There is an air of despondency that is being created in the Indian main stream media (MSM) about the state of the country. Facts don’t seem to matter. Every morning, either on MSM or on the leftist social media, I wake up to read about all that is terribly wrong in India. And there is plenty that is wrong; but what makes it clearly a case of calumnious intent is that every such story is inexplicably tied to PM Modi and the BJP govt. As someone who who is very critical of all governments including this one, I am happy to accept and support genuine criticisms of the govt., but can’t stand the attacks levelled at them simply because they’ve got a saffron flag; in fact they have saffron on their flag (even they’ve got green on there to make a secular statement). The counter provided by the right wingers, especially on social media is equally vacuous and devoid of any real substance.
Let’s start with some of the genuine criticisms of the govt. that I’ve heard, and a few that I’ll add. The economy isn’t in a great state. The impact of demonetisation has largely been negative, and the govt. hasn’t come out with any numbers to explain how the move has helped. 7% growth figures are a misnomer. Several luminaries including Dr. Swamy have said that the numbers are inflated, and convey a false sense of growth. I want to clarify that while the method change might have been a good idea, the key issue here is that the resulting increase in the GDP is being touted as a govt. achievement rather than what it actually is. Job creation is slow. Hardly any realistic movement on tracking and bringing by black money that is stashed overseas. Additionally, there has been no major boost in terms of health or education related funding. No major social reform. No work to improve the completely dysfunctional law & order mechanism and so on. I don’t imply that there have been no positive steps, but getting into those is not within the purview of this article.
However, you open the newspaper and no one is talking about the real issues. The MSM is infatuated with telling us about how the ‘secular fabric’ of India is under threat. And it is under threat because the BJP is in power. I find this argument quite hilarious; does it mean that Hindus are not secular, but despite there being 1 billion of them, they wait for a BJP govt. to come into power before they start destroying the social fabric of India? After all, if Hindus are turning India into a Hindu Pakistan, then they should also be doing so when the Congress was in power, but apparently, when it is, Hindus behave differently. As someone whose family was forced to leave their home in west Punjab, and whose brethren continue to be systematically butchered and wiped out from that land today, I take great personal offence to this remark, which originated in a Indian Express article, and was further popularised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP – can’t believe I once supported them). In 1951, there were 9.8% Muslims in India; today there are about 14%. On the eve of partition there were between 30-35% Hindus and Sikhs in west Punjab…today there are around 1%. People who make such statements don’t understand what they mean. What it means to have an Indus valley devoid of any Hindus. We’ll talk about India becoming a Hindu Pakistan when Azamgarh, Malegaon, and Mallapuram are devoid of any Muslims (and even then it won’t quite mean the same thing for all these areas were once Hindu). Perhaps when Mecca and Medina become 1% Muslim.
No doubt there is a burden on the Muslims of India, and perhaps it is incorrect to expect the Muslims to shoulder the burden of partition, but they and their leaders don’t help their own case. On one hand, they claim, at every opportunity, that they are proud citizens of secular India who rejected Pakistan (and therefore are more patriotic than even Hindus – Owaisi’s pet thesis) and on the other, 7 of then top 10 wanted criminals of India are Muslims (the other 3 are Sikhs) and we’ve got Muslims block train lines to offer namaz. We’ve got Muslims who oppose Uniform Civil Code, even though it is enshrined as a principle in the Indian constitution. All I am saying is that they don’t help their own case.
I take offence to bigoted and coloured articles, such as this one about how 200 people in north India didn’t see a dead Muslim teenager because it implies that the people ignored him BECAUSE he was Muslim. This is an abject lie. Firstly, is no way that people, walking on a railway platform, would know looking at a dead body, whether it belonged to a Muslim. Death consumes everyone in the same way. Secondly, Indian indifference is a well known phenomenon. How many times have we heard stories about people ignoring someone’s call for help either because they don’t care or because ‘they don’t want to get involved’. People don’t have the time, energy, and inclination to get involved in such things, especially because of the legal hassles once you get involved, but to imply that people didn’t get involved because the person needing help was a Muslim is a blatant lie and a malicious statement.
In fact, this teenager, Junaid was stabbed by miscreants, and the original story was that it was because they ‘ate beef’. There was NO evidence to this effect, and the story has now been revised, but the damage has been done. I cannot stress enough that any sane Hindu would not condone any such act EVEN IF Junaid was eating or carrying beef. I want the assaulters and murderer to be charged under the law in the harshest possible manner, but I am not alright with an incident being portrayed as some sort of an organized scheme that enjoys the backing of the govt. of India! Similarly, I condemn the drama that unfolded during Eid with some Muslims wearing black armbands to ‘protest the lynching of Muslims by Hindus’. As I noted in a Facebook post, an off duty army officer is kidnapped and killed in Kashmir. A senior KP officer was lynched in broad daylight by Islamists in the capital city of J&K. 6 KP police men had their faces riddled with bullets. 5 lakh KPs have been forced to leave their homes, but no black bands for them.
