Self-destructive tendencies in Hindu society are an indication of being outwitted by the enemies.
Pankaj Saxena writes on History, Hindu Architecture and Literature. He has visited more than 400 sites of ancient Hindu temples and photographed the evidence. He has been writing articles, research papers and reviews in various print and online newspapers and magazines. He currently works as the Associate Professor, Centre for Indic Studies, Indus University, Ahmedabad. He has authored three books so far. He maintains a blog at http://literaryfalcon.wordpress.com/
What happens when a people forget who they are? What happens when a society loses sight of its enemies, ignoring the threat to its existence, settling into a self-destructive amnesia? What happens when petty individual concerns become more important than questions of desha and dharma? What happens when a nation, weak from within, is unable to strike its enemy?
An example from a faraway time and place can be illustrative.
The year was 1204. Europe was rife with religious wars and plagues. Five years ago, Pope Innocent III, in Rome, had given the call for the Fourth Crusade. He was eager to finish what Pope Urban II had started - consolidating Christendom and to regaining the lands and people lost to Islam, Christianity’s deadliest rival. After three Crusades, the job was still half done.
Only the First Crusade (1095-99) was a resounding success. The Crusaders had clean-swept through Anatolia and Levant, ultimately capturing Jerusalem and establishing the Outremer, the Crusading Kingdoms of West Asia. The Second Crusade (1147-49) was a complete failure as national armies had failed to come together and were overpowered by the Seljuk Turks in separate battles. Very soon Jerusalem had also fallen to the Muslims.
The Third Crusade (1189-92) was launched to regain Jerusalem. The star cast was dazzling. It was led by none other than Richard the Lionheart, the King of England. Yet it succeeded only partially. Jerusalem could not be recaptured. The enemy was depraved but well versed in the art of warfare. Saladin, the great Muslim commander had managed to rally the Islamic Empire back into unity.
Meanwhile, the Islamic menace was rising. The Seljuk Turks were nibbling at the Eastern Roman Empire bit by bit. Constantinople, the greatest city of Christendom, called the Red Apple by the Turks, was increasingly becoming a Christian city besieged in a sea of Islam.
While the kings and emperors of Europe fought each other viciously, time and again a Pope came on the scene, who had a vision which transcended petty regional rivalries. Pope Urban II was such a leader. His goal was to consolidate Christendom and he knew that the first step in that direction was to save the tottering Eastern Roman Empire from the continuous onslaught of Turkish Muslims. The Red Apple could not be allowed to fall into Islam’s lap. Pope Innocent III, continuing in the line of Urban II had the same goal.
The ground reality was hardly as rosy as the wishful thought of consolidating Christendom seemed to be. The Latin West had many differences with the Eastern Roman Empire. In 1054 there had been a final split between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. While the East considered Western Europe as barbaric, unruly, violent and unsophisticated, the West thought of the East and the Byzantine Empire as weak and effeminate.
The prejudices were not completely unfounded. Latin West was militarily more powerful. Innovations in weaponry, military technology and a greater authority of the Pope over his flock was turning Latin West into a force to reckon with. Constantinople, on the other hand, was a city of knowledge. The wisdom of the pagan Greeks was still preserved in the great city, despite Christian violence. What the West lacked, they ridiculed.
On one hand was the centrifugal tendency with socio-religious consolidation as its goal, represented by the Popes like Urban II and Innocent III. On the other hand were the fissiparous tendencies, represented by Christian kings and their petty rivalries. Both the uniting vision on one hand and fault lines on the other were present. The fight between these two opposing forces would decide if the Christendom was going to unite and reclaim its lost territories or if it was going to break apart into a final loss to Islam.
As the Fourth Crusade started to unfold, it became clear that the disintegrative tendencies of Christendom were stronger than the uniting vision. Until the hope to regain Jerusalem from Islam had been realistic, Christendom had managed to gloss over its differences and present a united front. As it became apparent that the enemy was not going to give in easily, disunity took over and the Christian fervor turned into dejection and degeneration.
The Crusaders, who came into existence to save Christendom from Islam, unable to defeat the enemy, descended upon their own people, the Eastern Roman Empire. When taking Jerusalem from the hands of Islam became too unrealistic a goal, the crusading armies mutinied and chose to feast upon the carcass of a Christian Empire. The Crusaders sacked Constantinople in 1204.
[The Entry of the Crusaders in Constantinople, by Eugène Delacroix. Source: Wikipedia]
The Sack of Constantinople was the turning point in the history of Europe and Christianity. The Byzantine Empire was left weaker, poorer and less able to defend itself against the invading Turkish Islamic armies. Never managing to attain its former glory, Constantinople, the Red Apple, the greatest prize of Europe fell to Islamic armies in 1453. The greatest city of Christianity was forever lost to Islam.
