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Monday, December 5, 2011

Reciprocity & Hindu Anger

Reciprocity & Hindu Anger
Written by Francois Gautier
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
This starts as a beautiful story. Once upon a time, there was a tiny
village in South Arcot's district of Tamil Nadu, called Kuilaplayam.
Now Kuilapalayam is like hundreds of villages around Pondichery: it
is peopled with Hindu Vanniars, a caste slightly higher than the
untouchables, poor, living off agriculture, usually a few meagre
fields of cashew nuts. But then Kuilapalayam just happened to be in
the midst of Auroville, the international township, founded by the
Mother of Pondichery, based upon the ideals of the great yogi and
revolutionary, Shri Aurobindo.
Thus Kuilaplayam prospered: its inhabitants learned trades needed for
the city: carpenters, masons, craftsmen, some of its children
attended Auroville's schools and were educated along with western
kids and in time graduated and went into white collar jobs. From a
few cycles 40 years ago, Kuilapalama has today motorcycles, tractors,
cars, vans, cable TV, cell phones, etc. The main road of Kuilapalayam
which used to be only shady huts, became lined-up with fancy shops
which sold everything, from vegetables to handicrafts.
And then the unavoidable happened: a Kashmiri Muslim from Chennai
heard about Auroville and the prosperity of Kuilapalaym and
understanding that he could make a packet with so many westerners
passing though Auroville, he opened the usual shawls & carpets' shop
in the village. Now Kuilapalayam never counted a Muslim amongst its
population in its 1200 years of recorded history; but in the true
Hindu tradition, this one was welcomed and nobody raised an
objection, although he was competition for some of the other shops.
Our Kashmiri Muslim, seeing his success, called his cousin in
Kolkata, who came and opened another shop; and that one phoned his
friend in Mumbai, who also landed-up and opened a third shop. Still
nobody found anything to say. Kashmiris are sociable fellows and they
quickly made friends with Westerners, most of them blissfully unaware
of the political situation in India, so business was booming, till
they were seven or eight Kashmiri shops in Kuilapalayam. And again
nobody complained, even when the fellows started doing their naamaz
openly. "Isn't God everywhere and isn't He Krishna, as well as
Allah", said one of the villagers?
Then Rathinam, one of the young boys of Kuilapalayam, who had gone to
study in Delhi, told his parents when he came back, about the fact
that not only no Hindu were allowed to buy land or start a shop in
the Valley of Kashmir, where the shopkeepers came from, but that four
hundred thousand Hindus, were chased out of the Valley by terror,
many of them having been murdered and that they were living as
refugees in Jammu and Delhi. His parents started talking to their
friends and there was the first hint of resentment against the
Fifteen days later, the Amarnath row exploded. Rathinam's father went
to see a group of Kuilaplayam Kashmiris having tea and told them that
Hindus never complained about their government giving billion of
rupees in subsidies to Indian Muslims so that they can visit their
most Holy place, the Mecca. "But when Hindus, he continued, need
shelters, toilets and basic facilities at height of 15.000 feet to
worship at Amarnath, one of the holiest places of Hinduism, why do
you Kashmiri Muslims deny it to us"? The Kashmiris looked a bit
uneasy, then replied "that anyway the Amarnath ice lingam had been
discovered by a Muslim shepherd and that Muslims had always welcomed
their Hindu brothers to Armanath". But this did not convince the
Kuilapalayam man who had heard from his son that many grenade attacks
had happened over the years against the Amarnath pilgrims. And anger
started mounting in Kuilapalayam.
So it is all a question of reciprocity. Most Hindus are peace-loving
people. The average Hindu that you meet in a million Indian villages,
such as Kuilapalayam, is easy-going and accepts you and your
diversity, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Parsi or Jain, Arab,
French or Chinese. He goes about his business and usually does not
interfere in yours.
In fact Hindus take it a little further: they hate trouble and go out
of their way to avoid it. Have you noticed how every time there is a
possibility of a strike or trouble, Hindus stay home? Or how --
forget about rioting -- Hindus never speak-up, complain or protest in
a united manner. There is a UN Human Rights conference on terrorism
in New York coming-up on 9th September and they have been desperately
trying to get Hindu surviving victims of recent bomb attack to
testify; but none are willing to come forward for fear of reprisals.
Not only that, but everywhere in the world, Hindus are hounded,
humiliated, routed, be it in Fiji where an elected democratic
government was twice deposed in an armed coup, or in Pakistan and
Bangladesh, where Muslims indulge in pogroms against Hindus every
