It seems a symbol of Islamist patriarchy is not going out of fashion anytime soon, courtesy of marketing support from both hardline Islamist terrorists from the top echelons of Al-Qaeda and their hardcore left-liberal supporters who encourage all fashion choices that denigrate traditional Dharmic attires and celebrate all the non-Hindu ones. The more restrictive the latter becomes; the more marketing support they get. (Anyone remembers the weird ad of a model cutting off the sari, who had absolutely no problems posing as a nun covered from head to toe?)
But at least we can take solace that even the Court disagreed with their deranged propaganda this time, over Hijab. Right?
Look closer and you’ll find we’re no closer to winning anything.
First of all, how can a constitutional court of an apparently secular country have competence to decide matters of theology? On this simple anvil, the argument falls flat. In this case, it translates to how can my lords decide what constitutes an essential religious practice (ERP) for a religion? It’s the highest form of legally allowed mockery one can think of.
Secondly, just because ERP came to rescue us once, doesn’t mean it’s a protector of Hindus. This is very dangerous sword being marketed as a shield, which more often than not, will come for our rituals. Hindu Dharma is not a religion of one book, with only certain set of principles canonized as its authentic core. The modern day Hindu Dharma we all know through popular culture, is centered around things like, 10 days of Ganeshotsav, 9 days of Navratri, Dussehra with giant Ravan stuffed with firecrackers being burnt by someone playing Sri Ram, and culminating in Diwali with tonnes of fireworks. (and that is when I’m talking about very few things with very loose definitions.)
At any time, the secular Indian State can declare these practices as ‘non-essential’ to Hindu Dharma and strip us off our culture, as we saw with recent bans on firecrackers, Kumbh Melas, Rath Yatras and other festival bans while allowing Abrahamic ones in states having some of the highest Covid positivity rates to go unchecked.
Let’s not remain stuck in past because the danger is looming right now.
Within last two weeks, we’ve seen intolerant Islamists employing best practices of ‘misguided Kashmiri youth’ against Ram-Navami processions in multiple states. Stone-pelting. Petrol bombing. Arson. Loot. Chaos. All-round destruction.
Its two objectives were out there for everyone to see who is not blinkered by liberal privilege: 1. Incite riots, then play victim card and 2. Terrorize Hindus so much that they don’t dare to take out such processions ever again.
The heinous and despicable left liberal cover-fire for Islamists’ coordinated, intolerant and bigoted anti-Hindu campaign, via terms like ‘Muslim Areas’, ‘Provocative slogans’ and ‘Invariable stone pelting’, essentially victim blaming of Hindus, is the natural sequel to partition ideology of 1947. Frustrated as they are because they can’t win through democratic processes anymore and accrue various benefits that came with ‘Darbari Media’ credentials, Indian liberals are acting like BAT (Border Action Team) of Pakistan Army who’re unfortunately allowed to operate inside Bharatiya borders.
But we’re losing the larger plot if we remain tangled in such blood-boiling outrageous anti-Hindu narratives by liberals.
Because it’s not just cover fire. It’s a diversion as well.
Remember: The Hindu Nav Samvatsar procession that came under attack of Islamists in Karauli, Rajsthan? It was taken out after 7 years.
7 years is a long time, and going by the liberal calendar, enough to destroy ‘Idea of India.’
Think about it. One planned attack against Hindus, and it will probably result in another 7 year lapse, maybe even longer. And what would happen to Islamist perpetrators? Most will not be identified, those few unlucky enough to get caught, will be out on bail soon enough (possibly funded through halal certification authorities). Cases will drag on for even longer. The biggest irony? Even if the cases were fast-tracked, conviction will result in only 3 years of jail term (for offences under 153A, 505 (2) and 295A), at max 5 years. So a de-facto ban on a Hindu religious procession lasts longer than even a constitutionally mandated jail term.
That’s what’s at stake here.
