This debate is often the most ignored debate till date in India. Hinduphobia versus Hindumania. Every Indian agrees on the existence of excessive religious interference in Indian politics but sometimes the hate which is shown goes unnoticed. The hate towards the religion, Hinduism, has led to an increasing criticizing of the religion. But which Hinduism do we know? Do we know the actual Hinduism or just the political version of it? Let’s see the Political Religion in India
One of the oldest religions, Hinduism has been a shield for many politicians. The religion has acted like clay which can be molded and given any shape. The recent incidents of chaos which have been caused by religious fanatics has left a black mark on the religion’s actual meaning. No religion has ever had so much of political elements in it like Hinduism. This is the reason why most of the Hindus agitate against their own religion. It’s not the fault of the people but of the ‘so thin’ line between Hinduism and Indian politics which is almost invisible.
The country where no non-Hindu can eat beef with peace only for the protection of the culture of another religion, hatred towards that religion is obvious. But is that our hatred towards the religion or the political atmosphere of the country? Is the government actually trying to follow the principles of secularity or is it trying to retain its power by causing huge gaps and cracks between communities? Maybe secularity is possible but how can one expect it to be possible in a country when it is clearly visible that the government is concerned about only one particular section of people? The groups preserving the religious culture of Hinduism are more strict that the government whose attitude towards the recent crimes in the country is still filled with ignorance. As I had said, not everyone knows about the true religion but everyone knows about the flaws of it. Everyone knows how to use the word KARMA but none actually understands any other part of the religion.
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Till some extent, the fault lies in the religion too. A religion with so many gods, so many holy books and such a tough language of the books are bound to become more and paler with time. The orange color cannot retain its brightness in a generation which is filled with reasoning skills.
The religion’s failure to make it clear and the religious fanatics and their activities have made people hate the religion. Most of the Hindus turn away from their religion as they feel it be a useless, insulting burden. India is a land of diversity but when there is so much diversity in one religion alone, chaos is bound to happen and thus focus cannot be maintained to solve the matters relating to other communities.
This craze for the tinge of religion in politics has led degradation in India’s economic condition and internal security. Frustrated by the increasing influence of religion in politics, many youngsters turn up their own religion. The word RELIGION has a different definition in India. It’s not a way to the truth but a way to seek votes. Pleasing the communities before votes and torturing them later is often seen in the country. Democracy at its best, in a country where religious leaders are becoming a part of the government, equality cannot be expected. Moreover, the existing distinctions in the religion itself and the widening of those distinctions are leading to Hinduphobia. People distinguish each other not only on the basis of religion but also on the basis of caste. The caste system of Hinduism remains the same till this date as the government is not interested to bring any possible change in it. Dalits and other lower classes face enough distinctions every day and are made to feel guilty about their caste. They are denied proper job opportunities and other facilities. This had led to an increasing agitation in western India. They usually get jobs of sweepers, gardeners, and toilet and drain cleaners. Brahmins on the other side enjoy a better status but get stuck in crossing the hurdles of belonging to the GENERAL CATEGORY. The main question which arises is, which class is actually happy? Upper class? No. Lower class? No way. This is a matter of shame for us but the government is ignorant towards the internal problems.
Moreover, the politicians and their parties have a religious agenda. They are busy insulting the ruling party not for its ignorance towards education but for its ignorance towards other communities. Not for once do they use the phrase NEED FOR EQUALITY but they do not hesitate to insult their own religion in order to please others. When the ministers do these, how can one expect a person to respect the religion from which most of the ministers belong? Moreover, the main cure to all these chaotic and partial happenings is the lack of education. To those who are so crazy about their religion, my main question is, do you even know about your religion? Because it is known to everyone that no religious book has laid down the need to torture others in the name of religion. So there are two Hinduism which is being propagated in India. One is the political Hinduism and the other is the actual Hinduism. It is true that the holy book of Geeta has mentioned in it many such principles which are related to politics but it would be wrong to say that it encourages such distinctions, torturing, protests and unrest. In this way, people are bound to get the Hinduphobia because the Hindumaniacs will keep defaming the religion in the name of respecting it. If other communities face discrimination in the political level, Hindus often face the discrimination in real life. Even in schools, it can be seen that a child chooses his/her friends on the basis of religion which did not use to happen earlier. The groups which have more of non-Hindu children often do not choose to include any Hindu child in their group. This phobia has been instilled in their minds by their parents as the increasing Hindumania in politics creates hatred among the non-Hindus towards the religion, Hinduism. If this remains the condition, then very soon there will be the huge anti-Hindu agitation which even the fanatics would not be able to stop.
