Responsible: in charge of, in control of, at the helm of, accountable for, liable for, charged with… Hinduism: Indian dharma, or way of life; also called Sanātana Dharma, “eternal tradition”; scholars regard it as synthesis of various cultures and traditions of sub-continent; texts include Vedas Upanishads Puranas Mahabharata Ramayana and Āgamas; strong Hindu tradition exists, of questioning authority in order to deepen understanding of eternal truths; prominent goals or aims of human life are Dharma (ethical duties), Artha (work), Kama (desires/passions) and Moksha (liberation from cycle of death and rebirth), karma (action and intent), Saṃsāra (death-rebirth cycle); Hinduism prescribes eternal duties, such as *honesty, refraining from injuring living beings (ahimsa), patience, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, etc… Responsible Hinduism: practice of Hindu way of life honouring above eternal principles*. Betrayal: infidelity, treachery.
Monastic orders of all streams of thought focus on protecting environment, not inconveniencing others, being to the extent of one’s capacity in charge of matters and self-control… and upright sincere politics of nation building, not the destructive toxic variety fashionable these days. The practitioners of these monastic orders are the saints, or Sants, who are revered figures followed by the Hindu masses.
Today’s Hinduism, however, like so many other religious belief-systems, stands hijacked by vociferous (I was tempted to write vociferocious) militant claimants to be representative of Hinduism, peddling actually their agenda comprised of none of the values and virtues Hinduism extols, but built on concocted narratives of “us” as legitimate and minorities as “the other”, conceited disdain, derisive mocking, outright hate, defamatory insinuations and demonisation. If these are representative of Hinduism, who is responsible for all this? Since Hinduism suggests none of these, it is clear firstly that these are the antithesis of Hinduism and second, that the practitioners of this hostile behaviour patterns, whether wearing saffron or brown, white or fatigues, do not represent Hinduism at all.
When a political theory destructive of the values that a nation is built on is first proposed, and seeks to build a false narrative of past persecution flying in the face of historically verifiable records, patriots tend to ignore it holding it so completely outlandish no one will take it seriously. The result is that, as in any other disease, proponents of outlandish toxic cancerous lines of thought entrench themselves and become increasingly difficult to uproot toxic thought completely from the system. The next stage is when toxicity jockeys for legitimacy, positioning itself among voices that determine the future of political units. At this stage, saner elements of society wishing to appear “large-hearted” allow it some space which it then uses as foothold from which to spread its malignancy. Over time the parasite takes over the host, controlling it completely sapping the most vital nutrients that nurture the host destroying institutions completely until the host has collapsed completely. Unaware it is not the host alone that dies, every single malignant cell of the cancer also perishes denuded of nutrients that allowed its proliferation. Cancers can be forgiven as incapable of looking beyond immediate gratification and destruction of every wholesome, normal, healthy and good cell. However, wholesome, normal, healthy and good denizens that make up bodies politic must exercise that capability, look beyond their noses, take necessary hard decisions that are imperative to cure the political disease in such a manner as to completely uproot even the most vestigial traces of toxicity from the system.
If a disease takes twenty years to entrench itself it can be safely assumed it will require at least a few to stand completely erased. Given that a complete course of treatment is mandated, given that polluted, corrupt, malignant, cancerous thought produces nothing but polluted, corrupt, malignant, cancerous action, how is polluting of thought to be treated? Steps to cure disease begin with tests to determine the root cause of manifestations. What dominant cause is responsible for destructive action, if not malignant thought? Therefore all malignant thought must be curtailed, stopped and, given it is presently so very fashionable, it will not stop unless it is severely penalised.
Usually the police authority steps in but when that is seen malfunctioning as in UP and NCT of Delhi, caution and scepticism suggest themselves to the not entirely uninitiated. That said, when authority becomes naughty, one looks to either human rights institutions or the judiciary. The brightness of one’s eyes dims a bit when one reflects on, oxymoron forgiven, inert responses to matters of momentous import such as but not restricted to Bhopal Gas, Bhagalpur, Hashimpura, Ayodhya, Mumbai, Gujarat, Yalgaar, Kashmir, even JNU-AMU-NCT of Delhi events. Mind you, I say “responses” with some trepidation: “response, lack of” looks inelegant, and given hypersensitive times hypersensitive “sensibilities” can allege “hurt sentiments”, whatever that is, and hyperactive magistracy can direct registration of charge-sheets… FIRs to follow later: when UAPA-TADA-POTA-COCA can turn “innocent till proven guilty” on its head, why not all canons, procedures and conventions?
