Hindutva demonising Indians in the name of Mahishasur and Durga

The likes of Smriti Irani are bent upon destroying India's diversity, and clearly want dominance of the upper caste to prevail.

 |  5-minute read |   01-03-2016
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Lately, a number of people have been described as anti-national by the Hindutva lobby. The most shocking is their definition of anybody who worships "demons" from Hindu mythology, as an anti-national. Mythological figures belong to a distant past when there was no concept of nation state. Nation is a modern concept defined by our Constitution, which, in the wildest of imagination, has no place for mythology.

Only an insane person would confuse the two things. It is a pity that even government institutions like the police are falling into this Hindutva trap.

It appears that the Hindtuva lobby is under the misconception that India has become a Hindu Rashtra merely because BJP has come to power at the Centre. The now deceased Vishwa Hindu Parishad president Ashok Singhal had described Narendra Modi's government as the first Hindu government after the Mughal rule and British Raj, but this is an illusory world created by the Hindutva brigade.

It is only by considering India a Hindu Rashtra that one can go to the ludicrous extent of calling people worshipping demons "anti-national". This is similar to the use of the blasphemy law against those who denigrate Prophet Mohammad or the Quran in an Islamic state. Does this mean that we are headed towards being a theocratic state? This should be a cause of concern for those who value democracy, secularism and freedom of speech.

Also read: The dark side of Durga Puja Bengalis don't like to talk about

The Hindutva lobby represents a very narrow world view which is not shared by a large segment of the Indian population including Dalits, tribals, minorities, other backward classes, atheists and secularists. And yet together these groups would easily constitute more than half of the population. The BJP has come to power with less than half the number of votes. Hence they may have a majority in Lok Sabha but they certainly do not enjoy the majority support.

If there are people who worship Durga in this country there are those who worship Mahishasur too. If there are those who worship Ram, there are many who worship Ravan. If there are places associated with Gods, there are places associated with demons.

Also read: Is Mahishasur really a villain?

When Smriti Irani says that she is hurt by the pamphlet brought out by Dalit, tribal, OBC students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on the occasion of "Mahishasur Martyrdom day", which is offensive towards Goddess Durga, does she even conceive that there might be people in this country who are offended by acts of Goddess Durga? In any case, how does she think that by virtue of being a Durga devotee she is a more righteous citizen than her less privileged fellow citizens, whose only fault is that they chose to worship somebody who is opposed to her deity?

The Sangh Parivar is bent upon destroying the diversity this country is known for, and clearly wants dominance of the upper caste point of view to prevail. Ordinarily, people believing in different thoughts have learned to co-exist in this country.

Also read - Udit Raj on Mahishasur row: Freedom of speech can't mean you can abuse gods

When two religious communities have events on same days, the district magistrate makes influential people from two communities sit down and works out a mutually agreeable plan so that both communities may observe their events peacefully. The BJP government is trying to tell us that only what is agreeable to the upper caste point of view will be allowed in this country, while the rest would be categorised as anti-national, their only place being in jails. Hence the Hindutva mindset poses a threat to the diverse thoughts of this country as well as its democracy.

But here again there is an interesting twist to the whole debate. The upper caste notion of a demon is someone who possesses muscle power and indulges in worldly pleasures. The demon represents evil. In our democracy when people have a choice between a simple, honest, straightforward candidate who is a paragon of virtues and a criminal, mafia, domineering candidate who uses ill gotten wealth to win the election, people have shown their preference for the latter because the common people believe that their representative should be materially and muscularly strong.

Most of these candidates are akin to demons as they not only have various criminal cases pending against them, but have acquired wealth illegally. Does this not mean that we are a demon worshipping people? If this is true, then by the definition of the Hindutva brigade most people of this country should fall in the category of being anti-national.

Except for some bright spots like the Anna Hazare led anti-corruption movement, most of the educated people in this country, almost always end up supporting corruption. People also don't seem to have a problem with criminals, especially, if they belong to their own caste or religion. Shouldn't all these people be considered anti-national?

If the Hindutva lobby had its way there would be more people inside the jails than outside of it.

When Narendra Modi ran for the post of Prime Minister he did not inform people that the Hindutva brigade will have a free run in the BJP rule. He won the election on a secular agenda, on the promise of "achhe din", which everybody thought would be good governance. What the people did not bargain for, was the imposition of Hindtuva agenda on the country.

Hence Narendra Modi must seek a fresh mandate if he wants to unleash Hindutva forces in society. The BJP government has allowed the growth of an atmosphere of fear in society for anybody who doesn't agree with the Hindutva ideology. The people of India have been cheated in democracy by a group which simply doesn't believe in democracy.

Writer

Sandeep Pandey Sandeep Pandey @sandeep4justice

The writer is a teacher, Ramon Magsaysay awardee; social activist and vice president of Socialist Party.

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