time they want to vent their hunger against India (read Taslima
Nasreen's book "Lalja"). In Assam, Tripura, or Nagaland, Hindus are
being outnumbered by Bangladeshi illegal immigrants and terrorized by
pro-Christian separatist groups, such as the Bodos or the Mizos,
while local governments often turn a blind eye. Their temples are
being taken over in many states like in Kerala or Karnataka, and the
donations appropriated by the state governments.
Yet, in 3500 years of known existence, Hindus have never military
invaded another country, never tried to impose their religion upon
others, by force or even by induced conversions. No, it has rather
been through peaceful invasions that Hinduism has stormed the world,
whether in the East, witness Angkor Vat, or in the West today, where
the by-products of Hinduism, yoga, meditation, ayurveda, pranayama
have been adopted by millions.
Hindus also gave refuge to all persecuted minorities of the world
from the Parsis, to the Jews (India is the only country in the world
where Jews were not persecuted) to the Armenians and the Tibetans
today. The first Christian community of the world, that of the Syrian
Christians, flourished in Kerala, thanks to Hindu tolerance; Arab
merchants were welcomed by Hindu rulers to do trade and live in
India, while freely practicing their religion, from very early times.
It's a pity that these two communities turned against their Hindus
brothers and sisters, the former by way of lured conversions, and the
latter with bloody invasions.
Thus Hindus, who accept everybody, welcome all religions, allow
Indians from other parts to trade next to them, as it happened in
Kuilapalayam, do not receive in return any gratitude and the same
respect. On the contrary, they get mocked at, bombs are planted in
their markets, their trains; their temples get attacked, they are
chased out of their homelands; television an newspapers make fun of
them, their own politicians ostracize them...
So, sometimes, Enough is Enough. At some point, after years or even
centuries of submitting like sheep to slaughter, Hindus, the most
peace-loving people in the world, those the Mahatma Gandhi once
called gently �cowards', those who cringe in their houses at the
least sign of riot, erupt in fury -- uncontrolled fury. And it hurts.
It hurts badly. It happened in Gujarat. It is happening now in Jammu.
It may happen again elsewhere, as Hindus are reaching a boiling
Yes, one should condemn the pogrom that happened in Gujarat, but one
should look also in the causes. It is not only the 36 innocent Hindu
women and children who were burnt savagely in a train by a mob of
criminals, worse than animals. It is also how much silent frustration
and anger must have built over the years, decades, or centuries even,
amongst Gujarati Hindus, that in one moment, 125.000 Hindus, normal,
peaceful people, many of them Dalits, tribals, or even upper middle
class, came out on the streets of Ahmedabad with such fury. Yet, 25%
of the people killed during the riots were Hindus; yet, according to
police records, the 157 subsequent riots which happened in Gujurat
were all started by Muslims.
Instead of trying to put water overt the fire, instead of appealing
for calm and communal harmony, instead of giving us all this eyewash
about a 500 year old Dargah mostly patronized by Hindus (but do
Muslims visit Hindu temples in return), political leaders,
journalists, as well as spiritual leaders, should do well to look at
the root cause of Hindu fury, and try to address their demands and
Journalists should also do a little bit of introspection and try to
think for themselves. It is unfair, as it has been done in Ayodhya
and after the Gujarat riots, to put so much blame on Hindus as if
they are the worst criminals in the world and the destroyers of
Nehruvian secularism. Millions of temples were destroyed in India by
Muslim invaders, some of them the most sacred to Hindus, like the
Kashi Vishvanath, Krishna's birth temple in Mathura, the rebuilt
Somnath temple and the Treta-ka-Thakur temple in Ayodhya, and Hindus
hardly ever protested. When they dare to destroy one disused mosque,
without any human casualties, what a hullabaloo has been created year
after year by journalists, Muslims and secularists. When Islamic
militants plant bomb, they kill scores of Hindus every time. Do
Hindus plant bombs upon Muslims? Does one journalist dare to say
that? How long can Hindus accept everybody get beaten up and receive
nothing in return?
Lastly, is there still a prejudice in Western society against Hindus?
President Sarkozy said that he went to the Olympics' opening ceremony
because you cannot ignore a quarter of humanity. Well, can the world
continue ignoring Hindus, 850 million in India, a billion worldwide,
one person in six, one of the most peaceful, law-abiding, successful,
tax paying communities on this planet? Is it not time that a Hindu
spiritual leader, God to tens of millions of Hindus, be awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize?
Francois Gautier

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