Disclaimer: This post is not aimed at any religion or people of specific beliefs. It is aimed at those pseudo-secularists who consider themselves ‘vigilantes’ and ‘protectors of justice’.
In a particularly popular experiment, some scientists put 3 monkeys in a cage. The cage also had a ladder. A bunch of bananas was tied to the celling of the cage. The monkeys could get to it once they climbed the ladder. The catch, however, was that every time a monkey was within touching distance of the bananas, the scientists induced a shock (a controlled shock. Animal activists please don’t wet your pants). Eventually, the monkeys decided that it was wise to not reach for the bananas.
The scientists then added a new monkey to the cage. The first thing it tried was to climb the ladder (duh! Bananas!). But no sooner did the monkey start climbing than it was beaten by the others. Every time the monkey tried to climb the ladder it got whacked. Eventually it stopped trying too. None of the monkeys ever reached for the bananas though the scientists had stopped inducing the shock.
After a few days, the 3 monkeys who were a part of the experiment when it began, were replaced with a new one. This is where things got interesting. Though the monkey which was already in the cage didn't know about the shock, it continued beating the one who tried climbing the ladder. This continued for every monkey who was put in the cage. No monkey was allowed to climb the ladder, but none of them knew why.
If you guessed that we are the monkeys, the media and politicians are the scientists, and the current ideologies of ‘secularism’ are the bananas, you’ve got it right.
What is your understanding of secularism? I’m guessing it is inclusive living, where every religion has the right to justice, equality and a dignified life. (Leave a comment if I am wrong). Sanskriti magazine puts it well:
“Secularism in India is not an empty slogan or mere cosmetic - it is the very basis of Hindu beliefs and that is why a common Hindu is still ashamed of Babri Masjid demolition (sic) while a Muslim - of Hindu ancestry - has no qualms or shame of the destruction of tens of thousands of Hindu temples by Muslim invaders.”
However, this… this current environment is not inclusive living. It is divisive politics. We have become so immune to divisive politics that if ‘minorities’ don't get additional benefits over the majority, we call it anti-secular. We beat each monkey who thinks about challenging the status quo. Why? Because it’s been like this for 60 years of the Congress rule. And we have survived. So this is the only way.
Think this is over-the-top? Think I’m being irrational? Well, let’s look at some scenarios.
Madrasas in Maharashtra don’t teach English, math or science. It wouldn’t be rocket science to imagine their version of history (please point out if I’m wrong with solid proof). The State government still pumps in ₹100 crore each year into these schools, and talks of modernizing the madrasas are always on-going. But when the State government says that madrasas which don’t teach formal subjects cannot be deemed schools (understandably), it leads to an outrage. Define logic.
Over 50 lakh imams have been paid their salaries from the government of India since 1994. Forget Hindu priests getting the same benefit, it is reported that the Karunanidhi-led DMK government swindled about 200 kg of gold in gold-plating vimanas and golden chariots schemes in various temples. Reports also say that while the annual earning of the Tirupathi temple is over ₹3,500 crore, only about 15 percent is used for the development of the temple. The remaining funds are diverted by the State government (which comprises mostly of Hindus) to non-Hindu purposes, leaving Hindu priests poorly paid and pilgrims poorly taken care of. (source)
Let’s take another news which has been in the public eye for too long: Church vandalism. We repeatedly read about how churches are being vandalized, and how the minority Christians are feeling unprotected under the current government. Six specific incidents of church attacks were reported in the media. But upon investigation, the following facts came out; facts which were barely mentioned in main stream media: In one incident a group of kids playing outside threw stones and one shattered the church's window pane (how communal today’s kids are!). Another incident, where a church was ‘set on fire’, was the result of a short circuit. Yet another reported incident where a small group of men allegedly vandalized a church turned out to be a drunken dare. And the fourth was a case of genuine burglary with no communal angle. Speaking of burglaries, while 3 churches (out of about 200 in Delhi) were robbed in 2014, 206 temples, 14 mosques and 30 gurdwaras were burgled in the same period. Does this really have a communal angle to it? Well, if you are one of those pseudo-secularist left-wingers, everything has a communal angle to it.
