"To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance".
--- Eric Hoffer
In recent years, the Indian Muslims have started talking about Hindu terrorism as if all the problems in Kashmir and elsewhere in India are mostly due to the Hindu intolerance towards Muslims. They have successfully fooled few third rated thinkers with their half truths and some politicians at times like to promote Muslim's views of Hindu terrorism. Because of this, in India, recently a new term is coined – the 'Saffron terror', which is allegedly inspired by Hindu fundamentalism. Since Saffron terror is relatively a newer issue, the present author wants to discuss a bit about the origin and the significance of the Saffron and how much link does it have with terrorism.
The ancient India, as historians recorded, was a self-contained world. The sacred soil of this holy land was not only a land of spirituality, philosophy and self-realization but also a land of peace, culture, music, dance and literature for thousands of years till the time an army of 'half humanized half ape' Bedouin barbarians attacked this holy land with sword in one hand and a demonic book 'Qur'an' in other hand. This ancient nation is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.
Saffron is the only color that can symbolize all aspects of Hinduism and other Indian religions. It is the color of 'Agni' or fire, which symbolizes the Supreme Being. Fire worship had its origin in the Vedic age. The saffron color, also auspicious to the Sikhs, the Buddhists and the Jains, seems to have obtained religious significance much before these religions came into being. During olden days, when sages moved from one ashram (a religious hermitage) to another, it was customary to carry the fire along. But it was inconvenient to carry a burning substance over long distances. This had given rise to the symbol of a saffron flag, a symbol for flames. Triangular and often forked saffron flags are seen fluttering atop most Sikh and Hindu temples. While Sikhs regard it as a militant color, Buddhist monks and Hindu saints wear robes of this color as a mark of renunciation of material life. Saffron is the symbol of united India.
By coining a controversial term like 'Saffron terror', the Muslims linked Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains with terrorism. In support of their views, Muslims give examples of LTTEs (Tamil tigers who were Hindus) and Sikh terrorists used for Khalistanis. No doubt the Tamil tigers were mostly Hindus but they were not motivated by religion. What LTTE had been doing for decades was undoubtedly terrorism, but it does not qualify as something that can be called 'Hindu terrorism' because religion was not the driving force or ideology behind their insurgency. It's more of 'race', 'language' and 'politics' than religion. Secondly, LTTE movement was mainly a 'local' problem in northern part of Sri Lanka, not as widespread as Islamic terrorism which is a serious threat to the whole world. Islamic terrorists are absolutely motivated by religion and therefore it would be illogical to compare Muslim terrorists with LTTEs. Similarly Khalistani movement was also a 'local' issue. Moreover today both LTTE and Khalistani movement are in history, but Islamic terrorism is at its peak.
Secondly, there is nothing like 'worldly brotherhood' among Hindus or Sikhs so that in other countries they start targeting each other citing the atrocities in Sri Lanka or in Punjab. In the case of Islam, religion has become most important issue. Nationality and race have practically no significance. Because of this, any perceived atrocity against Muslims in any corner of the world is being avenged by taking lives of completely unrelated innocent people somewhere else in the name of Allah. This 'global link' of religion is nonexistent not only amongst Hindus but practically to any other religion except Islam. There is Muslim 'Ummah', but there is no Hindu 'Ummah'. Hence; Hindu and Sikh terrorists do not exist on global chart but Muslim terrorists exist. Correlating Buddhists and Jains with terrorism is an absurd thought.
Third; there is no inter-religious terrorism (as example, Shia- Sunni, Sunni-Sufi, Sunni-Ahmedi conflicts and bombing each other's mosques) amongst Hindus as we see in Islam.
Forth; unlike Muslims, the Indian Hindus do not kill or imprison their critics. Constructive criticism of Hinduism is always welcome by the Hindus. Apostasy is regarded as a private choice. No Indian religion has ever been spread by sword or deception. The strength of all the Indian religions is in 'Yogic Meditation', not conversion. A religion whose strength is in politics of conversion is not an Indian religion.
Fifth; Islam promotes suicide terrorism but Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs or Jains strongly condemn it. All Indian religions talk about spiritual upbringing of the soul through meditation and self-realization and not about death and worldly pleasures after death.
Hinduism is the oldest religion and it survived all attacks because it is a tolerant religion. Hinduism talks about "Sarva dharma sambhava" (equal respect for all religions) (Ralhan, 1999, p.1046). This ancient faith is also known as 'Sanatana Dharma' (Eternal religion) and the five principal virtues prescribed by all schools of Sanatana Dharma are non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity and non-covetousness (Saraf, 1996, p.60). Do the Muslims find all these virtues in the teaching of Muhammad?
Therefore there are sufficient evidences that the holy Saffron color has nothing to do with terrorism. Rather it had been associated with sacrifice and salvation. The Hindu 'Sanyasis' (a Hindu who has no attachments to worldly things) and the Buddhist monks who have left their home in search of the ultimate truth had been wearing this color for several thousand years before the birth of Islam. The term Saffron terror is a deliberate misinformation. Muslims use this term for obvious reasons and some Indian politicians use it for Muslim sycophancy. This is the famous vote-bank politics of India.