Kashmir is a perfect example of what the life of minorities is like under Muslim rule, even within a democratic India. Today, you’ve got lakhs of Kashmiris who come out to attend funeral prayers of the terrorists, but forget the masses, even the politicians didn’t turn up to attend the funeral of the Kashmir Police officers referenced above. For all those who talk about ‘Indian occupation of Kashmir’ or ‘Indian atrocities in Kashmir’ or he ‘human rights in Kashmir’ (Barkha Dutt and her ilk), remind them that the Kashmiri separatist point of view is clear. If you wear an Indian uniform, we’ll kill you. If you participate in the Indian elections, we’ll kill you. If you, as a free thinking person, choose to side with India in the matter, we’ll kill you. If you criticize Pakistan, we’ll kill you. We are dealing with people who are stifling dissent among their own people through the barrel of the gun. Imagine the mindset we are talking about, and imagine the plight of those Kashmiris who believe in the idea of India and reject calls for secession etc., for they have to live amongst these people. While it has some ideological smartness up its sleeve, the BJP govt. is as clueless as its predecessors were about how to deal with Kashmir.
This year, there will be 14000 soldiers protecting the Amarnath Yatra in Kashmir. Have you heard of there being 14000 soldiers required to protect the Jama Masjid in Delhi? Such is the state of Islamist dominance, that Hindus, many of who belong to that land (Kashmiri Pandits), can’t even go to pray into a cave without having massive security cover around them, and instead of talking about why a Hindu can’t go to pray in his own country (a fundamental right under the constitution), the MSM is busy conniving false theories. Should’t the Muslim community in India be ASHAMED that the one region in which they are in absolute majority, the Hindus can’t even go to pray!?
Switching gears, there is a close connection with the anti-beef ban movement and the anti-Hindi language protests (and the protests to restore Jallikattu). They are all part of what Rajiv Malhotra describes as ‘Breaking India’ forces. Most of these are from the south of India, where two phenomena are becoming increasingly pronounced. First, the leftist-Christian nexus, that opposes everything ‘north Indian’. Till date, I had never heard Tamils and Malayalis refer to north or central Indians as the ‘cow belt’ as if there are no cows in south India. But there is an element of condescension in this remark, which is fuelled by the second phenomena viz. the Dravidian identity. The Dravidian identity, supported by both the DMK and AIADMK, says that south Indians (Dravidians) are a different people to the north Indians (on the basis of the now debunked Aryan Invasion Theory).
They believe that Tamils lived in Punjab before the current Punjabis arrived from central Asia and kicked them out. Such theories are extremely dangerous, as they cast aspersions on the very idea of India. Needless to say that the DNA or a Kannadiga or a Tamil is the same as that of a person from Maharashtra. In fact, Indo-Persian DNAs are more or less the same. Of course, it is not surprising that a Christian convert interprets the same data as proof of the Aryan Invasion Theory. Thankfully, Swarajya gave him a strong rejoinder.
The protests against the use of Hindi in Bangalore’s metro are equally nefarious. No one is forcing the people of Kannada to learn Hindi. But given that it is an official language, and one spoken by 600 million, Indians, shouldn’t the signage at important places (such as stations) also be in Hindi? The central govt., which gets taxes from all over India, spends money on these projects, and why shouldn’t a UP-wala be able to read what’s written? I would never support writing ONLY in Hindi. Kannadigas can read the signage in Kannada; can’t understand what problem one would have with this. Hindi isn’t my mother tongue, but I have no problem with it so long as signage is clearly provided in the regional language and in English as well. Language is a means of communication and not a political statement. What worries me is that in their hatred for Hindi, there is a rejection of Hindu culture, even though both Hindi and Kannada are derived from Sanskrit (of course, the Tamil Dravidians reject Sanskrit too). Today it is Hindi, tomorrow it will be everything Hindu. And without Hindu culture, there won’t be an India.
Protests on university campuses (beef eating festivals organized by the youth wing of the Congress party) are in bad taste. I’ve got Tamils in my family and a lot of Tamil friends, who confirm that beef eating was never part of Tamil culture, just as it wasn’t anywhere else in India. In fact, my barber is a Sri Lankan Christian Tamil and he says that even his family doesn’t consume beef. Does this mean that I am saying Tamils shouldn’t eat beef? No, but what I am saying is that such outward expressions of disdain towards a Hindu idea (not eating beef) is basically an assault on Hinduism, and has nothing to do with one’s right to choose their food.
Article 48 of the Indian constitution directs the state (the govt. of India) to ensure that cattle are not slaughtered for meat. It is the govt.’s duty to ensure that this is the case; they are bound by the constitution. However, there is no central law to prevent cattle slaughter (even today). 18 states in India have enacted their own laws to prevent cattle slaughter, or make it hard, but several states don’t. Plus, we do have states where eating beef is indeed the tradition (e.g. Arunachal Pradesh). I might also quickly add that India is the second largest exporter of beef in the world, but note that this beef is buffalo meat (carabeef), and that there is hardly any cow-slaughter in India. It will be hard for the govt. to implement Article 48 in its entirety because it requires the prevention of cattle and other milch and draught animals (my understanding is buffaloes and bulls) from being slaughtered, and doing so will have a huge impact on the livelihood of millions of people.
