Sabarimala: Kerala Witnesses Unprecedented Hindu Unity
         Date: 21-Oct-2018


 
The Kerala Chief Minister who exploded against the authorities in the name of Christian sentiments, when they removed a cross, clandestinely erected on government land, has always been taking a partisan attitude against the Hindus of the state
The spontaneous response of the Hindus in Kerala to the Supreme Court judgement on Sabarimala, cannot be wholly attributed to their opposition to the entry of women belonging to certain age-group to the Sabarimala shrine. It is more to do with their anger against the discrimination and step-motherly treatment they have been getting from the Kerala government for decades, the political parties and the media. Right from the incident in which the Sabarimala shrine was set on fire, planting of a cross at the Nilakkal Mahadeva Temple, to the latest attempt to force Hindu temples to donate hefty sums to the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund, has more than convinced the Hindus of the state that they are discriminated against and treated as second rate citizens. It is the frustration and pent-up feeling of the Hindus that has found an outlet through the Sabarimala verdict.
 
This time, it is the 'do what you can, I don't care' attitude of the Chief Minister, and his over-enthusiasm to implement the latest Supreme Court order on the Sabarimala, in a challenging mood, that has enraged and incensed the Hindus to no end, and prompted them to take to the streets united, sinking all sorts of apparent differences and dissensions. Those who dub the present movement of Hindus as leaderless, miss a vital point: here everyone is a leader and has a perfect understanding of the common goal and the means to achieve it. He/she has no personal axe to grind. Their approach is self-effacing. And they are there to protect their genuine rights as Hindus from political predators. It is their resolve to no more submit meekly to the unjust diktats of the political leadership. Hindus have always been like this from the hoary past. They have never been dependent upon any leader, and that is the secret of their continued existence as a people. They are Sanatana, as they are the followers of Sanatana Dharma. Here, there is another speciality: they are not raising any slogans, either provocative or otherwise, but only recite Ayyappa-mantra. They are sober and highly dignified.
  
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has been greatly responsible for infusing the sense unity and self-respect among the Hindus, as in other places, in Kerala also, ever since its inception. Today the scene that we witness is highly exhilarating. It is probably for the first time after independence, the people of the Hindu samaj have come out as Hindus to assert and establish their genuine rights as Hindus. It is a moment of rejoicing for the whole Hindu society.
 
In the book, The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organisations, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom argue that organisations fall into two categories: traditional “spiders,” which have a rigid hierarchy and top-down leadership, and revolutionary “starfish,” which rely on the power of peer relationships. For instance, if one cuts off a spider’s leg, it is crippled; if one cuts off its head, it dies. But if one cuts off a starfish’s leg, it grows a new one, and the old leg can grow into an entirely new starfish. To further fortify their argument, they narrate how Apaches fended off the powerful Spanish army for 200 years. How could the Apaches preserve themselves? They could preserve themselves because they were decentralised. That is, there was no clear leader, no hierarchy, no headquarters; they had an open system, distributed power; flexibility; shared power; ambiguity. This has been true of Hindus also. Hindus have never had a unified command, and Dharma has ever been the unifying and guiding factor for them.
 

 
Hindus, smelling danger to their very survival as a community, spontaneously have joined the movement and it is their survival instinct that prompted them to join the movement uninvited. The movement has sent out a clear message: Hindus are no more a soft target.
 
The Kerala Chief Minister has always been taking a partisan attitude against the Hindus of the state. For instance, when the authorities removed a cross, clandestinely erected on government land at Pappathichola, the Chief Minister exploded against them in the name of Christian sentiments. And, when he participated in an iftar party, he took particular care to cover his head with a towel, in deference to Muslim sentiments. But, when he visited Sabarimala, reportedly to oversee the arrangements for the coming pilgrimage season, he purposely avoided paying obeisance to the deity, as he does not bother hurting Hindu sentiments and doesn’t care for their religious beliefs.
 
As for the Sabarimala verdict, he has been showing undue haste and urgency to implement the verdict. But the judgment given by the very same Supreme Court in 2017, in the Piravom Church case, he is not at all in a hurry to implement the order and is prepared to wait endlessly for any amount of time. Why such blatant discrimination? Aware of the Hindu sentiments and emotions in the Sabarimala issue, the Travancore Devaswom President wanted to file a review petition in the Supreme Court against the verdict and had also made a declaration to the effect. But the Chief Minister, out of sheer arrogance, publicly censured him for making such a commitment.
 
It was only the other day, in the wake of the Sabarimala verdict, retired justice Markandey Katju raised the following question: “Is the Supreme Court’s bravery selective and confined to Hindus.” In this respect, the announcement made by the Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama that women and men will not be allowed to worship jointly in mosques controlled by it even if the Supreme Court passes an order permitting it, is very significant.
 
For our media in Kerala, any Hindu movement is reprehensible and detestable. Because these movements represent fascism, and, hence, should be discouraged through any means, foul or fair. So this time around, to uphold women’s right to equality and freedom of worship, they are working overtime to denigrate the movement and show it in a bad light. This time around, they have given caste angle to the whole affair, alleging exclusion of so-called lower caste Hindus. But this has in no way affected the movement, but only raised a question mark on the credibility of the media.