• Where is the Hinduism I Believe In?

    Mohan J Dutta

    June 27, 2017


    CPI(M) Polit Buro memeber Brinda Karat and AIDWA Delhi state Secretary Asha Sharma consoling Junaid's mother
     

    Watching images of the massacres of Muslims in India, I am left wondering: Are there any decent Hindus left? As the body counts of the Muslim victims of public lynching keep adding up, I am left concluding, perhaps there are no decent Hindus left.

    In the Sangh’s India, decency and Hinduism don’t go together in the same sentence.

    Watching the images of a train compartment turning into a murderous mob targeting four Muslim youths who had gone to Delhi to shop for Eid, and then reading news stories of an entire station of witnesses unwitnessing the murders, I am left concluding: there are no decent Hindus left.

    One half of the Hindutvavadi India lynches its Muslim minorities while the other half watches on and relishes the murder.

    Hinduism is dead in Hindutvavadi India.

    I am referring to Hinduism that is open. Hinduism that is embracing. Hinduism that is dialogic. Hinduism that is decent.

    Hinduism that I believed in my heart of hearts would withstand the Sanghi hate-filled propaganda machine and indoctrination camps.

    As a stroke of irony, Hindutva has ushered in this death of Hinduism. The Sangh’s hate filled ideology has turned the spirit of Hindu India into a murderous collective that is all set to avenge its fictive concoction of the Muslim threat.

    The imagery of Muslim violence is paradoxically the ideological tool for ongoing Hindu violence on India’s Muslim minorities, routinized into the everyday fabric of Hindu India. The Hindutvavadi state is an accomplice to, enabler of, and sponsor of this Hindutva violence.

    All the civilizational talk of the revival of Hindu culture spearheaded by the Sangh stands in for the image of a Hindu India that is dark, primitive, and backward.

    The Sanghi India is the harbinger for the degeneration of India into a Talibanesque nightmare for its Muslim minorities.

    The Hindutvavadi version of Hinduism is regressive. Without any redeeming qualities. Bereft of its humanity. Bereft of its capacity to embrace a world of differences. Threat to India’s democracy and its constitutional legitimacy.

    I mourn the death of Hinduism in the hands of Hindutva.

    I am reminded that almost two decades back, in the U.S. Midwest as a graduate student, when prodded with naïve American comments such as, “You guys chant to the naked goddess [referring to Kali],” thinking to myself, “Hinduism [albeit referring to a privileged version of the religion] as a worldview, at least the worldview I grew up with, teaches syncretism.”

    My Hinduism taught me to come to other diverse spiritual traditions with an open heart, not the close-mindedness that is the hallmark of Hindutva.

    In the Midwest then, there were hardly any temples. When looking for inner conversations, I found solace in Churches. The conversation with the pastors or the bible reading groups at the churches would unfold somewhat like this:

    “Do you believe in Christ?” the pastor would ask.

    I would respond, “Yes. In fact, my grandmother’s altar at home had an image of Christ sitting beside images of Kali and Durga.”

    The pastor would walk away befuddled, “How could you believe in all these pathways? That sounds confused.”

    In fact, that my grandmother had an altar in our mostly Marxist household and carried out her everyday rituals of prayers amid all the trade union activism in my household spoke to the syncretism that formed the fabric of India.

    Worldviews could co-exist in this India.

    Often colliding worldviews found ways of making room for each other, being together and engaging each other in dialogue and debate. That these worldviews could debate with each other with the greatest of passions also meant that those espousing the worldviews could move on into the everydayness of co-existence after the debate was over.

    Hinduism offered an openness to a world of plurivocal conversations.

    The Sangh’s ideology is a deliberate attack on this Hinduism. From the RSS training camps to the yatras to the riots orchestrated by the Sangh, the attack on Hinduism has long been coming. And in each of these earlier instances of the Sangh-catalyzed attacks, many decent Indians have stood up to the attack on Indian democracy. Beside Muslims and Christians and Buddhists and Jains and Jews and non-believers, Hindus have stood up to counter the hate-filled propaganda of the Sangh.

    In the current version of Sangh’s India, the lynching of Muslims has also marked the systematic death of this Hinduism that is open and syncretic.

    The karma of Hinduism, soaked in the blood of its Muslim minorities, has ushered in the degeneration of Hinduism itself. Now is urgently the time for decent Hindus to stand up and be counted.

    I hope that the answer to my question, “Are there any decent Hindus left?” that began with a negative is yes.

    Now is the time for Hindus that think of themselves as decent and progressive and embracing to step out in large numbers, joining hands with Muslims and Christians and Buddhists and Jains and Jews and non-believers, to decry the unholy Hinduism of hatred cultivated by the Sangh.

    It is time that the Sanghi ideology of hatred is sent packing to its unholy pyre.
     


     

    Dr. Mohan J Dutta a Professor at the National University of Singapore

    Published here with the permission of The Citizen.

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