As a liberal atheist, I am not willing to accept anyone telling me what to do. What to eat, what to wear, what not to criticize etc. I have eaten beef in the past, but don’t eat beef (or any red meat) because of health reasons. Article 48 DOES NOT direct the state to ban cattle slaughter as the cow is ‘holy to Hindus’ (another piece of misinformation that is spread by the leftist media). There is no specific doctrine around cows being holy. Lord Shiva rides a bullock, not a cow, and bullocks should therefore be holier.
So why don’t Hindus slaughter cows? It is a cultural phenomenon. Cows have always been animals that have ‘given’ useful stuff to humans. Milk, gobar, and even its urine. In fact, there are Hadiths of Mohammad that advise people against slaughtering the cow. Moreover, modern science tells us that the Indian cows are of the Bos Indicus breed, whose milk naturally contains A2 protein, which is becoming a big thing in the west for its health benefits, and it makes financial sense to retain what would become a strategic asset. So you could look at cows as a natural asset that needs to be protected (just like rare minerals are).
Peacocks were also eaten in India, as were deer. The killing of both those is now banned and no one seems to be holding peacock eating festivals. This is evidence that such moves by the left-Christian nexus are merely anti-Hindu. Lastly, study after study has found a correlation between breeding cattle for slaughter and global warming, and therefore, we will be well advised to not blindly follow the westerners for economic gain, without caring about the earth. A few months ago, the environment ministry issued an order that outlawed the sale of cattle for slaughter (or makes it very difficult), and here the govt. has used its executive power to reduce the likelihood of cattle slaughter dramatically.
For people who sincerely vaunt the cow, I highly recommend that you start rescuing stray cattle roaming the streets of every village and town in India, pilfering through household waste, and often choking on plastic bags. If you have the time and energy to track down cattle being transported for slaughter, surely this would be easier.
As I write this, there a ‘not in my name‘ campaign that is being run by some leftists + Islamists in India, and even though it can hardly be called a campaign, it is a good example of two things, which I’ll come to in a moment. But before I do, if you open the previous link, you’ll see another malicious article by Al Jazeera about a ‘wave of attack’ on Muslims in India! 23 Muslims at worst have been killed by so called cow vigilantes since 2015 and even that data is not verifiable. 400 people die in India in road accidents and yet I’ve never heard a campaign asking the PM to step in and do something about it? 10 million Hindus were killed in the partition of India. In 2016 alone, 69 soldiers from the Indian Army were killed by Islamists. But none of these are ‘waves’.
Back to the two things: Firstly, it tries to copy the ‘not in my name’ campaign run by the Muslims in the West when they were trying to condemn the ISIS for its brutalities and ‘reclaim’ Islam from them. This is a complete misnomer in our case, where neither are the lynchers/murderers doing so in anybody’s name (I haven’t heard of a murderer kill someone while reading shlokas from the Gita or any sort of respected authority in Hindu society condone or defend the actions). Secondly, it has again turned into an anti-Hindu campaign as detailed in this article, and credit to the writer for investing the time to deconstruct this ‘campaign’, so I won’t it repeat here. No sane person can condone lawless behaviour, let alone someone’s murder, and I haven’t seen anyone do it either. And there are no ifs and buts involved; punish anyone who breaks the law. Now let’s hear Muslims say that I have the right to draw cartoons of Mohammad or say anything I want about Islam, and that no Muslim has the right to assault me. Will they? Every interview I remember with a Muslim apologist after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris went something like “We condemn……. but you have to understand…..”. Double standards, as usual.
For the last many weeks, there were people asking PM Modi to ‘speak out against these gau rakshaks‘. I did not want him to do any such thing, because doing so, would set a new precedent where the PM has to condemn every issue that the leftists raise. It is a GIVEN that a sitting PM of a democracy condemns murders. Now that he has actually done it, are the people who were asking for him to do so happy? No, they will shift the topic to discussing whether Modi’s statement ‘is enough’. So it is an abyss, and is best avoided. I would have been much happier if someone from the left or Congress talked about social or police reforms, to counter the lawlessness that exists in India, but since the agenda is to basically defame the RSS and everything saffron, such logical topics don’t come up.
There is no reason to be ashamed of our cultural heritage – Indians don’t generally eat beef. Just like Americans or Australians don’t eat dogs (you can’t imagine what would happen if I start breeding dogs for slaughter and export in Australia). My recommendation is that, for now, it should be left to the states to legislate against cow slaughter till a time it becomes necessary for the central govt. to step in, which they always can because of Article 48. However, I am not in favour of ludicrous laws, such as the proposed one in Gujarat that will see someone convicted of cow slaughter punishable by a life sentence! In terms of cow-vigilantism (Nidhi Razdan’s favourite word), all clear headed Hindus must condemn any acts of mindless violence, and seek justice for the victims as guaranteed by the law. As I mentioned in the beginning, the sad state of law and order troubles all Indians, irrespective of their religion. The poor face the brunt more than the rich, but that is it. Finding patterns where they don’t exist will only lead to more troubles and fissures.