dharmic nature of aggression

Are the non-aggressive, tolerant attitudes of Hindus a liability, so much so that many of them have become victims of apathy, conspiracy and forced displacement in their own homeland. Ref: Kashmiri Pandits, Col Purohit, Sadhwi Pragnya. #hindusvictimised – Thus goes the topic for Indispire Edition167

The premises are definitely wrong. I say this not only in the context of Hindusim, but also in the context of any other religion.

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In the western media and intellectual circles, the liberal use of words like ‘Islamic Terrorism’ and ‘Islamophobia’ has become fashionable these days. It gives  an impression that any adherent of the religion must match such characteristic. Thus, the vast majority of Muslims who lead their life as normal responsible citizens get tinged with these negative characteristics. It also undermines the humanistic and mystic contribution of many liberal groups like the Sufis.

Terrorism and other aggressive means are used either by an individual or a group of individuals, quite often for their own vested interests. However, these individuals or groups associate themselves with a religion or a few selected tenets of religion (twisting the tenets out of context)  to give their activities a kind of legitimacy. This does not mean all the followers of that religion or ideology subscribe to such hardliner views.

In fact, it is India that has been the victim of ‘jihadi’ terrorism much  more than the west. Yet, in our country, neither in mainstream media, nor in intellectual circle do we use the word ‘Islamic terrorism’. It may appear this shows our maturity as a democracy.

But the double standards of our so called secular intellectual circles are evident. Of late, there has been liberal use of the word ‘Saffron Terror’ and ‘Intolerance’ to indicate as if the country is infested with Hindu Militants. Such double standards show that the mainstream media is subjugated to some forces that want to give an impression, ‘Look, this religion as a whole qualifies to be associated  with negative attributes associated with extremism and intolerance’.

In fact a campaign has already started to bring words like ‘Hindu Militancy’, ‘Hindu Phobia’ , ‘Hindu Intolerance’ and other such terms to mainstream narrative so as to tinge  the religion and all its followers with this negative connotation. It is in this context that I have used the hash tag  hidusvictimised.

Once again, to make my stand clear, I strongly feel that it is never the whole of the religion (let it be any religion) that is to be blamed because a few adherents of the religion, to fulfill their own megalomaniac tendencies and other human afflictions like excessive greed and lust,  use violence in the pretext of religion or some of its tenets.

This said, it is also worthwhile to examine specific allegations made against Hinduism to prove its nature of intolerance and tendency of  violence. Those who bring these allegations, like the proverbial elephant judging blind men hand pick a few partial events that suits their preconceived notions and ignore the vast body of evidences and  events that would depict a different story.

One important factor that should be kept in mind while making any evaluation concerning Hinduism is that it is a dynamic religion, or, what Rajiv Malhotra in his book ‘Indra’s Net’ calls a religion with an ‘open architecture’.  It means the tenets and practices of Hinduism are not frozen across time and space. Hinduism today is vastly different from the Hindu practices and principles that prevailed even a couple of centuries back. All the Dharmic religions (religions that originated in India), due to close interaction with one another, assimilated many elements of each other over a period of time and these religions still continue to evolve, discarding certain elements and taking up new ones.

If Chandashok was the epitome of violence, Dharmashoka was the epitome of compassion. Had there been no transformation of Ashoka in the aftermath of the Kalinga war, the war itself would have been forgotten being just another war of an ambitious emperor. Kalinga war gained prominence in history because of the transformation of Chandashoka to Dharmashoka.

How many rulers in history went through such transformation? Did it happen with the Alexanders of that era whose hunger for power continued till their last days. Did such transformation happen with any of the Islamic rulers  whose violence both at the time of conquest and during their rule surpassed all inhuman treatments imaginable.

The Hindu aggression that we see manifested in the form of Shivaji and other warriors of the Mughal era  was a secondary and defensive aggression in the sense that it was in response to counter the aggression and atrocities of the Mughal rulers.

It may be worth while to note that, during Military campaigns,  Shivaji forbade his soldiers to kill women and children and destroy Mosques.  This was in contrast to the aggression of the Mughals and their predecessors who killed indiscriminately and destroyed thousands of temples. In fact many of the Mosques that stand today have been built out of destroyed temples.

