If there is Islamophobia in the West, Kafirophobia in the Muslim world, then let us also accept there is Hinduphobia in Bharat setting the election agenda. Can it now be properly deciphered?
Dr. Pramod Pathak
On the evening of May 14, the whole country witnessed the massive peaceful road show of BJP president Amit Shah on the streets of Kolkata. People in procession chanted “Jai Shri Ram”. As the procession reached near the university campus, student brigade of TMC attacked the procession. They were carrying TMC and black flags and were, therefore, quickly identified. With the fury and preparation they attacked the procession, it was apparent that the attack was pre-planned to disrupt the roadshow not to let it end at Swami Vivekananda’s birthplace.
BJP workers and members of various Hindu organisations protest outside TMC office in Delhi against the reign of terror in Bengal
Finally, the cat was out. The TMC goons were implementing the election agenda of Hinduphobia of their ultra-secular leader Mamata Didi. She has been assiduously pursuing the minority appeasement by visiting the mosques, covering the head in the fashion of Muslim ladies, holding meetings with the Muslim religious heads and compromising over law and order situation by suppressing the majority Hindu population. She was convinced of her move because during the 2014 general elections BJP could not make much headway in Bengal. The corollary of the minority appeasement was to implement the Hinduphobia agenda to please the minority population. She would put halt the Durgapuja procession on the eve of minority festival as if the Hindus only would disrupt their procession. She could not even tolerate “Jai Shri Ram” chanting on her way just a few days ago. No sooner she heard the chanting, she stopped her car and came out as if to pounce on the people chanting these slogans. Intolerance towards the chanting of Shri Ram was a glaring instance of Hinduphobia that seculars and pseudo-seculars have developed over the last 5-6 decades.
‘Time’ under Modiphobia!
Many of those who have commented against the article have asked the ‘Time’ as to why another article by Ian Bremmer titled ‘Modi the Reformer’ was not made the cover instead of the Taseer’s article. ‘Time’ has not provided with any explanation as yet
Partha Pratim Mazumder
The ‘Time’ magazine, known for its chronic bias against India and Hindus, has now targeted PM Narendra Modi. In its cover story titled ‘India's Divider in Chief’ by Aatish Taseer, it alleges that Modi is seeking to be re-elected while he has “helped create an atmosphere of poisonous religious nationalism in India”. He also contends that the economic miracles failed to materialise. The author is son of a prominent Indian journalist and a Pakistani businessman and politician.
The timing of this cover story is under serious questions. When India is amidst its general elections, the choice of the author and the disparaging title have raised questions on its intent and objectivity of the magazine itself. While Modi's opponents in India and across the border latched on to the article with glee, average Indian reader of English and common man of India differed with the article and its purport in its entirety. A cursory look at Indias’s social media tells that common users were against the poisonous article with most commenting that it was devoid of facts and objectivity.
The Indian diaspora spread across the world too has decried the cover story and title with many accusing the magazine of Hinduphobia. Indians across the world have been writing and tweeting against the inherent bias of the magazine and its authors. Many of those who commented against the article have asked the ‘Time’ as to why another article by Ian Bremmer titled ‘Modi the Reformer’ was not made the cover instead of Taseer’s article. ‘Time’ has not provided with any explanation as yet.
Already a petition titled 'Protest against defamatory article by Aatish Taseer in TIME Magazine against PM MODI' was started by Ashwin Johar and is petitioned to the Editor of the Time magazine. The petition says that the article ‘is not only factually incorrect but it also questions the wisdom of Indian electorates who have overwhelmingly supported him in 2014’. Further it states that 'Mr Taseer is wrong on most of his arguments, may be it economy, development, women empowerment or Hindu-Muslim divide’.
The petition questions the objective of the column and alleges that it is to defame Modi, Indian electorate and India in general. The petition questions the wisdom of its editors who chose to make this 'derogatory column' as its cover story instead of Ian Bremmer's article.
There are ironies and contradictions galore in Taseer’s piece. “The Great Divider” was a moniker invented for none other than Barack Hussain Obama, the darling of Left Liberals the world over. If Donald Trump inherited it, it was by its sheer currency as an established political descriptor. The big contradiction, when it comes to Modi, is that Modi is actually India’s great Unifier-in-Chief. Modi has not only united Hindus as never before, but also integrated the great Indian middle class into a powerful political formation. He has given them a voice in addition to a vote.
