So Continuing with the previous posting on the mindset of Indian Muslims, it would be now only relevant to look at the Hindu mindset vis-à-vis the Muslims.
Indian Hindus as a group do not have very fond memory of their past – medieval history - when enthroned at Delhi, Indian Muslims reigned supreme from the Himalayas to Cape Cormorin, as stated once by Lord Dufferin.
On the other hand, Muslims have for all practical reasons not been able to give up the obsession of that golden era. “It was an image which spurred them to demand first a special political position in British India and then in the nineteen-forties, independent statehood should the British leave,” wrote P Hardy in ‘The Muslims of British India’ (published in South Asia by Foundation Books).
The Hindus’ views about Muslims, even in contemporary setting, is purely guided or prejudiced much by the happenings during this golden era of the Muslims. Even the violence in Gujarat, the Hindu chauvinists only sought to avenge the injustice meted to Hindus during the period. The Sangh Parivar’s much talked about movement associated with Kanshi, Mathura and Ayodhya temples is no different. It is just aimed at undoing the destruction of the Hindu temples by Muslim rulers.
Hindus think they have natural reasons to grudge Muslims as not only they were empire builders of medieval India, they were also the ruling aristocracy. The period under many Muslim rulers in Delhi also marked aggression and oppression for the Hindus. The ‘jauhar’ by Rajput women only signifies this point as these Hindu women were taught out to end themselves rather than surrender before ‘par purush’, especially Muslims.
Moreover, the caste menace haunting the Hindu society, only ensured that the Islam was a great unifying factor for backwards, underprivileged and lowly social groups. This has left a permanent scar among Hindus that their own brethren had been converted into Islam and in later period to Christianity.
The partition in the 20th century was yet another testimony for the Hindu radicals that Muslims would never be part of Indic civilization, as they understood.
India and Pakistan and in later stage Bangladesh were born in tears and bloodshed. The tears and blood are still flowing. The hatred infused then has now only blossomed - fanned by vested interest, political lobbies in each of these countries, the fundamental elements and also the influence of the western powers.
Over the decades, one cannot agree more that Pakistan has been the epicenter of this ‘terror storm’. On the other hand, India on its part has been a peculiarly soft state as also one which goes into selective amnesia from time to time on terrorism, the terror strike and the need to fight it. Indian statecraft since 1947 has never had any concept of strategic planning be it Pakistan or terrorism.
This school of thought which believes in inherent ‘soft approach’ by the Indian official apparatus is gradually swelling their numbers. A large number of Indians, and more especially the Hindus, believe there is a deliberate ‘Muslim appeasement’ card by the non-BJP political class.
Moreover, the terrorism was gradually getting an Islamic face, partly deservedly and partly due to the overall global campaign on that line.
Now when the government of India’s ‘battle preparedness’ to deal with Pakistan and its proxy war was not reaching the expectation level, the Hindu chauvinists have a vacuum space.
Now comes another damning term the ‘Hindu terrorism’. On the face value and not without reasons, the Hindus in general are anguished and shell-shocked at the allegation that their faith, known for its tolerance, is being linked to the worst challenge before the mankind, the terrorism.
One may not agree with the phrase, but Hindu assertion is a reality in last two decades with educated upper caste middle class particularly endorsing such a scenario. They think the wrong doers --- the Pakistan or the Muslims – should be given a lesson and a large number of Non Resident Indians spread the globe endorse this and even allegedly fund Hindu organizations.
Even doyens among the Hindus seem to endorse what’s going on these days. As mentioned in an earlier blog (see link ..) the legendary scholar-saint Aurobindo had said, “Hindu-Muslim unity should not mean the subjection of the Hindus”. (India’s Rebirth, Page 164).
Shift in Hindu Mindset:
This “shift” in Hindu mindset is not new as illustrated by Aurobindo’s statement. He was not alone. The crave for freedom and influence of Gandhiji was so dominant for Indians that immediately after independence they embraced Nehruvial socialism and democracy.
Sardar Vallabbhai Patel was no doubt, therefore, could emerge as a formidable character before Indians despite his known contradictory opinion on Nehru’s philosophies. Kashmir was one area, when he strongly advocated for hardline stance.
After independence, one must say here in no uncertain term that the Hindu mobilization owes its origin to years of Muslim appeasement by the Congress and the Communists and lately by other secular brigade. It was given a momentum during the Ayodhya movement. Notably, the right wing Hindu leadership also won the support of Dalits and OBCs --- especially the upwardly mobile strata with the electoral slogans “Abki bari Atal Bihari” and “Ram Mandir Banana hai”. Then came Gujarat 2002. The Godhra train mayhem had left the Hindus anguished to the core.
The subsequent riot was precisely the beginning of Hindu assertion as even RSS leader M G Vaidya later admitted in a press conference in Mumbai that post-Godhra retaliation was “unlike a Hindu reaction”.
The middle class Hindus were found looting the shops and hotels run by Muslims. In the process, the Dharma, the essential facet of Hinduism was the casualty though the votaries of ‘Hindu renaissance’ don’t seem to bother.
This is not to suggest that the Sangh Parivar or principal opposition party the BJP or other organizations associated with it are part of the Hindu terror phenomenon. The BJP and other Sangh Parivar elements might not endorse such extreme strategy, but they ought to realize that the demon they have created – perhaps unknowingly – now is a difficult phenomenon to be controlled.
It is like the Naxalism, once patronized and sympathized by the Left and then by Congress party in some states. The RSS leaders are on defensive and suggesting that “unwanted” elements have got into and bringing bad name to the RSS.
Fundamentalism be it in the form of Hindu chauvinism or the Islamic fundamentalism also have a lot to do with today’s polarized situation.
It is not without good reason now that the “common thread” to the 2007 bomb blasts in Ajmer, at Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid, and in Malegaon hail from Madhya Pradesh's Malwa region and all have alleged connexions to Hindu groups.
What started as minor skirmishes and the alleged political vendetta by the Congress-led UPA to discredit the BJP and the latter’s principal support base now has assumed a more serious dimension.
The Congress cannot wash off its hands either.
The Central Bureau of Investigation and the Rajasthan anti-terror squad made a string of arrests from in and around Indore. But all that is being done is not above board.
A large number of people believe the Congress party led by a Christian and that too a foreign lady is indulging in politics to defame the Hindu organizations and thus win over their lost support base among the Muslims. They have been unduly slow and lackadaisical towards the execution of parliament attack accused. The BJP and its friends say Congress appeasement of Muslims has crossed all limits.
In the communal frenzy, as the pun goes, ‘Hamam mein sab nangey haen' meaning no one is away from the needle of suspicion).