The recently released Hindi film The Kashmir Files has sparked considerable debate around the whitewashed Hindu genocide in Kashmir. For some, the film was an eye-opener. For others, it was akin to a scrape on an old festering wound. The wound is bleeding again, but this time things are different. Today, people are listening, and the grief of Hindus is being acknowledged.
Through millennia, numerous injustices were committed against Hindus by using various means, including and not limited to atrocities, denial of rights and justice, slavery, propaganda, etc. The psychological trauma of Hindus, their wounds and grief are yet to be discussed openly and honestly. Unless these wounds are addressed, healing and closure will remain forever elusive.
Healing and closure can only happen through awareness. To enable this closure, in this interview, Neena Rai, author of the book ‘Amazing Ayodhya, the splendid ancient city of Lord Rama’, discusses with psychologist Dr Rajat Mitra, the numerous ways genocides have been committed against Hindus. Excerpts
In how many ways have genocides been committed on Hindus and their civilisation?
There are three ways in which attempts have been made to destroy Hindu civilisation since the first Islamic invasion in the 7th Century. The first method was to encircle the Hindu civilisation and its people from all sides so that they could not grow and were contained. That was through laws and rules that constricted the Hindu people.
For example, broken or damaged Hindu temples were forbidden from being repaired, and the height of Hindu temples could not exceed a particular limit. The second method was to destroy centres of learning physically, and the third method was to infiltrate its institutions to generate forces that weaken them from within.
The Hindu educational system finds its foundation in the gurukuls and follows a sophisticated system of higher studies through the universities.
The second method of genocide destroyed our books, libraries, institutions, sacred texts, and inscriptions. The ancient centres of learning like Takshashila, Nalanda and other centres of higher learning were targeted and destroyed by Muslims. The Muslims obliterated them because they were the more visual and prominent aspects of Hindu learning and intellectual wealth. In essence, they were the documented wisdom of the Hindu civilisation.
The Muslim invaders did not consider gurukuls as foundational aspects of our educational system or, somewhat, they overlooked them. This overlooking was perhaps because most of these invaders came from regions where no universities existed, and they only had small schools imparting rudimentary teachings. Therefore, gurukuls were never considered a threat.
Their exposure to education was so little that they could not conceive of the importance of gurukuls in Hindu society. They only saw the more prominent visual symbols of educational systems: the large buildings, the vast number of books in libraries, sacred texts, etc. And they destroyed them. It was understood that eliminating these would be enough to establish Islam in Hindu lands.
‘The British took this a step further and destroyed the roots of Hindu learning, the gurukul system. The British also saw that the Hindu civilisation would stay alive as long as the gurukul system existed. The roots of Hindu culture were in the gurukuls, where there was imparting of knowledge of Sanskrit texts, Vedas, and other disciplines encompassing science, technology, physics and metaphysics’
The British took this a step further and destroyed the roots of Hindu learning, the gurukul system. The British also saw that the Hindu civilisation would stay alive as long as the gurukul system existed. The roots of Hindu culture were in the gurukuls, where there was imparting of knowledge of Sanskrit texts, Vedas, and other disciplines encompassing science, technology, physics and metaphysics.
The British were not just conquerors. They also wanted to destroy our civilisation. One must understand that the British did not come to India to leave. Macaulay envisioned Indians as people who would think like Britishers but be brown-skinned. The goal of British rule was to create a set of brown-skinned men who, in their thinking, would be utterly loyal to the British throne. This was only possible if Indians were taught to think like the British. This method would ensure that the British stayed rulers in India forever.
The British saw their task as civilising India because that was the moral justification for their rule. They justified by telling themselves that ‘we are civilising these people who pray to devils and whose intellectual capital is no match for their civilisation’.
At Oxford University, a sculpture shows the Brahmins being educated by a white man. The statue is a memorial to a white man named Sir William Jones. The University College Chapel of Oxford website quotes, ‘A complicated legacy. In this frieze from University College’s Chapel, the philologist and Calcutta judge Sir William Jones is portrayed sitting under a banana tree, taking notes from Hindu pundits explicating their ancient texts’.Rather offensively, three Brahmins are sitting down on the floor while Jones is perched up on a chair and table. One Brahmin’s expression is that of a dumb man pondering over something. The word ‘explicating’ seems dubious as it means to ‘analyse and develop (an idea or principle) in detail’. This implies that Hindus did not have their code of ethics or laws and needed a white man to codify those. In reality, the indigenous people of India, the Hindus, have possessed a very developed code of morals, ethics and laws since ancient times. The Christian obsession with one book and one god also spreads to statutes. It is offensive to Hindus because it has been the white man who has stolen their civilisation’s wealth and wisdom. Take concepts of gravity, the earth being round and revolving around the sun, numerous laws of mathematics and medicine – have been usurped and shamelessly passed off as the white mans ‘discoveries’. Can you give me an example of where all three methods of genocide were executed?
