India'stwo mighty, internationally-backed minorities are displaying renewed zeal to respectively dominate the physical polity and the cultural-civilisational landscape.
The saving grace in the current situation is that the respective crusades against Hindu civilisation are separate and distinct?Muslims quietly withdrew support from Christians after the West stepped up its campaign to demonise Islam, while humiliating Muslims in occupied Muslim lands.
As India has a long and unhappy memory of suffering at the hands of Muslim conquerors and rulers, the Western campaign fooled many Hindus into believing the West would support India in the modern jehad inspired by Wahabi Islam. Few understand that the Saudi version of Islam was and remains a tool of Western imperialism, and that there is a qualitative difference between the early medieval Islam which launched an autonomous drive for conquest, and the post-colonial jehad that has repeatedly wounded India, but brought no commensurate gains for Islam, either in India or anywhere else in the world.
Ideologically-savvy Muslims, however, are feeling the pressure of this pincer. They have not retreated from the path of jehad largely because the pressure to retreat is politically inadequate, but they have ended their jugalbandi with the Christian community.
Hindu society, however, is fast losing patience with jehad. The repeated targetting and killing of innocent civilians in city after city, the claims of victimhood in a nation where the majority community alone has no right to publicly affirm and demand respect for its religious identity, the refusal to engage with the modern world while demanding the benefits of backwardness, and above all, the belief that jehad is immune to legal justice, have enraged Hindus.
Inspector MC Sharma'sdeath has proved to be the proverbial last straw. For Hindus, and indeed, for all nationalist Indians, the Batla House encounter is non-debatable. There is no reason to doubt the veracity of the encounter that ended in this tragedy. Those who do so have an axe to grind. A few points may be noted.
One, jehad is the only concept invoked to explain and justify the premeditated murder of hundreds of innocent civilians (besides army, para-military, and police personnel) from the time of the Great Calcutta Killing of 1946. The term jehad is Koranic, and though Muslim scholars and apologists argue that the term has two meanings, the fact is that it is invoked by Muslim organisations to wage war on Hindu India over grievances ranging from a separate nation (Pakistan was granted in 1947); Palestine (where India had no role?yet no violence ever took place in any Western country till a few isolated incidents in recent times); and Kashmir (which legally acceded to India in October 1947 under the same process that created Pakistan).
Two, the other jehad is internal to the individual who chooses to practice it. It cannot be given a public face, which Muslim leaders fallaciously seek to do, to mislead the common man. Unfortunately for them, Hindu-Indian suffering in jehad attacks has been too immense and intense to swallow this lemon.
Third, only rare intellectuals can perceive that from the time of the Shimla Delegation that led to the creation of the Muslim League, separate electorates, and finally Partition, important Muslim leaders have served as agents of Western colonialism, and that this pattern played out in much of the Muslim world from the First World War itself. In the minds of ordinary Hindus, the pre-British Raj and Raj-inspired jehad are fused inseparably as unending Islamic violence against Hindus and India.
Ironically for Indian Muslims, this phenomenon has been entrenched by the refusal of Muslim and Leftist scholars to permit an honest review of Indian history?warts and all. This prevented the academic delineation of distinct phases of Indian history when different powers held sway at different times; inhibited a proper understanding of the mischief played by the British Raj and missionaries in undermining Hindu civilisation and fostering animosity leading to Partition; and left Muslims bearing the brunt of collective Hindu resentment over decades of Muslim appeasement in the post-Independence period.
In these circumstances, Muslim leaders would do well not to push the Hindu community beyond endurance. Hindus are willing to view jehad as an issue that can be settled by sound police work focussed against terrorist cells, and not view the Muslim community as a whole as villains on a murderous spree. But if persons like the Shahi Imam and Shabana Azmi, and Hindu-in-name-only activists (too numerous to mention) try to malign the police without credible evidence, then Hindus will be forced to come to their own conclusions about the Muslim community as a whole.
Muslim leaders must answer why, if Muslims stand by the Deoband resolution against terrorism, do leaders rush to the service of those accused of terror? And if terrorists really have no religion, why is the defence of alleged terrorists made only on religious grounds?
Meanwhile, the civilisational assault by India 'ssupposedly miniscule Christian minority has been even more unrelenting, as evidenced by the widening arc of Hindu reaction following the gruesome murder of Swami Laxmanananda and four sannyasi disciples in Kandhamal district, Orissa, on Janmashtami day.
To borrow Marxist terminology, there can be no doubt that the Christian leadership perceives itself as a vanguard for the en masse conversion of Hindu India, and feels emboldened by the political ascent of the Italian-born Congress president. Smt Sonia Gandhi has done much for her co-religionists under the UPA regime, putting the Christian cross on coins and sending an official delegation when the Vatican elevated a little known Kerala nun to sainthood.
Sainthood is, of course, purely political, intended to spur more conversions, so that either a portion like the north-east can be partitioned a la East Timor (2002), or the Christian population upgraded into a decisive vote bank like the Muslim vote bank, so that it can have a decisive say in the polity. It is necessitated because charities run by the Albanian nun, Mother Teresa, who was given the Nobel Peace Prize to promote the Christian agenda, have come under a cloud in the West itself.
It is pertinent that the widespread Hindu angst against evangelists owes much to a popular perception that the Christian population is much larger than admitted to census authorities, perhaps as high as seven per cent. Should evangelists succeed in raising numbers by another five-seven per cent, the combined minority vote bank would render Hindu vote ineffective and completely alter the political demography of the Indian Parliament and assemblies in several states. This is not a small threat, and the spreading confrontation with locally ignited Hindu populations suggests that the danger is real.
Indeed, this may well be the reason why Smt Sonia Gandhi remained silent in the face of the on-going anti-Christian agitation rocking India?she cannot afford to answer questions about her religious affiliations. But as someone who spares no opportunity to malign organisations defending Hindu culture and civilisation, Smt Gandhi must be asked to publicly explain her position on conversions, especially as prominent Christians are spreading the canard that the Constitution grants the right to convert. It does not.
(The writer is a senior journalist and can be contacted at [email protected])