Monday, November 15, 2004

Hinduism in Danger: The Humiliation of the Kanchi Acharya

November 12

Hinduism in Danger

Rajeev Srinivasan on the tremendous threat to Hindus

Here is some advice for the UPA government and the media in India on
how best to destroy Hinduism. Not that they need the advice, they have
done quite well on their own:

· On the holiest night in the Hindu calendar, Diwali, the night when
good triumphs over evil, arrest the most visible, revered, and
respectable Hindu religious leader in the country on murder charges
· Announce a troop withdrawal from J&K at the same time that yet
another murderous terrorist attack on a CRP camp is going on
· Have one of your central cabinet ministers announce at a Christian
fundamentalists' meet that he is 'ashamed to have been born a Hindu'
· Take over Hindu shrines like the Shirdi Ashram, temples in Uttar
Pradesh; target the Tirupati temple and cause problems there over the
demolition of the 1,000-pillar hall
· Arrest a Hindu sanyasini because she had raised the Indian flag
· The media should continue to attack Hinduism while never uttering a
word against the damage being done to it by the State. On the day
after the arrest of the Sankaracharya, instead of shock and disbelief,
the Indian media should be full of teary-eyed hagiographies of Yasser
Arafat, a dubious statesman at best

In contrast, here is what happens with respect to other faiths:
· In Kerala, Muslim League Minister Kunjalikutty, accused of what is
probably statutory rape (sex with a minor girl), refuses to step down.
A mob of Muslims attacks media people just because an interview with
the girl was broadcast
· In Hyderabad, some low-level maulana is arrested, and a Muslim mob
riots and attacks the police station to try and release him

And people still ask me how Hindus are oppressed in India. If even a
single Muslim or Christian or Marxist is arrested, the cry goes up:
"Islam in danger!", "Secularism in danger!" or something along those
lines. But this doesn't apply to Hinduism, clearly.

How would Catholic Christians like it if on Christmas night the Pope
were arrested for murder? The arrest of the venerable Sri Jayendra
Saraswati, Sankaracharya on Kanchi, on Diwali night, is the equivalent
of that . Yet, I don't see
masses of Hindus out there rioting to get the Sankaracharya released.
This, I personally believe, is a character flaw on the part of Hindus.
They should be out there rioting, then their religion would not be in
danger all the time. The sentiments of millions of devout Hindus are
being trampled upon because the UPA government knows Hindus will not
react violently.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Bush White House 'celebrated'
Diwali. Indian-Americans, who had contributed significant amounts to
the Bush campaign, were disappointed because neither Bush, his wife,
nor any of his senior staff bothered to attend the function. Former
Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill – a lame duck, as he has resigned
– did attend, and he weasel-worded that Bush would not attend a
country-specific function.

This is nonsense, because Hindus are in at least a hundred countries
around the world: Hinduism is not a country-specific religion. In
reality, in a stinging reminder of the relative importance of Hindus,
Bush did attend, just a few hours later, a Muslim iftar party. Bush is
afraid of Muslims, he is not worried about Hindus.

I actually understand Bush's reasons quite well. As Christian
fundamentalists, he and his pals necessarily despise Hindus. They
despise Muslims too, but they are afraid of Muslims, so they pay at
least lip-service to Islam. Besides, many of his cohorts, oil men,
have some connection to Saudi oil and money. But the Hindus, they can
be discarded like used tissue paper. Money talks, of course. Oil talks
even louder.

Kindly note that 'Bobby' Jindal, the Great Brown Hope, also did not
attend the Diwali function at the White House. So much for the
expectation that Jindal was going to do a lot for India. No, as a
fiery converted Christian, Jindal has no interest in the 'heathen'
religion of his ancestors, or by extension, in India's affairs. Why am
I not in the least bit surprised? Converts are the worst, as they have
to prove their conversion correct.

It has become the role of Hindus to be the under-class, the
water-carriers and wood-cutters for Christians and Muslims. Thus the
Christian fundamentalists will happily take money from rich
Hindu-Americans, but there is no quid pro quo. The Hindu-American
doctors and engineers who give their money are being taken for a ride.

