the Hindu hate propaganda becomes more strident, it is almost as if there is a palpable fear that the game is nearly up. Wokism is not able to provide effective covering fire like before.

The new, unbiased and refreshing film work is coming from the South, less deracinated by the years of selective patronage. Films like Bahubali were smash-hits and depict a very different gloriously Hindu sensibility.

The advent of social media has helped to give publicity to much of our history, tradition and architecture (beyond the Taj Mahal), in bite-sized posts. In a time when attention spans are limited and book reading is largely out of favour, this is most useful.

The prime minister’s proud Hinduism, depicted most recently for the nation at the inauguration of the Kashi-Vishwanath Corridor is deeply inspiring to millions. People are beginning to be proud of their Hindu faith after being trained since birth to regard it as so much obscurantist ritual.

Watching a saffron-clad monk like Yogi Adityanath make such a stellar job of running Uttar Pradesh is an eye-opener. It is possible to combine being a Hindu monk with ably administering the biggest and most difficult in the country.

There is a long way to go. Universities are starting new degree courses in Hindu Studies, Ayurveda, Sanskrit. Alongside all the modernisation of infrastructure, medical facilities, technology, digitisation, mechanisation, there is also a major push at rebuilding, renovation and conservation of our temples. Pilgrimage sites are being provided new facilities, connectivity and access as never before.

Why an ostensibly Hindu leadership that took over at should be quite so ruthless against their own co-religionists over a sustained period of at least five decades since is something of a mystery. They have even tried to concoct a false edifice of Hindu Terror, involving the merciless torture of over a dozen innocents only a decade or so ago.

It is not just the cooked up Malegaon blast case but the horrific mayhem of 26/11 sought to be blamed on ‘Hindu terror’ by the UPA. There was possibly some joint planning involved. Then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh refused to sanction any form of military retaliation against Pakistan citing ‘non- actors’.

Putting the trenchant, almost traitorous, attitudes and policies down to Congress/UPA notions of secularism does not seem like a satisfactory explanation. Were they out to demolish Sanatana Dharma? To work from within and succeed, where external forces have failed? Are they working for multiple anti-India forces from abroad even now? Many current accounts seem to suggest as much. 

Why is India’s fifth column growing and looking so sinister? Is all the financing coming from George Soros? Or does a basket of donors — Christian evangelists, Pakistan, China, Khalistanis, leftist billionaires, secret service organisations, overground foreign institutions, make more sense? Why are so many forces trying to keep Hindu revivalist India down? Is it a back-handed compliment born of fear?

As we enter 2022, it is clear that a great Hindu revival is underway. Kashi-Vishwanath has opened the gates to another pathway at Mathura-Vrindavan. Many other religious projects are on the anvil.

The most obvious way to strengthen Hinduism is to pay attention to its temples and practice its Dharma. The arguments on the constitution, Veer Savarkar, the RSS, secularism, ‘communalism’, are just so much partisan blah. They don’t advance the Hindu cause.

Working on the temples and celebrating the religion cannot be properly argued against by the Muslims and Christians because they have always worn their religion as their primary identity.

So let us welcome one and all to a New India determined to reclaim its identity and lost ground, even as it makes unprecedented progress towards the future.

Gautam Mukherjee
Commentator on political and economic affairs

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