Representational photos | Hindu priests perform evening prayers at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi | Kanishka Sonthalia/Bloomberg
Representational photo | Hindu priests perform evening prayers at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi | Kanishka Sonthalia/Bloomberg
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August 5, 2020 marked the bhoomi pujan of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. I have noticed that many have been genuinely anguished by this event. Some have been bemoaning it as the death of secularism in India.

I consider myself to be secular, so why do I do not see it that way?

What does the term ‘secular’ mean?

Strictly speaking, secularism means separation in entirety of church and state.

In a secular nation, the government must stay away from anything religious. But isn’t it odd that the word ‘secular’ was not part of the preamble to the Indian constitution when it was originally adopted?

Why was such an important word left out? As I see it, the omission was deliberate. What is even more surprising is that the two people who guided the drafting of the preamble of the Constitution were BR Ambedkar and Jawaharlal Nehru, whose secular credentials were unimpeachable.

To be secular in the truest sense of the word, the Indian state would have to stay out of the religious ambit completely. And this was almost impossible.

How could Indian courts recognise Sharia-based Muslim Personal Law while claiming to be secular? How could Central and State governments take over the management of Hindu temples if they were secular? How could a secular government provide financial assistance to educational institutions run by religious organisations? How could a secular government codify and modify Hindu personal law? How would the government extend the existing caste-based reservations to minority religions if it were secular?

These and many more such actions would clearly fall outside the remit of a secular nation. The writers of the preamble realised that it was better not to use the term rather than to use it dishonestly.


Also read: Idea of India wasn’t demolished at Ayodhya. That happened in our ‘liberal’ homes


But then, just before midnight of 25 June 1975, the Emergency arrived. Over the next two years, the prime minister could rule by decree and most of Indira Gandhi’s political opponents were thrown in prison.

It was during this time that a series of constitutional amendments were passed. Many of these were extremely controversial not only because they were passed as ordinances but also because of the sweeping powers that they vested in the prime minister. Nestled among other sweeping changes was the insertion of the word ‘secular’—and also ‘socialist’—into the preamble of the Constitution.

Did the insertion of ‘secular’ imply that India had not been secular before 1976? Had the omission of the word turned India into a Hindu Rashtra?

Not at all.

By leaving the word out of the preamble, the fathers of the Constitution were making it incumbent on Hindus to remember their commitment to the Upanishadic ideal of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. That the world is one family. The framers of the Constitution were subtly saying that the Indian ethos was essentially Hindu in character but that ethos implied an ingrained respect for and tolerance of all faiths.

So, secularism in the Indian context would not mean the state remaining away from religion. Instead it would mean maintaining equidistance from all religions. Unfortunately, that equidistance never happened. Over the years, the test of secularism came to be whether India’s minorities perceived an action as secular or not.

For example, the government gave itself very little day-to-day control over the Central Waqf Council or over Christian institutions but soon exercised incredible control over Hindu temples.

Nehru decided to pass the four Hindu Code Bills while abandoning the objective of a Uniform Civil Code.

Even in politics, seeking Muslim votes by appealing to the Imam of Jama Masjid was considered smart but appealing to Hindu seers was communal.

Speaking up for minority rights was noble but speaking up for Kashmir’s abandoned Pandits was not.

This was no longer secularism; it was selectivity. This particular selectivity eventually came to be called pseudo-secularism by India’s saffron organisations and soon became the rallying cry of the majority.


Also read: Whose Ram Rajya does Ayodhya temple bring — Gandhi’s or Modi’s? Ambedkar can answer


What did several decades of this selectivity achieve? Frankly, all that it did was to create a majoritarian backlash. The Hindus, including myself, felt that there was a permanent burden on us to continuously ‘prove’ our secular credentials; to constantly apologise for actions that could be perceived as non-secular in this country.

Have you heard of the term ‘collective memory’?

Collective memory refers to the shared pool of memories and information of a social group. That pool of memories is significantly associated with the group’s identity.

For example, today’s generation of Jews may not have lived through the Holocaust but they carry collective memories of it. They even carry memories of their exile from Jerusalem and their captivity in Babylon although this event took place 2600 years ago. The same collective memory applies to Hindus too. Many Hindus share the collective victimhood of years of Muslim and Christian assaults on Hindu civilisation.

And those assaults were many. Take the example of the Somnath temple.

The temple was first destroyed in 725 CE by the Arab governor of Sindh, Al-Junayd. After it was rebuilt, it was destroyed during the invasions of Mahmud of Ghazni in 1025. It was rebuilt but destroyed yet again by Allauddin Khilji in 1299. The temple was once again restored only to be destroyed by the Muslim governor of Gujarat, Zafar Khan, in 1395. In 1451, it was desecrated by Mahmud Begada, the Sultan of Gujarat.

The final blow came from Aurangzeb who pulled it down in 1665.

None of today’s Hindus were present when any of those acts happened but we all carry collective memories of that victimhood.

Take another example. One of the most sacred Hindu temples is the Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi.

The original temple was destroyed by the commanders of Mohammad Ghori in 1194. After being rebuilt, it was again wrecked during the reign of Sikander Lodhi in the fifteenth century. The final blow was delivered by Aurangzeb who razed the temple and built the Gyanvapi mosque in its place.

Similarly, Aurangzeb also destroyed the ancient Keshavnath temple in Mathura and built the Shahi Idgah mosque on its plinth.

Three of the holiest sites of Hindus—Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura—were all destroyed and rebuilt as mosques.

You don’t even need to go to Somnath, Ayodhya, Kashi or Mathura to see the wanton trail of destruction. If you are in Delhi, simply visit the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque next to the Qutb Minar. Outside the mosque is a plaque that proudly announces that the mosque was built using parts recovered from the demolition of 27 Hindu and Jain temples.


Also read: Secularism gave up language of religion. Ayodhya bhoomi pujan is a result of that


The collective Hindu memories of victimhood are not only related to the destruction of temples but also to other actions. According to American historian Will Durant, “the Islamic conquest of India was probably the bloodiest story in history.” Ferishta, the Persian historian of the sixteenth century, talks of instances when the Bahmani sultans set targets of one lakh infidel heads to roll.

Death was often preferable to slavery, particularly sex slavery. Ahmad Shah Abdali’s army captured Maratha women for the Afghan harems. Often, when non-Muslim women were captured and impregnated, they were left with no alternative but to convert to Islam.

When Muslim armies surrounded Rajput forts, Hindu women within would commit jauhar—throwing themselves into open pyres—to save themselves while their husbands were slain on the battlefield.

If it wasn’t destruction, death or defilement, then it was duties—more specifically jizya, a tax payable by dhimmis or non-muslims.

Alauddin Khilji decreed that those who did not pay could be legally enslaved and sold in cities where there was demand for slave labour. Firoz Shah Tughlaq ordered that Hindus who converted to Islam would be exempted but those who chose to stay Hindu would pay a higher rate of jizya.

Jizya was abolished by Akbar but reintroduced by Aurangzeb and charged at twice the zakat paid by Muslims. More than tax, jizya was institutionalised humiliation and punishment for a dhimmi’s non-belief.

And all of this cruelty was perpetrated on a population that prided itself on providing sanctuary to others.

Zoroastrian refugees fleeing Muslim persecution in Iran were provided a home in Gujarat by a Hindu king, Jadi Rana.

St. Thomas’ Christians were provided a home in Kerala.

The first Jewish refugees settled over two millennia ago on the Malabar Coast and a second wave arrived pursuant to their expulsion from Iberia in 1492.

When Buddhist monks were being butchered by the People’s Liberation Army of China, India welcomed the Dalai Lama along with thousands of Buddhists. The country accepted millions of refugees from Bangladesh during the 1971 genocide. The Baghdadi Jews and the Bene Israel from Pakistan were sheltered in India.

That spirit of refuge is intrinsic to India’s Dharmic values. But for how long should India’s Hindus have to remind the world of that?


Also read: Bhoomipujan 2020 is like Balakot 2019, the surgical strike that washes all sins


Some see Hindu revivalism through the lens of Narendra Modi and the BJP but that would be an error. One must go back to the fundamental clash between Abrahamic and Dharmic thought.

Dharmic thought is essentially plural. It embraces multiple truths. Some 33 million deities can be part of the same family. Jesus Christ can be incorporated on the façade of a Hindu temple and the Buddha can be absorbed as an avatar of Vishnu.

You can be aastik or naastik; Shaivite or Vaishnavite; vegetarian or carnivore; fire-worshipper, idol-worshipper or nature-worshipper. You may worship Shiva, Shakti or a combination of both. You may see the path to enlightenment as yantra, tantra or mantra or none of the above. You may hold that the Shiv Linga is a stone and I may hold that a stone is a Shiv Linga, and both of us are welcome.

We can have 300 versions of a single epic called the Ramayana but your version does not negate mine. All religions are seen as different paths to the divine.

Unfortunately, Abrahamic ideology attempts to impose a singular truth on a plural world. There is only one true God who will punish you if you are evil. But if you obey his word and follow his orders scrupulously you may save yourself from the hellfires of damnation. When one couples that absolutism with expansionist and proselytising tendencies, one has all the ingredients for conflict.

Judaism was rarely ever expansionist but both Christianity and Islam were. And both these Abrahamic ideologies wreaked havoc on the world and on themselves, be it through the Arab conquests, the Christian crusades, the Catholic Inquisitions, the Protestant-Catholic conflicts or the Shia-Sunni conflicts.

In India, the effects were profound. Whether it was Ghazni, Aibak, Khilji, Timur, Lodhi, Aurangzeb or Tipu, their direct attacks on Hindus and Hinduism were simply too vicious to fade from collective memory.

And why only Islam? Was Christianity benevolent towards Hindus? The Portuguese exported the Inquisition to Goa in the sixteenth century. Openly practicing Hinduism attracted the death penalty. Thousands were tried by the tribunals of the inquisition. Several were even burned at the stake.