In India, there is circumstantial evidence: whenever I am in Kerala, I
read Malayalam newspapers, and I have noticed a trend, and admittedly
this is only a sample. A number of soldiers from Kerala have been
killed in battle or terrorist attacks, and every single one of them I
can remember has been a Hindu. Not one Muslim or Christian that I have
noticed, over several years. What does this mean? Only Hindus are poor
enough to need to take up dangerous work like in the military, for
lack of better opportunities. So they die, defending the Muslims and
Christians, who get a free ride.

Similarly, when T R Baalu announced at a Christian fundamentalist
meeting (this must have thrilled them no end) that he was ashamed to
have been born Hindu, the UPA worthies did not scold him for being an
obnoxious person. In a truly secular state, no religion should be
insulted by a government official. But I forgot, India is only a
'secular' state, which means it is an anti-Hindu State. See my earlier
column on the perversion of secularism.

Wait, there is more. Instead of pronouncing a death threat to Baalu,
some Hindus proceeded to peacefully excommunicate him. Now the State
swung into motion, and arrested the would-be excommunicators! See Logically,
if a person is ashamed of being part of a group, doesn't that group
have the right to exclude him? I guess not, if they are Hindus: they
must swallow the insult silently.

But other religions have the right to do so. For instance, when some
Muslims pronounced a fatwa on Salman Rushdie and asked for his head, I
don't remember the State arresting them. Similarly, I suspect that
when Malayalam writer Ponkunnam Varkey was expelled from the Catholic
church, the police did not show up and demand that he be reinstated.
Naturally, I guess, because only Hindus are subject to being
controlled by the State. Others are above the law.

The DMK openly exulted at the arrest of the Sankaracharya. The DMK
have specialized in anti-Hindu polemic partly because the entire
edifice of their belief, of some sui generis 'Dravidian' culture, is
complete hogwash. It was manufactured by a Christian priest, one
Bishop Caldwell, with the intent of divide-and-rule. In reality, Tamil
culture is Indic: Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, just the same as the culture
in other parts of the country.

If you look at the motives for the arrest of the Sankaracharya, the
question arises: who benefits? Clearly, the DMK, they who claim to be
'rationalists' and 'anti-religion' but even their lionized leader EV
Ramaswamy Naicker was too scared to utter a word against Muslim or
Christian practices: which means they are basically an anti-Hindu
entity because they can get away with it.

My immediate suspicion is that this is political payback for a couple
of things: one, what Jayalalitha did to Karunanidhi, two, what
Subramaniam Swamy is suggesting these days.

First, Jayalalitha had Karunanidhi arrested on a holiday, so that
there would no chance to apply for bail; and so now the Sankaracharya
is arrested on a major holiday. Jayalalitha, being a Tamil Brahmin,
would presumably be hurt because the Kanchi Matham is a Tamil Brahmin
stronghold, which the DMK has a special aversion to. Karunanidhi's
statement on November 11th about the prime suspect in the Raman murder
case being at large gives credence to this argument

Second, Subramaniam Swamy has been going around with a fierce campaign
against Sonia Gandhi. For instance, he was scheduled to speak in
Chicago on November 7th on the topic of "Sonia Gandhi: A National
Security Threat to India". What better payback to Swamy than to attack
his power base, the Tamil Brahmins? It is a well-known secret that
Swamy gains much of his support and information from the Tamil Brahmin
bureaucracy at the center.

There is a third possibility: that this is a part of the ongoing
Christian missionary efforts to paint revered Hindu religious leaders
in a bad light. Every Hindu leader is accused of some wrong-doing,
without proof. They trust that by their favorite tactic of 'truth by
repeated assertion' some of it will stick (as they have demonstrated
in the mythology of the arrival of Thomas the Apostle in India, a
fabrication which is now widely believed).

I keep getting mail from some (white Christian?) Australian nut-case
about how he has evidence that the Sai Baba molested children, but the
evidence never materializes. Compare this to the hundreds, if not
thousands, of Catholic priests accused and many formally convicted in
court of large-scale pedophilia across several continents. And there
are reports from the Vatican itself of sexual slavery of, and murders
of, nuns.