Same way, when events like Godhra are discussed, our so called secularists conveniently forget the events that led to the incident. To be specific, the incident of the burning of innocent Hindus in the railway coach is kept out of discussion, as if loss of Hindu lives do not matter. The issue of the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits and their displacement from their homeland is not given as much importance in our national narrative as the loss of lives post Godhra incident. Same way, the regular destruction of thousands of temples, post independence, not only in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but also in our own country do not find mention even in the eighth page of our newspapers. These activities continues to happen even to day. On the other hand, the destruction of a dilapidated unused Mosque in a prominent place of pilgrimage for the Hindus, continues to drive the anti Hindu debate in our mainstream narrative.

Our journalists continue to target Hindu religious and spiritual leaders, blowing out of proportion any seeming error committed by them, quite often without even verifying the facts. Going by the trends in the last couple of years, it seems Bollywood too has joined the bandwagon of Hindu bashing. This is evident not only from the statements made by some celebrities, but also from the kind of movies being made. In some of the block busters of last couple of years, criminals, terrorists and Pakistanis have been shown to be somehow more humane than Hindu spiritual leaders.

Quite often the ground reality may be quite different from the picture attempted to be projected by a section of our intellectuals and  journalists.  No doubt these groups have their own vested interests clothed in secular ideals.  When the debate about intolerance was at its height of attention in the mainstream media, I went around the streets of India, like the jesting Pillate searching for truth. But, I was as disappointed as the Pillate of ancient Greece. I could not find any trace of intolerance among the common men in the streets of India.

I have put forth some facts and historical contexts to bring to light those sides of the events that we pretend to forget. Now, it is for the reader to decide – considering the tenets of Hinduism and taking into account its overall history, are the Hindus as intolerant as the so called secular intellectuals would like us to believe?

12 thoughts on “dharmic nature of aggression

  1. I have lived in the border area of J & K long back where Hindus were a minority but the Muslims never tried to dominate or initmidate them. Similarly just because of aggression of a few Hindus, it’s wrong to generalize. Politics and media have a big role to play in this for their own vested interests. A very well-worn and thought-provoking article!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Of course it’s a fad to be against the Hindus and appeasing the minorities helps them become pseudo liberal at the best. But generalizing a religion to be non aggressive is a very limiting thought as well. We all can pick up history to make claims. History is meant to be a tool for asserting tue rights of anything. Be it a temple or a masjid.
    But it takes two for a riot to happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nice article…Yes, there are only a chunk of individuals or groups that are involved in unlawful activities..Even if we talk about islamic terrorism, they are not only limited to spreading Islam, they have other vested interests of power, money etc. such that more often we hear the sections within Islam getting affected by this extremism i.e. sunnis killing shias and vice versa. Similar is the case with other non state actors of various caste and religion. Afterall, its all created by humans


  3. Holding my breath i was waiting for this post, this is written so logically and not being a hypocrite, covered up all the aspects, the examples you have cited…Ashoka, Shivaji…all these are so logical and contains the very truth.
    yes, it also surprises me a lot when some people when talks about Godhra mass killing they simply ignores the deaths of so many Hindus…as if…Hindus are born to die .
    every religion has some faults as these are ran by human being and no human being is perfect, for the aggressive nature and misuse of “Intellect” of some religious rulers sometime the innocent people suffers a lot, whether they are Hindu, Sikh, or Muslim.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had read your article much earlier but had refrained from offering my twopence. The bogey of Hindu Extremism has been conceived, seeded, fertilised, grown and nourished by the cretins of a particular political party, and their attendant coterie of pseudo-intellectuals, that I am sure is the most corrupt of all times and places, and has been put in currency as an instrument that aids their survival. Thanks for your cogent thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. No doubt I am reading your blog quite some time after its publication, in this fast age of posts on the net. Nevertheless, made a very interesting, though a bit exhaustive reading. Wish to draw your attention to one aspect that has gained demonic proportions now; an aspect never seriously dissected by any government/ media. THE ACT OF FUNDING SUCH ACTS. Whatever action, whosoever plans or executes, must have a financial back up and a funding module working for it. From a street side stone – pelter to the schematic bombing of trains and locales. Now that fund flow has been traced and lineage indicated, should we stop by saying that TERRORISM is an act of a misguided individual/ group of individuals OR is it a sponsored act from across the border [with like minded friends !], in which case it is not a stray act but an orchestrated move to destabilise a nation and its people?

    Liked by 1 person

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