Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, the self-righteous man who became famous for his violent call to murder Muslims, is back in the limelight. This time for mocking women in politics by comparing them to sex workers. This hate-spewing man masquerading as a religious leader uses Hinduism as a shield in his conquest to vilify Indian Muslims, and now women.
Narsinghanand’s recurrent call to slaughter Muslims and incite communal violence is not new, but is a colossal example of the fanatical far-Right movement calling for the elimination of Muslims from India. However, this individual, who promotes himself as the “saviour of Hinduism” from “jihadists,” has been given far too much importance. I hate to break it to you, but neither he nor his henchmen define Hinduism. He embodies everything I oppose, such as hatred of another community. Contrary to what Narsinghanand claims, Hinduism is all about acceptance, inclusivity, and fraternity for everyone.
The immense popularity that Narsinghanand holds among misguided Indian youth and the public is appalling. Hindus have always risen to the occasion of honouring each and everyone who has contributed to the lives of common people, regardless of their faith. So, it’s problematic when fringe elements like Narsinghanand see it as their moral obligation to demonise great leaders like APJ Abdul Kalam, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mother Teresa as jihadists.
He says, “If I had my way, such jihadis would never be allowed in our temples,” but in his blind rage against Muslims he doesn’t realise that Hinduism has come a long way to become the liberal faith that it is today. People like him only push Hinduism back to medieval times, to the days of manusmriti and inegalitarian social hierarchies. This extremist behaviour is precisely what drives many Hindus down the path of atheism; no one loves a faith imposed on them, faith is followed voluntarily. This trend of glorifying a criminal must end.
Don’t let them inject venom
All those who call opposing Narsinghanand a blasphemous endeavour must know the difference between a true saint and a pretentious wannabe. The massive communal discord that we see today is precisely what our forefathers feared; they did not want India to be defined on religious grounds but instead make it a place that grows above all differences and fosters a secular and scientific temperament. Their decision has stopped India from stooping down to Pakistan’s low, where every policy is formulated under the ambit of State-religion.
These days scaling up the popularity ladder is a fairly simple task: Disseminate anti-Muslim propaganda, propagate anonymity among all segments of society, and tightly interweave religion and politics to let the indulgent bask in the faux glory of nationalism and religious superiority.
Narsinghanand’s cries for violent massacres scare me, not because he’s powerful or has a massive following, but because it shows how anti-social elements like him enjoy political backing by mainstream parties like the BJP. Though the BJP may have shunned him for the time being, it’s only a matter of time till they back him after his next Anti-Muslim rant. It’s ironic that the BJP is shunning him now only after their own politicians are being targeted by his misogynist patriarchal outlook.
His affiliation with Hindutva radicals including Pinky Chaudhary, who claimed responsibility for the JNU violence last year, and Ragini Tiwari, who wanted to ‘clean out’ CAA protesters, isn’t a comforting fact either.
My only appeal to 140 crore Indians is that you choose your ideals wisely, lest your ideal might one day be the cause of the annihilation of many lives. Don’t let their notion of Hinduism fool you. Don’t allow wild fanatics to dictate your thoughts; don’t let their venom mislead you from your objective. Make it your primary responsibility to preserve the Constitution above everything else. Believe in the sovereignty of our Constitution.
Hemant Thakur is a student of BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore. Views are personal.