Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims to be a devout Hindu who likes to visit Hindu temples wherever he visits. In spite of his short visit to
Bangladesh, thus, he did not miss visiting
the Dhakeshwari Mandir and Ramkrishna Math in Dhaka.
I have no problem about anyone’s religion and devotion to it. I have, however, serious problem when religion is exploited to hype up communal tension, and harassment and persecution of a group.
Modi's BJP and its parental group RSS have been portrayed by many political analysts as politically divisive and religiously polarizing, if not fascist, organizations that want to rewrite
history to suit their Hindutvadi agenda. Modi, of course, denies such
accusations. When a 30-member
delegation of Muslim clergy and professionals as part of his outreach program
met him a few days ago, he said that he should not
be judged by what his opponents have been saying about him but by his actions
and performances. India
The unfortunate reality in
however, is just a few days earlier, on May 25, a newly constructed mosque was
destroyed by a group of Hindus. The sad incident happened in Atali in the state
of Haryana. Armed Hindus torched the mosque and set fire to Muslim homes,
terrorizing hundreds of residents. The Muslim victims have since
been camping at the Ballabgarh police station. They are afraid to return to
their homes. India
According to the Indian Express, at the police station, everyone has an ordeal to narrate and cell phone photographs to share. “All our money has been looted. The school books have been burnt. Our clothes are gone, our cars torched. We have nothing left. How can we go back?” asked Fakhruddin Haji who had a transport business.
“We kept calling police, but they didn’t come. They still haven’t arrested the accused and they are asking us to return home. How can we? We refuse to leave the police station until we are sure we will be safe,” Ishaq Lambardar said. His house was directly opposite the mosque and, at the time of the attack, men had gathered there for the evening prayers.
Religious symbols matter a lot. Muslims and Christians pray in mosques and churches, respectively. So, by attacking such religious symbols, the Hindu fanatics are sending a clear message to the aggrieved parties that unless they embrace Hinduism, they cannot expect safety and security in
As the diplomats in India and Bangladesh were chalking out the last minute details of Modi's first state visit to Bangladesh, and before the Muslim victims of Atali could return to their homes, Hindu fanatics in Rajgir in the state of Bihar destroyed an Eidgah (where the local Muslims pray) and desecrated Muslim graves nearby on Thursday, June 4 – just two days before Modi’s visit. Apparently, they were upset that local authorities did not allow hosting a Hindu festival (Malyamas Mela) on a Muslim ground, showing theater shows, which would generally be “obscene” in nature, but profitable.
The Eidgah is amid the background of a temple at Brahma Kund — hot water pond attracting tourists from all over the country. The local police imposed prohibitory orders to prevent people from assembling at the site. The Hindu protesters, mostly local traders, accused the administration of Muslim appeasement, saying their business would be affected if the government prevents them from using the Muslim ground.
Rajgir has only some 60 Muslim households, who stayed away from Thursday’s clash. When asked by the reporter of the Indian Express, a government official said that the reason for shopkeepers’ anger is the ban on dirty shows. "It is a group of mela contractors who may have provoked the protesters,” said the official.
Well, such incidents of attack on Muslim lives and properties are not new in
seem to be getting a new life in Modi’s . And that is why it is
difficult to take Prime Minister Modi seriously. India
One may recall how the historic Babri Mosque was demolished by Hindu fanatics, mostly affiliated with Modi’s own party, in 1992. A 2009 report, authored by Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan, blamed 68 people for the demolition of the mosque – mostly leaders from the BJP and a few bureaucrats. Among those named in the report were Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former BJP prime minister, and LK Advani, the party's then (2009) leader in the Parliament. Kalyan Singh, then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (he was accused of posting bureaucrats and police officers who would stay silent during the mosque's demolition in Ayodhya) and Murli Manohar Joshi, former Education Minister in NDA Government, were also found culpable. In a 2005 book former Intelligence Bureau (IB) Joint Director Maloy Krishna Dhar claimed that Babri Masjid demolition was planned ten months in advance by top leaders of RSS, BJP and VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) and raised questions over the way the then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao of Congress had handled the issue.
The destruction of mosques in
by Hindu fanatics seems to
follow all too familiar tactics starting with a false claim that the targeted
mosque was on a disputed territory. Likewise, Hindutvadis falsely
claimed that the great Mughal Emperor Babar had demolished a Hindu temple and
turned it into a mosque which was to bear his name. In this regard, it is worth
sharing Babar’s will to his son, Humayun, where he instructed, “Son, this Nation India Hindustan
has different Religions. Thank Allah for giving us this Kingdom. We should
remove all the differences from our heart and do justice to each community
according to its customs. Avoid cow-slaughter to win over the hearts of the
people of this land and to incorporate the people in the matters of
administration. Don’t damage the places of worship and temples, which fall in
the boundaries of our rule. Evolve a method of ruling whereby all the people of
the kingdom are happy with the King and the King is happy with the people.”