Some historians consider the Goa Inquisition to have been one of the most merciless and cruel ever. It was a machinery of torture and death. Under a 1559 order, Hindu children could be seized and converted to Christianity even if one of the parents died.

Parental property automatically got seized when a Hindu child was taken. Hindu temples were demolished in Portuguese Goa and the community was prohibited from repairing them or building new ones. Any man, woman or child living in Goa could be arrested and tortured for simply whispering a prayer or keeping a small idol at home. Many languished in special inquisitional prisons, some for several years at a time.


Also read: Indians will regret their silence over Modi’s ever-growing list of political prisoners


I started out by saying that I am secular. But I could have avoided that by simply saying that I am a liberal even though the word has become politically charged.

The word ‘liberal’ is derived from the Latin word ‘liberalis’, a word that means ‘free’. I am firmly committed to individual rights, democracy, free markets, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, racial equality and indeed secularism itself. If you are liberal, you are by definition, secular too. But I am also a Hindu and I am proud of it. And I refuse to apologise for that.

Hinduism is among the few pre-Bronze Age cultures to have survived to this day. Do you see Zoroastrianism thriving in Iran? What happened to the Mithraic cults of Rome? What happened to Ra, Osiris and Horus of the Egyptians? What happened to Zeus, Apollo and Athena of the Greeks? What happened to the tribal belief systems and languages of the aboriginal peoples of Australia?

Most pagan belief systems and cultures could not withstand the onslaught of Abrahamic thought, but Hinduism survived against all odds. And that’s why I am proud of it and wish to preserve that legacy.

I firmly believe that we cannot hold the present-day Muslims or Christians responsible for acts of the past that they had nothing to do with. In fact many of today’s Muslims and Christians are the descendants of the very people who were persecuted generations ago and converted at the point of a sword. How foolish would it be to bear a grudge against them in the present?

Peace and harmony across communities is to be considered the greatest blessing from the divine. Truth and reconciliation is absolutely necessary. But truth must come before reconciliation. Truth begins with acknowledging the past. Unfortunately, we never allowed that to happen in India.

See the spate of statues being torn down around the world. These are reactions to one-sided historical narratives. History can be quite easily manipulated by any group to either erase their past sins or glorify their deeds. In India, we whitewashed our history in our effort to maintain the peace. When we do not heal wounds, they fester. Hindu revivalism is a festering wound. And it is much more a symptom of fear than aggression. We need to cauterise that festering wound quickly.


Also read: India’s anti-Muslim fake news factories are following the anti-Semitic playbook


What causes that fear? I have already dealt with some of it. To start with, there are the collective memories of shared victimhood that I spoke of; then there is the sense of injustice caused by flawed secularism; there is also the historical evidence that pagan cultures could not survive Abrahamic onslaught.

But there is also the concern that population growth and proselytising could eventually alter the demographics of the only surviving Hindu civilisations of the world. Also Hindus get worried when they witness the rise of Wahhabi tendencies coupled with the inability of ordinary Muslims to question their faith because they are told that it is the absolute word of God.

When a Hindu looks at South Asia’s demographics, what does he observe? When Pakistan was created in 1947, Hindus were 15 percent of the population but were only 1.6 percent by 1998. In the Bangladesh of 1931, Hindus were 29.4 percent of the population but are less than 9.5 percent today. Contrast that with the Muslim population of India that was 9.9 percent in 1951 and grew to 14.2 percent by 2011. So when those on the left of the ideological spectrum question Indian inclusiveness it rankles the average Hindu.

Hindu fears are also a response to Wahhabi tendencies that have gripped many parts of the world.

In 2013, a Pew Research project was carried out through 38,000 face-to-face interviews of Muslims in 80-plus languages in 39 Muslim-majority countries. It presented some startling revelations.

Around 79 percent of Muslims in countries such as Afghanistan, Egypt and Jordan believed that Muslims who abandoned the faith should be executed.

A startling 39 percent of Muslims across all countries surveyed believed that honour killings could be justified in instances where women had had premarital or extramarital sex.

Scariest of all, 53 percent of those surveyed believed that Sharia, or Islamic law, should be the law in their countries. Can you imagine the fear that such findings trigger in a Hindu who is already carrying historical baggage?

Moreover, according to 2006-2007 Pew polls, almost 42 percent of French Muslims, 35 percent of British Muslims and 26 percent of younger American Muslims believed that suicide bombings against non-Muslims could be justified.

There were 1.8 billion Muslims in the world as of 2015, which was approximately 24 percent of the global population. Although Islam is the second-largest religion after Christianity, by 2060 its numbers will have grown by 70 percent. By that time, Christianity will have grown by 34 percent and Hinduism by around 27 percent. And like the Jews, Hindus have never been very good at proselytising. Why isn’t it a natural reaction for Hindus to worry that they may eventually be overrun?


Also read: How Babri Masjid demolition was rehearsed and executed in 1992 — rare photos tell the story


I am not at all proud of the fact that the Babri Masjid was torn down by a Hindu mob in 1992. But I am proud that 1.3 billion Indians were willing to put their faith in the judiciary to arrive at the Ayodhya verdict. It should never be forgotten that this temple is being built pursuant to a court order and not at the whims of a totalitarian state. And if you believe that the verdict is tainted then you would also have to question thousands of other judgments that went in a direction that fit your sensibilities. You cannot be selective.

Does the Queen of England, being the head of the Church of England, interfere with the secularism of the UK? Does the American President, holding the National Prayer Breakfast each year, interfere with secular principles? Those who believe that India’s secularism is challenged by a Ram temple in Ayodhya should realise that India is secular primarily because of its Hindu ethos.

In most Muslim-majority countries, Islamisation eventually creeps in. Just look at the 49 Muslim-majority countries around the world and you will realise that the only way to preserve secularism is by preserving Hindu syncretism.

We are proud of the Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb of India. For every Bhimsen Joshi there is a Zakir Hussain; for every Vikram Sarabhai there is an Abdul Kalam; for every Rabindranath Tagore there is a Salman Rushdie. But ask yourself: why did this Ganga-Jamuna syncretism not take root in Pakistan? The answer is the underlying Hindu spirit that simply cannot be ignored.

In recent times, the Australian government has apologised to the aboriginal people for their crimes against them. The South African government has apologised for apartheid. The Japanese have apologised for their war crimes in Asia. The Germans have apologised to the Jews for the holocaust. Even Boris Yeltsin apologised for the Bolshevik Revolution. But from whom should Hindus seek an apology? From the Arabs who gave us Muhammad bin Qasim? From the Afghans who gave us Mahmud Ghazni? From the Turks who gave us Qutb al-Din Aibak? From the Turko-Mongols who gave us Aurangzeb? From the Portuguese who gave us Aleixo Diaz Falcao? Or from the English who gave us Reginald Dyer?

Hindus do not expect an apology from anyone. But my generation is equally unwilling to apologise for being Hindu. We are also tired of being the ones who have to regularly prove how secular we are. This agni-pariksha must stop.

Do you really want to preserve secularism in India? Then preserve the Hindu ethos first.

Ashwin Sanghi is the bestselling author of The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key, The Sialkot Saga, Keepers of the Kalachakra and The Vault of Vishnu. Views are personal.

This article was first published by Swarajya.

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101 Comments Share Your Views

101 COMMENTS

  1. Hindus see all religions as different paths to the Divine. Questions in this context: Where was the first mosque outside the Arab world built during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad? Who helped in building it? For whose benefit was it built?

  2. Please carry on with these unbiased journalism …. It will be good for all …. A serious reconciliation is needed really needed … Hindus are pushed against the wall …. Not a single country for Hindu …. People are even opposing persecuted minorities from radical islamist terrorist countries to take refuge in India , ok the other hand the want terrorist rohingyas to stay in India …

  3. Really a good article, lot of people above trying to find issues in Hinduism to counter this very well written article. Please have some stomach to digest it. Being an one of the oldest religion definitely corruptions happened are likely, we are working to resolve them and we will make Bharat a better place to live for everyone. Because in whole world only Hindus believe in live & let others live peacefully.
    Better you should fix your(Abrahamic religion) problems which are getting bad names to them.

  4. Excellent articles. I expect another 3 articles
    1) variation of Muslim religions and in fighting between them
    2) variation of Christian religion
    3) fighting between Muslim and Christian.

    As hindu devided in cast, Muslim and Christian also devided in many fractions it may be bring out

    • Mr Amitava: Well, your post unwittingly proves the point that religion is a weak glue in nation building. Human identity is multi-layered: caste, class, gender, language, skin colour, religion, political philosophy etc. etc. shape identity and religion alone is a very small aspect of how one perceives oneself. And even within the same religion, caste, class and skin colour separate people, not unite them.

      Jinnah’s Pakistan could not unite behind Islam. Light-skinned Punjabi Muslims of West Pakistan regarded their dark-skinned Bengali brethren in East Pakistan as “Hindus” and worse still, Bengalis who refused to accept Urdu, the language that Jinnah had anointed as the national language of Pakistan. As General Niazi, the man who led butchers such as Gen. Rao Farman Ali and other mass-murderers into war in E. Pakistan said of that country:

      “A low lying land of low, lying people” !

      You have similar forces at work in India where the fracture lines and fissiparous forces are more in number. The BJP’s Hindi policy continues to alienate the South and surprise, surprise, also the North East, Bengal and Punjab. During the Khalistan struggles of the 1980s and 90s, Hindi became a flashpoint with Punjabi Sikhs insisting that their mother tongue was Punjabi whilst Punjabi speaking Hindus were encouraged by the Congress to say that they were Hindi speakers.

