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July 27, 2000
Are Hindus cowards?
Muslims are bullies and Hindus cowards,' Mahatma Gandhi once said. He was right -- at least about Hindus. There has been in the past 1,400 years, since the first invasions started, very few Shivajis and Rajput princes to fight the bloody rule of the Moghuls, or hardly any Rani of Jhansis to stand against the humiliating colonial yoke of the British. If a nation's soul is measured by the courage of its children, then India is definitely doomed.
Without the Sikhs, whose bravery is unparalleled in the more recent history of India, Hindus would have even lost additional land to Muslim invaders and there would have been infinitely more massacres of Hindus by Muslims during the first weeks of Partition.
Are Hindus more courageous since they have an independent nation? (Thanks -- not to the non-violence of Gandhi -- but to the true nationalists such as Sri Aurobindo and Tilak, who prepared the ground for the Mahatma at the beginning of the century.) Not at all. Because of Nehru's absurd and naïve 'Hindi-Chini-bhai-bhai' policy, the Indian army was shamefully routed in 1962 by the Chinese, a humiliation which rankles even today.
Beijing is still able to hoodwink Indian politicians by pretending it has good intentions, through the interviews the Chinese leaders very generously give to The Hindu newspaper (which should rightly be called the 'anti-Hindu') and Frontline ('the mouthpiece in India for the Chinese Communist party'), while quietly keeping on giving nuclear know-how to Pakistan, as well as the missiles to carry their atomic warheads to Indian cities, arm separatists groups in the northeast and continuing to claim Arunachal Pradesh or Sikkim.
Everywhere in the world, Hindus are hounded, humiliated, routed, be it in Fiji where, once more, an elected democratic government was deposed in an armed coup or in Pakistan and Bangladesh, where Muslims indulge in pogroms against Hindus every time they want to vent their hunger against India (read Taslima Nasreen's Lajja).
In Kashmir, the land of yogis, where Hindu sadhus and sages have meditated for 5,000 years, Hindus have been chased out of their ancestral home by death, terror and intimidation. There were 25 per cent of Hindus at the beginning of the century in the Kashmir valley… and hardly a handful today.
And how did India start the new millennium? By surrendering as a lamb goes to the slaughterhouse to a handful of terrorists who took over Flight IC 814 from Kathmandu to Delhi, (Nepal is another small, inconsequential country, which owes its culture to India but keeps on indulging India's enemies, whether Pakistan or China.) India had the opportunity to storm the plane when it landed in Amritsar, at a time when the militants had not been furnished with explosives and more guns by the Taliban, but it did nothing thanks to bureaucratic bungling and sheer incapability.
And not only did this Hindu government (yes, BJP/Hindu, not Congress/secular) make an ass of itself by calling the Taliban 'friendly,' whereas all along the Taliban only helped the terrorists, but also by its weak 'Gandhian' attitude, it lost any credibility in a world, where Might is the only criteria, as the US proves to us every day.
And what happens when there is ONE man in India -- whatever his faults, quirks, or excesses -- who dares to call a spade a spade, is not afraid of words and is ready to stand-up for his opinions? Not only, of course, is he attacked by Christians and Muslims, but he is also hounded by his own brothers and sisters, the "secular" Hindus, the human rights activists, the journalists, the police, the (Congress) politicians! Are Hindus so intent to show the world that not only are they cowards but also idiots? This man, of course, is Bal Thackeray.
When Bal Thackeray said many years ago that there was no point in playing cricket against Pakistan as long as Islamabad was sending militants to kill and maim into Indian territory, he was ridiculed by the secular press as fanatic and un-sportive (and cricket is certainly not a gentleman's game, as the recent scandal has shown). But he was proved right, when during Kargil, India refused -- for once -- to play cricket with Pakistan.
When he says too, that since 14 centuries, Muslims always strike first against Hindus, he has another good point, for those who live in Indian cities which have important Muslim minorities will tell you that every time there are Hindu-Muslim riots, it is the Muslims who start them, either by attacking the police, or by provoking the Hindus.
And this is exactly what happened in Mumbai after the Ayodhya mosque was brought down by Hindu militants: Muslims, angry with the "terrible" affront done to Islam, started pelting the police with stones and burning shops; but unfortunately for the Muslims, they found that for once, the Hindus, under the leadership of the Shiv Sena, retaliated blow for blow -- an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth -- as the Israelis, who have been for so long at the receiving end of Muslim bullying, say so well.
It is not for us to condone violence: But how long can the Hindus be the butt of killings and persecution, be sacrificial lambs that meekly go to the slaughter house? For, in a way, Gandhi was right: Muslims are bullies, they have bullied India and they continue to bully Hindu India, as Pakistan has demonstrated by receiving a well-meaning but naïve Vajpayee at Lahore, while its soldiers were quietly invading the heights above Kargil; or as Musharraf shows by giving gullible Indian journalists pep talks about how he wants peace with India while Islamabad is still training and arming murderous jihadis for Kashmir.
