Every now and then I see the Hindutva brigade do something so stupid that it is almost endearing. Usually they come across as a bunch of nationalist thugs but, on these rare occasions, I find them as adorable as a dog that is startled by its own farts.
When I read reports of a Hindu group holding a prayer ritual for Donald Trump’s victory, I suddenly had butterflies in my stomach like when I first kissed my wife or like that time when I kicked my headmaster’s scooter. Surely this was too good to be true?
It wasn’t. The Hindu Sena – a group that is known for attacking people they don’t agree with and for sniffing out beef like bloodhounds – held a havan in New Delhi for Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential race.
|Hindu Sena held a havan in New Delhi for Donald Trump’s victory.|
Senapati Vishnu Gupta explained, "Going by the statements of Donald Trump, we believe he will be the lone protector of mankind. We believe Islam and Islamic terror are cancerous to the world. India has suffered too long because of this. Trump believes the same thing and that’s why we are praying for his victory."
I think it’s hilarious that they call themselves a sena (army) when I have seen more people in a Calcutta auto-rickshaw. Videos of the gathering show a few jobless men chant shlokas alongside a priest who is more interested in Americana than nirvana.
International media covering this story would do well to remember that Donald Trump is not special; Hindus simply love to pray. It’s our favourite pastime. We are perhaps the only religion which summons god as if he is an Ola driver. By pulling this stunt and claiming to speak for the Hindus of India, Mr Gupta has shown the world how ill-informed and laughable Hindutva really is.
|By pulling this stunt and, Hindu Sena has shown the world how laughable Hindutva really is.|
The road to my home is paved with at least seven make-shift temples. There are only two ATMs. People used to go to temples but due to traffic and unholy surge pricing, devotees are increasingly turning god into a hyperlocal commodity.
Why go to Tirupati when you can tie a thread around your neighbourhood tree and worship the hell out of it? We don’t go to god anymore; we want him to come to us. For our cricket matches, for our exams, for our start-up’s funding and now for our political beliefs.
Some see our polytheism as a sign of choice; I see it more as a feature of convenience. While the Abrahamic religions treat god like a Eureka Forbes serviceman who can only make one house call at a time, we treat him as if he were Google, i.e. omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient.
As much as the conservatives of USA hate Muslims, to the best of my knowledge there were no rednecks praying in the churches for Narendra Modi’s victory in 2014. If they had done their homework they would have found that 2,000 of those gosh-darned Muslims they hate so much were killed under Modi’s watch. A lot of Americans voting for Donald Trump would probably vote for Modi if they were living in India.
All this makes one wonder: are Trump and Modi really that different? Modi campaigned with promises of making India great again, he promised to send illegal immigrants back to Bangladesh and made much hullaballoo about creating new jobs. Trump is promising to make America great again by creating local jobs, he wants to send illegal immigrants back to their countries and wants to stop Muslims entering America.
|Are Trump and Modi really that different?|
As far as I can see, the only difference between the two is that Trump has a degree and can prove it. Also, Trump flaunts his trophy wife while Modi hid his wife as if she were a participation certificate.
It is Trump’s open hatred of Muslims that groups like the Hindu Sena and Indian-Americans for Trump (a political group based out of New Jersey) are excited about. It doesn’t matter to them that Trump is a racist, sexist partisan who wants to cut down outsourcing to India and who thinks foreign policy is about bombing the heck out of countries.
It doesn’t matter to them that he openly mocks Indians on his campaign trail. All that matters to these people is that Muslims should be stopped. If Hilary Clinton was against Muslims then they would be rooting for her. It is not enough that they have managed to vote in a bigot in their own country, they want a bigot to head another country too.
It must be exhausting to be this hateful. It takes a special kind of idiot to sit around a bonfire on a 41 degree afternoon, just so he can pray for the ruination of another community. This obsessive hatred of Muslims is almost childish and reminds me of those toy robots that keep banging into the wall until turned around.
I have always found it weird how so many Hindutva leaders look upon Hitler as a role model. RSS head MS Golwalkar and Shiv Sena’s Bal Thackeray were openly fascinated and supportive of a despicable leader who furthered a despicable ideology.
A German friend of mine was aghast to see how easily the Mein Kampf is available on Indian streets alongside the latest Chetan Bhagat. A Gujarati businessman named his clothing store in Ahmedabad after Hitler (personally, I think "Stalin Jeans" has a nicer ring to it). Then there was the Hitler’s Cross Cafe in Mumbai.
A 2002 survey by the Times of India found that a significant number of Indian students thought that Hitler signified discipline, power and efficiency. Like Hitler wanted to do away with the Jews, these young nationalists wanted a more assertive India that could be cleansed of its Muslim population.
This is why it is troubling that Indians would support an openly racist man who is against immigration. Right-wing Hindus were misguided when they thought that Hitler was sympathetic to the Indian cause and they are misguided now when they think Donald Trump gives a damn about Indians.
I remember a Nasreddin Hodja story in which he called half the people in the crowd stupid and everyone protested because they counted themselves in that half. Hodja quickly corrected himself and said that half the crowd were intelligent. This mollified the crowd because now everyone saw themselves as belonging to the intelligent half.
Indians should learn from this story. A man who is against Muslims today can just as easily be against Hindus tomorrow. Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is not your friend. Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is Donald Trump.