Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hindu Fundamentalism

So what is Sanatan Dharma? What is Bharat Sanskruti? Who are these supposed upholders of my faith?

I have said many a times on this blog that we can’t just cast a blind eye to these fundamentalist groups just because they seem to cause no apparent harm to us, just because they seem to somehow provide a counter-weight to other fundamentalists who are allegedly more harmful. We are creating Frankensteins and we don’t even know that.

Many elite Indian Hindus justify actions of Hindu fundamentalist groups that are growing within India as representing or safeguarding Hindu’s interests.

I woke up today to see two news items today: One which said VHP bandh turns violent in Orissa where churches were attacked, and one woman, a nun (supposedly), was burnt alive in an orphanage. I will come back to the other news a little later.

I disagree with many Indian Hindus who sympathize and support such goons telling themselves that - because they are apparently on our side now they will somehow turn peaceful and rest when the enemy is vanquished. Actually, these goons will not even wait for their enemy to vanquished, and will turn their guns onto the very silent spectators who sympathized with them all this while. This happened in all fascist movements in the world in the beginning of 20th century. We just failed to learn from their lessons.

An incident in Telangana

This was way back in 1998. We were celebrating New Years’ eve at our home in a small town of Telangana. I was visiting home from US then. My parents had invited all our friends and families to have a grand celebration at home. We were having fun inside our compound wall in the front yard. We were playing music and were having fun dancing and singing. It included uncles and aunts, grandmas and grandpas; it included nephews, nieces, friends and their families. It was a family event confined to our family and friends.

However, a group of young students passing by felt obliged to join our family reunion. When we politely declined their offer they got offended. They came back in a big group, almost fifty of them. They started to bang at our gate and wanted to come in. Some of our family members, especially the women, the children and the old, went inside the house, while the men were trying to reason with this unruly mob. Their case was very simple – It was against Bharat Sanskruti to dance, revel and have fun and they intended to put a stop it, all in the name of defending Bharat Mata.

Of course, it sounded ridiculous, but we continued to play cool trying to ward them off. They got angrier, they threw open the gates by force and then burst into the front yard. We had our cooked food on the table, yet to be served. One boy just threw the tables down and with it all the food onto the ground. They wanted to storm our home too to make sure they protect the interests of Bharat Sanskruti by teaching our folks a lesson. Some of us barricaded them, and eventually some of the saner boys were able to take their friends away from us. They left the place. It was a close call.

All your castles of securities vaporize when you are surrounded by a mob which is out to get you. You cannot reason with them, there is no intelligence there. It is an irrational crowd, completely drunk by opium called religion, and heroin called nationalism. Though we called the police, they suggested we just let go. These students get patronage by very big political parties which foment the same hatred on the name of religion.

Many such incidents took place near our home. While many elite Indian Hindus living in urban India have no clue how these mobs and protestors hide behind the alleged Bharat Sanskuti and thus continue to foment them through support, it is the small towns of India which seem to see this in action.

Bipasha Basu insults Bharat Sanskruti

Now, I talk about the second news item today. In the towns of Yamunanagar and Jagadhiri of Haryana, activists of various ‘social’ organizations burnt effigies of Bipasha Basu for allegedly making an ‘obscene’ statement [1].

The agitators sent her a legal notice advising her that either she tender an apology or be ready to face a suit.

They alleged that her controversial statement on “dating” boxer Vijender, if he won the gold medal at the Olympics, was against Indian culture.

Sanatan Dharam Sabha (Uttari Bharat) president Shiv Pratap Bajaj said her statement had insulted the dignity of women. “Bipasha tried to corrupt Indian boxing gem’s morality,” said Bhatia educational society district president Ashok Bhatia.

This Sanatan Dharma, as a philosophy, is flouted by many educated Hindus. And according one of its adherent groups, as seen above, to say ‘one wants to date the boxer if he wins the gold’ is against Indian Culture. Didn’t many rishis and apsaras indulge in such activities throughout our Hindu mythology? Didn’t Lord Indra explicitly use seduction to get his things done? Didn’t such courting, grabbing women, happen in our ancient stories? So, why is it against Indian Culture?

So, what makes something obscene? In our discussions on this blog on MF Husain, some of us made it clear that like beauty, obscenity is in the eye of the beholder. One should not try to legalize such a subjective matter. Yet, many educated and elite Hindus argued that such obscene things should be legally censored. Now, you can witness your own Frankenstein monsters in action.

Does one’s morality get corrupted just because a woman says aloud she wants to date him? What inferiority complex must be dominating these Sanatan Dharam guys who are out there to protect Bharat Mata and her Bharat Sanskruti from such puerile insults?

Woman burnt to death in an orphanage in Orissa

It takes us back to what Hindu groups are doing in India with full support from elite and educated Hindus of India. These groups brought down minority religions’ prayer rooms, and now in act of defense of their religion, they thought it was quite OK to ransack an orphanage, and burn a woman alive.


[1] Bipasha’s dating remark sparks row, Times of India, 26 AUGUST 2008.


  1. Sujai,

    Yesterday i had a crazy thought passing through me..to send those keralite bishops and priests (who had headed the agitation against the 7th standard text books, who advocated for giving birth to more christian babies and who advocated for autonomous colleges with throat cutting fees etc.etc..)to orissa..and give refugee to those orissa christians..i know it is silly and such thoughts should be condemned and shows another type of the same fundamentalism which i oppose...but really, some times, i hate these fundamentalists in such severe ways..especially the VHP and Bajrang dal goons...


  2. Rightly said. Just that the acts mentioned were the doings of a certain set of people who claim to be protectors of Hinduism, but fail to understand its fundamentals. Similar to the handful of Muslims who claim to be Jehadis but actually do not know what it means. We, being the elite, educated, privileged few have to draw a line between fundamentalism and fanaticism. And try to spread our real fundamentalism in the world like Swami Vivekananda did. Of course sometimes rationality is futile, like in the unfortunate incident you mentioned, but at some other times, its not.

  3. Here is another place to take a lesson from -


    ~ Vinod

  4. Sujai, but what has that one incident of criminal behavior of students crashing your party to do with Hinduism? Seems to me that you're once again conflating issues.

    Oh, and did you lose any sleep over Christian militants barging into an orphanage and cold-bloodedly killing and 80-year old Swami and a woman worker in front of children? The way you write on this post, it seems that there wasn't any other incident before it. Then again, can't expect much from a pseudo-secular like you.
    Here's a link with more details.

  5. sujai's justifies his hatred for hinduism based on a his experience' but lets not forget that it is only one side of the story. had i been in his place, i would have embraced any other faith. his conscience should also be pinching for disgracing hinduism and still staying a hindu.
    its better to cross over rather than stay a pseudo secular ABCD ie america based confused desi
    The pseudo secular are more dangerous and harmful to hinduism than the islamic fundamentalists
    - manoj hindu

  6. for the m f hussain comment: if the bas**** has the guts why he doesnt draw a caricature of prophet muhmad. the way he has drawn hindu deities in nude and in insulting poses. one goddess he has painted being mated by an elephant. he calls it gajgaminin. why doesnt the bas**** draw his mother as gajgamini.
    Still there are hindus who harp that freedom of expression should be there.
    Why there is no freedom of expressoin for Salman Rushdie, and for the dutch cartoonist
    -manoj hindu


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