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Monday, January 24, 2022

Apolitical Dharmic bodies should actively participate in making an effective Dharmic ecosystem

From ancient times, Hindus have created religious bodies to effectively practise the tenets of Dharma. These include mathas (monasteries) and akhadas. The major mathas include Govardhan Matha in Puri, Odisha; the Sringeri Sharada Peetham in Chikamagalur, Karnataka; The Dwaraka Peeth in Dwarka, Gujarat; and the Jyotir Peeth in Chamoli, Uttarakhand.

Other important mathas include Gaudapadacharya Matha, Goa; Kanchi Matha, Tamil Nadu; Belur Matha, West Bengal; Kashi Matha, Uttar Pradesh; and the Ramachandrapura Matha, Karnataka.

There are many other mathas like the Udupi Shrikrishna Matha, Karanataka, surrounded by eight other mathas, all of which propagate the Dvaita philosophy. The eight mathas are located around Udupi in the villages of Palimaru, Adumaru, Krishnapura, Puttige, Shiroor, Sode, Kaniyooru and Pejavara.

Just like mathas, there are other non-political Hindu religious bodies such as the akhadas that can be categorized into three types: Nirvani Ani Akhada, Digambar Ani Akhada, and Nirmal Ani Akhada. There are said to be at least 13 major such akhadas that belong to one of these three categories.

Many other non-political Hindu organizations have also come up which include Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Gayatri Pariwar,  ISCKON, BAPS Swaminarayan, Chinmaya Mission, Art of Living, and Isha Foundation among others. Then there are Dharmic organisations dedicated to specific communities like Veerashaiva Mahasabha for Lingayats, Warkari sampradaya etc.

On one hand, Hindus already have such organizations in place. On the other side, there are ongoing discussions on the need to create a Hindu ecosystem. One function of such an ecosystem would be to tackle the global and ‘in-house’ anti-Hindu fake narrative industry. Break-India forces have managed to take control of all narrative systems starting from the history that Bharatiya children are taught in schools to how mainstream media (MSM) reports events.  MSM’s selective coverage of events, spin, and even fake news are well known.

Apart from tackling propaganda, such an ecosystem would also need to be a support structure for Hindus who are overall facing an existential crisis within our own land.

Most of these Dharmic entities date back to antiquity and share the quality of being civilizationally rooted. This advantage can be effectively put to use if these organizations become active in creating and becoming part of the Dharmic ecosystem that both highlights the atrocities Hindus face, irrespective of politics, and provides vulnerable Hindus with the necessary support as needed. If these organizations take a stand, it will also help to correct the distorted narratives and highlight the true plight of Hindus within our land.

Local community organizations have often stepped in to rescue Hindus in distress but more established Dharmic institutions entering the picture would provide greater credibility and strength to the narrative and interventions.

The countless instances when the leaders of the various mathas, akhadas, and other Hindu religious bodies could have spoken up, but stayed silent include:

