Hindutva And Minority Rights
By P Victor Vijay Kumar
26 September, 2015
The texture of Indian polity has been seeing several despotic developments , especially, post 2000 period. Before, we understand that it is “sanghi” force which is picking up the momentum, we need to go a level higher and see how hindutva’s inerent nature of intolerance and self-centric development agenda is steering this momentum against culture preservation and rights of minorities in this country. Secularism, which banks on the principle of honouring every sentiment and every belief of all religions, eventually gets everyone to a social state of “ Godlessness “ or “ neutral-god” position. As such, across the world, every religion, wherever it assumes political majority, follows its own methods and modus operandi to violate the principles of secularism through its means of power to the extent it finds convenient. It is apt to take note that UN passed Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities in December 1992 considering the rights of Minorities as one of the important constituents of human rights for forward stepping of the world.
Democratization of political administration and cultural assimilation are one of the essential variables, which determine the extent of rights minorities enjoy in a country. In fact, perceiving diversity as part of normal course of development and, in fact, a coherence amongst the diversified cultures would yield a synergic expansion of any society. Diversity facilitates creativity in a society as creativity loathes monotony and uniformity. Constant and progressive change in society emerges out of social discoveries during the process of a healthy interaction amongst various cultures. Degree of perception about “ diversity conundrum ” varies in various societies. India, with its crowded castes, creeds, religions, languages, cultures, races etc. has a challenge in its door-way for economic and social expansion.
Monitory rights basically ensures protection of their culture and ensures adequate representation in political membership of a country. Majority religion , which predominantly assumes power, and has a homogenous fixed religious attitude, derives a comfort of ruling out of its ‘ sense of belongingness’ , which does not prefer deviations from other participating religions . This is the basic perception of threat in order to possess sensitivity towards minority rights, everywhere. If we look at the instance, in 1990, of denying a sikh wearing a Turban with the conventional Royal Canadian Police dress , which was, though eventually upheld the attire of the Sikh by the country’s Supreme Court, Canada saw a huge protest from nearly 2 lakh people clamouring about subdued Canadian identity.
Typical tactics followed by majority religion is, generally, to bring question of “ nation” to pitch against “ religion “ . In India , the “ nation “ has no meaning as the people have no common ethnicity nor a common cuiture except for geographical unity. The perversion of nationality in Indian context, many a times, gets converted into a moral question. When Gandhi attempted the same rule during partition of Pakistan describing it as “ moral wrong “, Ambedkar flung back to the same by asserting that “ There are very few countries in Europe , which have not undergone partition during last 150 years. This shows that the partition of a country is neither moral nor immoral. It is unmoral. It is a social, ploitical or military question. Sin has no place in it “
Secular attitude needs mutual recognition of practices and sentiments. If you look at the Hindutva philosophy, it largely remained as a means to protect the hegemony of “ Brahminism “ in its class enclosures. It created a divine philosophy around varna system and is now trying to create a “ value system “ to positively differentiate itself from other minority religions. Hindutva revolves around polytheism while almost all minority religions are monotheistic in nature. Hindutva needed numerous Gods to authenticate its act of classifying people according to their work and frugal fate, replicating the division amongst Gods as per demarcated responsibilities in their respective compartments to oversee the functioning of the world and thus legitimizing the division of people too. Typically, having created numerous Gods around its philosophy, coital relations had to be theorized too and that’s how one would see untasteful stories captured in Hindu scriptures. As this chain of entanglements to protect one flaw goes on, in the present day vibrant interactive conditions with the advent of technology, Hindutva attempts to bring in seemingly non-aggressive and ascetic life to pose a friendly face portraying ‘peace and well-wish’ as its choice.
In fact, promoting vegetarianism in directionless fashion shows its frivolous attempt to masquerade its intolerant casteist approach with a “ less blood - less sin of eating “ culture and attributing piousness to culinary habbits, though, the same is actually, unsustainable and simply vapid, as it is almost impossible to decouple the mammoth non-vegetarian industry with the rest of the economy. If you observe there is a ‘ value differentiator ‘ it creates around all the religions including borrowed ‘islamophibia’ from west. Hindutva has been attempting to differentiate the practice of writing arabic script from right to left, non-participation of muslims in mainstream jobs ( which is actually a socio-economic constraint), fooling sikhism, villifying evangelist charity etc.