Control by executive is visibly out, so giving up on all of these, politicians being politicians, the largely decent mass that is the “Hindu samaaj” being passive, judiciary impassive, injustice impassable, who’s left? Ah, the Sants. The unpolluted, upright ones, the few that still speak truth to power.
The Sants must now step out and demand back the reins of the Hindu faith from the usurpers, its hijackers, its distorters, its manipulators, the political upstarts who cannot think beyond immediate self-gratification, those focussed on destruction and negation rather than building… toxic ones out to wink at lynching, promulgate black laws, distribute weapons, instigate brutalised police personnel, buck an apparently unresponsive legal system, and an apparently appointed by themselves judiciary… The Sants whose work is cut out for them, would be failing their faith, betraying Hinduism itself, if they do not.
What is presented as Hinduism today is a caricature of its grand glorious inclusive scheme, just as the presentation of Islam does no credit to its pristine purity. For long we have heard the clamour: let the Muslims come out and dispute the right of their co-religionists to hijack Islam and abuse its selected verses quoted always out of context to wreak acts of inhumanity: the insinuation was if you as a Muslim don’t, then you silently support those rogues.
Well, many of us have spoken out, and today the boot is on the other foot. The millions and millions of Hindus, those decent people who believe as do all decent people that this sort of crazy downward spiral taking our country from its present distressful state to absolute darkness must stop, must now stand up and be counted, as they indeed are all over the country. This black law nonsense is not against Muslims: it is against freedoms, and the freedoms of each one of us, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Buddhist, Jain, atheist, agnostic… all, every single one without exception, are in the firing line.
Among those millions and millions of Hindus, the Sants will have to step out and show the way. Not those alleged godmen who spearhead anti-minority, anti-dalit, pro-oppression, pro-exclusion, pro-terrorism, genocidal pogroms, but the genuine variety, the ones who stand up for the eternal duties of honesty, patience, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion et al, the ones that speak truth to power. The rest of them have merely betrayed the faith.
2020, why has India come to this? India elects people only from those contesting. Political waters have been made so murky, so rife with money-and-muscle, few upright individuals would dare to contest, while those willing to can hardly face such money-muscle combinations. The muscle plus money dark types often have track records one would not be particularly proud of. Dark types are afraid of the light, afraid of the truth, afraid of justice, have a vested interest in perpetuating themselves. They position their own dark types everywhere, support them in everything, jockey them into all positions. Dark forms then form governments. Dark governments have a say in appointment of judges. Who will dark ones who will tomorrow face judges, agree to appoint as such judges?! They will not agree to appointment of those who they believe would tomorrow assume at least a shade of dark as to become “amenable to reason”…and then the rot truly takes root. Then doors of justice stand firmly shut.
Time to come together, Sants, and students, professors and puncture repair-waalahs, all sane elements of society, artistes, writers, academicians, journalists (commoditised ones excused), lawyers, teachers (those teaching distortion as history excused), real followers of every religion, statesmen who serve not politicians clamouring to be served, those who seek not to buck the system but build it, not those who seek their own glorification the nation be damned, those arrogant ones alleging tukde-tukde while dividing populations along any and all lines…
Leaders elected in initial euphoric years of the republic, allowing toxicity howsoever little, betraying naïveté, made a mockery of the electorate’s trust. Gradually, infection reaching deeper and deeper, political deterioration became increasingly accelerated. Today, at the crossroads and in the crosshairs, Sants must not betray Hinduism, or nation. Students, representing resentment, can be thrashed: Sants, representing religion, cannot. With Sants the phalanx facing brutalised uniformed forces, Dark Forms will know they must see reason or it’s game over.
Come elections, Dark versus Light, Hindutva versus Raj Dharma, Sants must guide the electorate, take the control of Hinduism and the nation back from wrongful control. That is later. Right now, step out and show the way of eternal truths, so that rot is stemmed right now, today. No time to lose.
Shafeeq R. Mahajir is a well-known lawyer based in Hyderabad