      You say that Hinduism is divided along caste lines. The situation is infinitely more complex than that. Hinduism, like Islam and Christianity in India is also divided along lines of language, class, gender, modes of worship, diet and so on. For instance, whilst upper caste Hindus eschew meat, especially beef, upper caste Christians and Muslims too eschew meat on many days and certainly beef. The Nadar Christians in my street in Madras in the 70s never ate beef while the Dalit Christians whom the first group scrupulously avoided ate beef.

      Sadly, the RSS and the BJP do not comprehend these subtleties and complexities and have come out with a “one size fits all” notion of Hinduism. In reality, that is Hindutva which has the potential to wreck the country. The BJP & RSS idea of nationalism confirms what French President Charle de Gaulle (1890-1970) once said:

      “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first”.

  5. Full of factually incorrect statements and fake claims — based on untenable glorification of one religion and one culture. In what way is this different from the ideologies of the ISIS or of Zionism?

    If any religion or culture is really superior to all others, then why should this be promoted only in some countries on the basis of “majority”? Why not “Hinduism”/ “Christianity”/ “Buddhism”/ “Islam”/ “Judaism” etc for the whole world — if any of these is not other than deeply flawed?

    On what basis should anyone be proud of identification with any of these religions — rather than imbibe the spirit of vasudha eva kutumbakam, in its real sense?

  6. If Islam was secular there would be no problem. They believe is prophet Mohammed and sharia law. If the law of a democratic country contradicts Islamic law then they do not care for it. Firstly Muslims living in a democratic country need to respect all religions. Most look down upon idol worship and other religions and believe Islam is the only true religion. Prophet Mohammed is the last and only prophet and alaha is the only God. How democratic is that? Recently a Facebook post caused Muslims in Bangalore to cause violence and take law into their own hand. India has freedom of speech and a reasonably efficient police and judiciary. Majority of the Muslims don’t think so. This is sad since they are enjoying the benefits of a democratic nation that tolerant to all peaceful religions. Muslims in India have to learn to respect all religions and their gods. The print however has a one sided naritive. Muslims need to introspect and stay clear of the likes of Owesi and Zakir Nayak. Such people are spreading hatred and are using the word democracy to propergate a very dangerous ideology. Modi is a lesser threat compared to these people. I would like to see some truly constructive journalism and unbiased articles from the print. Or a day will come when you can shift your office to a Muslim majority democratic country like Malaysia where lashes are given out in the name of sharia law.

  7. Several commenters, including the author Mr Sanghi, assert that it is due to Hinduism’s inherent tolerance that we have secularism in India. This Hindu ethos and tolerance is being credited with a lot of virtues that it needs to be subjected to a litmus test of sorts.

    Hence, if a referendum were to be held in India today and if the question on the ballot had been:

    Do you want secular India to be changed to a Hindu Rashtra *?

    YES/NO

    I would wager that the majority would vote YES and would want India to become a Hindu Rashtra. Particularly if the BJP campaigns for a YES vote.

    How would you vote ? Want to reply to my comment with a simple YES or NO ?

    It won’t be a scientific poll, but a mere indicator of how the wind is blowing…

    *A Hindu Rashtra would be one where the state religion would be Hinduism. This implies that schoolbooks, history would be written with a Hindu perspective. Additionally, Art. 25 of the Constitution which states:
    “all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health”
    This article would be scrapped or rewritten. There would though be freedom of religion in the country for those who already belong to other non-Hindu religions.

  8. Mr Gary: You raise an interesting question in your comment somewhere below:

    “If sixty Muslim countries can be Islamic, what is wrong with India being a Hindu country?”

    But that raises the follow-up question: a Hindu Rashtra based on whose version of Hinduism Mr Gary ? That of the Hindu beef-eaters of Kerala? The Bengali Brahmin version that is vegetarian but paradoxically regards fish as a vegetable ? The TamBrahm Iyengar version? Or the TamBrahm Iyer version? And then why not the PalBrahm version? Indeed, Hinduism is so varied and so different from region to region, caste to caste and even class to class that it does not lend itself to easy, neat definitions in the legal and political sense that a nation state needs.

    But Pakistan might give some pointers here. The Constitutent Assembly of Pakistan is yet to define who a Muslim is, a task that it has been trying to resolve for the last 70 odd years. Despite the fact that Islam has one Book, is far more homeogeneous compared to Hinduism and relatively more standardised.

    I cite historian Ayesha Jalal from her book “The Struggle for Pakistan” on the problems faced by Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly that tried to draft the Constitution:

    “.. no two religious divines could agree on the definition of a Muslim .. Adopting the definition of any one religious scholar entailed becoming an infidel in the eyes of all the others .. Religious divines such as Mawdudi of the Jamaat-i-Islami maintained that non-Muslims were not entitled to equal rights of citizenship in an Islamic state .. laying down a precise definition of a true believer was a dangerous game of brinkmanship ..”

    Paradoxically, Mawdudi speaks the same language as Golwalkar who wrote in “We, our nation defined”:

    “The non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture … In a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment—not even citizens’ rights”
    People like you Mr Gary and the BJP’s Hindutva ideologues are making India into a Hindu version of Mawdudi’s Pakistan. And we all know how that state fared. Or rather failed.

  9. The past is very painful. Religious intolerance has been exerted on other communities.
    Since quite long time, the discussion is around the religious intolerance of muslim rulers towards Hindu community.
    It seems people/leaders/thinkers of Hindu community are now taking the revenge for the past misdeeds of muslim rulers.
    What is the impact of such revenge or actions in the name of preserving the Hindu ethos?
    Whether it is not impacting the harmony in the current society?
    Whether it is not impacting the innocent Muslims who are not related to past misdeeds?

    And on another note,
    I agree that the “secularism” is not suiting to Indian constituion while keeping multiple religious personal laws along with caste based reservations.
    But what is the solution for mistreatment of few castes in the society?
    Where is it stemmed from?

    • You are very narcissistic or self conscious.!
      Too much of “I” in your letters.
      What do you say for the attempts by Muslims and Christians to change the indian demography by conversions.
      Don’t say it is permitted by constitution.
      It is against the spirit of multiculturalism.
      So called liberals frequently point out castism in Hinduism.
      Yes Hindus accept that!
      Can any liberal muslim or Christian or even so called leftist accept their philosophy “my way or highway” is wrong.

  10. Why is it that theprint is not running my following cooment:
    The Indian past looked through the Hindu Muslim binary has its serious limitations. One major problem is that despite India being a five-thousand-year-old civilization but it is only the period 0f approximately 700- 800 years in which people with the Muslim names ruled/attacked India is under scrutiny. Let us read what Hindu luminaries narrated facts about this period. The most important Hindutva ideologue and second chief of RSS, MS Golwalkar while describing desecration of Somnath Temple wrote:
    “One thousand years back our people invited foreigners to invade us. A similar danger threatens us even today. How the glorious temple of Somnath was desecrated and devastated is a page of history. Mahmud Ghazi had heard of the wealth and splendour of Somnath. He crossed the Khyber Pass and set foot in Bharat to plunder the wealth of Somnath. He had to cross the great desert of Rajasthan. There was a time when he had no food, and no water for his army, and even for himself left to his fate, he would have perished, and the burning sands of Rajasthan would have consumed his bones. But no, Mahmud Ghazi made the local chieftains to believe that Saurashtra had expansionist designs against them. In their folly and pettiness they believed him. And they joined him. When Mahmud Ghazi launched his assault on the great temple, it was the Hindu, blood of our blood, flesh of our flesh, soul of our soul-who stood in the vanguard of his army. Somnath was desecrated with the active help of the Hindus. These are facts of history.”
    [MS Golwalkar’s speech in Madurai cited in ‘Organiser’ dated January 4, 1950, pp. 12, 15.]
    Ashwani Sanghi falling prey to the Hindutva narrative and skips what ‘Hindus’ did to Buddhists/Jains and their religious places for hundreds of years. Swami Vivekananda a darling of RSS describing the past of Jagannath Temple at Puri admitted:
    “We took this and others over and re-Hinduised them. We shall have to do many things like that yet.”
    [Swami Vivekananda, ‘The Sages of India’ in The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol. 3, Advaita Ashram, Calcutta, p. 264.]
    Founder of Arya Samaj, Swami Dayanand Saraswati while describing the heroics of Shankaracharya in SATYARTH PRAKASH:”
    “For ten years he toured all over the country, refuted Jainism and advocated the Vedic religion. All the broken images that are now-a-days dug out of the earth were broken in the time of Shankar, whilst those that are found whole here and there under the ground had been buried by the Jainis for fear of their being broken (by those who had renounced Jainism).”
    [SATYARTH PRAKSH BY SWAMI DAYANAND SARSWATI, CHAPTER XI, p. 347.]

    • Your narrative is just based on some references in books. One cannot deny the facts in history that islamists destructed so many sacred temples of hindus and other religions/faiths. Is today’s muslim repent for these deeds of their prior generation’s. No doubt today’s muslim is not responsible for those acts. Still if he is humane he should be able to “see” the heinous acts committed by his ancestors and may be in his own mind should think of what justification can be given to these acts except “INHUMANE”. Be rational. Respect other person’s belief. The moment one thinks MY BELIEF is supreme; he starts hating other beliefs. Thats to say the least is ridiculousness.

  11. Congrats on this article. I consider myself secular/liberal too, and have the same thoughts as articulated by you. Live and let live, and this applies equally to all sides.

  12. Excellent article. Expressed in a neutral, intellectual way Thanks.
    one correction though -re this – St. Thomas’ Christians were NOT provided a home in Kerala.
    St. thomas’ Christians are not refugees who came in from outside and needed a home. St. Thomas (One of the 12 disciples of Jesus) came to India from Syria in 500 AD and in a peaceful way talked about Jesus and his teachings to the Hindus in Kerala and performed many miracles. Some of those Hindus (mostly Brahmins) were convinced of his teachings and of their own free will converted to Christianity. These former Hindus, who converted to Christianity are referred to as St. Thomas Christians. They are native Indians only and not looking for a home here.
    Please acknowledge and correct. Thank you.

