Hindu minorities of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
AN ANALYTICAL STUDY
By P.C.K. Raja, Calicut
The articles about atrocities on Hindu minorities of Bangladesh that appeared in Organiser during the last few months such as ?Barbarism in Bangladesh? and ?Ethnic cleansing in Bangladesh? (30.11.2003), ?Rape & Rapine in Bangladesh? (9.5.2004) and so many other references should have shocked all patriotic Indians.
A few quotations as fresh reminders are given below.
(1) Since BNP-Jamait government came to power on October 1, 2001, about 40,000 Hindus have become victims of Islamic fundamentalism. (2) About 30,000 Hindus have been evicted from their ancestral homes. (3) Nearly 1,000 Hindu women were gang-raped. (4) Thousands of temples and idols of Goddess Durga were destroyed. (5) About 1.64 million acres of land property were taken away from Hindus through ?Vested Property Act?. (6) Extortion of licence fee for worshipping in temples, which reminds one of the time of Aurangzeb's jazia. (7) Population of Hindus has declined from 29.1 per cent (in 1947) to 7 per cent. (8) Bangladesh has become Talibanised, with 64,000 madrasas, funded by Arab countries, turning out Islamic fanatics, whose duty is to pressurise Hindus and Buddhists to leave their homes, lands and everything or to embrace Islam.
In the Readers? Forum (Organiser, 14.12.2003), a letter written by Anand Prakash rightly asked what has India gained by creating Bangladesh? Indira Gandhi handed over the reins of that country to the very same Muslims who had been killing Hindus on various occasions like Direct Action in 1946 for creating Pakistan. Bangladesh soon turned into another Pakistan.
The disease is deep-rooted. We know that Hindus almost everywhere in the world are ill-treated; the difference is only in degree. There is nobody to plead for their cause. What happened in Fiji? Even though Hindus formed the majority population, the Christian minority made them second-rate citizens by arresting the Hindu Prime Minister.
What surprised me most is that none of our writers or leaders ever bothered to suggest a strategy to save our poor kinsmen, who were compelled by us to be citizens of an alien land. Why are we not able to find out a solution to this problem? Are we destined only to sit idle and witness such barbaric atrocities on Hindus? Why are we (both the Hindu community and Indian government) reluctant or ingloriously passive to exert our brain to chalk out a plan to give solace to our suffering brethren? Have we lost all senses of responsibility, brotherly feeling and self-respect? Why? Even our border security men were over-powered by surprise attack of Bangladesh soldiers, three years ago, and 16 of them were hung upside down on trees and beaten to death. What had happened then? Nothing! Not even a finger of a single person among us was raised against this barbaric act, let alone retaliate or protest to teach the enemy an exemplary lesson.
But at the same time our people and leaders often conduct protest marches and deliver threatening speeches against the supposed Israeli aggression on Palestinian Arabs. Our pacifism is shown only when the victims are Hindus.
But I was more curiously pained at the views expressed in the articles of Organiser about the Hindu (Tamil) resistance movement of Sri Lanka, as if Hindus have no moral right to fight with arms, whatever may be their situations. I felt the writers of those articles should not have condemned the self-defensive fighters of Tamil (Hindu) militants as mere terrorists. Actually they are involved in a life-or-death struggle for an honourable existence.
For days and months the above articles on the Hindus of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka haunted my mind, making me sleepless and restless. I could not understand why the Hindu community, which had the greatest of intellectuals and bravest of human races, and is having the most glorious ancient historical traditions, now suffers so much, and behaves as though it has lost all senses of oneness and self-confidence.?