Let’s also consider the ever-controversial subject of conversion of religion. We have heard of instances of Love Jihad, or how Hindus convert to Christianity for monetary benefits, but never in the media (if this ever is published in mainstream media, it’s in some remote corner of a boring financial news section). But immediately after the BJP government came into power, news of ghar-wapsi started making the headlines, and the pseudo-secularists, led by the Congress, demanded that this be addressed. Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah said that they were ready to graft an anti-conversion bill, and requested the opposition’s cooperation on it. Since then, all the opposition parties have been silent. Only we are screaming about it, saying that the current government is trying to make this a pro-Hindutva country, like this Facebook status update. The work of the scientists (read politicians and media) is done. Now they just have to sit back and laugh while we monkeys continue whacking each other.
Compare this with the absence of news on alleged atrocities against Hindus in Mallapuram and other locations in India.
Current governments dole out loads of cash to minorities to make life ‘easier for them’. In many states, minority girls belonging to the lower economic strata get ₹50,000 each for their marriage. In UP, Akhilesh Yadav has allotted ₹30,000 for every 10th pass Muslim girl to study further, and has created reservations for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutes. Good. But what wrong have Hindus done to not deserve this ‘princely’ treatment? Why are there no calls for equality now?
Another question that begs to be asked: Are Muslim girls better off with the money provided for their marriages? Do these cash handouts reach them in the first place? I don’t know. But I know one thing. Regardless of these doles, the poor end up right back in the hellhole which they want to leave. Only political parties and religious governing bodies get richer. We, on the other hand, applaud their generosity and 'secularist mindset' without knowing whether it actually is beneficial. And if someone challenges this notion, we verbally beat the daylights out of the person. Well done monkeys. Are these your ideas of ‘secularism’ and ‘democracy’?
Yes, Hindus have been more tolerant by nature for centuries. This is probably why Gandhi said “Hindu is a coward and Muslim is a bully.” I don’t agree. In fact, I don’t agree with a lot of things Gandhi said or did. Muslims, Christians, and people of all religious faiths are accommodative, and they love this country which they live in. But I am surprised about how restricted our understanding of secularism is. I’m surprised about how we feel that the ‘Hindutva’ government is doing everything in its power to hurt minorities, but turn a blind eye to the plight of the vast majority at the hands of some misguided groups.
The current government is driven by rationale. Yes, by now you have figured that I am a Modi supporter. Yes, the government makes mistakes and some policies may prove counter productive. And it is good to question them and keep them on their toes. But stop looking at every thing from a ‘secularist’ perspective and start looking for development from a country’s perspective. Stop being a monkey and start being a sensible human.
If you genuinely want to promote secularism, look at yourself as an Indian first. Stop thinking of yourself as a Hindi, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Malayali, Tamil, etc. Support governments which aim to empower people of all religions to live with dignity, rather than on handouts. This dignity comes with growth for all sections in the country. This growth occurs through more jobs, a business-friendly environment and better infrastructure. People will earn more, send their children to better schools, and improve their lifestyles. All this will help our country progress. Look for information in the right avenues, not what mainstream media is feeding you. It does what it does to make money. And then it laughs its way to the bank while we foolishly scream and outrage.
I love my country and countrymen. They’re “my brothers and sisters”, (except the one who marries me). I respect every religion and people’s rights to follow it. As citizens of a secularist country, it is our duty to accommodate and empower every religion to live by its philosophies. But that doesn’t mean that I will give you my other cheek if you slap me on one. It doesn't mean that I believe the crap when perpetrators portray themselves as the victims. I have matured. It’s time you do too.
image courtesy: Google Images