I read with interest an article aligning democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard with the RSS and BJP of India. The RSS and the BJP are described as “far right party” and the RSS is described as a “Hindu militant organization that hates minorities.”
The RSS is a Hindu socio cultural organization that has Hinduism as its ideology. This ideology was developed by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar or Veer Savarkar (1883-1966). Hindutva embraces all religious strains but identifies the culture of India as Hindu. It is like being Hindu or Christian in the USA and recognizing the history of the US and the role played by the founding fathers.
Unfortunately, the Muslims and Christians have no respect for India’s heritage and want to supplant it with their Abrahamic ideologies. For example, the birthplace of Ram was destroyed by an invader named Babur (1453-1530) and a mosque was erected on the site. The Hindus want this historical injustice corrected. Thousands of temples were demolished by Muslims which Hindus have overlooked. However, with Rama being a central personality in the religious and cultural lore of the country, the Hindus are demanding that this site be returned so that a temple dedicated to Ram can be erected. Can you imagine Hindus demolishing the Kaaba in Mecca and erecting a temple on its site! What would be the reaction of the Muslim world?
Abrahamic religions are responsible for the many wars fought in the name of God. In India it was acceptable that one King challenges another King for his throne and if a King is defeated the society continues with the average man or woman going about his daily business and paying his taxes.
The conquest of Sind in India by Mohammed bin Qasim was not an exercise in chivalry but an attack on the ordinary men and women after the defeat of the King. Places of worship were destroyed, warriors were beheaded, women were made concubines and slaves, etc. It was a most strange and shocking experience for Hindus. People had seen Kings defeated but never this murderous assault on their way of life.
Hindus were given three options: death, conversion or migration. Those who were allowed to live were made second class citizens and had to pay a poll tax called the jizya. Hindus who could not pay the tax, opted for conversion.
Photo : Imran Khan
Members of the warrior cast were beheaded or made to do the most menial task like cleaning latrines. But not all the warriors succumbed to Islamic rule. Guru Gobind Singh, Rana Partap and Shivaji among others fought the Muslim invaders to the bitter end. When the British arrived in India the Moghul rule was already in decline.
Kashmir is the sacred land of Hindus. Mount Kailash and the Amarnath Caves, the abode of Lord Shiva, are located in Kashmir. The Muslim majority of Kashmir wants to stop the Hindu pilgrims from making their annual pilgrimage to the holy sites.
A mountain range in Kashmir is called the Hindu Kush or Hindu blood. It was given that name to celebrate the massacre of Hindus and the conquest of the territory. For centuries until the 1990 there has been rapes, forced conversion, murders and expulsion of Hindus and Buddhists and the destruction of their places of worship.
Few speak about the expulsion of more than 500,000 Kashmiri Brahmins from Kashmir Valley in 1990. Today those Hindus are refugees in their own homeland. The Kashmiri Pandits, fearful for their lives, cannot return to their own homes.
The Muslims of India are a vote bank for the Indian National Congress and for this reason are given special concessions, one of which was Article 370 that allowed only Muslims to live, work and own properties in Kashmir. Now the Modi government has annulled Article 370.
A separate Civil Code allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives by texting or repeating triple talak-I divorce you thrice. Today that law has been annulled by the Modi government to the jubilation of Muslim women across India.
It is clear that Muslims in India are afraid of equality before the law. The subsidy for Muslims traveling to Mecca for Haj has been removed by the Modi government. The Modi government is striving to bring equality in all aspects of society. Today, with the removal of Article 370 Kashmir is legally opened to all Indians to own property, work, do business and build places of worship including temples.
Diversity is something that must be embraced. It is the nature of the world. It is time that Muslims wake up to this reality and stop believing otherwise. Muslims are a minority in the countries of the west. They have no choice but aspire to live in harmony with their non-Muslim neighbors and abide by the laws of the land. Why can’t Kashmiri Muslims do the same in India?
India has more than 201 million Muslims or 11% of the Indian population. If Pakistan has the right to Kashmir because it is a Muslim majority state, then it should open its arm to embrace all Muslims from India. The reality is that Indian Muslims are not interested in migrating to Pakistan!
The RSS/BJP are only working to provide equal status to all Indians irrespective of their religious, caste or gender backgrounds. Are Muslims afraid of EQUALITY? Globalization is bringing people from diverse cultures and religions closer together. This is the reality of the world and anyone who fails to accept this reality is just being foolhardy.