    • Ms Lalita: Your post gives one the impression that one particular minority, in this case St. Thomas Christians – presumably your own community – has greater claims to staying in India due to the voluntary nature of their conversions. I refer to your claim:

      “.. Some of those Hindus (mostly Brahmins) were convinced of his teachings and of their own free will converted to Christianity .. They are native Indians only and not looking for a home here ..”

      Am I to understand that citizenship in modern democracies should be based on the nature of events that took place in 500 AD?

      Essentially, you are indirectly stating that you, have a much stronger claim to citizenship in India than say Muslims as you are more “native”. And that is because the historical events that took place in perhaps 1947, or 1526 or perhaps even in the 13th Century makes Muslims less eligible for citizenship, right? After all, you do emphasise that your community consists of “.. native Indians only and not looking for a home here ..”

      I am aware that I am reading too much into some seemingly innocuous statements from you. I am perhaps even putting words in your mouth. But you are restating the dangerous RSS & BJP idea of tiered citizenship in India built on Golwalkarian ideas – that some have greater and stronger claims to living in India than others. As Golwalkar writes in Bunch of Thoughts:

      “.. Here was already a full-fledged ancient nation of the Hindus and the various communities which were living in the country were here either as guests, the Jews and Parsis, or as invaders, the Muslims and Christians .. They never faced the question how all such heterogenous groups could be called as children of the soil merely because, by an accident, they happened to reside in a common territory under the rule of a common enemy ..”

      As long as one is loyal to the nation, I do not think that one’s religion or how one came to practise that religion should matter for equal citizenship rights. Yes, democracy is being diluted and debased in India by the many admirers of Hindutva who think it is the same as Hinduism. As a Hindu who has vehemently argued in many posts in The Print against this “second Partition” of India, I find it rather disappointing that you find common cause with the Hindutvaists – they very people who will come for you next after they are done with the Muslims.

  13. Excellent article. Expressed in a neutral, intellectual way Thanks.
    one correction though -St. Thomas’ Christians were provided a home in Kerala.
    St. thomas’ Christians are not refugees who came in from outside and needed a home. St. Thomas (One of the 12 disciples of Jesus) came to India from Syria in 500 AD and in a peaceful way talked about Jesus and his teachings to the Hindus in Kerala and performed many miracles. Some of those Hindus (mostly Brahmins) were convinced of his teachings and of their own free will converted to Christianity. These former Hindus, who converted to Christianity are referred to as St. Thomas Christians. They are native Indians only and not looking for a home here.
    Please acknowledge and correct. Thank you.

  14. Ashwin Sanghi’s article – which undoubtedly is well written – seems more like a rant because while bringing out the evil sides of the Abrahamic faiths (Christianity and Islam), he completely ignores the evil side of his own faith.

    Also as one reads the article, one realizes that the present day Muslims of India – a majority of whom were the indigenous folks converted perhaps under duress – are suffering a double whammy. First their forefathers bore the brunt of the invaders and converted to Islam, and now their descendants have to bear the ire of Hindus for practicing the faith they did not voluntarily choose! What could be a greater tragedy than that!

    In fact it could be argued that the pain of an average Indian Muslim is bigger than the pain from “collective memory” that a present day Hindu suffers. Collective memory pain is only imaginative – as you think about the pain of the past inflicted on your forefathers. What present day Muslims are suffering, is not imaginative but something real – all for absolutely no fault of their own!

  15. One understands the impact of collective memory, and it must hurt to see proof of it in the present. But the author’s claim that Christianity and Islam being the root cause of the massacres and atrocities is completely wrong! The root cause is human nature.

    Even Hindu kings destroyed the temples of kingdoms they’ve conquered. Deities were stolen or replaced. Women were taken as slaves for their own harems. In paragraphs describing atrocities, replace all the words (or names of) Muslims with Hindu upper castes, and the words Hindu with dalits or lower castes, and they still ring true. Such acts were committed on the lower castes for millennia. Taxes based on your religion? Dalits in Kerala had to pay a ‘breast tax’ to the Hindu king. In Banaras, Buddhist stupas were destroyed to retrieve construction materials, and the Buddha’s ashes put in the Ganga, even though Buddhism does advocate it. During partition were Muslims also not killed? Weren’t their women raped too?

    As for why the Nehru and Ambedkar did not add secularism in the preamble, it is because they thought it was implicit. The entire constitution is secular. So they didn’t feel the need to add that word in the preamble. Were Nehru’s policies not socialist? But he didn’t add that word either. Temples were taken under government control for economic and political reasons. With 80% of the population being Hindus, temples get a lot of money. Besides, controlling them meant you had a hold on the people, and the priests who influence them. Even the BJP government in Uttarakhand has done this recently. The founding fathers of the nation felt that the minorities should not be overrun by the culture of the majority, and that their individual characteristics be maintained. Which is why minority institutions had special privileges. You may disagree with that argument, but you cannot say that it was because they didn’t see India as secular. How does extending reservations to minorities make India not secular?! Reservations are meant for the disadvantaged. That they are caste based is because the lower castes are the most disadvantaged. And you can’t deny that a majority of Muslims are poor and disadvantaged. That’s why andh-bhakts are so fond of calling them puncture-wallahs!

    Here are the four Hindu Code Bills that Nehru passed:
    1. The Hindu Marriage Act – to introduce divorce, because it did not exist in Hinduism
    2. Hindu Succession Act – to give women full control over their own property, abolishing their “limited owner” status
    3. Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act – as joint families diminished, it set the rules of guardianship of children
    4. Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act – to ensure a woman gets maintenance if divorced.. it ensures the father-in-law takes care of a woman who is widowed.. it sets rules for adoption.. funnily, it allows a Hindu woman to live separately from her husband if he converts from Hinduism!
    These Acts only made laws uniform across Hinduism, as the rules were different for different castes, and regions. They no way interfered with the practice of the religion. Why would you have a problem with this? Part of why he could not introduce a UCC was because of opposition from conservative Hindus.

    Christianity preaches non-violence. So what do the religious wars and inquests indicate? Did it happen because they were Christians? No! The violence was perpetrated in the name of Christianity for political benefits. Religion is after all, the opium of the masses. In the same way, Hindutva is not Hinduism. The Hindu ethos is of course very unique. And it is definitely under a massive threat. But that threat is not from Christianity or Islam. The very potent, looming threat is from Hindutva. It can only be checked by the Hindus themselves. If they don’t, Hinduism will be just like an Abrahamic religion in everything but the name. And it will happen in a matter of years, not decades!!

    • Mr Subin: An outstanding comment Sir !

      You hit the nail on the head when you write :

      “.. Hindutva is not Hinduism ..”

      Sadly, just as Islam was hijacked by the likes of al Baghdadi, bin Laden and other extremists, Hinduism too has been hijacked by bigots like Savarkar, Golwalkar and their enablers in the BJP. And as you rightly point out, the BJP is transforming Hinduism into another Abrahamic religion and a Hindu version of Pakistan to boot. But sadly, most Hindus do not realise the con that the BJP is playing on them and they allow themselves to be led by a Delhi University graduate with a pogrom under his belt and gross economic mismanagement to show for his 6 years in power.

      Not to speak of foreign policy débâcles – all of India’s neighbours have now become hostile and deftly play the China card to spin circles around the Great Gujarati genius ! Indeed, knowing fully well that in the autocratic setup with power residing solely in the hands of the Gujaratis, most foreign governments bypass the sole professional diplomat in the government viz. Foreign Minister Jaishankar Subramanian.

      Alas, it is hard to do anything about people who belong to the Modi cult as they are in thrall to this man and swallow his lies lock, stock and barrel.

      As the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said:

      “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

  16. This article though rightly brings up some historical facts, it also distorts some facts and fails to see some other.

    1. What can be said about Mathura and Kashi Temples cannot be said about Babri Masjid. Existence of Ram-janma-sthal has no historical proof.
    2. The writer does not see the violence and persecution within the Hindu fold. By the writer’s logic what dalits should do to savarana Hindus to avenge their persecution ? What other Shudra castes do to Brahmins,Kshatriyas and Vaishyas ?
    3. The destruction of Hindu temples by their own kings on sectarian grounds is not seen.
    4. Theinter-sectarian destruction and conversion of places of worship by Hindu,Jain and Buddhist kings is again ignored.

  17. This is an important article. IF SOMEBODY COULD WRITE A GAME CHANGER, THIS IS IT!!

    The fact that it was originally printed in Swarajya doesn’t take away the importance of The Print publishing it. The Print, as it has evolved, has turned out to be an anti-Hindu on-line publication and yet, thought it fit to reproduce Ashwin Sanghi’s article! I must congratulate Shekhar Gupta and his editorial colleagues for this liberal gesture.

    It has been argued that the present day Muslims are not answerable to the sins of past Shaikhs, kings, emperors and other sundry marauders, conquerors and looters who had also indulged in heaping horrible crimes on the local Hindu population. But the least our Muslim brethren can do now is to disown the past tyrants, who swore by the sword and the book! But, unfortunately, we find that the present day Muslims are feeling proud of these ancestors!!!

  18. One of the best articles in The Print. For those who think that European countries are secular, in spite of the obvious example of banning the burqa, here is some information:

    The constitutions of five countries (Ireland, Greece, Poland, Germany and Slovakia) point to Christianity as the foundation on which ideas and values are built, and the Christian cultural heritage is mentioned in the preambles.

    Six other countries (Denmark, Finland, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Great Britain) have constitutions establishing a more or less formal marriage between state and church by giving one particular church a special position.

    Great Britain, which has no constitution, has a set of laws prescribing that the country has two state churches: The Anglican Church of England and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

    Malta is the only European country in whose constitution a state religion is established: Roman Catholicism.