And what monstrous murder was Bal Thackeray accused of? What crime against humanity had he committed? He was accused of having written two 'inflammatory' editorials in the Shiv Sena's mouthpiece. Editorials? Inflammatory? But did Bal Thackeray ever kill anyone? Are not the leaders of the Muslim organisation which spearheaded the recent bombing of churches in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, to sow disharmony between Christians and Hindus, still scot-free, by pretending that they believe in secularism? Has 'Tiger' Memon, who planted deadly bombs in Mumbai in 1992, ever been caught and brought to court? Are not the Muslim organisations, which organised the bomb attacks in Coimbatore a few years back, still functioning under different names?
The truth is that there are two standards in India -- one for the Hindus and one for the Muslims. Did the "fanatic" Hindus who brought down the mosque in Ayodhya (and brought shame onto secular India, according to the Indian media) kill or even injure anyone in the process? No. But Muslims do not have such qualms. When Gandhi said they were bullies, he was being very nice or very polite. For, forget about the millions of Hindus killed during the ten centuries of Muslim invasions, probably the worst holocaust in world history; forget about the hundreds of thousands of Hindu temples razed to the ground, whose destruction -- whatever our "secular" Hindus of today say -- was carefully recorded by the Muslims themselves, because they were proud of it (see Aurangzeb's chronicles); forget about the millions of Hindus forcibly converted to Islam and who sadly are now rallying under a banner, a language, a scripture which have nothing to do with their own ethos and culture.
This is not to say that all Muslims are fanatics; on the contrary, many of India's Muslims are extremely gentle and their sense of hospitality unsurpassed. The same thing can be said about Pakistan: Pakistani politicians, for instance, are much more accessible than Indian politicians and Pakistan has its own identity which cannot be wished away.
No, the problem is not with Muslims, whether they are Indians or Pakistanis, the problem is with Islam, which teaches Indian Muslims from an early age to look beyond their national identity to a country -- the Mecca, in Saudi Arabia -- which is not their country, to read a scripture which is not written in their own language, to espouse a way of thinking, which is inimical to their own roots and indigenous culture. Indian Muslims, have to think of themselves first as Indians and only secondly as Muslims. Muslim soldiers fighting against Pakistan in Kargil have shown the way.
Yesterday and also today, when the Muslim world feels it has been slighted in even a small measure by Hindus, these infidels who submitted meekly to Muslim rule for ten centuries, it retaliates a hundred fold -- this is the only way one intimidates cowards. After Ayodhya, Pakistan, with the help of Indian Muslims, planted bombs in the heart of Mumbai and killed a thousand innocent human beings, most of them, once more, Hindus.
Tomorrow, Pakistan might wage, with the blessing of the Muslim world, the ultimate jihad against India, which if necessary, will utilise the ultimate weapon, nuclear bombs. For has not the Koran said 'Choose not thy friends among the infidels till they forsake their homes and the way of idolatry. If they return to paganism then take them whenever you find them and kill them.' (Koran, 98:51-9:5-4:89)?
Unfortunately for India, the British, when they were here, had created an intellectual elite to act as a via media between themselves and the "natives," which today, thanks to the successive Congress governments, looks at its own country not by means of its own Indian eyes but through a western prism, as fashioned by the white colonisers and the missionaries. These Brown Sahibs, these true children of Macaulay, the secular politicians, the journalists, the top bureaucrats, in fact the whole westernised cream of India, are very critical of anything Hindu. And what is even more paradoxical is that 98 per cent of them are Hindus!
It is they who, upon getting independence, have denied India its true identity and have borrowed blindly from the British education system without trying to adapt it to the unique Indian mentality and psychology; and it is they who are refusing to accept a change of India's education system, which is totally Western-oriented and is churning out machines, learning by heart boring statistics which are of little usefulness in life. And what India is getting from this education is a youth which apes the West: They go to McDonald's, thrive on MTV culture, wear the latest Klein jeans and Lacoste T-shirts, and in general are useless, rich parasites in a country which has so many talented youngsters who live in poverty.
They will grow-up like millions of other Western clones in the developing world who wear a tie, read The New York Times and swear by liberalism and secularism to save their countries from doom. In time, they will reach elevated positions and write books and articles which make fun of their own country, ridicule the Bal Thackerays of India and put them in jail; they will preside over human rights committees, be "secular" high bureaucrats who take the wrong decisions and generally do tremendous harm to India because it has been programmed in their genes to always run down their own country.
It is said a nation has to be proud of itself to move forward and unless there is a big change in this intellectual elite, unless it is more conscious of its heritage and of India's greatness, which has begun to happen in a small way, it is going to be very difficult for India to emerge as a real 21st century superpower.
One would be tempted to say in conclusion: 'Arise ô Hindus, stop being cowards, remember that a nation requires Kshatriyas, warriors, to defend knowledge, to protect one's women and children, to guard one's borders from the enemy….'
And do Indians need a Bal Thackeray to remind them of that simple truth?
The author, correspondent in South Asia for Le Figaro, France's largest circulated daily, will release his new book Arise Ô India (Har-Anand) on August 25.
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