Saturday, March 10, 2012

Yes, India is a Hindu Rashtra (Haan, Bharat Ek Hindu Rashtra Hai)

This an unauthorised rough translation of a very powerful piece written in Hindi by activist and journalist Bhanwar Meghavanshi from Rajasthan. His post is available is available on his blog.

I can claim for sure that India is a Hindu nation. A majority of people will not agree with me and they are entitled to their opinion, but my experience tells me that even though the Preamble to India's Constitution states that we are a "secular" nation and government books state that we are a secular state, in reality we are a Hindu nation.

You go to the various cities, towns and villages of southern Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and there you'll find that our presumably secular nation is being made a mockery of by these boards where it is written -'' Welcome to this ____ Village of a Hindu nation.'' Everyone sees such boards, but doesn't it hurt anyone's eyes to look at such boards and doesn't make anyone think that this is an open mutiny against our constitutional commitment to secularism, which can be placed in the category of treason. Say, in a village you find that it is written -"Muslim nation. . . Or Christian nation. . . Or Sikh nation. . . Welcome to such and such a village.'' How would you feel? Won't your mouth have an astringent taste seeing this? The above words do may not sound good to you, but when similar words greet you to a Hindu nation then you find them quite pleasant.

Come on, lets leave these things. A few mad religious fanatics from some army or members of a Commando force must have put these the boards. Nothing will happen because of this! We are a great secular democracy and will continue being so. Of course, we'll remain so! I am in hundred per cent agreement with your views and desires. But everywhere I see I find the features of a Hindu religious nation. Is it that my secular eyes have been afflicted by cataract of the theocratic state and the swinging of the lathi (staff) at the RSS Shakha in my youth is having an effect on my thoughts once again? I do not know, but something is happening, and it is a little difficult to tell what's going on.See my simple definition of the secular nation state is a nation that will not favor any religion, will not promote her or will not run the country on the basis of the ways and traditions and customs and beliefs of a particular religion. This is my understanding of secularism. But this is a secularism of thought. Secularism of principles and of behaviour is some other kind of secularism. Come, lets have a look at this pseudo-secularism and if you feel like it, to be the sacrificial offering to such a secularism.

Lets start with the schools where there is solid knowledge to create the citizens of tomorrow. In these schools you'll not just find pictures and statues of Goddess Saraswati, which in any case are there, but also, Sarawati Temples have been built in uncountable number of schools! And these are government schools (Not RSS's Shishu Mandir schools). Here the morning begins with prayers to Goddess Sarawati like "veena vadini var de" thus the Mother Sharde i.e., the Goddess Saraswati, is prayed for the wisdom and knowledge. Can a devout person tell me how educated this Goddess of Learning Sarawati herself was? Have there ever been found any written poetry, chants, hymn etc. written in any book or text, ever. Is there any book written by Ma Sharde anywhere? Probably not. I feel like asking that in a country where the Goddess of wisdom and knowledge is present, who is worshipped and prayed to every single day, why does that nation have the most ignorant, illiterate and uneducated people? That's what I am baffled, shocked, and upset that why is there so much illiteracy in the in the country of Goddess Saraswati and poverty in the country of Goddess Lakshmi? Why does the nation in which the Goddess of wealth stays is also a country where there are long queues to become become eligible for  schemes for the BPL? Why weren't the Yavanas, Mughals or the Turks afraid of the raudraroop of the Goddess who killed the demon Mahishasur. Why are hundreds of thousands of years of slavery and thousands of defeats etched and recorded on the shield of our "advanced" Hindu nation?
Actually lets chuck it. Lets come back to the moot point. So the moment you step out of your house, and take a few steps, in fact, even without getting out of one's house and taking those few steps one feels that India is a Hindu nation. I want to say to my communal friends, why waste time every morning and evening spinning wheels? Go work on some other good cause. This country is already a Hindu nation; how much more Hindu will you make it?Here, every government department's building is inaugrated with a bhoomi poojan and government programmes are started by the lighting of a lamp. Coconuts, incense sticks, putting of tilak, etc everything is done and often operated by the Pandits who direct the entire proceedings. Its also common that dignitaries are welcomed and honoured with turbans and saffron coloured clothes from religious institutions with religious chants.

From school assemblies to Legislative Assemblies, surya namaskars are done and mantras of Om Namah Svitri Suryanarayanay, Rviee Namah, Namah Suryay are being chanted. All kinds of babas are holding katha (story) sessions or or teaching yoga, and from our Union Ministers are standing on their heads doing shirsaasan on the tunes of these religious babas.

In order to manage, administer and take care of temples government run Devasthanam Boards are working. One can build a temple or a shrine at any public place, without taking anyone's permission. Where ever and when ever one wants, thousands of tonnes of ghee is poured into yagnas to create smoke and it is considered a pious thing! If you have a joint Hindu family you shall be exempted from tax. There is an subsidy to visit Kailash Mansarovar. All religious trusts are tax-free. Your day, the brahm mahurat, can be started at 4 AM, and you can blow trumpets at religious sites, and depending on their ability and devotion can disturb the sleep of irreligious people.

In the name of your feelings you can riot about anything; to save a dead cow you can murder living Dalits; in the name of living cows you can take away the livelihood of nomad communities; the government could take over land in the name of gau shalas (cow sheds). Yes, you're free to do all this. No one will say anything.
If you want you can attack a minority area and burn their shops and then then walk scot free taking the benefit of being from the majority community. In this country, to be a Hindu is beneficial and to be a political Hindu is even more beneficial.
Governmental and private offices have our God-Goddesses established. Our executive, press, judiciary and legislature are increasingly and more intensely becoming Hindu. Our behaviour smacks of the Hindu nation. So I often say and would like to tell you that notwithstanding how many times we write the word ''secular'' in our Constitution, we were and will remain a Hindu nation. Because in our eyes, India is a Hindu nation.

Bhanwar Megvanshi

(The author is the