WHAT sort of people are Hindus? What sort of people have they been down the centuries as barbarians from Central Asia and elsewhere mounted assault after assault on their coveted land? Servile, according to some foreign observers. In his book The Crimson Throne, Sudhir Kakar refers to a diary maintained by an Italian traveller who came to India in the 17th century to Goa to find most of the Hindus “utterly cowed down” by the Portuguese who looked down on them “with disdain” and denied them the right even to wear shoes! The Italian, Niccoleo Menucci, like another traveller, a Frenchman, Francois Bernier, journeyed to Delhi where they lived under the Mughal Court and watched how Hindus were treated. Abominably, it turned out.
Bernier has given instance after instance of how Hindus were insulted by the Muslims under Mughal rule, and at one point he writes: “There are five or six idolators for every Mohammadan. It is astonishing to see how this enormous multitude has allowed itself to be subjected by so small a number of Mohammadan princes”. According to Bernier, “the Mohammadans rightly despise the idolators as a naïve and primitive people”. There is more such stuff in the book.
Then read Meenakshi Jain’s Parallel Pathways: Essays on Hindu Muslim Relations (1707-1857). In the course of his third attack in 1757 Ahmed Shah Abdali destroyed the holy city of Mathura. The Jesuit Tieffenthaler described the event. “They burnt the houses together with the inmates, slaughtering others with the sword and the lance, hauling off into captivity maiden and youths… In the temples they slaughtered cows and smeared the images and pavements with blood”. How many Hindu kings, one may ask, have invaded Afghanistan or Central Asia to destroy mosques and rape Muslim women?
Forget the role of Aurangzeb. A more despicable character has never ruled India. In South India, one had to reckon with Tipu Sultan and what he did to Hindus has to be read to be believed. Just to celebrate the marriage of his son, according to a British historian James Bristow, in “a piece of contemptible, fanatical and tyrannical despotism, compelled 1,00,000 of his defenceless Hindu subjects to embrace Mahomotism on the same day”. Even Christians were not spared of his intolerance which led to the extermination of a total of 40,000 souls. Scores and scores of temples were destroyed or desecrated during Islamic rule in India.
Why should these events be recalled? Why can’t we let bygones be bygones? The answer is simple: One gets disgusted with the way our pseudo-secularists have been running down Hindus and giving them a sense of guilt. A time has come to call these wretches to order. Hindus – and pardon the generalisation – have invariably been at the other end of the stick. Our history books are bland. Our textbook writers conveniently omit Islamic misdeeds lest they are damned as communalists.
Our pseduo-secularists won’t even accept the ‘fact’ that the Babri Masjid was built on the very site where a huge structure dedicated to Sri Ram existed and which was destroyed. Hindus may have a million faults, but no Hindu ruler has gone to Portugal or Spain, destroyed churches and converted Christians into Hinduism on pain of death. We have a pretty clean record. Our pseudo-secularists want deliberately to destroy the self-respect of Hindus by constantly condemning them as communalists, when they would rather forget all the sufferings they have undergone in the past under alien rulers. Believe it, they would rather forget the humiliation that they have suffered in the past and move on, but our pseudo-secularists are making it difficult for them. Just for asking that one place – the Ram Janmabhoomi – be cleared of an illegally constructed masjid, Hindus are damned to eternity. Faith is questioned. Let them question the faith of Muslims and Christians and they will know what they will get in return.
India, it is said, is on its way to be a Great Power. There is no such thing as India is “on its way”. India, even under centuries of tyrannous rule has always been great. It has been great because India is more than a state: it is a civilization, which has helped it to maintain its place under the most trying circumstances. If India has not often got what it deserved by way of recognition, it is because of our sick pseudo-secularists who revel in running down their own religion, not to speak of their own country. The more they run down their country and their ancient culture, the more they feel self-fulfilled.
We can achieve wonders -and in many ways we have. True, so much needs to be done, but Rome, it is said, was not built in a day. But our Army engineers set right a broken bridge in Delhi associated with the Commonwealth Games in just four days. Yes, there is poverty in the land – and don’t our home-grown enemies make so much of it? – but at the national level we are a thriving nation. Yes, in tribal areas, much injustice has been done – but there is a growing awareness of it among the people at large and a desire to make amends. That is the first step towards achieving our goal of equality among all Indians. We don’t have to aspire for greatness. Let us aspire for goodness and leave greatness to China which is proving itself to be a worse imperialist country than Britain was in its heyday.
China is today’s imperial power and Pakistan is the running dog of Chinese imperialism. We Indians aspire for nobody’s land and only want to be left alone. Yes, there is corruption in the land but we admit to it and seek to rectify it. India lives under many layers of civilization and culture – and that is as much its strength as it is its weakness. But which country in the world can put up a show such as we did at the inauguration of the Commonwealth Games?
We don’t have to be apologetic to anyone for anything. We will overcome our shortcomings as we have done so often in the past to become, not necessarily a Great Nation, but a Good People with an open heart, ready to forget a painful past, ready to work with all people irrespective of their religion, to build an India of our dreams. That is Hindutwavad, if our pseudo-secularists want to know. It is said, but if there are just two idiots in Bollywood films there are two thousand of that variety in our pseudo-secular society. We can build an even greater India if only our pseudo-secularists do not constantly pull us down by our legs. They need to be called to order – and the sooner, the better.