Unlike their minority religions, Hindutva typically started thriving on Babas , especially since 1990s, which is, in a way, to bring in non-brahmin category into ‘ feigned priest ‘ positions without delimiting the institution of temple worship, thus expanding its spiritual base of support. As a logical corollary, Hindutva creates “ Tantra “ culture as part of Hinduism like many of its non-scriptural convenient attitude for its survival, while Brahmins still remain in a respectable and scripture-driven “ acharya “ positions to carry the divine satisfying rituals. Surreptitious creation of religious institutions could be possible as Brahminism has been indulged for ages to steer the social machinery against the interest of shudras and remain self-centric during development process of society.
There is a basic flaw in coining the term “ tolerance “. Tolerance sounds as an act of countenance what majority has towards the minority rights. Having spoken that we need “ tolerance “ in place, brahminical intellect picks up its own vocabulary to manage “ tolerance “. This wickedly undermines the importance and responsibility for harmonious relations and follow secularism, thus, remains as a comparative concept in Hindutva mindset. That is the very moment, the fictitious value differentiation created by it comes handy to exaggerate relative degree of secularism, while the spirit of secularism is absolute. Brahminism has the tendency to compromise with absolute values and follows a pattern of dealing with it. We cannot ignore how Hindutva has tried to handle human values in the guise of caste system and developed a specific pattern of functioning on its own over a period of time.
It is pertinent to remember that, while it supports division amongst people denoting it as progressive in terms of division of labour, it actually institutionalizes varied privileges and servitude to each labour activity besides delineating them across their borders. In this perspective, all basic or fundamental rights of minorities of this country gets converted into “selective rights “ in real practice while they must remain as “ guarantees “all the time on 24X7 basis. If we have a glance at the constitution, we don’t have a specific definition of “minorities” embedded in the constitution and Article 29 and 30 recognises mainly rights of sections pertaining to “ language, script and culture “. Ambedkar indicates that drafting committee had left the definition open so as to give a broader perspective to the same. Though National Commission for Minorities Act ( passed in May 1992 while ironically Babari masjid demolition happened in December 1992) , for the purpose of defining its largely-defunct responsibilities, identified who are all minorities. However, if you would see the legal history, brahminical smoke filled courts did attempt to figuratively simplify the problem leaving the definition to States’ discretion. It stupefies to know that it took 67 years to classify Jains as minorities, only in 2014, through a Central Government notification and many state Governments are still under the process to fall in line. The possible hiccups created for welfare and development of minority flows from a supposition to treat ‘ religious non-conformity ‘ as ‘ political non-conformity ‘.
Reclamation of lost values of human respect and honouring opposite individual’s sentiments turning more complex day by day under the political order of Hindutva in this country. Aggressive uprising of Hindutva forces in the recent times is not just accidental or momentary or it is just floated by one political party. Brahminist founded Hindutva continues its vehement efforts to ensure graded parity in culture, values, polity, economy etc. The question of minority rights, while its all over the world a menace subject of discussion, Hindutva has specific peculiarities in dealing with minority rights. Further, the Hindu religion is way older than its counter religious minorities, trying to undergo a metamorphosis to protect its identity using all feudal and capitalist means possible. In that sense, Ambedkar desired unification of purpose of Hindu untouchables and muslim ( religious) minorities to combat Hindutva – “ There are many orders in the Hindu society whose economic, political and social needs are the same as those of majority of the muslims and they would be far more ready to make a common cause with the Muslims for achieving common ends than they would with the high-caste of Hindus who have denied and deprived them of ordinary human rights for centuries. To pursue such course cannot be called adventure. Herein lay the most fruitful method of achieving communal harmony among Hindus and Muslims and of destroying the danger of Hindu Raj “ is something the secularist activists, hopefully, would understand this, in letter and spirit.
P V Vijay Kumar, by profession, is a CFO of a an infrastructure company based out of Hyderabad. He is the first Dalit CFO in private industry in large scale sector in Andhra Pradesh. He has been a cultural critic, analyst and writer. He has authored various articles in telugu and English. Few inks pertaining to his writings are given below. The author can be reached at his face book account P V Vijay Kumar or at the email – email@example.com
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