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From: S G
From: S G
Is the entire definition of liberalism to rest only on the majority faith?
That Charlie Hebdo editorial was Islamophobic paranoia at its extreme. But here's an exercise for you: cut and paste a rough translation of the editorial into your Word document, replace the word *Muslim* and its variations with *Hindu* and its variations and read it. That there staring you in the face is the Indian liberal agenda.
In the last week since I joined a growing chorus of Hindus asking why their temples are being stormed, when Indian law protects against interference on matters of the Waqf board, religious properties of the Church or the Parsis or the Sikhs, I have been called everything from mentally unhinged to bigot and been referred to Modi to get what I want.
Because you see for liberal India, the same who believe the violent acts of rogue terrorists cannot be equated with Islam, even if the perpetrators insist on doing so themselves, the voice of non-violent Hindus who have concerns or fears, and those concerns can always be debated, is always and unequivocally to be equated with violent fascism. Right.
So what has Indian liberalism achieved for Hindus? There are laws that outlaw discrimination on the basis of caste, which is good. New debate suggests outlawing discrimination on the basis of gender, which is good. Temples have been nationalised, lands redistributed and wealth, formed entirely of the private donations of patrons and devotees based on religious needs, audited. Temples are required to indulge in secular development activity.
And as recent outrage shows, choosing not to invite a Muslim DC is now against the principles of templehood. The anti-superstition bill prevents the guileless masses from believing in any unscientific gibberish the priest may throw at them. The Income Tax appellate will not exempt temples as Hinduism is a way of life not a religion, so no excuses there as made in the past, when kings made endowments that were to be used for public good.
The Waqf is also required to use their income for public good, but it is for Muslim public good, not general public good. All great temples for instance offer free food, which is a legacy of the past generosity integral to the religion. And temples are open to all faiths. Dress codes are seen as outrageous.
Though mosques still require you to follow protocol and those demands are seen as culturally appropriate. Temples under state and central government administration are now the personal treasuries of corruption, revenue from lands being used to line the pockets of government officials, and with a paucity of funds for any real research, learning, commentary, thinking or even propagation of actual Hindu texts.
The architectural heritage of the Hindus commands some of the highest prices in the antiquities smuggling market. None of this is unrelated and this is all progressive and great. Hindus should move beyond idol worship anyway.
What makes a temple a place of Hindu worship then? Why is it not, say, a library?
While all of these changes are undeniably progressive, and some such as those against caste discrimination are required to be enforced far more aggressively, no questions asked, with the Maharashtra government bringing in the social boycott bill to reinforce implementation, the question it begs is: Is the entire definition of liberalism to rest only on Hinduism?
Club the above with the fact that there is not a single modern reputed institute of Indic studies in all of India today. The debate over Pollock is also the fear that all academic research on India's Hindu past is only emerging from overseas, and thus leaves the mainstream Hindu thinking with no scholar worthy enough to counter or debunk it - this itself speaks of the lack of institution building.