RAJ DHARMA: At the 2002 National Executive Committee meeting of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) held in Panaji Goa, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted to sack Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, for targeting the Muslim minority community in the post-Godhra riots.
By Rajan Narayan
It is pathetic that the 56-inch chest superman Narendra Modi, who has a two-third majority in Parliament, should feel threatened by the minorities who constitute less than 20% of the population. Narendra Modi should follow the principle laid down by former BJP prime minister of Raj Dharma Atal Behari Vajpayee which was about all communities being treated equally.
It is clear that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is not only trying to polarise the country on communal lines but is actually blatantly talking of genocide. Which means mass killing of minority Muslim and Catholic communities in the country. The agenda of the BJP has been very clear from the time LK Advani, former BJP president, started the Ram janmabhoomi Rath Yatra. Which culminated in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. The demolition of the Babri Masjid took place in the presence of all senior BJP leaders including the present prime minister, Narendra Modi, and former chief minister of Goa, the late Manohar Parrikar. The then BJP chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh, ordered the police not to take any action, just as Narendra Modi allegedly asked the police in Gujarat not to stop the genocide following the Godhra riots. Even more shockingly the then Congress prime minister, P V Narasimha Rao refused to stop the demolition of the Babri Masjid. When senior officials and the media try to get P V Narasimha Rao to stop the demolition they were told that he must praying and could not be disturbed.
Dramatizing that a large section of the Hindu political leadership in the country is also anti- minority. To the extent that even Arvind Kejriwal is promoting the Hindutva line and offering free pilgrimages to Ayodhya.
The minorities account for less than 20% of the total population of the country. The Muslims who are the primary targets of the Hindutva brigade comprise only 14.2% of the population. There are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan. Indeed, the Muslims in India, despite the hostility of the BJP government, are happier in India then in Pakistan. This is because the Muslims from India who migrated to Pakistan, contentiously referred to as “mujahir” (the Pakistan equivalent of “bhaile”) are considered as second class citizens in Pakistan. There are many countries in the world like Malaysia which has a large Hindu minority population. Though Muslims are in majority and account for more than 60% of the population and Malay or Bahasa Malaysia is the official language, there is no harassment of either Hindus or Chinese long settled in the country in large numbers. Though there are Hindus working in very large numbers in the Gulf countries, they are not harassed or prosecuted. Though they cannot get the citizenship of the Gulf countries, except in the case of those willing to invest huge amounts of money.
ISLAM & CHRISTIANITY
ADMITTEDLY, both Islam and Christianity are proselytising religions. Which means that they are religions which not only believe in conversion, but consider it an obligation to convert people from other religions to their faith. When Francis Xavier, whose relics are lying in the Bom Jesus Basilica, came to Goa, he declared that “he had come in search of souls and spices.” Souls meaning Catholic converts for the Pope in Rome and spices for the King of Portugal.
The European countries which had embraced Christianity actively supported the Christian missionaries in their conversion drives. There have been wars fought in the name of conversion. Amongst the most notorious parts of history of the Crusades, even teens were enrolled in the armies in the fight between Islam and Christianity. Rulers actively sponsored ships for conversions from the maritime states like UK and Portugal — which were the most powerful countries in the 16th and 17th century, because they had the most powerful navies.
It is the countries which ruled the waves which ruled the world at that time. The Pope, who headed the Church, also extended support to the ruling monarchs who sponsored the special naval expeditions for conversion of the natives of their colonies. Priests in fact became the agents of colonial regimes. Whether it is the Indians in India or the Red Indians in the United States, entire native populations were conquered and converted by the maritime powers of UK and Portugal, with the blessings of the Church.
It is not widely known that the commercial capital of India, Bombay, was a gift deeded by the Portuguese king to one of his daughters who married an English prince. Reverend Desmond Tutu, the great South African freedom fighter, who died recently, put it very eloquently but simply:“They came with the Bible and said let us pray. When we opened our eyes we found that they had our land and we had the Bible.”
This is true of most of the developed Western countries ranging from the United States to Australia to New Zealand and South Africa which were only liberated from British colonialism two decades ago.
