Roots of Selective Amnesia
The selective amnesia and selective onslaught of memories that is plaguing Hindus today has rendered them confused. An average Hindu has lost touch with his past, his heritage, his pride and now roams around with half-baked information
off late, the political discourse in our country has become more shrill about Hinduism, Hindutva and Hindu Terrorism. And names of those who had a role to play in our freedom struggle have been dragged in to make fun of Hindus and Hinduism. First it was Veer Savarkar who was thoroughly insulted by Rahul Gandhi and then it was Nathuram Godse who was called a terrorist for fatally shooting Gandhi. The RSS as it is known more popularly as has always been at the receiving end of such mudslinging. Now, listening to Muslims or Christians or Hindu-hating journalists talking about this or arguing on finer points, has become so normalised that one doesn’t even feel hurt anymore. What hurts is when Hindus get divided on their opinions just because they have not bothered to learn more about freedom fighters others than Nehru or Gandhi.
Yes Gandhi had done a lot for our freedom struggle. One may hate to accept it these days, especially because it sounds more fashionable to talk about his personal life and how he closed his eyes to the travails of Savarkar, Bose, Bhagat Singh, Swami Shraddhanand, to name just a few. He also spoke unforgivably when the Partition took place. But that doesn’t reduce from the fact that he worked for the upliftment of the Harijans, worked for Swadeshi products (Khadi clothes received a lot of support from him), and brought people together for the freedom struggle and most of all—he influenced many people to live a simple life and have high ideals in society. So many people like Jayprakash Narayan, Vinobha Bhave, Dharampal and many more were influenced by Gandhi and they in turn influenced many more. What we learn about his private life and how we judge him today was not the way people judged him then. For all practical purposes, we have to believe in the collective wisdom of our people who followed him in the freedom struggle.
But that definitely does not mean that we surrender to memories of only his contribution in the freedom struggle. There were many who were instrumental in getting our freedom and abusing their memories to gain some votes during election is not just trivial, it is criminal. To call Godse, who was a political assassin, a Hindu terrorist, is just cheap. To then provoke Sadhvi Pragya out of the blue, to give a statement on him and then blow it out of proportion is something that only one with an agenda can do. And to fall for such devious agenda is foolishness which only Hindus seem to fall prey in this country!
We have fallen for the old “Forget what happened years ago” trick so many times that we have started believing in it.
  •  Talk about the horrors of Partition, they say “Forget all that and treat Muslims as your own brothers.”
  • Talk about the horrors of killing hundreds of unarmed Sadhus who just wanted cow slaughter to be stopped, they say “Forget that … Eating meat is a private choice and we should not interfere.”
  • Talk about the Bengal genocide and rape of Hindus by the Muslims, they will say, “It happened for the independence of Bangladesh—it was political.”
  • Talk about the killing of the masses who protested Marxism or Communism in the Eastern and Central areas of Bharat, they will say, “The tribal people who were so backward had to be included in the struggle against Capitalism and regressive Hindus.”
  • Talk about Sikhs being killed in thousands and pat comes the reply, “Bhindranwale was a terrorist and the Sikhs killed our Prime Minister.”
  • Talk about Kashmiri Pandits being hounded, raped and killed by the Muslims, they will out shout you and tell you to think about relevant and current problems plaguing Bharat.
  • Talk about Kasab, Karkare and the talk of Hindu Terrorism tag given unfairly by Digvijay and Congress, they will say, “Forget all that, look at Godhra riots and how Modi is a dictator”.
  • Talk about our Sikh Gurus, our Marathas, our Prithviraj Chauhan, our Rana Pratap, our Ahilyabai Holkar, and anyone else who protected our Hindu faith, they will direct our attention to Tipu Sultan fighting against the British, Akbar being a great king and lover of Hindu culture, the military prowess of various Islamic invaders and all other imaginary, fabricated history.
  • But guess what we are taught to remember and made to feel sorry or ashamed about? Here is a list.
  • The stories of how the daughter and grandchild of Mohammed died without even a sip of water, is told to us every year in every street and corner of Bharat, during Moharram. This event is definitely sad and horrifying, but are the genocides carried out on Bharatiya Hindus any less sad? Why are we not even allowed to talk about these in our schools, in our history books?
  • The stories of how Nehru-Gandhi parivaar faced martyrdom is thrown in our faces every second day. But why are we never taught about how our prisoners of war were never brought back after the Indo-Pak war? Were they not worthy of being called martyrs when they died there?
  • Unimaginable stories of how Brahmins committed atrocities on Dalits. I want to know how anyone believes these stories. Brahmins were literally among the poorest among the caste structure of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. The only thing they had was their temple worship, their knowledge of scriptures and their minuscule plots of land. It was the other 3 castes which had power, money, business and trades. Then how is it that only Brahmins are always abused?
  • We are constantly reminded how our festivals and rituals are regressive, patriarchal and God knows what not, by the very Christian schools which hide from their own shenanigans, and the horrors faced during the Portuguese inquisition of Goa. They don’t want us to talk about how their European Masters stole our knowledge from Bharat and called it their own. They don’t even want to discuss the recent sexual abuses in the Churches.
What has happened with this selective amnesia and selective onslaught of memories is that the average Hindu is one confused person, who has lost touch with his past, his heritage, his pride and now roams around with half-baked information and fights for causes which are neither his own, nor are helping in moulding his personality to be in-sync with Bharatiya Asmita (identity). It is time we are taught our true history without bothering about stepping on anyone’s toes. We may forgive those who have harmed us, but to forget about it is foolishness. Remember, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it!
(The writer is Mumbai-based senior columnist)