Hindutva is ugly, Hinduism is beautiful. Don't let the bigot fool you

It is the coming of age of the silent majority.

 |  4-minute read |   31-05-2017
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So, who is the real enemy of Hindutva?

Well, if you are the kind who is bristling with this notion of moral and racial superiority; if you wish to just drown others with your opinionated din; if your tunnel vision constricts your thinking, then, you are not the enemy.

If you are wedded to the idea of majoritarianism; if the seeds of your self-esteem are embedded in the debris of a demolition; if you are an intellectual liar without a sense of history and given to making deceitful arguments, then too be grateful, you are surely not the enemy.

But, yes, if you are a reasonable and a right-thinking person, possibly a little naive; if you have a sense of right and wrong, but do not believe in overstating your case; if you believe in the dignity of the individual — whatever the religious denomination; and if you believe in freedom of thought — which is tethered neither to ideology nor to dogma — then, in all probability, you are the enemy.

It is you that the communal Hindu is really worried about, not his equally toxic Muslim counterpart. Him he needs for sustenance — they feed on each other like maggots in a garbage dump. They go hand-in-hand spewing venom, sowing mistrust.

The bigot also does not worry needlessly about those Muslims who have kept their sanity intact, even when everything was going wrong for them. He has already goaded and gagged them with his vitriolic nonsense, even the somewhat voluble kind maintain a stupefying silence, lest they are drawn into the simmering fires.

Even otherwise his numerical superiority is such that a Hindutva protagonist does not have to worry about what passes for minority assertion. The cult of violence that passes for nationalism takes care of the belligerent lot.

But the bigot is unable to convince you — the inscrutable and impenetrable Hindu — that you are afflicted with a disease called "tolerance and universal acceptance".  

He tries his best to drum his toxicity into you — he delves deep inside and tries to muddy your mind with notions of ancestry and skin colour, with his distorted versions of history and mythological grandeur. 

He does this with the tenacity of a grave digger but fails — because he has not reckoned with humanism — the building blocks of which are a spirit of reason and an unfettered "Right to Inquire".

trishul_hindutva_053117045339.jpgThe Right is being confronted and told that Hindutva has nothing to do with Hinduism.

Unwittingly, the bigot has rendered a great service — he has roused the slumbering enigmatic Hindu. So, the squeamish are beginning to muster courage, they are coming out of the closet. And this tribe is now snarling, sniping, even mocking the Right and its sense of self-righteousness. The liberal is now ready to offend, ready to troll, an eye for an eye. And unlike the Left, he is free of ideological trappings.

So, the Right is being confronted and told that Hindutva has nothing to do with Hinduism; that the Right does not even adhere to its own tenets; that the Right cares two hoots for even its own icons. That the Right only wants to create a spitting image of Pakistan.

It is the coming of age of the silent majority.

It is for the first time Hindutva is facing a challenge from "within".

The intrinsic strength of the faith, its resilience has come into play: it is bringing right-minded citizens — of all hues, including atheists — together on one platform. They see themselves not as defenders of the faith — Hinduism is too robust for that — but as custodians of a civilisation's ethos, right-thinking people who don't want India to become a Hindu theocracy or a poor replica of Pakistan.

While these are early days and one can't describe it as "resurgence" it has surely led to a churning within the faith.

The Right realises it is skating on thin ice: it cannot just demonise Mughal emperor Akbar and turn him into an invader; it cannot cite scriptures in defence of cow slaughter; it cannot deflect attention from issues of the governance by raking up trivia like beef, love jihad and roadside Romeos, it cannot just straddle the Vindhyas and transplant Hindi.

It could at best vitiate the climate by turning a mosque, which nobody even knew existed before Independence, into a symbol of divisiveness in contemporary politics.

But despite all the resources at its command — not to forget a pliable bureaucracy, a receptive government, a conniving administration — Hindutva cannot masquerade as Hinduism. 

The face of Hindutva is contorted, that of Hinduism is benign. The body language of Hindutva is that of a thug, that of Hinduism is of poise, grace and equilibrium. The gods of Hindutva have feet of clay, those of Hinduism have an ethereal beauty.

Also read: 10 profiles on Humans of Hindutva that'll make you stand up and then sit

Writer

SS Dhawan SS Dhawan

The writer is the former editor of FPJ.

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