Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My comments on Hindutvadi claims on 'Dying' Hindus

Soon after the publication of my article on the sensitive issue around the minorities in Bangladesh and India in the Shodalap, a Bengali discussion group, a West Bengali Hindu by the name of Kumar Mondol wrote a response, which appeared rehashing of Bimal Pramanik and Tapan Kumar Ghosh's Hindutvadi claims. I sent the following response to his diatribe.

The problem with many communalists is when truth bares their hideous selves, they get caught off-guard with their hands in the cookie jar and resort to name calling. No, I am not delusional in my treatment of this very sensitive issue. As I said in the beginning of a series of articles on this topic, discussion on minority issue is always a dicey matter and even one's objectivity would be questioned. As Mondol’s tirade proves I was not mistaken.

In today's India, historical revisionism to further polarize majority Hindus against Muslims has official sanction. The text books are altered to make Hindus hate Muslims. They may like to educate themselves by reading books by Romilla Thapar and other credible historians, rather than Bimal Pramanik's Hindutvadi make-belief stories about 'dying Hindus'. They can also read my articles on this sensitive issue since at least 2000.

As I have noted in this series of articles, Hindus had a lower per annum growth rate compared to Muslims in the last 110 years. It is not difficult to understand the reasons. They often marry late. They prefer son to daughter as a child, and thus often abort fetuses if found to be female. They are better educated, esp. their women, which delays marriage. And then they want to have children late in their career, which also reduces their fertility rate considerably. All these activities alone are sufficient to show why Hindu growth rate is lower than those of Muslims. Many Muslims even when they are educated are seriously discriminated in job hunting in India, which also discourages others from pursuing costly education. It won’t take an Einstein to show that if these issues are not tackled objectively, surely Hindu proportion will shrink further.

If Hindu communalists like Mukherji (perceived an avatar by Hindutvadis today) and Pramanik instead had put their energy into improving the status of Muslims in India in matters of education, job and other socio-economic indicators, they would have seen that the Muslim growth rate, which is perceived as problematic and threatening Hindu majority, was at par with those of the Hindus. Are these communalists aware of conversion of Hindus to Christianity, esp. in north-east part of India? What do such conversions do to Hindu numbers? It is not difficult to comprehend. Why not address those issues which are at the heart of so-called ‘dying’ Hindu demography?

Instead, these hateful communalists, Hindutvadis raise all sorts of false flags to hide their inane failure to comprehend what is so obvious and scientific. The mere presence of any Muslim living in the neighboring Indian states to Bangladesh is automatically perceived to have been a result of Bangladeshi infiltration. Forgotten in such treatment is the mere fact that Hindus and Muslims have been living on either side of the current border for centuries. And they have migrated when borders were porous and allowed such movement unhindered. These Hindu communalists and fascists don’t tell their ilk that some half a million illegal Indians are living inside Bangladesh who have been remitting billions of dollars to India every year.

By the way, is not India a secular country? Why should religion matter as to what proportion a particular religious community becomes in such a state, which is not supposed to discriminate in matters of one's religious affiliation? Instead, what we see is Hindu nationalism, which is nothing but fascism and not truly different than what was practiced by the Nazis in Hitler's Germany that has become the symbol of new India.

By the way, Mondol may like to revisit history to ascertain what caused Hindus outside the Bose Brothers to reject the Cabinet Mission proposal which had proposed Joint Bengal. The so-called Bhadro-lok Hindus of Kolkata simply did not like to be a minority in any formula that would put them a minority and challenge their privileged status, mostly earned through early collaboration with the British after the fall of the Nawabi rule in Bengal, and not just in 1905, but throughout the last hundred plus years. It was all too natural for even Rabi Thakur to object to the establishment of Dhaka University. As Jaswant Singh once again showed it was die-hard Hindu communalists who were real reasons behind Partition of India. Even Jinnah could not make a dent on Hindu attitude of eating the entire pie when he had to ultimately leave the Congress Party. Whom are we kidding, Mondol?

One has to do some objective study before resorting to unfounded claims and name-calling. And that reading cannot be limited to hateful propaganda, all fascist and anti-Muslim in intent and purpose, fed by guys like Bimal Pramanik and Tapan Kumar Ghosh. Kapish?

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