Islamic green flags were waved during the nomination of Rahul Gandhi at Wayanad, ISIS flags were displayed after Friday mosque prayers in parts of Srinagar when Article 370 was very much alive, violent Muslim protests at Azad Maidan in Mumbai in solidarity with the Rohingyas, and protests against abrogation of Article 370 by the Muslims in Kolkata – what do all these incidents portend to?
Is multiculturalism/ pluralism under threat in Bharat? Is our liberal and secular democracy on the verge of collapse? Attacks on the very legitimacy of the democratically elected central Government & august institutions of democracy like the Election Commission and RBI, judicial over-reach & adventurism, mainstream media stoking unrest and hatred among different communities, regional casteist outfits perpetuating regionalism and feudalism, a deracinated morally bankrupt intelligentsia – all this does not augur well for the future.
Rise of rabid identity politics, globalization, terrorism, technology and mass migrations/ demography change have caused panic not only in Bharat but also in USA and several countries of Europe which are witnessing a drift towards xenophobia and jingoism, majoritarianism and white nationalism. Immigrants are being looked at with suspicion and are being accused of causing cultural pollution and multiplying like rabbits to outnumber the local population.
Terrorist attacks have increased in Europe and the social fabric has ruptured because the immigrants want to be governed by Sharia and are not bothered by the niceties of liberal democracy. The rise of the Freedom Party in Austria, the National Front in France, Party for Freedom in Netherlands, Sweden Democrats and AfD in Germany are nothing but manifestations of Europe turning Right because migrants are snatching their jobs, Muslims are imposing their culture and Islamic terrorism is rearing its ugly head to add to their woes.
Politicians/ elites want to be politically correct. Brexit happened in large measure because Britishers didn’t want refugees, and many other European countries similarly want their doors to be shut for immigration. The rise of Trump in USA was made possible because of the disdain of the ordinary Americans towards the migrants.
The rise of the Modi phenomenon has struck the last nail in the coffin of ‘secularism’; one of the pious works of every right-thinking Bharatiya should be to contribute in the peaceful demise of secularism. Had it not been for the rise of BJP in the nineties, by now, a good portion of the country would have been Islamized and under Sharia.
Even today, Hindus are not allowed to celebrate their festivals in parts of West Bengal that are Muslim dominated. Hindus in Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Kashmir are demographically losing out against the rapidly multiplying Muslims. Even NRC has failed to resolve the crisis of Bangladeshi infiltration in Assam because most of these illegal immigrants have been a vote bank of erstwhile Congress regimes of the state and know how to game the system – in fact, it is the poorly organized Hindu refugees, who sought refuge in Bharat to escape terrible religious persecution in East Pakistan/Bangladesh, who are now facing the brunt of the NRC exclusion.
Since the dawn of the civilization, Bharat has been very receptive towards immigrants in genuine need of refuge as can be seen in the arrival of Kushans, Jews and Parsis. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam has been the long-cherished value of Sanatan Dharma, albeit our ancestors understood the true meaning of this idea and did not apply it blindly. Well-meaning immigrants have not only been welcomed but also embraced and assimilated in local customs and traditions.
Take the case of Kushans. The names of its earliest rulers were Khadphises 1 and 2 but as time passed, the Kushans started adopting Bharatiya names. Vasudeva was one of its rulers in the later phase. How can pluralism be a problem for us now? Pluralism becomes deadly when identity politics seeps into it and all the communities/political parties commence playing their own tunes.
Historically speaking, multicultural societies/ nations have seen a lot of infighting and the situation can only improve if the focus is towards integration and assimilation of all communities by finding common grounds. Most of the multicultural democracies of the world do not have mixed neighbourhoods but ghettos of different communities who feel comfortable in their own zones; these democracies are perceived to be liberal and secular.
In the garb of autonomy, minority rights and freedom, liberal democracies are prone to social ruptures, sectarianism and even secessionist tendencies.
Liberal and secular democracy is not ideal for Bharat as it divorces us from our moorings, culture and civilization; it is just a European thought embedded in the concept of nation–states. It is a recipe for anarchy and wiping out of Hindu Dharma. It is the duty of Bharat to protect the Hindu culture and civilization as Bharat is the spiritual homeland of Hindus & all Dharmic paths. Whenever Dharmic societies have come in contact with an alien exclusivist, supremacist idea and tried to embrace the same rather than repel it, they have suffered and their influence zone has diminished.
