The Ram temple is a symbol only.

By Hinduwoman

May 15/2002

The recent violence among hindus and muslims are not really about a temple, it is just a symbol:

What is happening in India today is an example of what happens when the State meddles with religion and liberals go mushyminded. There had been a long history of bloodshed between the two culminating in the killings of Partition. However in modern India the hatred of Hindus would have lessened if they had not perceived that muslims were being unjustly priveleged. Because of the politicans' and so-called intellectuals' biased behaviour, the hindu right, whose name noone has heard twenty years ago managed to stir up such rage.

(i) no common law. The muslims are allowed to follow the shariat while Hindus have their own code. How ridiculous is this in a democracy where all are supposed to be citizens? Yet any attempt to reform muslim law, like stopping three talaqs, have always been regarded as a plot to drown the minority community in majoritaniasm. Same with polygamy. The argument goes: By law polygamy is prohibited in hinduism; therefore to try to make muslims accept monogamy is an attempt to hinduinize them. Of course what the women want is always ignored.

(ii) Haj subsidy, to the tune of 78 million. But Hindus have to pay for their own pilgrimages while paying taxes for mulsims to go to mecca.

(iii) shahbano case: the supreme court ruled that an 80 year old woman who had been divorced is entitled to Rs. 500 alimony per month. The muslims took to the streets threatening riots because it went against the shariat. The then Congress govt. gave in and a bill was passed overturning the verdict. So is the court a hostage to muslim violence and votebanks?
When the ruling party realized that they had alienated the middleclass Hindus they behaved even more criminally. They handed over the Ram temple (the one about which dispute is going on) to the hindu right, in a pathetic attempt to show that they are not anti-hindu, rather than putting things to rights.

(iv) Salman Rushdie case and the contrast with the Hussein case. Both muslims and so called progressives were in favour of banning Rushdie's book becuase it hurts islamic sentiments. The govt. as usual, terrified at the thought of rioting muslims, gave in. But when Hussein painted nude goddess of education, (there were many goddesses known for chasing men and he could have painted them, this is nothing other than to generate controversy) the Hindus were expected to accept it in the interest of free artistic expression. The govt. did not ban it, though hindu rightwings demanded that the same principle be applied as in Rushdie case. It is the hypocrisy that enrages the average middle-class,.

(v) refusal of Muslim imams (not everyone, but the more prominent 'islamic' ones) in public to pray for India in Kargil war, because no muslim can pray for the victory for kaffirs over a Islamic jehadi (Pakistanis) (yep, that was the term used by one).

(vi) hindu religious institutes are governed by govt. who appoints even communists to supervise them, while muslims and Christians have a free run in their religious institiutes. They can set up as many schools as they please and teach whatever they like, all these lovely verses from the koran (including Islamic economy is based on appropriation of enemy property; one madrassah was actually caught teaching that). Many muslim parents from the slums send their children to the madrasas to learn the koran alone because they are convinced that no other knowledge is required. But the govt. thought of muslims voting en-bloc and did not interfere in the name of religious freedom; since the curriculum of these madrashas had recieved wide publicity, you can guess what Hindus thought of that.

(vii) If in the Islamic community itself someone speaks for modifying Islamic practices watch the fur fly! A muslim professor at Jamia islamia said that since Hindus revere the cow, then the muslims during id should sacrifice some other animal. The other professors and muslim students demanded his resignation for being unislamic. But not a single intellectual protested. And the habit of saying 'we' and 'our side' have won, when Pakistan wins a match against India doesnot help. Not all muslims do this, but enough to reinforce the stereotype. I know that the minority must be allowed to retain its own practices, but the muslims go to ridiculous lengths to demonstrate they are not Hindus. All these lovely fatwas published by ulemas saying you cannot wear a certain type of dress because that is what Hindus wear, or declaring that you cannot pray for the soul of a hindu, is too noticeable. So that is what the Hindus see --- a community who refuses to be integrated and the State which always seem to interfere in favour of muslims.

(viii) But all these wouldnot have been assumed such proportions if it had not been for our intellectuals, the brown sahibs.
They are determined to show they can emulate the white man by fearlessly criticising the majority culture and pampering the minority. Rather than insist on educating and feeding the poor muslims, they advocate preserving every aspect of muslim culture, of being respectful to minority religions. So they constantly harp that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, while hinduism is too evil to be borne. Any public criticism of Islam is enough to label you a nazi and affect your job prospects in govt. and academia, or was before the hindu nationalist party came to power. Nothing enraged the average hindu (me too) as constantly hearing the following: The koran is beyond moral and historical criticism but gita is the legitimisation of feudalism. Denials that muslims had ever broken temples or forcefully converted Hindus. Instead the latest theories being taught in text books is that there were hardly any religious conflicts between the two and all such evidences were fabricated by the British to divide them. (This is such a blatant lie that no one can have any respect for the self-appointed intellectuals). Islam brought equality of men, freedom to women and a sense of nationhood and culture. Alongside an extremely negative image of a static Brahmin dominated pre-islamic society that had never contributed anything to civilization, is being presented. Unfortunately, many muslims themselves have come to believe this propaganda. This is also what gives the mullahs courage to press their demands.

(viii) about 75 000 Hindus had been killed by Islamic militants, and the figure grows day by day, but they are hardly mentioned in Indian English press and articles. Instead a great deal of space is devoted how savagely the Indian troops are treating the militants: the rights of Muslim militants are sacroscant, but the same upholders of human rights never even go to express sympathy to the families of the bereaved. The press and liberals make all kinds of excuses why muslims are driven to such lengths while hardly making mentions of the hindu victims. The question that naturally rises in hindu minds is that don't we matter? This is what the hindu right is telling the ordinary hindu --- if a white man dies it is a tragedy, if a muslim dies it is catastrophic, but if illiterate poor Hindus die then no one of the well-to-do English speaking elite cares. And of course the elite does not have an answer to this charge, except to say such talk is fascism.
In Kashmir the militants have succeded in driving out 150,000 Pandits and made them refugees in their own land. Not a single secularists speaks of their rights. The pseudo-secularists' argument is that while this is deplorable, well Kashmir is muslim and the majority surely has a right to decide whether they can live in peace with other communities. Naturally that raises the point that since Hindus are in a thumping majority all over India ...

The saddest thing is that no muslim intellectual ever addresses these problems. There are some, but too few in numbers. They go on speaking about the muslim sense of hurt, but even when challenged directly refuses to discuss hindu resentments. We know that all muslims are not traitors --- the solders certainly are not. But the overall perception is that muslims refuse to assimilate and they do not care about other communities. And of course the various Islamic states engender even more hostility.

Unless real grievances are addressed, the problems will not go away. (Hell, the janitor at my office is not saying that his fellow-villagers are killing muslims because of religion or Ram temple. Instead he is boasting that now the muslims has been taught a really good lesson and they will never dare to try to lord it over Hindus again, or call Hindus cowards). Most of the poor muslims being killed have nothing to do with the grievances; they are not responsible for the islamic militants and if they cling on to their muslim identity to the exclusion of all else it is because they have been brainwashed by their ulemas. (That is why the muslim clergy prefer to keep their flock poor and illeterate. The few well-educated muslims I know have escaped from their grasp completely; they actually say they did not appoint these mullahs as their spiritual guides). But they will be killed as their leaders play politics and the intellectuals try to improve their standing in international seminars.


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