He has also unified the opposition, as Taseer acknowledges, “with no agenda other than to defeat him.”
Luckily, there is a silver lining to Taseer’s febrile lamentations. The more Modi is berated in the Western—or for that matter the Indian—media, the more popular he becomes with the Indian masses. Time Asia’s cover story, negative though it certainly is, will strengthen the resolve of the educated classes to vote for him. Especially given of the contempt poured out on their choice of him as their PM, they will take such denunciations as an additional reason make good on the promise, Phir Ek Baar Modi Sarkar (one more time, Modi in power). In the end, of course, what Time says, or does not, matters little to us. We have moved on. To that extent, Taseer’s cover story may end up, if not as a last minute free fillip to campaign Modi, then little more than a blip, a momentary flicker or irritated swipe on a smartphone screen.
On the other hand, Bremmer’s article notes that while Modi’s economic record is mixed, “India still needs change, and Modi remains the person most likely to deliver. He has improved relations with China, the US and Japan, but his domestic development agenda that has done the most to improve the lives and prospects of hundreds of millions of people.”
(The writer is Assistant Teacher, Nalbari, Kazipara, Assam
Over the decades, the erstwhile communist party which tried to sabotage the freedom movement, was quick to fall in line with the Congress party, although it dissolved the democratically elected Communist Government in Kerala at the behest of Indiraji. They soon endeared themselves with Nehruji who was avowed Hinduphobic, the first among the equals. He fought tooth and nail over the reconstruction of the Somnath Temple; he tried to stop President Rajendra Prasad from attending the inaugural function. There are so many instances of Nehruji’s disdain known in the public domain for anything Hindu. After the demise of Nehruji, the Communist brigade that was by default anti-religious, treating religion as opium on the lines of Godfather Marx, also became Hinduphobic by default. They hoodwinked the anti-national activities of the minority religious organisations funded by Christian missions and Islamic countries, but repeatedly attacked and defiled the great and historic figures held in veneration by the Hindus. Soon after the Indira Congress came to power, the main bastion of the Hinduphobia affected academics, JNU was established in 1969. Over the decades JNU spread tentacles in many other institutions including the media establishments to give and take favours and they thrived.
Congress leader Priyanka Vadra performing puja in Prayagraj
The latest exposures on the Hinduphobia are Mani Shankar reiterating his old neech stand, and actor Kamal Haasan calling Godse the first (Hindu) terrorist in independent Bharat. In a recent article, Syed Ata Hasnain traces radicalisation of the Muslim youth in Kashmir to the new generation of radicalised Muslim preachers in 90’s who invoked the so-called puritanical and totally exclusivist Islam in Kashmir funded by Pakistan and the Arab countries (Times of India May 14, 2019). Why did it not attract the attention of these intellectuals for decades? It was a thick layer of the Hinduphobia that didn’t let any streak of anti-national activities to enter their eyes. That’s how JNU has come to harbour the Bharat Todo Brigade. JNU criteria for being labelled as an intellectual is to be a Hinduphobic.
As Priyanka Vadra jumped in electioneering, she too imitated the electoral Hindu identity, often visiting the Hindu temples, Ganga aachman etc. in a visible fashion. As happened never before, Robert Vadra visited Mahalaxmi Temple in Mumbai
As of late English writers and pseudo-intellectuals have come to realise that their Hinduphobic stand will no more be acceptable to the majority, i.e. Hindus in the country. They will be sidetracked. So, they have started pointing fingers at the funding and nurturing of the anti-national sources. As Suhasini Haidar acknowledges in the context of Iran-US confrontation, ‘while states like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have funded and sheltered Islamist terror groups they are still treated as “frontline allies” on terror (The Hindu, May 13, 2019). Please note the terminology used: ‘Islamic terror’, tag erasing cliché ‘terror has no religion’. It is in tune with a change in the political wind direction. The election results on May 23 will be decisive in curing the Hinduphobic infection of many of these affected pseudos whom a celebrated author from Maharashtra, Sachchidananda Shevde calls, “Jamat-e-Purogami”.