Now that Christians are in power in India – just look at the cabal
around Sonia Gandhi – and the Bushies have returned to power, there
will be renewed enthusiasm from the conversion mavens of the Joshua
Project and the 10/40 Project to target Hindus. This might well be the
reason for this egregious attack on the Sankaracharya.

Whatever the reason, the UPA government should have handled this
affair with a little more sensitivity and finesse. There was really no
reason to hound the Sankaracharya, chase him around the countryside,
and arrest him with such theatrics, as though he were going to jump
bail and fly out of the country. There was no reason to humiliate this
very spiritual person. Instead, they could have put the Sankaracharya
under house arrest at the Kanchi Matham if needed. But I guess the
intention was indeed to humiliate.

Why on earth would the Sankaracharya order the murder of an
accountant? That seems to completely defy logic. The Sankaracharyas
live totally spartan lives and have no need for money. Besides, even
assuming somebody in the Kanchi Matham wanted to sweep things under
the carpet, it would have been so much easier to just bribe somebody,
rather than go out and murder someone, especially murdering them in a
temple and desecrating the place.

The sentiments of millions of Hindus do not matter to the Congress,
just as the sentiments of Sikhs didn't when they went on a murderous
rampage in 1984, nor when they appointed alleged gang-leader Jagdish
Tytler as a minister.

And where is the principal 'Hindu nationalist' party who should speak
up? In complete disarray.

The Congress is once again demonstrating that they are a party only
for Muslims and Christians. The foolish Hindus who voted for them
deserve what they get, I suppose.

Comments welcome at


Anonymous said...

I have been expecting this post ever since the Kanchi Seer was arrested. Being a Christian, I am at the receiving end of most of your article you write on rediff and now in this blogs but I still agree to most of your views. Before I go any further let me tell you that I am an Orthodox Christian hardly anybody outside kerala know about us and as far as I know we don't go around proselytizing not because of any higher noble thoughts but because our leaders think they are some sort of eclectic group and don't want to their blue blood to be diluted. Even though I'm not very proud of this heritage but I do like the end result; not going around recruiting converts.

You keep lamenting at the pathetic nature of Hinduism today let me ask you something who is to blame for this. I'd say none other that Hindus alone. Why do Hindu politicians itself work against Hinduism? Why don't Hindus protest when their religion is being attacked? Its not because they are a group of peace loving citizens who are willing to sacrifice their religion for a higher cause of a peaceful state, because at first they are a bunch of greedy Sycophants then they are Hindus so they are more concerned with the personal gain that their faith. I don't think even the so called safe keepers of Hinduism (BJP) has done any good for their religion when they were in power. They just exploited Hindus to get into power and once they got power they no longer cared about the masses who rallied behind them. What has RSS done for the betterment or the advancement of Hinduism, pretty much nothing other than training some unemployed youths in martial arts and kill all the communists(at least that's what happening in kerala).

Being an Indian I'm also proud of the fact that our country has more in history and has the most ancient religion than any other. But what has happened to Hinduism let me tell what I have noticed that has gone wrong in Hinduism. You don't teach your kids about the religion. Many of my Hindu friends in school learned Ramayana and Mahabaratha from the stories in Poombata and Balarama could it be anymore pathetic? You should be more thankful to those comic books and later on the Doordarshan for teaching your kids about your religion than your religion and religious leaders. The Kanchi acharya is supposed to be the supreme leader of Hindus, how many Hindus can name him correctly ?????

Look at the Sunday schools Christians have for their kids or the similar religious classes of Muslims, they teach their children their faith when they are young so that they
don't grow up ignorant about their religion. Do Hindus have anything similar. In olden days you had gurukulams where they taught everything about Hinduism where it it now ?That's what you need, teach your young generation about your religion and how to practice your religion. Then you could at least hope that there would be more people faithful to the religion when they grow up? Maybe RSS should teach more about the greatness of your religion and less martial arts.

Hate India said...

India is a country of Morons. Indian Hindus are just mass with no purpose (amorphous) they can be killed or they can be humiliated or they can be done anything any one could like to do.

They are nothing but shame of humanity. TR Balu and his dravidian irritants are nothing but sold out Christian souls. MK's eye on Kanchi Mutts property is another reason for this arrest also. Veerappan angle also is there (recently, they have identified a Doctor near Salem/Dharmapuri who was murdered by Veerappan during September). DMK planned to kidnap Kanchi Seer through Veerappan for ransom, just like they did for Rajkumar.

