My maternal grandfather, a mathematician and scholar was a very orthodox Hindu. In his house, he observed all the rituals and restrictions of a Brahmin although he was caste “boddi”, whatever that means. In his home he had many visitors coming from all walks of life, but there was a simple rule to be followed – guests from other castes, Muslims and Christians would be entertained in the common varandah just outside the drawing room and would be entertained with tea and biscuits or sweetmeat, offered in cups and plates which were meant for only guests of different caste. These crockery had their own place, in a mid-safe, not the same as where the other crockery were placed. They would also be washed outside the house and not brought inside. Apart from this, there were many other staunch restrictions observed in the house, which were very Brahmin-like.
So am I to call him a proud Hindu? Alas! He would have shuddered to hear what I have preferred to call him – a moron! Thankfully, none of his children, of whom my mother was one, followed in his footsteps.
We have gradually let ourselves forget, who a real Hindu is. It is not in the practice, the rituals and the mantras which make a Hindu. It is a way of life, a tolerance and a Philosophy, which makes Hindus what they are.
It is not the saffron colour, the japas and the mantras, the tikka, and the orange lungi, which make for a Hindu. In fact, as often as we like to reinterate this fact, that many times it is truth – the real Hindu, does not need to dress in a certain way, not follow certain rituals to prove that he is one, not carry trishul and a lota , to say he is a sannyasi. Or a householder. He has to just follow a way of life, where he respects all religions and is tolerant of all. In fact, that has been his greatest strength, that no matter how many psunamis he faced in the hands of men of other religions, he himself has not raised the same dagger in retaliation.
But not anymore. The last few years have seen a surge of orange more than the eyes can bear. And daggers and guns have fired from asuras, pretending to be the saviours of the Hindu religion or saving humans from converting to other religions. This is not the way of the Hindu. And while, the country in which we live, has seen the likes of Narendra Modi, Bal Thakeray, RSS, Bajrang Dal, all touting, that what they do, they do for the Hinduism, the fact is that all these are criminals as dangerous as SIMI.
Smita Gupta in “ Some Bombs Get Defused” (Outlook Magazine October 6, 2008 issue) says – “Indeed, police investigations have revealed that members of organisations such as the Bajrang Dal, the militant youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), don’t just get military training, they are also keen followers of the methods of Islamist terror groups.”
And follows it with the investigation of a bomb explosion in the home of L.G. Rajkondwar, a retired PWD executive engineer and RSS member, in Nanded, Maharashtra, in April 2006. The explosion killed N. Rajkondwar and H. Panse and injured M.K. Wagh, Y. Deshpande, G.J. Tuptewar and R.M. Pande. They were all Bajrang Dal activists.
The FIR recorded the injured activists’ claim that stored firecrackers had gone off inadvertently. But the investigation nailed this lie, revealing that bombs being assembled by the Bajrang Dal activists had exploded accidentally before they could be used to damage mosques. Moreover, the entire operation was being styled in a camouflage so as to resemble a Muslim terror operation. Soon, the police arrested 16 persons. The remand application said the accused had diagrams, maps and material related to the manufacture/storage of bombs. It said they had also identified terror targets across the country.
On May 4, 2006, the case was transferred to the ATS (Anti-terrorist squard). The ATS’s first chargesheet, filed on August 24, 2006, established a Bajrang Dal-Sangh parivar terror network.
- The Nanded accused were also responsible for blasts at the Mohammadiya Masjid in Parbhani (November 2003), the Quadriya Masjid in Jalna (August 2004) and the Meraj-ul-Uloom Madrassa/Masjid in Purna in Parbhani district (August 2004).
- The target of the bombs which killed the Bajrang Dal activists was actually a mosque in Aurangabad. Both H. Panse and M. Wagh had conducted a recce of the Aurangabad mosque in May 2004.
- Panse and Pande had started a gymnasium to attract Hindu youth and organised seminars. They also gave speeches to create an anti-Muslim atmosphere, alleging acts of injustice by Muslims against Hindus, inciting the latter to do "something for Hinduism." They were also trained in bomb-making near Pune, Goa and at the Bhosla Military School at Nagpur. An RSS camp at the school trained 115 participants in karate, obstacle courses, and shooting. The trainers included two ex-servicemen and an ex-IB operative.
- Police discovered a false beard, moustache and shervani during a search of the house of H.V. Panse; a cellphone intercept revealed that Wagh was to visit Aurangabad on April 5, 2006.
If in 1984 the VHP created the Bajrang Dal to protect the Ram Janaki Yatras, in 1993 it moved out of Uttar Pradesh, became a nationwide organisation and was officially designated the VHP’s youth wing. Over the years, it has shifted focus from mobilising support for the Ram temple to what its current chief Prakash Sharma describes as "problem-solving". The problems include terrorism both in Jammu & Kashmir and elsewhere in the country, the influx of refugees from Bangladesh, referred to as "infiltration’’, and conversions to Christianity. "If government agencies don’t act against those whom the Bajrang Dal has identified as an isi agent (any Muslim) or involved in the slaughter of cows, then we just uproot them from society ourselves," said Rukun Singh Payal, a VHP functionary from Uttar Pradesh.So even as the Kanpur case is being investigated, and Bajrang Dal activists continue their rampage against Christians in Orissa, Karnataka and north Kerala, clearly there is a need to study the stormtroopers of the saffron brotherhood.
Can these be ever called Hindus? Or can we say they are doing any good to our society? Are they not terrorists who need to meet the same end as all criminals must – the firing squad? Or the guillotine? What is our home ministry doing? Just changing clothes? Or is it time, for UPA government to own up to the fact, that the violence we see today is a State and Centre sponsored terrorism.
Courtsey: “ Some Bombs Get Defused” (Outlook Magazine October 6, 2008 issue)http://outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20081006&fname=Cover+Story&sid=4&pn=1
Also read: Few Blind Men In Hindostan
Must read Hot debate on this subject: http://xebecbooks.sulekha.com/blog/post/2008/09/can-the-real-hindu-please-stand-up/comments.htm