As the general elections of 2019 were approaching, the opposition splinters realised the need to put up a common front against ruling NDA and Modiji in particular. They teamed up during Karnataka election making a wonderful pretense of opposition unity. All of them stood with hands held together and Soniya Gandhi holding hand of Mayavati showing solidarity with each other. As the talks went ahead, a very different picture of unity emerged. At all levels, Congress was outcast. The simple reason was the campaign mode adopted by the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi. Rahul, it seems was highly influenced by assessment in the Anthony Report on 2014 election debacle. Anthony declared that, even after all the propaganda machinery at hand with Congress for decades, the BJP was successful in projecting Congress as Muslim party and that Hindus did not vote for it. As the campaigning for election started, the first protocol that Rahul established was to frequently visit Hindu temples and impress it on potential voters. He exposed himself and his advisors by wearing janeu – sacred thread, in a most inappropriate manner. His followers vied each other to establish his Brahmin gotra. On one occasion, he even went to perform shraaddh of his ancestors. As Priyanka Vadra jumped in electioneering, she too imitated the electoral Hindu identity, often visiting the Hindu temples, Ganga aachman etc. in a very visible fashion. As it happened never before, Robert Vadra visited Mahalaxmi Temple in Mumbai to seek the blessing of the Goddess. It was not at all made public whether he also visited Haji Ali Dargah nearby. It was a realisation on the part of the top leadership of the Congress that it has to secure its base among the Hindu voters in South while it lost a foothold in the North.
For almost five decades the Hindu society unknowingly played into the hands of the Hinduphobic parties like CPI, SP, BSP, TMC and their many local variantsIt needs to establish that Congress is all set to erase the impression that it is Hinduphobic. It was this mode of campaigning that came in the way of accepting the Congress into coalition fold by Hinduphobic – secular (?) opposition splinter groups. Congress found itself isolated in the northern states in spite of having won and formed governments in as many as five states. Not only parties like SP, BSP which still count on the minority votes but even Kejariwal and Telugu Desam put Congress away implementing the agenda of political untouchability. As it stands today, Congress is totally isolated on the national level, treated as a political pariah. Even politically astute veteran like Sharad Pawar is not counting Rahul as Prime Ministerial candidate.
Hinduphobic Divisive Agenda
The electoral agenda for the parties like SP, BSP, TMC etc. has indeed been typically Hinduphobic. SP Supremo, way back in 1992 ordered firing on the Karsevaks with impunity to earn epithet of Mulla Mulayam, is no less than a Hinduphobic. They have time and again played the caste and family centred politics that was detrimental to the unity of the Hindu society. The Mandal Commission and the Sachar Commission reports were the anchors for implementing Hinduphobic divisive agenda by the back door. The latest salvo comes from remotely vigilant ‘Times’ which projected Modi, who acted on ‘sabka satha, sabka vikas’, as Divider-in-Chief. ‘Times’ appears to have played into the hands of the divisive splinters. For almost five decades the Hindu society unknowingly played into the hands of the Hinduphobic parties like CPI, SP, BSP, TMC, and their many local variants. It only augmented the fissiparous tendencies among some sections of the major castes and highly arrogant attitude among the minorities. Minorities felt that it was they who controlled the political fate of these parties, including the ruling Congress coalition. It reflected in their social behaviour. At a local level, the Muslim youth troubled and chased Hindu girls with impunity. They were sure of the political patronage from the Hinduphobic parties. The full account of the harassment of the Hindu girls who had to abandon schooling was published in ‘The Indian Express’ of August 2, 2015. The report then refers to the compulsion of organising the “Bahu-Beti Bachao Mahapanchayat” by local Hindus that led to Muzaffarnagar riots. Why at all only Hindus have to hold such a Panchayat?
It is the Hinduphobic stand taken by these caste and family-based parties. Will ever these Hinduphobic parties and pseudos introspect? If there is Islamophobia in West, Kafirophobia in the Muslim world, then let us also accept there is Hinduphobia in Bharat setting the election agenda. Can it now be properly deciphered?
(The writer is a senior columnist and scholar of comparative religions)