Anonymous said...

Why are you blaming the UPA for this act but sparing JJ? After all it is her government which committed the dastardly deed. Next JJ is not a Tamil by birth, I wonder if would be correct to describe her as a Tambram.

Anonymous said...

You never cease to amaze, Rajeev S. There is NOTHING that happens in this world that you don't ascribe to a desire to denigrate and oppress Hinduism, from a two-bit Diwali function in DC to the arrest of a man accused of murder, no matter if he is a "holy man".

Some news for you: there are plenty of Hindus, like me, who aren't quite as paranoid as you. And we will save and celebrate Hinduism despite your best efforts to turn Hindus into a gigantic collection of moaners like you.

You wrote in about your feelings after the BJP loss: "We who care about that great nation, we who understand the greatness of that civilisation, we whose hearts are as one, like red earth and pouring rain, with the very soil of that Holy Land."

More news for you, Rajeev. You don't care for this nation, you don't understand one thing about this civilisation, and if that May loss showed anything, it was how your heart is certainly not "one with the very soil" of India. In fact, you are utterly disconnected with India.

Have a great day now.

Sudhakar Nair

Anonymous said...

I'm also a hindu, one line goes well to you!

dude! get a life!

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the likes of Sudhakar Nairs being blown up with his entire family in a muslim terrorist attack ... Yeah yeah I know I am not good at english, one need not use the word muslim and terrorist in the same breath... Anyway, I do not have any good day wishes for him since I would rather he lay RIPped..

Someone rightly mentioned, the reason that Hinduism is facing such a crisis is because they are not taught about their religion as fanatically as other religions. However that is not the reason for concern. The reason for concern is the fact that those who get taught fanatically are allowed to commit harakiri in the name of secularism. Our country should come down heavily on militant attitudes adopted by Christians and Muslims alike and make sure we go forward with the spirit of country first, religion later.

Anonymous said...

Dont misinterpret teaching religion as teaching religion fanatically!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree partly to the gentleman who told that Hinduism is not taught to the kids. Even I never used to go to temples regularly till I was around 25-27 ! (I desperately wanted to marry a Christian girl and temple poojas did the magic!. BTW we never converted to other's religion but we respect both religions and we are also aware of the injustice being done to our culture.) And even I studied the hindu history from Balarama, Amar chitra katha etc.
Then again, Hinduism has total religious freedom unlike in other religions where the Bishops and Cardinals decide what you have to do daily! This is religious interference and it's childishness and demeaning a human life. Today's kids are not aware of the many traditions like ayurveda, Kalaripayattu, vedic mathematics etc. Kalaripayattu, the mother of martial arts, was banned by British. But it is this valuable technique which helped Marthanda Varma's army to defeat the Dutch forces at Colachal. (Otherwise we would have another set of soul harvesters -Dutch missionaries! )

Now how many Kalari centers are there? Kalari has proven to be good for the mind and body but still no one cares. And of course no one is aware of the Devine backing (Kalari devatha) Marthanda Varma got, to conquer places till Kochi. Hindu kids are not aware of the wealth of historical information surrounding temples. And each temple has a true story (unlike churches or mosques which spring up in vacant lands with NRK money) associated with it as well as stories of miracles from disciples. Even after the British and Portugese Missionaries' plunder, we have rich information to learn for a life time. NSS, SNDP and other organizations should start summer camps for a Hindu way of Personality development for all communities. This will help in a big way for others to understand the relevance of Hinduism. Add to this, Hindus should unite(get organized) forgetting all caste inhibitions and vote together for their candidate like Christans and Muslims. Today if you have a surname 'Joseph' or 'Basheer' you could get away with anything even if you rape and murder sex victims. Hindus should unite against such forces. Govts (I dont have any hope here) should enlighten students (BA, MA history students) with Narayana Guru's(Hindus saint who was on par with Jesus in all aspects) teachings rather than the contributions of EMS ( whose only contribution was genocide of Namboodiris and Brahmins). I have always wondered how Kerala has legitimized terrorist organizations like DYFI , SFI, NDF? And what is wrong in RSS teaching Kalaripayattu. It's a dying art and it's the responsiblity of all Indians to popularize it.
--Rama Rajendrababu

Anonymous said...

