The timing could not have been more ironic. The intent could not have been more brazenly sinister.
The Taliban have again taken over Afghanistan, merely gloss-coating its old, barbaric ways with promises and press conferences. Just as the spotlight falls on the stubbornly violent and unchanging aspects of radical Islam, its principal votaries and known Hinduphobes have come out to deflect attention. They must now target the world’s most ancient faith, which has co-existed with and sheltered dozens of other ones.
But what trumps it all is that the genocide-whitewashing, Hinduphobic three-day rant is apparently being sponsored by departments of top US universities like Columbia, Princeton, Berkeley, Harvard and U-Penn.
The aggressive, genocidal imagery begins right from the brochure of the online event. It shows Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) figures being uprooted, roots and all, with the claw end of a hammer. The RSS is arguably the world’s largest non-governmental organisation, and has been a non-violent, grassroots bulwark against the systematic cultural and demographic takeover of India by mullahs, missionaries and Maoists.
After centuries of genocidal Islamic invasions, crippling British and other European colonialism, and 70 years of appeasing the minority vote bank, India under Narendra Modi for the first time has seen a civilisational turnaround.
Two Islamic states had been carved out of India on Muslims’ insistence that they cannot co-exist with Hindus. Since then, while India’s Muslim population has swelled and been free to practice its faith, the populations of Hindu and other minorities have dwindled to near-oblivion in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Afghanistan, once entirely Hindu and Buddhist, has less than 700 Hindus and Sikhs left in a population of 38 million Muslims. Even this handful is desperate to leave the ravaged nation.
In a backdrop of this, these so-called intellectuals, some of whom support violent Maoist insurgency or are apologists of armed jihad, have organised an event to globally target Hindus. Using the term Hindutva as opposed to Hindu is a cunning sleight of hand. It is a dog whistle to go after Hindus.
Hindutva is the essence of being Hindu. One could also describe Hindutva as Hinduness in action.
The recent peaceful and patriotic assertion of Hindu identity threatens to derail a global project to weaken and eventually Balkanise India. Both its neighbours, China and Pakistan, have a high stake in it.
Pakistan has been wooing the so-called secular Indian intelligentsia through its spy networks in the US. A couple of decades ago, an ISI chap called Ghulam Fai ensnared a few such enthusiastic Indian media persons willing to bash their own nation internationally in return for US junkets and maybe more.
Lately, Pakistan has propped up in the US what is loosely known in security circles as the Houston network. Wounded by Kashmir’s complete integration with India by setting aside its special status, Pakistan seeks to damage India’s image.
It will be interesting to trace the people operating in the backroom shadows of the ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ event.
The event brochure begins with customary whining about the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as exclusionary.
The CAA is narrow-window legislation that fast-tracks citizenship for six persecuted religious minorities from three neighbouring Islamic countries — Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Parsis. Its basis is persecution against religious minorities in Islamic Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Muslims, whether they are Sunni, Shia or smaller denominations like Sufi, Ahmadiyya or Ismaili, cannot be viewed as persecuted minorities under this specific, niche legislation meant for three Muslim nations. They chose to break free from India in 1947 and be part of new Islamic nations based on their Muslim identity.
Muslims from these countries can still be naturalised as Indian citizens. They need to apply and qualify under pre-existing citizenship laws, but not the CAA.
The CAA does not affect any Indian Muslim. It seeks to address unkept promises of the Nehru-Liaquat Pact of 1950 by India’s Islamic neighbours and its barbaric consequences.
The pact said refugees were allowed to return unmolested to dispose of their property; abducted women and looted property were to be returned; forced conversions were to be unrecognised, and minority rights confirmed. India kept its word. Its three Islamic neighbours allowed brazen rape, murder, conversions, land-grab and legal discrimination of minorities till their numbers dwindled to a speck.
Thereafter, the brochure gets positively bizarre. It rants about demonetisation and farm laws. One can debate the efficacy of these economic policies, but what does Hindutva have to do with it? It seems a bunch of people with an agenda have made up their minds to target Hindus but keep running out of sticks to beat them with.
In his recent piece in Swarajya magazine, R Jagannathan rightly asks whether the US universities, which project themselves as upholders of free speech, would sponsor events calling for the dismantling of Islam or evangelical Christianity. Unlikely.
Perhaps the fault lies with the Hindus of the world. They have made themselves a soft target to the point that anybody can trample all over them, sounding sanctimonious all the while.