The present author, though born and brought up in Hindu culture, is not a Hindu apologist. He is not associated with any political or religious organization in India or abroad. As a Humanist, he certainly does not support any kind of religious intolerance and firmly believes in religious harmony and peaceful coexistence. If intolerance is really on the rise amongst Indian Hindus, it needs to be exposed and strong corrective action needs to be taken before it flourishes. Now let us have a look at the positions of the Hindus and Muslims on global chart.
First of all; it is known to the world that Muslims cannot coexist peacefully within the same nation and society anywhere in the world. They breed and multiply very fast and ultimately eat away the very culture of their host nation and try to replace it with a seventh century barbaric mentality. They demand honor and dignity from the non-Muslims but give them hate, death and destruction in return. Once they achieve power, they start ethnic cleansing of the aboriginal. In every corner of the world, the Muslim mentality is same with hardly any exception.
A large number of Indian Hindus and Sikhs have settled in the West. They mostly adapt the culture of their host nation with respect and always eager to be an essential part of the host nation both economically, socially and even politically. The Westerners have observed this basic difference between the Hindu, Sikh immigrants and the Muslim immigrants. In fact the truth is so prominent that even the Muslims cannot deny this.
The Indian work force in Western nations is the brightest and the best with enormous creative and entrepreneurial energy. In home as well, India is becoming the hub for a fast-changing global economy. Today under the brilliant leadership of our present Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, the great nation India is rising as a country filled with pride in her abilities, confidence in what it can achieve and will have the world as her playground. Today the Hindus are roaring like tigers in global jungle proud and fearless and outperforming the world.
Now let us look at our next-door neighbors Pakistan and Afghanistan, These two terrorist nations are trapped between Allah and army. If we borrow words from Cameron (Daily Times, 2010), Pakistan has become a base for militants and "promote the export of terror" across the globe. The pitiful neighbors not only have reached rock bottom, but now have started to dig even deeper. These two failed Islamic states set very low goals of achievement and then consistently fail to achieve that also. Large parts of the country are lawless and rebellious. By its own admission, the governments are unable to control home-grown terrorism or to rein in every jihadi group.
So, before the Indian Muslims talk about Hindu terrorism, they should look at the decades-old devil-dance of their ideological brothers and partners in faith at Pakistan and Afghanistan and their 'wonderful' contribution to the world. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others. How can we forget the famous quote of Dr. Zakir Naik, 'Every Muslim should be a terrorist'? (Downing, 2009, p.354)
In fact, Muslims calling the Hindus intolerant is not a new topic. Indian Muslims demanded Pakistan because they found the Hindus intolerant. But more than half of the Muslims remained in India after the partition. This clearly proves that the theory of Hindu intolerance towards Muslims was bogus. Secondly, in India there are minority Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains who never complain about Hindu fanaticism. There is near-total ethnic cleansing of Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh; but if Hindus are really fanatic, why the world does not see same type of ethnic cleansing of the Muslims or other minorities in the Hindu majority India? If the Hindus do not want the minorities to rise, then how the Christians and the Sikhs are prospering in India?
Religion and politics are well separated in India. Religion has no role in politics and any mention of it in practical matters is just irrational. Despite Hindu majority, India is not a Hindu nation and Hinduism is not the state religion of India. In fact India was never a Hindu nation with the right meaning of the term like Islamic nation where religion paralyses the democratic system.
Though India is in a far and far better position under Hindu majority than any other Muslim majority nation, in recent years, we find some intolerant Hindus, mostly loonies and misguided people, showing certain degree of intolerance towards Muslims. Their logic is simple. They believe that if Muslims cannot coexist peacefully with them in areas where Muslims are a majority, why should Hindus be forced to live peacefully with Muslims where Hindus are a majority? If Muslims are killing Hindus in Kashmir, then what wrong it is to kill the Muslims in Gujarat?
This is a distorted logic. An eye for an eye cannot be the norm of a civilized society. It also goes against the age-old teaching of Hinduism. If the vast majority of the Hindus are misguided by this logic, which is most unlikely to happen in the future, India will become a mirror image of Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is a fate the Indians should avoid at all costs because it means not only destroying the core values of Indian culture and civilization but our prosperity and success in global arena. Today India is making astronomical progress in the areas of economy and trade, science and technology, medicine, energy, education, space and ocean exploration, defense, culture, entertainment, sports and people-to-people contacts. Tomorrow India will have to take the responsibility to provide leadership to the world.
Strange but true that these Hindu lunatics are byproduct of Islamic threat to India. History demonstrates that intolerance and fanaticism in one religion provokes intolerance and fanaticism in other religions. This is a defense mechanism and very much normal. Before the advent of Islam, Hinduism was an extremely liberal religion and the Hindus were hardly united in religious faith. There were several sects and sub-sects who were not at all perturbed by the differences of the religious values of others and lived in harmony with one another. A large part of India united under the banner of Hinduism only when Islam started bloodshed on Indian soil as if all the sects and sub-sects suddenly realized their oneness and religious singularity. The Sikh religion was formed from Hinduism to protect India from Islamic assault. This way, the Sikhs are inseparable from the Hindus. Every Sikh is a warrior Hindu duty-bound to protect India from Muslim aggression.