The next thing which is the most important point of this debate is the media. Media plays a major role in letting the country know all the happenings which go on in the country. Films are a very important part of the media. It plays a very crucial role in molding one’s mind. The hot topic of today’s Bollywood films is anything related to religion. Interfaith marriages, flaws in a religion and other such topics are becoming the most common topics on which films are being made. Just like there are films which spread messages like ‘Terrorism has no religion’ and ‘love is blind’, there are films which also solely aim at finding the flaws in a religion. To be more precise, any film related to religious issues often show the flaws of one particular religion with a small moral at the end which clearly shows how the directors prefer playing on the safe side. Now the religion is criticized the most in the Bollywood films is Hinduism of course. It is true that the religion is filled with evil practices and fake religious leaders and corruption. It is good to show the malpractices through films but the main question is when you can make a film which revolves around the daily problems faced by the people of other communities, why not make a film on the problems faced by the people of this particular community? They too face problems. They didn’t invent the traditions; they just follow it as it is a part of their religion. As a result, everyone has started mocking the religion without caring to understand it or respect it for even once. Films which criticize the political system, have to bring the topic of religion in their films but what about the normal people? What about the isolation they face? What about the burden they feel which pushes them to turn up against their own community? When there can be slogans and dialogues like ‘my name is Khan and I am not a terrorist’, why can’t there be any slogan saying ‘I am a Hindu and I am not a gau rakshak or a fanatic’? The indirect and direct sources of the phobia often make the films criticizing the religion a blockbuster hit. Politicians and filmmakers to show the good points of other communities but when it comes to Hinduism, it’s a religion meant to be criticized. Both Hindus and non-Hindus are unknown of the actual meaning of the religion. What is the religion? And answers are all revolving around politics, thousands of gods, tough language and useless practices. But just like people have accepted the flaws of other religion, It is becoming tough for them to accept the flaws of Hinduism. For example, politics, which is not even a part of the religion. There is no source which for once shows that little bit good that lives in the religion. The serials based on stories of Hinduism like Mahabharata and Ramayana are known to all and do not attract a huge audience.
The other most important issue is the crimes. Nowadays crimes are happening in India on the basis of religion. A girl is getting raped by men because she is not from their religion. The Asifa case had shocked the nation. Not only did it create a hate for the government and the fanatics who raped them but also hinduism. Rapes are increasing in the nation but not all rape cases make it to the first page of the newspaper. Some are just hiding in one corner of any of the pages in between. The Asifa case had increased the phobia of the public. All were disgusted. Earlier girls were not safe if they wore western outfits(as per some people) and now they are not safe because of their religion?! well, this is true. But, why didn’t the Geeta case gain publicity? Because there was no point in criticising other communities or because people won’t agitate that much? The case which is still not known to many remains a small case which was once printed in the newspaper. The girl was a child. Did she know anything about her religion? What was the difference between her and Asifa? Religion? Was the innocence ignored? If media too starts discriminating cases on the basis of religion then none can expect the people to change. Both the girls and many more like them had suffered only because of this mixture of religion and politics.
While studying in a convent school, I was pretty aware of the benefits which were being available to the Christian students. From free uniforms to the scholarship offers, they used to get every benefit. The students of other religions whereas used to suffer the hurdles of the general category where no benefits were given and even after studying vigorously, admissions in well-known colleges was not possible. Most of the Hindus convert to other communities which come under the MINORITY section so as to get the benefits. The hunt for jobs would be otherwise too tough. The government should show some equality on their part. The country is known for its diversity and if all the communities don’t progress equally, India would be known for its chaos. It is already known for that. Stabbing one’s own faith for the sake of power is not an act of bravery or greatness. It just shows how much one ignores the truth. It’s not like if anyone is carrying a religious book, he or she is religious or learned. If one wears orange clothes it does not mean that person respects his own religion. There are many such relatable examples in the country. Films should highlight the problems which the class system, political system, and the media are creating on the oldest known religion. Instead of just criticizing it, why not take steps to make it more developed? All rape cases should be given equal space in the newspapers, without discrimination on any grounds. People need to know more about all the narrow-minded people. A religion alone cannot be blamed for everything. Just like terrorism has no religion, politics to does not have a religion. Its all about the race for power. In such a case, education should be available to every person so as to avoid an empty craziness towards religion. The government should look after the internal problems too. If the country does not progress, it cannot keep its pace with other developed nations. Religion and development cannot go hand in hand. As long as there is religious tinge in politics, India’s economic, social and political condition can never get any better.
Thus, Hinduphobia is a fear and hatred amongst the people for Hinduism and it is covering all the goodness which the religion has and which can be used. It is true that only because of some people, the entire group gets insulted but in today’s world, discrimination can hinder our reasoning skills. We can never judge a person on the basis of their religion, character and personality matters. Directors should highlight the problems faced by the people of every community. The Indian politics often adds up a burden on every religion. The burden should be highlighted instead of criticizing the community’s inability to carry a burden. If the media does not change its way of showing things, mentalities of people won’t change easily. Second most important thing is education. Every student should get the equal opportunity of education. Such a discrimination which makes a student feel insulted is never going to help in bringing about a better future for the nation.
Education is the base of development. It removes places for such phobias and craziness on which a strong future cannot be built. It should be provided to every person, EQUALLY, for their all-round development.
Children should be taught the importance of unity rather than the methods of discriminating others. In a nation where every person has a different mindset, people should be taught how to accept the mindset of others and instead of judging them, they should try to change the mindsets if it they are not broad enough.
Only in this way we can be truly independent. Education is the only weapon which can make a person differentiate between personality and religion. Before independence, the Britishers had followed the divide and rule policy to gain power and in today’s time, the electoral candidates do the same. Our minds should not be brainwashed by words.
Hinduism is a religion which needs a lot of reforms in it. The media, public, and the government should try to make it more developed instead of making it more badly. The country with such a huge diversity needs to be governed with extreme care. The discrimination faced by Dalits should be lessened down. Caste can’t describe a person. The government should provide them with decent jobs which can restore their self-esteem. They should be given proper education. Especially, the Dalit women. This can help them in getting better job opportunities.
India is a developing country and is known for its power everywhere but if the internal problems keep on increasing then it would be difficult to uphold the respect of the nation. A nation is nothing without its citizens. If the citizens do not get the proper benefit, the nation can never progress. The government should always look after the poor economic condition of the nation. There are many other problems in the nation other than the religious matters. Those matters are more important. They should be properly looked after. These matters also ay a major role in the development of the nation and the minds of its citizens.
writer Misti Sarkar Kolkata, West Bengal, India