How is this story relevant to the India of today?
For several centuries now, Hindus have long been the most disenfranchised, disempowered and voiceless people on earth. 800 years of exploitative foreign rule has ensured that all institutions, even in India, are anti-Hindu in their orientation. With the information boom experienced with the advent of the internet, the voiceless masses appeared to have found a way to access and disseminate alternative news and views that were inherently threatening to the hegemony of centuries. For the first time in ages, Hindus had found a voice. This voice turned political under the brutal, repressive years of UPA-1 and UPA-2 and was one of the main factors that led to the overthrow of the Congress.led regime.
However, political dispensations are not exactly sovereign in a globalized world. Electoral politics barely touches the surface while the deeper power structures remain unaffected. To assume that having a non-hostile party in power will end the institutionalized discrimination against Hindus is to lose sight of real enemies.
And who are these enemies?
Sita Ram Goel and Ram Swarup, two of the greatest historians and political thinkers of independent India, in a series of books, demarcated the three principal enemies of Hindu society that have established a kind of nexus a:
- Radical Islamists (not all Muslims)
- Christian Missionaries (not all Christians)
- Marxists (All of them - for this is a political choice as opposed to a religion you are born into)
These three missionary religions, while at each other’s throats globally, have joined forces in India against Hindu society. Through changed demography during the Islamic rule of India; through missionary institutions created during the British colonial rule; through Marxist media and academia established in independent India; they are breaking India systematically, dismantling it brick by brick.
The collective amnesia of Hindus is so deep that most are not even aware that the Hindu society is under siege. In the run-up to 2014 elections, hope arose that the Hindu society was finally waking up, realizing that it was under organized assault, and maybe even preparing to break it. But four years hence, the signs are not encouraging.
The momentum that built up in 2014 has scuttled with a thud. While we hurled a solitary stone here and there: a low volume Love Jihad campaign, a little whimpering over Rohingya infiltration, a feeble protest over shaming Hindu festivals, all this while, the Jihadi, missionary and leftist cannons have been virtually bombarding Hindu society with insidious campaigns of hate and violence. Systematic, openly racist campaigns are run to malign the entire Hindu society with great success. The old charade of ‘good Hinduism/ bad Hindutva’ has also been abandoned and now the attack is directly on Dharma.
It is not just the Hindu politicians who are at fault. The entire Hindu society has fallen prey to the divisive ploys of the enemy again and again. So, a certain Supreme Court ruling incites Dalit-Savarna riots in which Brahmins are targeted, thousands are hurt, tens are killed and property worth crores is destroyed. A Patel reservation campaign brings an entire state to a halt. A Jat Andolan in Haryana and Rajasthan cripples life for weeks on end.
A hospital tragedy leads to many Hindus demanding the head of the newly elected Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, perhaps because he adorns the saffron robe. Financial woes of farmers are translated into infighting between Hindu groups. Language divides us more than Dharma unites us and so English is tolerated while an "imposition of Hindi" is routinely imagined. A Bihari politician resents south Indians in Delhi, while a Tamil claims all Bengalis are Marxists. Reservation or its opposition is more important an issue for us than fighting the external enemy.
And when a Muslim girl is raped and the suspect is a Hindu, the Hindu society cannot seem to identify the vicious anti-Hindu campaign garbed in well-meaning slogans for justice. It is unable to call out the false binary created by 'liberal fascists': that you can either be a proud Hindu or you can fight for justice for rape victims. It gets busy in denouncing Hindu dharma and culture. And when Hindu girls are raped, it doesn't even cause a mild flutter, even on social media.
Like the crusaders who sacked Constantinople, unable to defeat the enemy, we have descended upon ourselves, hacking away at our own flesh and bones. Our stones are incapable of reaching the enemy and so for the fear of wasting them we are hurling them at our own people. Our anger, unable to transform itself into a valid response to the enemy, is turning into self-destructive frustration. The ill-founded anger with a non-existent "Brahminical hegemony" is slowly leading to a point of no-return for the Hindu society, which will manifest in the form of an innocent question that a committed comrade will pose to another, seated in the conference room of a University funded by the Indian taxpayer, as they plan a violent uprising against the tyranny of the "upper-caste" Indian state: "Shall we kill the Brahmins?"
The parallels with the Fourth Crusade are only so many. But all is not lost. While the unity of Christendom was cosmetic, relying upon a dogma, the unity of Dharma is of a different order - spiritual and deep-rooted. While the fissiparous tendencies of Christendom were also valid national churnings, the natural divisions of caste have been artificially accentuated to harm the integral nature of Hindu society. While Christianity was itself guilty of many crimes, Sanatana Dharma in India is a force for good.
Though the battle is tough and the enemy is strong, as Sita Ram Goel stressed, we should manage to scrape through... if only we don't lose sight of the enemy,