Similarly, admittedly, Islam was also an aggressive religion. A religion which believed that while there may have been many other prophets and saints, Allah was supreme. Islam acknowledges other religious leaders ranging from Moses, who is the founder of Judaism, to even Jesus Christ. But Islam which came much earlier in the 7th century also sought to expand its physical territories. There was a time when Islam controlled not just parts of Europe like Turkey and Spain but virtually the whole of India.
It was perhaps the discovery of gun powder by the Western powers that changed the balance between Christianity and Islam. So much so Islam can be found in a dozen small pockets, the richest and the most prosperous being Iran, Iraq and the Gulf countries — because of the huge petroleum reserves they control.
Unlike Islam and Christianity, Hinduism has no provision for conversion. There is not a single one of the hundreds of sects of Hinduism which preach or propagate that people from other religions should become Hindus. What Hinduism did was to assimilate the other religions such as Buddhism and Jainism which challenged its monopoly. Which I why Buddhism which does not believe in idol worship in Japan and other countries has a Hinayana form in Asia, including India where images of Buddha are worshiped.
Jainism founded by Mahavir who believed in total non-violence was also virtually taken over by Hinduism. Hinduism has always been an inclusive religion. It is only with the coming together of the RSS and Hindutva that Hinduism became a violent, intolerant, proselytising religion.
Before the Babri Masjid demolition there was no talk of “love jihad.” There was no ban on eating of beef as it was believed that the Brahmins, supposed to be on the top of hierarchy of Hinduism, used to enjoy beef. Indeed, the caste system in Hinduism came much later and worst jobs were based on the basis of the birth of individuals.
CHILDREN OF GOD
LIKE the warrior class was called Chatriya, traders were called Vaishiya (equivalent to Bhandari in Goa) and those who did menial jobs were dubbed Shudra. Mahatma Gandhi tried very hard to eliminate caste by calling the Shudra the Harijans which literally means “Children of Goa.” Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, convinced that the Brahmins will not give up the tyranny of the caste system, got the lowest caste to convert to Buddhism. Perhaps among the greatest pioneers in demolishing castiesm in Goa was the first chief minister of Goa, Dayanand Bandodkar, who bought all the non-Brahmins people under the umbrella of the Bahujan Samaj.
The overwhelming majority of Hindus have nothing to fear from the Muslims who constitute 14% of the population, and the Catholics who make up 2.3% of the population. Contrary to the claim of the Hindutva fanatics the rate of growth of the population of India’s minorities is falling and not increasing, The rate of growth of population has nothing do with religion. It is entirely linked to education and economic development, particularly the education of women.
When women of any community became educated they realize that if they have fewer children there would enjoy greater prosperity. In the old days people believed in having more children because it meant more hands to work in the paddy fields. Now, with mechanisation of agriculture, even farmers are agitating to be declared as of lower caste so that they can get admission in medicine and engineering schools. Like the Bhandari Samaj in Goa. Fortunately, thanks to the Supreme Court, even Muslim and Catholic converts can enjoy the benefits extended to the backward classes and economically weaker sections.
As the big brother it is the duty of every Hindu to protect the minorities. There was a time in the 18th and 19th centuries when there was total harmony between Hindus and Muslims in states like Uttar Pradesh. Indeed, Lucknow was considered the cultural capital of the country and the home of shairi and gazal.
Similarly in the case of Christianity, Christians were responsible for setting up the best English educational institutes in the country. From degree collages to increasingly technology colleges, from medicine to engineering colleges. Many senior BJP leaders like LK Advani have acknowledged the contribution of the missionary run colleges in developing their personalities. Goa is perhaps the best example for communal harmony. The Portuguese were never resisted, unlike in the case of the British, and they did not try to divide the communities. Goa perhaps is the only state where they have been no communal riots, except for the minor incident in Curtorim in 2006 instigated by Hindutva elements.
set an example
FORTUNATELY the demography of Goa makes it unproductive for any political parties to promote communal wars. Without the Catholics and now with the migrant Muslim population, no government can be formed without the support of the minorities. Hindus should consider it their duty and privilege to look after the minorities. Let us resolve to tie rakhi to every one of our Muslim and Catholic brothers and sisters this time around. Let India like the USA set an example of being a genuinely secular democratic republic.