Afghanistan was once a flourishing centre of Bauddha Dharma but look what happened to it! Pakistan was once a cradle of Indic civilization but now, it persecutes Hindus. Indonesia, Malaysia, Tibet and Bangladesh were all under the matrix of Indic civilizations but have been gradually brought under control of totalitarian ideologies. In countries like Fiji, Maldives, Mauritius and Nepal, the Hindu influence is diminishing.
The solution to Bharat’s woes lies in the establishment of Hindu democracy. When I say Hindu democracy, it does not mean Hindu articles of faith but one that allows the simultaneous prospering of different belief systems tied to a common philosophical core that accepts that truth is one but there may be different paths to reach it.
Bauddha, Jain, Sikh and Hindu are basically Dharmic paths (Indic ‘religions’, if you must) with no conflict with the core Hindu philosophy. It is this underlying philosophy that allowed Hindu Bharat to accept the murti-pujaks and formless-worshippers, the believers and the non-believers without any discrimination, as long as they all agreed to mutually respect each other’s spiritual paths.
Unfortunately, for our Western-oriented apex judiciary, Hindu Dharma is not an easy ‘religion’ to decipher because it has no universally accepted holy book and prophet. Diversity is the hallmark of Hindu Dharma. Bharat has welcomed immigrants from time immemorial and even encouraged them to assimilate considering them their own. Today’s multiculturalism in liberal democracies is more about accentuating the identity divides and differences, whipping up communal passions and leading to intense contestations with other fellow communities.
It has become a fashion to talk about composite culture and heritage. But the moot point is that how can one forge a common composite culture with an Abrahamic religion that says its path is the only path to reach the truth? How can there be pluralism in a country which has a significant presence of a community for whom non-believers are hell-bound ‘pagans/kafirs’, who should at best be merely tolerated as they are in majority? How can there be multiculturalism in a country where there is no respect for national symbols like anthem and flag in the minds of 16-17 percent of the population? How can there be any acceptance of diversity in the country if religion becomes greater than the nation and the Constitution for the minorities?
The entire world understands how monochromatic Islam and Christianity are threatening diversity and how they eliminated different ‘pagan’ cultures from the world in their expansion drives. The beauty with Hindu Dharma is that it accepted all and assimilated them within its umbrella like fold. It didn’t advocate beheadings and public burnings, for those outside its fold. Hindu Dharma has been too diverse to bunch its thoughts in a single book.
Various so-called liberal democracies that pride themselves on their track records in dealing with minorities have no inhibition in accepting their Christian faith and singing paeans about the Christian way of life, and the list includes UK, USA, and France etc. Why are we apologetic about being a Hindu nation? If Christian democratic countries can vouchsafe for the safety of minorities, why not a Hindu democracy like Bharat?
As far as I can see, Hindu society has a better record in celebration of diversity than say, an Islamic or Christian society. Minorities are safe in Bharat; diversity is accepted as a way of life because of the fact that 79 percent of Bharat’s population comprises of Hindus.
If the nation has to survive, it has to discard secular liberal democracy and opt for Hindu democracy which will be no less liberal due to its inherent philosophy and spiritualism. Hindu democracy will facilitate nationalism. Nationalism may be a dirty word for the left-Congress ecosystem but for the Bharatiya masses, it is sacrosanct and non-negotiable. Hindu democracy will add a soul to our polity.
The minorities need not fear imposition of Hindu democracy because Hindu democracy or even Hindu Rastra has no concept of Dhimmi-ism like that of Islamic societies. Dhimmi-ism is the protection provided to non-Muslims in Islamic countries in lieu of which they are to pay and accept their subordinate status. In the Mughal days, the Hindus had to pay Jaziya tax which used to be waived when they converted to Islam.
Hindu Dharma is a matter of faith unlike Islam and Christianity which are ideology driven. Hindu Dharma has never been expansionist and has relied on cultural soft power to extend its influence zone unlike Islam/ Christianity which depended on the power of swords and fought Crusades to expand.
-by Jai Prakash Ojha (The author works with IGNOU as Assistant Registrar)
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