    In France, Luxembourg and The Netherlands, church and state are formally separated. In Sweden state and church were separated by law in 2000 – but the state still pays for the maintenance of the church buildings.

    Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all have religious freedom written into their constitutions, but they favour certain churches and religious communities.

    So next time any self certified secularists or liberal throws the Hindu Rashtra jibe, tell her/ him the above.

    • Mr Subhasis Ghosh: Reading your vacuous, fact-free claptrap, copied and pasted from one of your previous comments – itself a gomutra and gobar dripping work of art – I am reminded of a quote from the Irish novelist Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774):

      “People seldom improve when they have no model but themselves to copy after” !

      Perhaps you should take a look at my corrections to the drivel that you wrote in your first comment viz. to the article “Modi redefined secularism with Ram Mandir as Hindu voters were fed up of Sonia-Left version”, available at: bit.ly/30M1hBB

      The essence of your flawed thesis is as follows:

      “Western European countries operate and finance Churches and have to varying degrees embedded the Church as an actor in their Constitutions. Hence, they do not pass the simplistic “separation of state & Church” litmus test. Of course, you cite some exceptions viz. France, Netherlands & Luxembourg. Additionally, these countries elevate Christianity, at least a particular denomination above other religions and accord it special status.

      And the conclusion you draw is:

      Since these are European “Christian Rashtras” where the state discriminates in favour of Christians, why not have a Hindu Rashtra where the state favours Hindus?

      Well Mr Ghosh, you forget that the rigid separation of Church & State is but one facet of secularism. History, demographics, past relationships with religious bodies such as the Vatican, religious composition of the country, treaties and Conventions that the country has signed, the roles performed by the Church in the past and its roles today etc. etc. shape the precise flavour of secularism you see in a given country. And they vary from the extreme separation seen in the French “laïcité” model to the Maltese model where there is tighter integration between Church & State.

      But the true litmus test of secularism in a country is whether it is an enabler or disabler of democracy. Does the State embrace of religion in a given country uphold the fundamental democratic principles of freedom of worship and equality before the law ? Or does the State embrace of religion one of the vicious Saudi Arabian sort, devoid of tolerance for other religions? Or is it the former USSR version which upheld atheism, had complete separation from the Church and persecuted those who were religious?

      Clearly, in all Western European countries, despite Christianity being retained as the State religion due to historical and administrative reasons, the State does not discriminate between citizens on the basis of their religious convictions or even lack thereof. Indeed, the State religions are supported due to the historical roles they have played in the past in areas such as registration of births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, running of schools, funeral services to the dead and so on. Even today, many are buried in graveyards maintained by the Church, there are soup kitchens run by the Church and so on.

      Take the case of Norway. While the State religion is Lutheran Christianity in Norway, the country financially supports several hundred religions. These include the AL Tawba Islamisk Senter, Elverum Islamisk Senter, Bergen Hindu Sabha, Norges Saivite Hindu Kultursenter, Shri Guru Nanak Niwas, Shri Guru Ram Das Sangat Vestfold and so on. The full list of several hundred religious organisations encompassing 678,433 members supported financially by the Norwegian government is available here: bit.ly/30KmAmT

      Likewise, in Denmark, the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs (Kirkeministeriet, ref: bit.ly/3gPWtkb) provides financial support to other religions.

      In Sweden, the Swedish Agency for Support to Faith Communities (Myndigheten för stöd till trossamfund, ref: bit.ly/2XRGFWs) provides support to other religious communities.

      In France, with its laïcité, the links between State and Church are more minimal.

      Mr Ghosh, unlike you, I did not attend an RSS shakha where you presumably were taught Greek, Polish, Slovak, Portuguese, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Danish, Swedish, Maltese etc. I am pretty sure you consulted original government sources in these languages when you made your post. You are an erudite man Mr Ghosh !!

      However, I do speak, read and write Norwegian, Danish, Swedish and French. I have cited government sources in these languages to support my claims, not Wikipedia articles. And I can say with certainty that what you write about secularism in Norway, Denmark, Sweden & France countries is utter nonsense. These 4 and other Western European countries are secular and democratic. And they are far removed from the fascist Hindu Rashtra your ilk bats for and where the Golwalkarian notion of citizenship is rejected.

  19. Unlike “experts” like Mr Sanghi and the many, all-knowing Sanghi commenters here who are in thrall to Mr Sanghi’s over-simplified and dubious understanding of complex ideas such as secularism and “Hindu ethos”, yours truly, a humble clerk did not really know what the word “ethos” actually meant. After all, the crux of Mr Sanghi’s arguments rests on the notion that the “Hindu ethos” – whatever the hell that is – is the enabler of secularism in India and ensures that people live happily ever after in non-Akhand Bharat. Which means that you ought to know what “ethos” is. A simpleton like me did not and so I did some reading.

    So I start with some definitions of the term “ethos”. I suggest that highly erudite commenters who already know what the term means, thanks to their mentoring under the Adityanaths, Mohan Bhagwats, Tejaswi Suryas, Sadhvi Pragya Thakurs, Jayant Sinhas and other Sanghi luminaries might want to skip this section.

    So here are some definitions of “ethos”:

    1: “The distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution”; Merriam Webster, ref: bit.ly/2PFGjOd

    2: “The set of beliefs, ideas, etc. about the social behaviour and relationships of a person or group”; Cambridge Dictionary, ref: bit.ly/2CdabhO

    3: “The characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its attitudes and aspirations”; Lexico/Oxford dictionary, ref: bit.ly/3ajtwe0

    Alas Mr Sanghi, these definitions are all well and good but I need your help in understanding how they can be applied. So please excuse my ignorance and help me clarify the following nagging questions.

    A: Bastions of Hindutva such as the BJP, the RSS, the Bajrang Dal, the VHP etc. carried out pogroms in 2002 where innocent, utterly innocent Muslims were raped, killed, maimed and burnt? Was that a manifestation of “Hindu ethos” Mr Sanghi? After all, several of the enablers of that violent orgy have ascended to the higher echelons of power in the country and claim to be Hindus …

    B: The ostensibly secular Congress orchestrated pogroms in 1984 in the wake of Ms Gandhi’s assassination and many thousand innocent Sikhs were butchered and burnt. And you will surely agree with me that the bloodletting was not done by Muslims or Christians but by Hindus driven by their “Hindu ethos” right?

    C: Dalits have been discriminated and violently treated for millenia by caste Hindus. Was that also the “Hindu ethos” at work Mr Sanghi?

    D: Mohammad Akhlaq (RIP) was lynched in 2015 in Dadri. Many more innocent, marginalised Muslims have since been lynched by violent mobs – with tacit BJP support – I must add. And the perpetrators generally walk free and some even get garlanded and given sweets by BJP Ministers like Jayant Sinha. Again, is that “Hindu ethos” Sir?

    E: In Kathua, an innocent 8 year old girl called Asifa Bano (RIP) was gang raped in a temple by the priest and his accomplices. Bizarrely, the RSS, the BJP and even the Congress took out processions in support of the perpetrators not the victim. Indeed, even the feamleHindu lawyer who took up the case on behalf of the girl’s family was hounded and threatened. Is that sick behaviour “Hindu ethos” Mr Sanghi?

    For the record, yours truly, the humble clerk who poses these simple questions is a Hindu and not a Congresswala, a presstitute and as you might have guessed, not a Sanghi Mr Sanghi. And despite my very limited erudition, I know enough to know that Hinduism is not Hindutva. Hinduism is a religion that has existed for millenia, Hindutva is the hijacking of Hinduism by violent, bigoted men like Damodar Savarkar and Golwalkar and their torchbearers – Gujarati or not. And problem with people like you Mr Sanghi is that you conflate the two and become an errand boy for a violent ideology that was inspired by fascism and Nazism.

    But this ability of the BJP and people like you Mr Sanghi to fall for this jingoistic, pseudo-Hinduism © and associated mumbo jumbo is dangerous for India. One is reminded of a quote from the French philosopher François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), better known as Voltaire:

    “.. Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities ..”

    PS: On a lighter note, I hold the copyright to the word pseudo-Hinduism !!

    • Imagine actually believing that hindutva has something to do with fascism ( unless you’re a leftist mongrel everything on the other side is fascism) and that fat load of BS you just wrote lmao

      • Mr Abhishek.. Hindutva has everything to do with fascism. RSS is a known admirer of Hiltler, and Golwalkar was inspired the Nazi idea of racial purity. A lot of the steps Modi is taking today, is a direct copy of what Hitler did.

        Of course, being an andh-bhakt, a rightist arse-sniffer, one does not expect you to see the obvious!

      • Mr Abhishek Meena: Well, the gurakshaks in your shakha who mentored you on how to abuse and behave like a lout did not – and simply could not – have taught you how to debate in a civilised manner – something that shows up in your puerile post here.

        I guess you have not read the musings of one of the many fascist men whom the RSS venerates. One of them is the 2nd Führer of the organisation, Golwalkar and this bearded writes writes in his seminal work “We Or Our Nationhood Defined”:

        “.. To keep up the purity of the nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of Semitic races – the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by ..”

        The RSS drew inspiration from the fascist movements of Europe of the 1930s. And that included both Adolf Hitler’s Nazism and Benito Mussolini’s own brand of Italian fascism. Indeed, BS Moonje, the mentor of Hedgewar, the first Führer of the RSS met Mussolini in 1931 in Italy and was shown around by the fascist regime. Moonje wanted to recreate in India the same militant youth organisations that the Mussolini regime had created in Italy. And the RSS you see today is an exact replica of the movements that Moonje studied in Italy, particularly the Balilla and Avanguardisti organisations. And these Italian organisations, like RSS, their Indian clone, dealt with indoctrination of youth, as opposed to education.