  • When Hindu priests and Sadhus are routinely found murdered as was the case in the Auraiya district of UP where the priests had their throats slit and tongues cut out and in another case in Bulandhshahr where the priest had his throat slit, there was complete silence from these Hindu religious bodies. These organizations similarly did not speak up for the two Sadhus and their driver who were lynched to death in the infamous Palghar case. Notably, the Sadhus were members of Juna Akhada and the  Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (apex body of 14 Akharas including the Juna Akhada) had condemned the brutal killing said they will gherao (surround) the Maharashtra government in large numbers once the lockdown is over – but nothing materialized.
  • When Grooming Jihad aka ‘Love Jihad’ cases continue to take place. Of hundreds of such cases, one was that of Nikita Tomar who was murdered in broad daylight for rejecting the advances of a politically connected Muslim man. Sadly, her parents had very little help when they sought justice and none of the established Hindu religious bodies came to the fore to offer any help.
  • When episodes of Hindus being lynched occur. These include cases like that of dentist Dr Pankaj Narang lynched by a mob in Delhi. In another episode, Chandan Gupta was shot to death in a Muslim majority area merely for being part of a Tiranga yatra. Rinku Sharma was lynched in his own home by a mob of Muslim men.
  • When Hindu men are targeted for genuine relationships with Muslim women. Ankit Saxena was killed by the family of his Muslim girlfriend, 18-year old Rahul was beaten to death over his alleged affair with a Muslim girl, and Lakshmipathi was killed for the same reason.
  • When Hindus like Kamlesh Tiwari are brutally murdered by radical jihadists for alleged blasphemy.
  • When 18-year old Anurag Poddar was brutally shot to death by cops at Munger just for participating in a Durga procession. If these religious bodies had spoken up, perhaps some action would have been taken against the SP who ordered shooting at the Hindu devotees.
  • In many other cases where Hindus were victims including the anti-Hindu riots in Delhi in which IB personnel Ankit Sharma was brutalized and killed as were many other Hindus.
  • Various state governments across the country are imposing bizarre restrictions on Hindu festivals, while relaxing curbs for minority festivals. But leaders of these religious Hindu organizations have not been vocal on protesting this double standard either. This is not surprising since they haven’t even come out with a combined statement on government takeover of Hindu temples.
  • Neither have these bodies spoken up in the individual cases listed above nor have they spoken up for fellow Hindus being massacred in large numbers as is happening in the ongoing WB post-poll pogrom that was unleashed on May 2. In fact, they did not even take a significant stand when the Kashmiri Hindu ethnic cleansing was taking place.

Contrast the apathy and passivity of Hindu religious organizations with those of extra-Constitutional minority bodies like AIMPLB, Jamaat-E-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind, Catholic Church, CSI (Church of South India) and CNI (Church of North India), and others which spring into action when cases like the Akhlaq killing, or death of Junaid after a fight over a railway berth, or stray incidents in few Delhi Churches take place.

The strident manner in which they enter the picture creates enough noise to influence perceptions and responses. For example, Akhlaq’s family is said to have been given huge sums as compensation along with multiple flats from government funding. Their response to the Kathua episode and the hue and cry raised by the global anti-Hindu ecosystem is likely to have impacted response of the government and currently the SIT in question faces allegations of torturing witnesses to give false testimony.

Since Hindu Dharma is inclusive and pluralistic, and being a Hindu means following Dharma or righteousness, ancient and modern Hindu religious bodies have never engaged in attempts to proselytize or convert and have never existed as being against any other entity or belief system.  This may be one reason why they have not followed the practise of speaking up when Hindus are under attack.

While this worked for Dharma when there were no supremacist evangelical faiths in the picture, these organizations should have evolved and adapted to the changing landscape after Mughal invaders and European colonizers entered the scene. The religious bodies should have at least evolved and taken up a broader role in the post-partition scenario when Bharat became a ‘secular’ state.

But Bharat becoming a ‘secular’ state may in fact be one of the reasons for their silence since they exist in perpetual fear of the state taking over control. The ‘secular’ state has taken away their right to run their own temples and other religious institutions. An example is the recent threat of takeover of the Isha Foundation by DMK functionaries.

But unless Hindus create an effective ecosystem for themselves, the existential crisis will only deepen. Due to being a ‘secular’ state, we have a system where most institutions are rigged in favour of minorities.

The various sampradayas need to come together on a common platform and create a common minimum program that works to advocate for ending discrimination against Hindus. This would entail actively trying to get politicians and other decision makers on board. The akhadas and other religious bodies must snap out of their apathy and comfort zones and get over their petty internal squabbles to address the major issues and look at the bigger picture about the existential threat to Hindu Dharm and Hindus.

The only country that can become a Rashtra for Hindus is Bharat, and 1 billion+ Dharmics deserve nothing less than what UK, Spain, Israel, Malaysia, and many Christian and Islamic countries have given to their own majority populations in the form of special protection and recognition.

(Featured Image Source: walkthrougindia.com)

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