The crypto-Wahabis are back in the news with full media support to declare war on Valentine's Day 2015! The Hindu Mahasabha of western UP has promised to forcibly marry off any unwed couples they catch loitering in the malls and cafes of Agra and Meerut, especially those carrying roses. If it's discovered to be an interfaith romance, the couple will be marched off to a "shuddhikaran" (ritual "cleansing") ceremony. Do these worthies realise that they are mirror-images of the UP mullahs who issue fatwas for publicity?
Believing liberal Hindus should hang in there and not be confused by these nasty little men. They should remember that they've endured the long haul of centuries. The Hindu has consequently grown a thicker skin, having seen it all. And like the Jew, he has a long perspective of history and has hung on to his faith, wielding a brisk reformist broom against his own orthodoxy.
That is the larger picture of Hinduism and it is positively oriented towards change and progress. What men like the western UP clique of the Hindu Mahasabha embody is the last stand of the desperate patriarchy, the threatened leftover mindset in a rapidly changing society, a society with more young people in it than ever before. So let's read it right and let's take heart. For instance, remember when "booth-capturing" began to be a regular feature of the electoral process? It was actually a sign of positive change. In earlier times, the local feudal lord would have merely told his "subjects" whom to vote for and they would have obeyed. But as the public realised that it owned its vote in the secret ballot, nasty surprises began to occur. That's when the local toughs began to try and capture electoral booths by force because they no longer had power over the minds of people.
The angry and frustrated Hindu men of western UP know this, as do the angry and frustrated men of the Bajrang Dal (who are reportedly taking a break from harassing the public this Valentine's Day because of a conference). Everything points to unstoppable change. The women soldiers proudly marching past on Republic Day, the increasing public fury against men who molest women, the defiance of the young who outnumber the old - India shall and will change and these men can do nothing about it because the zeitgeist or spirit of the age is against them and Indian society refuses to be dragged back into purdah culture. Especially, and most powerfully, there's a piece of paper with lions on it that's against these men, called the Constitution. The law has been ahead of society by a hundred years but the inevitable catch-up is happening and these men know they're being left behind and have consequently become social terrorists. For it's bigger than "freedom of expression" for couples to hang out on Valentine's Day, it's actually the Bhagavad Gita in action: "Parivartan hi sansar ka niyam hai" ("Change is the law of the universe").
But what do they know of Hinduism who know only anger? Anger is medieval. If these men really went back to tradition, they would connect with the true spirit of Brajbhumi that runs through western UP. One of the world's biggest love stories happened there and is still celebrated, not only in that region but all over India - the love of Radha and Krishna. Everyone knows that they were not married. But how we love that they loved. Nothing foreign about it!