A perfect example where all three methods of genocide have been applied was the Ram Mandir movement. The movement started nearly five hundred years ago when these three forces of destruction worked unitedly to ensure that the Ram Mandir was not rebuilt. The aim of these forces was for the movement to die its natural death.
New strategies were developed from these three typical mechanisms to destroy Hindu civilisation. In one approach, there was opposition by doubting the historicity of Shri Ram and his existence. Another strategy was challenging the temple’s existence and trying to discredit the archaeological discoveries.
The Ram Mandir movement is at the core of the Hindu civilisation, and the continuity of the Hindu civilisation can only be attained through the successful attainment of the temple. The continuity of Hindu civilisation has been disrupted in many similar ways.
What are the various ways which disrupted the continuity of Hindu civilisation?
The continuity of the Hindu civilisation has been interrupted in five significant ways: attacking and destroying the temples, not letting the Hindus have power over them or run them, destroying their education system, the denial of the role of the Hindu heroes in history and to make Hindus feel ashamed of their religion.
As this group of shattered people try to rise and resurge, they are being tormented and prevented. This thousand-year genocide continues against the Hindus. Apart from the previously mentioned ‘obvious’ mechanisms, more profound, subtler, and heinous methods have been resorted to. These subtle and sinister methods undermine human dignity. The cruellest of these methods is ‘denial of rights’.
The denial of the rights of Hindus is happening at many levels of which the temples form a part. The denial is intellectual, judicial and social. Most of those educated and indoctrinated in the Macaulayite tradition seem to be opposed to building the Ram Janam Bhoomi temple by calling it a regressive demand and against the principles of secularism enshrined in the constitution. The judiciary of our country procrastinated and was unable to decide for many years. The leftist journalists wrote articles against the rebuilding of the temple. Barring a few historians, most of them have challenged the temple’s existence under the mosque and said it would bring the death knell of secularism. The death knell, I believe, maybe, but of another kind. It will destroy the passivity that plagues the Hindu psyche and binds it in chains.
‘The Ram Mandir movement is at the core of the Hindu civilisation, and the continuity of the Hindu civilisation can only be attained through the successful attainment of the temple. The continuity of Hindu civilisation has been disrupted in many similar ways’
Apart from the typical mechanisms for genocide, another reason for the denial of Hindu genocide is the fear that once the grief of Hindus that lies buried is unlocked, it will break into a mass movement. This mass movement will be the outpouring of centuries-old locked grief and will be challenging to control. I believe a transition is on its way for the Hindu society, people who have been kept in the dark and denied for centuries. The restricted and aggrieved Hindu society is finally breaking loose from its shackled past.
In genocide, there is no choice for the victim or the survivor to continue living. There are no conditions given to him to survive. There was no choice in front of the 6 million Jews sent to the gas chambers, and they had to die because they were subhuman and lesser human beings. Similarly, there was no choice in front of the 3 million Cambodians. They were sentenced to death, and orders were followed.
In the West, they died under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler, and in the East, they died in the hands of Prime Minister Pol Pot, the leader of the communist movement, the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot annihilated a quarter of his country’s population. All organised and well-planned genocides.
The killing of Hindus followed systematic, organised destruction of a race that followed a pattern like the whites did with the native Americans and with the native blacks in Africa over centuries. It was based on a belief that they were savages, the zero of human civilisation and therefore didn’t deserve to live except in certain exceptional cases where they adopted another faith and rejected their own.
Like Hitler, his followers deemed Jews as Untermenschen (subhumans or socially undesirable). Muslims consider Hindus as Kufr or Kafir, and Christians believe Hindus are heathen savages or pagans. These were the justifications they gave for the plunder of Hindu civilisation and its genocide.
The slaughter of Hindus has been wholescale and indiscriminate in history. It followed and still follows an organised pattern, almost following a well-defined script that has remained unchanged over centuries. But, despite their circumstances, a continuous resistance to existence pervades the Hindu psyche.
Today the Hindu civilisation is trying to rise again. It is a shattered people trying to regain their lost kingdom and hope. There are many reasons and ways for this resurgence. They are doing so through the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya because Ram Mandir alone is around which Hindus have consolidated their identity and is central to the Hindu resurgence. No other temple or structure comes anywhere close to symbolising the collective loss, grief and aspiration of Hindus like the Ram Mandir.
Its construction will lead to a transformation in the Hindu heart that I believe will be nothing like it in the history of India. The Somnath Mandir came close to it. But it was soon after Independence. The leadership at the time was anti-Hindu, and the people were traumatised after the partition. It didn’t raise the national consciousness as the Ram Mandir movement has done in the present times.