India is hurting right now. Saffron-hued right-wing organisations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Shiv Sena are touting their allegiance with the Hindu "majority" of India and running amok, creating communal havoc in India. It seems, under the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led majority government in India, the likes of RSS and Shiv Sena have found a loud, ugly voice to disrupt the sanctity and harmony of an entire nation.
These organisations defend their deeds by announcing themselves as the caretakers of "Hinduism". Regrettably, the ruling BJP and its supportive political alliance, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been extremely reluctant in issuing a stern reprimand against these out of control networks of religious hooligans.
"[I]n the absence of any meaningful condemnation of these religious factions... the responsibility lands with ordinary people like myself to voice our dissent."
Recently, in an area of India called Dadri, a Muslim man was lynched to death by a mob of "Hindu" activists on the back of rumours that he had been storing and consuming beef in his home. Forensic examination of the meat later revealed it was mutton, but the man was dead by then. Then, there have been rising incidents of members of the Shiv Sena group ransacking meetings and gatherings and even spraying Sudheendra Kulkarni with dark ink ink to protest the launch of a book by a former Pakistan foreign minister. A few days ago, the home of a Dalit family was set alight. Two young children lost their lives.
This is the state of play in India right now.
The BJP and its allies have not once lashed out at the miscreants. The Prime Minister is too focused on securing the state elections in Bihar. The other political parties, such as the Congress, are being selectively opportunistic about their criticism of these occurrences. And in all of this, the common person on the street is suffering. India sits on a short communal fuse. All it needs is a spark somewhere to throw it into a full-blown riot.
So in the absence of any meaningful condemnation of these religious factions for their role in the rising communal intolerance in India, the responsibility lands with ordinary people like myself to speak out against this plaguing bigotry and to voice our dissent. And I, for one, will not back away from it.
These ink-smearing, violent, and callous batteries of vandals running around the streets of India and professing to be the torchbearers of Hinduism are in fact thugs. Mere thugs. They do not stand for Hinduism or any other religion. The meaning of being a Hindu is lost on this mob of radical bullies. All they stand for is intolerance, hatred, and opportunism. And this thuggery must stop.
I am a Hindu. An educated, community-oriented, peace preferring, patriotic Hindu. I do not affiliate with the RSS and Shiv Sena and their brand of "Hinduism". And, I hope that am not the only Hindu that feels that way.
"Oppressing people of other faiths and minorities is an act of crime, not a tribute to your own religion."
The Hindu in me enjoys being friends with fellow citizens who follow a different religion than mine. The Hindu in me does not discriminate based on surnames, caste and creed. The Hindu in me does not choose to impose my religious preferences on others. Nor do I try to restrict others from following their chosen faith and lifestyles. The Hindu in me does not support violence. As a Hindu I get deeply hurt when innocent citizens are sacrificed in communal riots at the call of a handful of so-called "religious leaders".
The hallmark of Hinduism lies in loyalty, compassion and brotherhood towards all. In Hinduism we are told that truth and goodness will always prevail over deceit and evil. As a Hindu, I am aware that I must choose to do the "right thing" by myself and by others. It is a way of life.
That is the brand of Hinduism I am familiar with and attempt to practice on a daily basis. It is far removed from the senseless violence and aggression being preached by these self-proclaimed saviours of Hinduism in the RSS and Shiv Sena camps. Oppressing people of other faiths and minorities is an act of crime, not a tribute to your own religion.
If they are genuinely serious about promoting Hinduism, then I urge them to reach out to the deprived, under-privileged and down-trodden citizens of India and lend them a helpful hand --regardless of their religion, faith, caste or creed.
India does not stand for a single religion. India's strength has always been grounded in the diversity of faiths and beliefs within its citizens. And it must stay that way.
Organisations like the RSS and Shiv Sena do not stand for Hinduism as I know it, or any of its teachings. So, while the government makes up its mind about reigning in this menace, well-meaning, educated Hindus in India and abroad must speak out against these divisive factions.
A secular India will lead to a progressive India.