        The RSS of today might deny these older links to Italian German fascists. But to this day, it is the embodiment of fascism and upper caste hegemony in India and the indoctrination of Indian youth into the ideology of hate towards Muslims and Christians. Only a complete ignoramus would deny that.

  20. The Indian past looked through the Hindu Muslim binary has its serious limitations. One major problem is that despite India being a five-thousand-year-old civilization but it is only the period 0f approximately 700- 800 years in which people with the Muslim names ruled/attacked India is under scrutiny. Let us read what Hindu luminaries narrated facts about this period. The most important Hindutva ideologue and second chief of RSS, MS Golwalkar while describing desecration of Somnath Temple wrote:
    “One thousand years back our people invited foreigners to invade us. A similar danger threatens us even today. How the glorious temple of Somnath was desecrated and devastated is a page of history. Mahmud Ghazi had heard of the wealth and splendour of Somnath. He crossed the Khyber Pass and set foot in Bharat to plunder the wealth of Somnath. He had to cross the great desert of Rajasthan. There was a time when he had no food, and no water for his army, and even for himself left to his fate, he would have perished, and the burning sands of Rajasthan would have consumed his bones. But no, Mahmud Ghazi made the local chieftains to believe that Saurashtra had expansionist designs against them. In their folly and pettiness they believed him. And they joined him. When Mahmud Ghazi launched his assault on the great temple, it was the Hindu, blood of our blood, flesh of our flesh, soul of our soul-who stood in the vanguard of his army. Somnath was desecrated with the active help of the Hindus. These are facts of history.”
    [MS Golwalkar’s speech in Madurai cited in ‘Organiser’ dated January 4, 1950, pp. 12, 15.]
    Ashwani Sanghi falling prey to the Hindutva narrative and skips what ‘Hindus’ did to Buddhists/Jains and their religious places for hundreds of years. Swami Vivekananda a darling of RSS describing the past of Jagannath Temple at Puri admitted:
    “We took this and others over and re-Hinduised them. We shall have to do many things like that yet.”
    [Swami Vivekananda, ‘The Sages of India’ in The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol. 3, Advaita Ashram, Calcutta, p. 264.]
    Founder of Arya Samaj, Swami Dayanand Saraswati while describing the heroics of Shankaracharya in SATYARTH PRAKASH:”
    “For ten years he toured all over the country, refuted Jainism and advocated the Vedic religion. All the broken images that are now-a-days dug out of the earth were broken in the time of Shankar, whilst those that are found whole here and there under the ground had been buried by the Jainis for fear of their being broken (by those who had renounced Jainism).”
    [SATYARTH PRAKSH BY SWAMI DAYANAND SARSWATI, CHAPTER XI, p. 347.]

    Shamsul Islam

  21. “How foolish would it be to bear a grudge against them in the present?” Well, there are many from present who still hold views of Aurangzeb and Ghazni. See Kashmir, Kerala, Pakistan and innumerable missionary conversions happening in Andhra and Punjab. There is a big project to annihilate Hinduism by targeting Brahmins since they hold roots/knowledge. There are innumerable efforts to divide Hindus. If these things are STILL done by present day followers of Abrahmic religions , I dont see a wrong in many Babri demolitions happening!

    • The division of the Hindus was done by the Hindus themselves – aka the caste system. Well, the Brahmins were the caste system. So that say everything about them!

      Conversions happen because there is an issue with the religion. Before blaming an affair on the other person, look at the problems in the marriage first!

      • Mr Subin: Conversions happen for a variety of reasons – inducement, marriage, coercion and so on and so forth. You cite caste as the sole driver of conversions. But caste is prevalent in both Islam and Christianity and is practised with a vehemence not even seen in Hinduism.

        I have actually been in a court case where a Pakistani Muslim Rajput girl’s marriage in Europe to lower caste Pakistani boy triggered a contract killing – which was foiled in the last minute. Indeed, Dalit Muslims are treated much worse in Islam than even in Hinduism, see the excellent Al Jazeera documentary on Dalit converts at: bit.ly/3al33wH. Likewise, light skinned Ashrafi Muslims look down upon other dark-skinned Muslims in India. And here in Europe, Turks, who regard themsleves as Europeans, look down upon Arab Muslims who in turn look down upon Pakistani and Indian Muslims and who in turn look down upon African Muslims and so on. Islam, regardless of intent in the Holy Qur’an, does not prevent discrimination and violence on perceived hierarchical superiority over other groups.

        In Christianity too, the same discrimination on the basis of caste is widespread. See the BBC article “Indian Dalits find no refuge from caste in Christianity” at ref: bbc.in/2XQdJOL. Inter-marriage among Christian castes is seldom seen in India and caste and colour based discrimination is the norm.

        Caste is pervasive in South Asia and religions do not remove caste based discrimination, Caste follows you wherever you go and whichever God you worship.

  22. The Indian past looked through theHindu Muslim binary has its serious limitations. One major problem is thatdespite India being a five-thousand-year-old civilization but it is only theperiod 0f approximately 700- 800 years in which people with the Muslim namesruled/attacked India is under scrutiny. Let us read what Hindu luminariesnarrated facts about this period. The most important Hindutva ideologue andsecond chief of RSS, MS Golwalkar while describing desecration of SomnathTemple wrote:  “Onethousand years back our people invited foreigners to invade us. A similardanger threatens us even today. How the glorious temple of Somnath wasdesecrated and devastated is a page of history. Mahmud Ghazi had heard of thewealth and splendour of Somnath. He crossed the Khyber Pass and set foot inBharat to plunder the wealth of Somnath. He had to cross the great desert ofRajasthan. There was a time when he had no food, and no water for his army, andeven for himself left to his fate, he would have perished, and the burning sandsof Rajasthan would have consumed his bones. But no, Mahmud Ghazi made the localchieftains to believe that Saurashtra had expansionist designs against them. Intheir folly and pettiness they believed him. And they joined him. When MahmudGhazi launched his assault on the great temple, it was the Hindu, blood of ourblood, flesh of our flesh, soul of our soul-who stood in the vanguard of hisarmy. Somnath was desecrated with the active help of the Hindus. These arefacts of history.” [MS Golwalkar’s speech in Madurai cited in‘Organiser’ dated January 4, 1950, pp. 12, 15.]Ashwani Sanghi falling prey to theHindutva narrative and skips what ‘Hindus’ did to Buddhists/Jains and theirreligious places for hundreds of years. Swami Vivekananda a darling of RSSdescribing the past of Jagannath Temple at Puri admitted: “Wetook this and others over and re-Hinduised them. We shall have to do manythings like that yet.” [SwamiVivekananda, ‘The Sages of India’ in The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda,Vol. 3, Advaita Ashram, Calcutta, p. 264.]Founder of Arya Samaj, Swami Dayanand Saraswati while describing the heroics of Shankaracharya in SATYARTHPRAKASH:” “For ten years he toured allover the country, refuted Jainism and advocated the Vedic religion. All thebroken images that are now-a-days dug out of the earth were broken in the timeof Shankar, whilst those that are found whole here and there under the groundhad been buried by the Jainis for fear of their being broken (by those who hadrenounced Jainism).”[SATYARTHPRAKSH BY SWAMI DAYANAND SARSWATI, CHAPTER XI, p. 347.]
    Shamsul Islam

  23. Talking about collective memory, how about the collective memory of a significant proportion of Indian population who are made to apologize for there existence every single day! Hindu ethos is nothing but caste based discrimination and legitimizing it in the name of reincarnation! Please ask a Dalit how he feels about Hindu ethos! And yes, for Indian sub continent Muslim, Christian, Jain, etc are all a part of the same caste discrimination narrative! So don’t preach Hindu ethos, talk about social equality, everything else will fall in its place! We are not living in Mughal era anymore, so stop playing Hindu victimhood!

  24. I have read the krishna key in 8th grade…even my teenage mind found it STUPID.

    But this article is GREAT except about demographics part.

    Wahhabism & inability of avg Muslim (or even Charlie Hebdo 😔) to Question, Criticise or Custumise their faith is real concern.

  25. To the Print team I congratulate you for sharing a cross section of opinions, ideas , points of view etc. Whilst a lot I do not agree to this is precisely what I want to encounter to read the arguments and see for myself where I can change my views. I have subscribed for a year and I hope the quality of such cross sectional and drivers views always find a place in your journalism.

    • Dear print team,
      Welcome back to neutral ,middle of the road
      Journalism .
      Pl continue this way .I will subscribe !

  26. The author’s view is a well-articulated view held to be true by the majority of Hindus in India.

    We have to figure out ways of marginalizing extreme fringe Hindu elements and without denying history, develop a positive agenda for the future.

    The Indian left just does not get it. They are incapable of debating with the modern conservative Hindu and are happy to only caricature the extreme fringe Hindu elements.

    The SC’s judgement is a good milestone towards truth and reconciliation.

  27. Mr Sanghi writes:

    “.. Strictly speaking, secularism means separation in entirety of church and state .. In a secular nation, the government must stay away from anything religious..To be secular in the truest sense of the word, the Indian state would have to stay out of the religious ambit completely ..”

    The problem with Mr Sanghvi’s view is that it does not link secularism with the fundamental notion of democracy.

    Admittedly, ever since the British editor George Jacob Holyoke (1817-1906) coined the term secularism in 1851, many interpretations and many implementations of secularism are seen across the world. And there is no single, simple and universally accepted definition with history, culture, the nature of the government etc. shaping the many manifestations of secularism. In France, secularism was designed to protect the people from religion; in USA, to protect religion from the power of the state; in the UK the principle of equality and non-discrimination is the target and so on.