I think much of your post was a rhetoric, to prove a point. I agree to the message, but not the rhetoric in its entirety.

I think it would be factually incorrect to say (as one of the comments does) that hindu kids do not get a regular periodic religious exposure. A hindu is not a monotheic, exclusivist believer (at least superficially), and many sub-sects have their own training. I was brought up in one such tradition, and we had a very active socio-religious life with rigorous religious and historical education. (I am not a brahman, but a lower caste vaisya; I am saying this because many people have a false impression that only 'conservative' brahmans care about hinduism).

The problem with us, as I see it, is that we have not fostered a hindu identity. We have been trying to hide our suspicion/dislike of each other (gujarati, tamil, bengali, brahman, vaisya, soodra, etc) under the name of celebrating diversity. We need a pan-indian, hindu identity. An ideal hindu person may be the one that is the combination of Nachiketa, Arjuna and Vivekananda. (S)he is the one who knows about the great vedic traditions, political experiments of Surya Vamsa and the Yadavas (an early democracy?), the historical scientific traditions, the role of Sankara in resugrance, the reasons of the our collapse lasting 13 centuries and still counting, and a dedication to keep alive and strengthen such an identity.

Hinduism may not die if we didn't do this, but as the last few centuries have done, any more delay would add more vain layers of filth, underwhich the shining jewel will lay buried. More importantly, we will miss out to nurture our lives on such a well spring of life.

My few cents.

--Anonymous Coward

Anonymous said...


Congratulations on a fine and perceptive article. Those who don't see the arrest as a direct attack on Hindus are first-rate morons. These are the people (like Sudhakar Nair) who are ever ready to lick Muslim and Christian boots. At the same time, the so-called advocates of Hindutva (VHP, RSS, Bajrang Dal) should pack up and go home. Hindus should have been rioting in the streets for this affront, that too on such a holy day as Diwali. Why isn't the arrest warrant against Bukhari being executed? Hindus have to unite and fight on the streets. Otherwise, we are doomed.

Anonymous said...

Why blame UPA and DMK. The arrest was done under JJ's supervision.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rajeev

I am a regular reader of your articles in rediff. Now a days I miss your articles there and I was wondering why. Now I found you back here.

As far as Kanchi seer's arrest, I could not agree anything more with your views. If you can read Tamil, you can read my views in this forum

I wrote that few days back and as a strange coincidence we both raised some common issues.


Anonymous said...

Dear Rajeev

I am a regular reader of your articles in rediff. Now a days I miss your articles there and I was wondering why. Now I found you back here.

As far as Kanchi seer's arrest, I could not agree anything more with your views. If you can read Tamil, you can read my views in this forum

I wrote that few days back and as a strange coincidence we both raised some common issues.


purge_indian_media said...

Those who do not learn from History, are doomed to re-live it. Thats what has happened of us Hindus.
Today its Sonia Gandhi, yesterday it was Nehru, and still before that, there were Britishers & Mughals. Why should the Indian Media bother to respect us or take us seriously. Do we deserve respect ? To get respect we should first learn to respect ourselves.

I remember, an incident, when i was in Bombay, 7 yrs back. A huge issue was made out by the Indian media, when VHP activists allegedly attacked a hut of some Christian family in some remort village in Gujarat. I distinctly remember Rajdeep Sardesai and his crew of NDTV, going to village & splashing news all over again & again. This was soon followed by talk shows conducted by his guru Prannoy Roy on BBC-Asia & news room talks in NDTV studios, calling marxist "intellectuals" from JNU etc to discuss the issue. Such was the coverage given to the issue that Vajpayee who was the PM then, had to come up with a statement, in parliament.
Did the same Rajdeep Sardesai or the "gutsy" Barkha Dutt go to Kerela to find out about the recent attack by Muslim ministers croonies or when Hindu fishermen were sacked to death by the muslims ? The answer is NO. And to really be fair to them they do not need to. The media knows very well how badly the Hindu society is divided.
It knows that giving coverage to Sikh riots would have been futile. But for 6 years non-stop, Gujarat was there somewhere,if not on the front page, of all the National dailies.