The problem is not so simple. This is not a problem with Bangladesh alone. The disease is deep-rooted. We know that Hindus almost everywhere in the world are ill-treated; the difference is only in degree. There is nobody to plead for their cause. What happened in Fiji? Even though Hindus formed the majority population, the Christian minority made them second-rate citizens by arresting the Hindu Prime Minister and all other Hindu ministers, and imposing an amended, fabricated Constitution. What happened when Idi Amin of Uganda forced all Hindu population of 400 years? ancestry to flee the country, leaving behind all their shops, buildings, industries and other valuables? Did anyone shed a drop of tear, or utter a word of sympathy or protest, let alone rush to their aid? The same was the experience in Myammar (Burma), Pakistan and Sri Lanka, besides Bangladesh. Hindus are considered worse than cattle everywhere including India. They are becoming refugees in their own country, as is seen in Kashmir and the north-eastern states.
During the previous Congress rule, the Indian government used to make a hue and cry about apartheid in South Africa and organised world opinion for helping the original inhabitants of the land. It had also made loud noises in all world fora, supporting the cause of Palestinian Muslims in their fight for carving out a separate, independent Arab State from Israel. It had also given a gift of Rs.15 lakh to the Palestinian leader ( Yasser Arafat ) supposedly to buy arms, in the name of ?Nehru Memorial Peace Prize?! But nobody uttered even a word of sympathy for our brethren, who are discriminated against and persecuted in various countries, including India, simply for the fault that they are Hindus.
Our revered Guruji Golwalkar once said: ?Hindus are high thinking and low living people.? We see our leaders quote from the Bhagwadgita and the Ramayana, and declare that our motto is ?Loka samasta sukhino bhavanthu? (let all the people of the world live in peace and happiness); but we behave as though our motto is ?let all the people of the world ?except Hindus? live in peace and happiness?. This has been the condition of Hindus ever since the decline of Maratha empire. The latest example of this perverted mentality of ?secular? Hindus is the ?non-stop howling and condemning? of Gujarat riots, while conveniently forgetting and ignoring the cause of the riots, i.e. the Godhra train-burning.
But the only silver lining in this horrible darkness (an exception to the above-mentioned suicidal, passive, complacent nature of Hindus) is the Tamil minorities of Sri Lanka.
It will not be out of place to remind, in this connection, the uncivilised methods adopted by Sri Lankan authorities for cleansing the ethnic minority of Hindu population. Just like Burma, Pakistan and Bangladesh, they declared Sri Lanka a religious (Buddhist) State. Simhala was made the sole state language. Hindus were discriminated against in the field of education and employment. Violent riots against Hindus were engineered to erupt in the capital city of Colombo. Tamil girl students were insulted and molested in university campus and in public buses.
As a result of Sirimavo-Lal Bahadur Shastri agreement, 10 lakh Tamils were repatriated to India. But still, the Sri Lankan government refused to implement the other clauses of the agreement like giving equal citizenship rights to the remaining Tamil people. The first Sri Lankan Prime Minister Bandaranayaka was brutally murdered by a Simhala Buddhist monk, accusing him to be lenient towards Tamils.
It seems our opposition to the Sri Lanka'sTamil movement is only because they are Hindus. If the Tamils were Muslims or Christians, can we imagine that we would oppose them?
Did any of us express any kind of opposition to the demands of the Christian population of Indonesia for an independent East Timor State? All the Western countries as well as the UNO exerted pressure on the Indonesian government, and finally it had to concede to their demands three years back.
The US government even while asking Tamils to stop fighting, had given all kinds of support to East Timor Christians in their fight for an independent state carved out of Indonesia.
May I ask certain questions from the patriotic people of India? ?Why couldn'twe learn a lesson from Sri Lankan Tamils? Why couldn'twe hope or pray for a Sri Lankan Tamil-type resistance to emerge from the minority population of Bangladesh?
Oh! I am sorry. I can expect only pouring of insults and condemnations from our ?secularists? for daring to write such foolish, un-secular, un-Ahimsaic and sinful ideas. May God forgive me, and give me the strength to passively see this eternal drama of genocide in Bangladesh and elsewhere, with an unconcerned, peaceful mind; and to enjoy reading the running commentary in journals and dailies; and to praise the writers for their precision and beautiful presentation, leaving everything else to the almighty God.