Because of the threat of Islam, religious intolerance is on the rise not only in Hinduism but to various degrees in Christianity and Buddhism as well. The Western Christians are uniting to save their land, religious values and culture from Islamic aggression. There are many strong anti-Islam groups in Nepal, Israel, UK, USA, Germany and France and they often work in close connection with one another to save their countrymen. The Thai and Vietnamese Buddhists are protesting against Muslims for the same reason. This is patriotism. But when we see that a Florida-based Church announced plans to burn copies of the Qur'an on church grounds to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it is religious fanaticism.
Similar to the Qur'an burning threat, a prominent aspiring young politician from India showed his religious fanaticism when he called to behead the Muslims in a public speech. Surprisingly another very powerful and controversial Indian politician, an octogenarian, founder and chief of a Hindu nationalist organization who has his base at Mumbai (a commercial city in the western part of India) supported the young politician's derogatory views. This octogenarian is very vocal in his controversial opposition to people who migrate to Mumbai, especially Muslims. He has urged the Hindus to start calling India 'Hindu Rashtra' (Hindu nation) by mentioning that only Hinduism to be honored in India. Not only this, in 2002 this powerful politician issued a call to form a Hindu suicide squad to counter alleged Muslim violence (Puniyani, 2006, p. 123). When he called for a Hindu suicide squad, two retired generals from Indian army actually started such a camp and commenced giving training to some aspiring suicide bombers (Soondas, 2002). However, police intervened in time and the camps were closed.
Religious fanaticism attracts more loonies, fascists and racists. Though Hinduism preaches nonviolence but given the size of India's Hindu population, it would be surprising if there were no loonies at all within the community. Hence, the right-minded Indian citizens should draw a strong boundary line between patriotism and fanaticism. For a true Indian, a pinch of soil of India is more precious than gold. Loving own motherland and sacrificing for her is a matter of honor, pride and dignity but fanaticism is a matter of shame.
These fascists and the lunatics are always around in every religious and political organization. The political parties use these people very skillfully. This is because, for rational people religion may be a simple and private matter, but for political parties, it means vote bank. The problem is not faith or even the fanaticism, but the forthcoming elections. These lunatics exist and they will continue to exist. It is the duty of the organization not to defend these people who openly call for murder and destruction. These people should not be encouraged or hidden away. They must be dismissed in public.
By hook or by crook, if such a fanatic comes into power, it might prove to be a disaster for the whole nation. We all know how Hitler had destroyed his country when he carried the mob with him in the name of patriotism. As someone said very rightly that, the most civilized state is not further from barbarism than the most polished steel from rust. Revenge never stops. Blood cannot be washed away with more blood. India is the sacred land of Saints and Rishis (composers of Vedic hymns). This land is also called Devbhoomi (the land of Gods) and Punyabhoomi (the land of pious activities). Here we do not need a leader who openly declares that he would behead the Muslims if he comes to power. We do not need a fanatic who wants to set up Hindu suicide squad to confront Islamic terrorism. We do not want a psychopath in patriot's clothing like Hitler or Stalin to rule this sacred land of Gandhi.
We humans are yet in an early hour of the morning of our history. The civilized life of the Human species is hardly ten thousand years old. Even in this short period many empires and civilizations have appeared and disappeared. Many of these empires and civilizations were much greater, much stronger and much richer in spirituality than Hinduism yet they collapsed and took a permanent resting place in history within very short decades after they separated from law, justice and humanity and gave way to barbarism, bloodshed & chaos in the name of religion.
We Hindus should not think that our religion is the final expression of Human wisdom. If we believe in the moral government of the world, Hindu civilization will survive another several thousand years if it strictly adheres to the principles of love, brotherhood, toleration and moral values. Otherwise, this oldest civilization of five thousand years will not take another fifty years to disappear if it does not conform to them. There is absolutely no 'must' about the survival of any civilization. Let the Hindus take this lesson from history before it is too late.
1. Daily Times (2010); Pakistan must not promote export of terror: Cameron. Published on 29th July / 2010 in Daily Times (a newspaper published from Pakistan).
2. Downing, Terry Reese (2009); Martyrs in Paradise: Woman of Mass Destruction. Author House Publication. Bloomington. USA.
3. Puniyani, Ram (2006); Contours of Hindu Rashtra: Hindutva, Sangh Parivar, and contemporary politics. Kalpaz Publications. New Delhi. India.
4. Ralhan, Om Prakash (1999); Post-independence India, Volumes 33-50. Encyclopaedia of Political Parties. Anmol Publications Pvt Ltd. New Delhi. India.
5. Saraf, D. N (1996); Power unlimited: relation of man with God. Abhinav Publications. New Delhi. India.
6. Soondas, Anand (2002); Sena land sires suicide camps. November 15, 2002 issue, The Telegraph (a newspaper published from Kolkata).
Author can be contacted at email@example.com
comments powered by Disqus