    As a result of these varying definitions, you see varying outcomes. For instance, the strict French version called laïcité is built on 4 pillars viz.
    (a) freedom of religious expression (liberté);
    (b) separation of religious institutions from the state and the very important principle of non-interference of religious bodies in the affairs of the state and vice versa, (séparation);
    (c) The neutrality of the state when dealing with people of different faiths. This principle means that officials of the state such as judges, policemen, teachers etc. cannot bear visible religious symbols while doing their duties (neutralité);
    (d) Equality i.e. the state treats all citizens equally, regardless of their religious affiliations (égalité).

    See the short video “La Laïcité en 3 minutes” at Ref: bit.ly/2DJ1ts5
    (Alas, available only in French)

    An adverse consequence of the principle of “neutralité” in France has been that Sikhs have not been able to wear a turban when they go to school or work for the government. This is being challenged though and we now have Ranjit Singh, a turban wearing Sikh as the Deputy MAyor of the Bobigny suburb of Paris.

    In the UK however, the non-discrimination principle of secularism has meant that Sikh policemen or teachers can sport turbans.

    My reasons for describing the UK and French implementations of secularism are here to show that in both countries, the principle of equality before the law, a fundamental tenet of democracy is guaranteed through the desire of the state to be secular. Hence, Mr Sanghi’s simplistic idea of secularism being separation of state and church or equidistance is simply too narrow. At its essence, the question that the Indian state should ask itself is:

    “Should the state discriminate between Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs, Jains ?”

    The answer, according to Hindutva, the violent political philosophy of Savarkar & Golwalkar, whilst masquerading as Hinduism is : YES.

    Hindutva might make a distinction between the Abrahamic religions on the one hand and Jainism and Sikhism when it comes to this discrimination, but discriminate it does. And no, I do not for a moment condone the nasty streak in both Islam and Christianity to denigrate us idol worshipping kafirs. I do not dispute Sanghi’s historical narratives. Nor do I question the fact that both Islam and Christianity have indulged in enormous blood-letting and unleashed violence in the past.

    But where I disagree with Mr Sanghi and his fellow Sanghis – deliberate pun – is whether the present generation of Christians and Muslims can be held accountable for the nasty activities of the Vatican or Islamic invaders of the past. Because, doing so would dilute or destroy democracy, one of the byproducts of secularism. And wake up many sleeping dogs.

    • Your argument though well crafted falls short Mr. Jolsiyar. You conveniently fail to recognize that the “nasty activities” of the Vatican & modern day Islamic invaders continue to this day. “Nasty activities” Mr. Jolsiyar? Why such mild language? Is it because these activities were perpetrated by Christianity and Islam?

      • Mr Mallik Ghadbhan: Thank you very much for your response.

        I take your point about the somewhat weak description “nasty activities” I had used to describe the pogroms that these two Abrahamic religions – Islam and Christianity – have perpetrated in India. I agree that I should have used a more fitting and hard-hitting term. And violent, bloody pogroms would fit the bill better. Yes, I have had my dose of caffeine now ! Blame the earlier and weaker descriptions on my poor English skills and the fact that I was tired. Mea culpa nonetheless.

        As regards your claim that these violent activities still continue in Hindutva run India, well, I will accept any evidence you produce to show a sustained, concerted campaign by Muslims or Christians to undermine Hinduism and India. If that were really the case, we should be kicking all Muslims out of the Armed Forces, throwing them out of Indian cricket teams, Bollywood and so on. India should also be making more haste in putting these “termites” into concentration camps or even better into the Bay of Bengal right Mr Ghadbhan? That will also end love jihad won’t it Sir?

        And one more thing Mr Ghadbhan. July 31 was the 40th anniversary of the demise of singer Mohammad Rafi. Should we not ban this Muslim man’s voice in Ram Rajya? After all he must have been a modern day Islamic invader right ?

        And as regards those Christians, the Vatican and so on. Should PM Modi not issue an immediate decree suggesting that all “convent schools”, Jesuit run colleges and other Christian institutions be immediately closed ? Aren’t they all anti-nationals and errand boys of the Pope? And secretly planning the takeover of India with the help of that Italian lady called Sonia Gandhi. Yes, you might say, she is an Indian citizen – even though she speaks better Hindi than yours truly – but isn’t she the head of a sleeper cell carrying out the Vatican’s secret agenda in Ram Rajya?

        And hence, like we banned Mohammad Rafi, we now ought to ban South Indian singer K.J.Yesudas. This Keralite Christian may have been singing Hindu devotionals all his life but who knows – he may also be a Vatican spy. And who needs Christian voices in Ram Rajya ? And besides, by banning Mohammad Rafi, a Muslim and Yesudas, a Christian we also show that we practise equal opportunity discrimination in Ram Rajya!

        Another question I have for an erudite man like you Mr Ghadbhan: What phrase would you use to describe the violence, discrimination and hate that upper caste Hindus have displayed for millenia – even before Islam and Christianity were thought of – towards Dalits ? I think that my original limp term “nasty activities” does not suffice. Perhaps you could air your views?

        Finally, you claim : “.. Your argument though well crafted falls short ..”. Care to elaborate its shortcomings Mr Ghadbhan? After all, there must be a reason why an intellectual like you would come to that conclusion and I would not only be grateful to you but also enlightened when I hear your arguments.

        Thank you Mr Mallik Ghadbhan !

      • Mr S.Venkataraman: I have indeed read the article carefully. While Mr Sanghi does devote 67 words of “tolerance” in a rant containing 3344 words of hate, i.e. about 2%, it does not take much intelligence to see what the thrust of his article is about.

        Yes, after a long harangue filled with many falsehoods and a sprinkling of truth, Mr Sanghi, grudgingly, and as an afterthought does not wish to place the blame on present day Muslims & Christians. But the bulk of the article builds a case for why precisely these groups can be blamed. And that Mr S.Venkatarman is enough for your itchy-testicled North Indian gaurakshak friends to justify the murder or lynching of an innocent Muslim.

        Additionally,

  28. It’s funny this author talks about secularism and Kashmiri Pandits. A lot of people and politicians talk about Kashmiri Pandits. They are given lakhan of crores. Has anyone thought about the lakes of Muslims killed or driven from J&K? Similarly this so called Ram Temple movement was a disguise to destroy all mosques. Hindutva is not going to stop at Babri, they will get encouraged by Ram temple.

    • Oh yes absolutely you muzzy. We are gonna hunt you guys down. But not in a violent barbaric fashion as you guys do. We will hunt you guys down legally and for millions of years not just in India but also in other countries too.

    • If you are an example of secular Muslim, one can only shudder to think what a non secular Muslim would be.

      You think that talking of the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits is funny? Well 30 years ago, this is what you and your previous generations howled at the Kashmiri Pandits – Ralive, Tsaliv ya Galive (either convert to Islam, leave the land, or die). Not very secular, was it?

    • Article has lots of facts. You present facts and evidences on lakh of muslims killed in J&K (by Hindus) and crores were given to kashmiri pandits..Also evidence on barage of mosque being raged by a hindu leader.. Awaiting facts from you (not prediction, assumption, blog article, whatsapp forward, maulana/maulvi statement, fact published in Pakistan etc.)

    • This is an unfounded argument, not based on facts. Carries the same credibility as the Pak PM scaremongering Nazi-like holocaust in Kashmir following the 370 abrogation.

  29. Excellent Sir! And a must read. The factual history of Islamic conquest of India must be taught or else Hindus will not survive in what remains of India, after two islamic states have ben carved out of it .

  30. You seem th have lot of misunderstanding about secularism. a secular government doesn’t promote or follow any religion, but it does recognise various religions, such as Hindu, Islam, Christian, etc. In a secular country, a person can practice his/her religion without any hindrance. So if the Muslims want to follow Sharia personal laws, and resolve any such matters in Sharia courts, a secular government wouldn’t have any objection to it. Yes, the secular government wouldn’t finance such courts. Similarly, if the Muslims want to run their own Madrasa schools, the secular government wouldn’t have any objection to it. If the Central and State governments are managing Hindu temples, that doesn’t mean they are promoting or creating a religion. Nor do these governments are paying management expenses. These temples are very rich, and they pay such expenses. Why the government is managing the Hindu temples, I don’t know. May be it doesn’t trust the temple trusts to manage so much money without corruption. Religious organisations run non-religion schools and colleges, that qualify for financial assistance from the government, would get it from the government. Say, Catholic church is running a very good prestigious engineering or medical college. Why wouldn’t it get the government financial assistance? In assisting such colleges, the government is not promoting or creating any religion.

    Before 1976, India Under Nehru and other PMs practiced secularism. That was the reason even Gandhiji had said that Somnath temple shouldn’t be rebuilt with government money. And Nehru had asked the first president Rajendra Babu to not attend the ceremony of the temple as the president of India, meaning he should attend as a private individual if he wanted to. Thus, both Gandhiji and Nehru were telling the people that India was secular state for all practical purposes. Nothing like “Upanishadic ideal of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’” was in their minds. They were dead set against mixing the religion with government .

    “So, secularism in the Indian context would not mean the state remaining away from religion.” – this is a flawed conclusion. There can’t be any Indian context to secularism which is a western concept, meaning, “opposition or rejection of religion”{ according to Oxford dictionary. India never had a precedent of democracy or secularism. The ruler (king) and the priest (Guru) always worked together, hand-in-hand (this was the case elsewhere also). the State always had its religion, which was Hindu in India’s case. Secularism (rejection of religion) was simply unthinkable in India.

    Now it is possible that the secularism in India was abused. This is bound to happen whenever hunam element is involved. But as of today, India is a secular state that rejects religion as per its secular constitution. It can’t allow Hindu ethos, or Muslim ethos. Forget that. You can’t even amend the constitution to repeal the word “secular” from it, as the the supreme court ruing that basic structure of the constitution can’t be change EVEN WITH 100% VOTES IN THE PARLIAMENT!