That is how Babar, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, ruled and preached to his son to follow his footsteps. It is simply ludicrous to doubt his sincerity and accuse him of demolishing Hindu temple.
And yet, the fascist Hindus had no problem destroying the historic Babri mosque. They continue to falsify history of Muslim-ruled
and spread the myth that the Muslim rulers were intolerant of the Hindu faith.
So, it was not surprising that when Dr Sheldon Pollock (currently the Arvind Raghunathan
Professor of South Asian Studies at the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and
African Studies at Columbia University), who is also a foremost
scholar of Sanskrit, was visiting
India in February, he was asked the same question. He replied, “If Muslim rulers had forced religious
conversion, this country would not have a single Hindu remaining." India
But prejudice dies hard. It is even more difficult to bury it when such prejudices serve the politics of polarization and fascism. Hindu fanatics hate Tipu Sultan, also known as the Tiger of Mysore, who was a ruler of the
in the late 18th
century. He was a scholar and poet, and recognized as one of the greatest South
Asian rulers of all time. Kingdom of
Interestingly, while the Hindu Maratha rulers are the icons of Hindu nationalism or Hindutvadi fascism today, esp. to the votaries of the VHP, BJP and RSS, during the Third Anglo-Mysore War, in 1791, Parashuram Bhau ravaged Mysore and damaged the very seat of Hinduism — the Shankaracharya’s (Shrirangpatanam) temple, also known as the matha of Srinegri Shankaracharya – killing and wounding many, and plundering the monastery of all its valuable possessions.
The incumbent Shankaracharya petitioned Tipu Sultan for help. Tipu Sultan expressed his indignation and grief at the news of the raid: "People who have sinned against such a holy place are sure to suffer the consequences of their misdeeds at no distant date in this Kali age in accordance with the verse: "Hasadbhih kriyate karma rudadbhir-anubhuyate" (People do [evil] deeds smilingly but suffer the consequences crying)."
Tipu Sultan immediately ordered the Asaf of Bednur to supply the Swami with 200 rahatis (famans or silver coins) in cash and other gifts and articles. Tipu Sultan's interest in the Sringeri temple continued for many years, and he was still writing to the Swami in the 1790s CE.
In light of this and other many such events, B.A. Saletare has described Tipu Sultan as a defender of the Hindu dharma, who also patronized other temples including one at Melkote, for which he issued a Kannada decree that the Shrivaishnava invocatory verses there should be recited in the traditional form. The temple at Melkote still has gold and silver vessels with inscriptions indicating that they were presented by the Sultan. Tipu Sultan also presented four silver cups to the
at Kalale. In spite of all his good deeds, Hindu fascists of the Sangh Parivar
love to hate Tipu Sultan. Lakshmikanta Temple
It is worth recalling that although the BJP made the controversy surrounding the Babri Mosque a political issue in the 1980s, its seeds were sown in 1949 when some Hindu zealots installed Ram Lalla Idol in the historic Babri mosque. The rest is history. The culmination of this has been that the Allahabad High Court gave the verdict on the ownership of land on the grounds of faith of the majority Hindu community, and divided it into three parts. The judgment was a precedent of sorts as faith became the basis of judgment. The matters are pending in Supreme Court of India.
In recent months the Hindu fanatic organizations VHP and the ruling BJP have started making noises for construction of the Ram temple soon at the site where Babri Mosque once stood. The BJP members, as acknowledged by Modi himself during his meeting with Muslim community leaders, have also been ‘spreading communal hatred’, and some of his party colleagues were making ‘totally uncalled for’ provocative remarks. For instance, Yogi Adityanath of BJP said that non Hindus should not be permitted in Haridwar’s ghats. Somanth trust is barring the entry of non-Hindus into the temple. Subramniam Swami of BJP has been saying that
is a holy place but mosque is not a holy place. Temple
Dr. Ram Puniyani writes for the Secular Perspectives, "There is a long trajectory of incidents related to mosque-temple-dargah. Disputes have been constructed around them systematically. In Karnataka the Baba Budan Giri dargah was claimed to be the Datta Peetham. In
near Charminar, Bhgyalaxmi temple is gradually being extended to be dangerously
close to the Charminar. In Madhya Pradesh Kamaal Maula Masjid in Dhar has been
claimed to be Bhojshala. In most of these places the campaigns were launched
and polarization around these was brought in leading to electoral benefit to
BJP at most of the places.” Hyderabad
Is Modi failing to deliver the economic miracles he had promised last year? Apparently, his BJP and the Sangh parivar have found easier ways, e.g., attacks on mosques and churches, to divert the attention of electorates from such promises.