Since violence had happened, widely reported, and squarely blamed on Hindu victims by liberals providing cover fire to Islamists, what’ll the State do next time?
Instead of strengthening its capacity to maintain law and order – so bigoted Islamists or any other ‘miscreants’ do no dare threaten public order – hence allowing citizens to practice their religion freely and protecting their freedom of expression, State will say the ‘Hindu religious procession creates law and order problems and we’re not giving permission for it anymore.’
What will poor deluded Hindus do?
They’ll go to my lords, having new-found faith in them thanks to Hijab verdict, who’ll rule that ‘Taking out such processions are NOT Essential Religious Practices for Hindus, and in fact creates communal disharmony’. My lords will say, ‘Ram is in our hearts, why do you need to take out such procession, since it’s not written anywhere in any of your books? Your procession creates communal disturbance. It’s not ‘Idea of India’. Appeal rejected. Case dismissed.’
And that’s how we’ll lose our Dharma as we know it today.
Yes, even if we win the case.
Because fighting such religious warfare on the battlefield of Essential Religious Practices doctrine itself makes Hindus lose the battle before it even begins.
Because, we’ve fought this battle on an Abrahamic ground. Arguing that this thing X is ‘essential’ to my religion means we’ve conceded to the court to declare X as mandatory for all Hindus, all over Bharat, all the time. As far as I know, ‘mandatory’ like that is not the Hindu way. This whole thing of canonizing the religion is purely an Abrahamic construct, and if it’s still being practiced in our judicial system, it can only be traced back to our Constitution’s soul still being a slave of colonial oppression.
So even if we manage to win the argument over a piece of clothing not being part of everyday existence for Muslims, or whether we win a Ram Navami procession for just 1 day, being part of Hindu religious doctrine, Abrahamics still win the game, because the whole of Hindu Dharma has just taken a step closer to its conversion into becoming yet another derivative of Abrahamic culture.
Do we want that?
Because I don’t.
I say we need to stop this madness.
ERP is codifying Hindu Dharma one religious practice at a time. And that too, by a body which has no competence, neither legal nor spiritual, to do so.
We need to stop this constitutionally guaranteed false equivalence between all religions, whose definition of ‘what constitutes a religion’ is rooted in Abrahamic understandings. We Hindus need to insist that Constitution recognize differences between Dharma and foreign religions, and between Bharatiya culture and foreign culture in its ‘entirety’, and not just when its convenient for alleged minorities. After all, such distinction is not without precedent. When different cultures (still) have different personal laws, then how can law be blind about differences in ‘other’ religious practices?
To be sure, it is not my case that we shouldn’t have uniform civil code, or Hijab verdict was wrong. In fact, I insist that the doctrine of Essential Religious Practices, if at all it needs to be used, should be limited to ‘only’ Abrahamic religions. To the so called ‘people of the book.’ Because they have a single book, a single set of religious laws, uniform across the world. We Hindus don’t. We’re the only democratic people of the world who truly enjoy having a capability to diverse opinions, capable of adaptation over time. And that’s how we have survived a millennia-long battle for survival against the binary world-view of Abrahamics. We’ll lose that critical survival skill if this ERP non-sense continues working against Hindus. Because 100 years from now, Marxist historians will say the religious practice X never existed in the first place.
We also need better, tighter regulation of both media and Big Tech, so any exclusivist, supremacist anti-national idea of anti-Hindu bigots cannot enjoy the cover-fire of liberals.
People have voted BJP to power with high hopes. Let’s see if they take both ‘legislative and executive action’ against this alarming rise of anti-Hindu conspiracies. Because without State taking stringent action against these people, Hindus will always remain in fear and on the backfoot.
If the current government, as alleged by anti-nationals, is really a Hindutva government, devoted to Sri Ram, it’ll crush the source of Jihadi fear that led to the flight of untold number of families from Karauli, Himmatnagar and Khargone.
Or else what’s the point of celebrating the janmdivas of a Bhagwan who stood up against fear of demonic tyranny?