I guess its a natural human tendency to respect the brave & agrressive. And to take the weak for granted.

Really speaking we Hindus are weak. And the media cares a damn about Hindus. Whether its Kashmiri Pandits or Hindus travelling on the ill-fated Sabarmati express.

Over the years the aggression by Mughals,Britishers,Nehruvian Stalinists & Marxists, have made us eunuchs. We have lost the confidence in fighting. So much so that we have decided to look the other way whenever injustice is done against us. The Indian media is using all its resources to undermine Hindus. If you really compile all the news in the print & televison media over the last few years, you will realize how systematically the Indian Media has packaged the Congress & Leftists view point, while at the same time demonizing RSS. We should atleast credit the media with there talent & skill to do so. Off course they were helped by Hindus in doing so.

Our biggest enemy today is not the terrorist who carries an AK-47 across the border. Our biggest enemy lies within the borders. He meets us every day via TOI, IE & NDTV. And we fool ourselves, by his packaging & presentation. Only one state, Gujarat, has been able to see-through this enemy's designs. Sadly, others have not realised, how dangerous this enemy is.

This enemy was able to convince us that, Gujarat riots were a "pogram" & not a spontaneous reaction. At the same time told us that killing 10,000 Sikhs was justified. This enemy told us that Sonia Gandhi was the victim of personal attack by RSS, and we blindly followed. This enemy told us, that in India secularism means killing Hindus in Kashmir,Godhra & Kerela. This enemy told us that it was perfectly right for illegal Bangladeshis to stay back in India & help Congress win elections. This enemy told us that Savarkar was an anti-National while Nehru was a nation lover.

We have allowed this enemy to rule us for too long now. Atleast the Britishers & Mughals looked different & we could recognise the enemy. Atleast we know that the Islamic jehadi carries a gun. But this enemy is far more dangerous. He dresses as an intellect in the Dehli Studios, He writes articles & columns every day in the top selling news dailies in the country, and worst of all he tells us which government should rule us. We follow him & elect Sonia Gandhi.

This enemy, has now grown very confident. He knows pretty well that, the ordinary Hindu has become so weak over the centuries, that he hides behind his caste & language to avoid fighting. He has no motivation to fight injustice & fight for pride. He knows that one Hindu ridicules the other Hindu for loving his religion & loving his country. So he has decided to better be with the mighty & powerful. The Islam.

Andrew Deal said...

I read through this entire blog and am amazed how all this talk about religion and religious identity has absolutely ZERO spiritual value.

If there exists any reason to maintain any particular religious identity or convert to a new one, it must only and ever be becuase a spiritual revelation takes hold in the life of the individual.

Now that we live in a global world, where people of different backgrounds and interests mix more freely then ever before, we have to come to terms with the fact that the best ideas are the ones that are going to win over the people.

India is a country that on many levels is embracing an amazing amount of change, and well balanced people understand that in order to grow, you cannot resist change but must embrace it.

Almost every party addressed in Rajeev's moanfest above wields a great amount of power based on stirring up fear of change among their constituents. And look how we decay into playing along! Accusations fly, personal responsibility is ignored and spirituality is mentioned not!

I can speak from personal experience that the Kanchi upheaval came about from a spiritual war. The spirit of intimidation that has plagued Christian pastors in the area due to the anti-conversion law threat was countered with powerful prayer and a demonstration of new boldness by Christians in the area. Today, there is a new freedom in Chengulpattu and many are finding new hope by seeking God in their own way.

Does that cause fear in you? If anyone fears a new idea, you have two choices:
1) Argue for the superiority of your idea and back it up, OR...
2) Seek to destroy the new idea and spread fear among the uneducate whom you try to control.

#1 is spiritual and respectful of the individual, who will stand or fall as a unique creation of God.
#2 is dastardly, unspiritual, divisive, factious, oppressive, and unfortunately, all too familiar in Indian culture and politics.

I am committed to not breaking down nor speaking ill of any religion, but instead promoting a direct and wonderfully rewarding relationship with the Father God.