    India has lot of important things, such as removal of poverty, health care matters, education, economy, etc. to do. It can’t afford to live in the past, and keep counting how many Hindu temples were destroyed by the Muslims, and how many should be rebuilt. Being a secular country, it shouldn’t be wasting its time in religious matters. Historically, religious countries have proved to be laggards when it came to progress. In Europe, catholic countries Spain and Portugal were dominated by their religion, and as a result were far less developed than protestant countries like England, Germany, the US, etc.

    • Really? Are not the very symbols of Indian government religious?
      What about four Lions? What about the Dhamma Chakra? What about the
      moto `Satyameva Jayate’? Just because some of them are Buddhist symbols doesn’t
      negate te fact that they are religious symbols.

  31. Mindboggling and eye opening article sir. Will Shekhar Gupta and and ilk think upon the write up and give up their hypocrisy regarding secularism. If we want to save India then it’s mandatory to control Muslim population.

  32. So beautifully put. Secularism, when selectively applied will eventually lead to a backlash. Being a Hindu is something that a vast majority of Hindus are proud about. We are equally happy to live with our brethren from various religions harmoniously. But prolong minority appeasement at the cost of the majority sensitivities is something which was bound to take a toll on endurance limit of the Hindus, who had to carry their secular credentials on their sleeves. Repeated and ceaseless cultural assaults by the so called custodians of secularism and torch bearers of liberals on the vast majority of Hindus had eventually led to their awakening, where they have now been united as a group and have read all the writings on the wall.

  33. What a brilliant article !

    Truly encapsulates the spirit and truth of the situation. Pseudo-secularism is nothing more absolutist Abrahamic dogma masquerading as high-minded idealism.

    There is no possible way the present generation of Muslims can EVER recompense Hindus for the lives lost, the suffering, the destruction, the violence they inflicted.

  34. Outstanding article on Indian history and Hindus. I wish Indian Muslims would read this to know that their ancestors were Hindus once and also to know all the atrocities done to Hindus and Hinduism in their own land.

  35. It’s high time Hindus realize they need to be proud of their heritage and history. I am a Zoroastrian/parsi and I am that today only, only because my ancestors were granted refuge and allowed to practice our way of life. In fact we were granted refuge under a Hindu king. I really wish Hindus at least the ones who question their secular credentials realize there is nothing need for that. Hindus as stated are by virtue of their teachings secular. I pray and hope for the Hindu state. I want to see it before I leave for good.

  36. India is a hindu civilization. It will always be one. This fact and future cannot be undone or forgotten. The cruelties snd unspeakable crimes committed by Muslim invaders and uncivilized barbaric Christian bigots against hindus are worse than holocaust multiplied by a thousand times. The hindu ascendancy is a natural cultural reaction to the follies of anti hindu secularism practised by Left fifth columnists and unrepentant, medieval-minded Islamic revanchists. Let the history of the past be re-written as it happened. Not as sinfully whitewashed by Nehru and the congress. .Then let us see where the anti hindu elements hide.

  37. I’m a proud Hindu and honour the Bhoomi Pujan of 5th August. I am, however, a little surprised at the content of the article. The author starts with a hypothesis and then attempts to show it to be correct, but the data he provides to aid is inadequate and misplaced to his contention.

    If he’s attempting to show that the Bhoomi Pujan has not created India less secular, how does messaging about the success of India in integrating Muslims until 2011 help the claim? How does the fact that Hindus do not proselytise bolster the claim that Bhoomi Pujan has not made India less secular? The writer alludes to the Hindu collective memory of shame and humiliation subservient to Muslim invaders. Does he mean to imply the Bhoomi Pujan is revenge for the ills of history? The author asserts standing up for Muslims in Kashmir was secular at the cost of ignoring the plight of Hindu Pandits in Kashmir. This, he correctly points out, is selectivity and not secularism. This is all fine, but the moot point remains. How is this connected to the Bhoomi Pujan? In summary, the author’s reason is premised on the historical injustices meted out to the Hindus. Looked another way, the pendulum had swung way too much to the left over the preceding seventy years.

    If the above is true, we will restore secularism only when the ravages inflicted on the Hindus can be healed through restoration of their dignity by one of their own. The Bhoomi Pujan, among other such efforts, may be a manifestation of that lost Hindu glory which should not be confused with majoritarian arrogance or a loss of secularism. The author, however, has not made this assertion in the article.

  38. The way Muslims are increasing their population and proselytizing, India shall definitely turn into a Islamic nation sooner or later.

  39. Collective victimhood and collective memory is neither a good nor a bad thing, but it can get twisted into a bad thing by some misperceptions. Maybe this author doesn’t think that way, but a large number of people who are victims of victim hood will not see the past wrongs as just history . A large number of such people would equate todays Muslim of modern India with the old marauding Taimur, Khilji or Aurangzeb, whereas that is far from reality.
    No doubt the temples at Mathura and Kashi were pulled down by Mughals and such types , but in the present context we now have two thriving temples side by side with two mosques. There is no point in bringing up past rancour and projecting it onto today’s social and political climate. That is exactly the point behind the Act passed in 1991 when PVN was PM which allowed adjudication on Ayodhya but preserved the status of other shrines as they were on 15th Aug 1947. The idea was to prevent the inevitable social strife, violence and chaos that would result from victimhood taken to extremes.

  40. I am wondering how could Hindus be butchered so many times by Muslims and Christians and still Hindus have not learnt that it could happen again. There are several reasons for Hindus being defeated by Muslims and Christians. The most important to me looks to be the weaknesses of Hindu religion that were exploited by the invaders. Also Hindus’ resolve even until now is defensive. They proudly say that Hindus do not have ambitions of territorial expansion. I consider it an attempt to hide the weakness of inability of winning against the enemy nations. India must shed its fears and equip its army to defeat enemies.

  41. Secularism means,
    “to treat all religions with equal respect”.
    It is firmly BASED on Democracy, which means:
    “to treat all human beings with equal respect”.
    The two go hand in hand.
    Those who segregate among humans as directed by the Manusmriti cannot be Democratic in the true sense, so obviously they cannot be secular.
    After reading the title of this article, and its first para, I decided that it wasn’t worth wasting time on.
    This is the kind of spiel which T. S. Eliot has called, TEDIOUS ARGUMENTS OF INSIDIOUS INTENT.

    • An outstanding, hard-hitting response Mr Sanjiv Bhatla !

      Indeed, you say in few words what I – an infinitely less talented and less well-read man – say in many more words ! Please do take a look at my comment elsewhere here.

      • I read it, Kili, and I liked it. You too touched upon the FUNDAMENTAL dependence of Secularism and Democracy on each other. But you gave too many words of your opinion to this writer, Ashwin Sanghi which frankly he doesn’t deserve. The RSS types like to believe that they are saying wise things, but their words amount to “tedious arguments of insidious intent”.

        Theoretically speaking, it is possible to have Secularism without Democracy, like if a despot like Saddam Hussain decides to let Secularism breathe. But it is IMPOSSIBLE to have Democracy without Secularism: if you don’t give equal respect to another person’s religion, you are not treating that other person as your equal.
        And that is what we are observing under the present Modi-Shah rule for last 6 years. But all nights end. Even Brahma’s night ends!

      • You are very narcissistic or self conscious.!
        Too much of “I” in your letters.
        What do you say for the attempts by Muslims and Christians to change the indian demography by conversions.
        Don’t say it is permitted by constitution.
        It is against the spirit of multiculturalism.
        So called liberals frequently point out castism in Hinduism.
        Yes Hindus accept that!
        Can any liberal muslim or Christian or even so called leftist accept their philosophy “my way or highway” is wrong.

        • Mr T.S. Sridhar: Thanks for your response.

          Alas, your limp sentences do not in any manner constitute a carefully crafted, coherent counter-argument to the many observations and arguments I advance in comments and rebuttals to the article. Let me take 2 of them.

          CONVERSIONS:

          You rail against attempts by Christians and Muslims to convert Hindus, alleging that they are changing the demographics of the country. But is that illegal? And yes, as long as Articles 25 to 28 of the Constitution are in force, conversions are completely legal. As a Hindu, I personally think that telling somebody else that his religion is flawed or that he is pagan or a kafir asserting that my religion is better than yours is repugnant. But the Constitution of India, unlike that of Islamic countries like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia allows conversions. So do you want to change the Constitution and use the Saudi Arabian one as a template Mr T.S. Sridhar?

          CASTEISM:

          No religion is perfect – although Muslims and Christians might tell you otherwise. Caste has been the bane of Hinduism and people at the lower rungs of the caste system do face the wrath of the upper castes. Dalits have been attacked for sporting moustaches, riding horses during a marriage “baraath” and are even denied entry into temples. In Kerala, until the end of the 19th Century, lower caste women were forced to have their breasts appraised by a tax collector and pay a “breast tax”. Yes, reforms have ensured that such a barbaric practice has ended. But there is still a long way to go. If you deny a Dalit entry to temples, should you be surprised that he leaves Hinduism? For sure, Islam and Christianity in India practise the caste system with a greater degree of vehemence than Hindus but that is another topic. And yes, a great deal of conversions to Islam and Christianity are through inducements – often false. But as a Hindu, I restrict myself to the ills of my religion. And that begins by acknowledging that there are ills in Hinduism too. Just as the Reformation movement in Europe under Martin Luther, John Calvin etc. questioned the Christianity in the 16th century, Hinduism too has had reformers over the ages. And reform Hinduism one must even today.

  42. The author has written a brilliant article. I would also like to congratulate thePrint for giving platform to all diverse opinions and views which has become very rare these days.

    It’s about time parties from across political spectrum come to the same table and decide on what secularism should mean. Such fundamental issues can’t be left unresolved anymore.

  43. One of the best articles I have ever read in my life . Hats off to the writer and surprisingly For The Print to publish this article .

  44. India is secular because its Hindu majority. Push Hindus against a wall and the fine thread of secularism will break. This is what pseudo-seculars want.

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