Pravin Togadia of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was recently prevented from making a speech in Trivandrum. The district authorities, supported by the ruling Congress-led government of A K Antony, prohibited him from addressing a meeting organised by a Hindu Unity Foundation, on the topic of the rights of Hindus. The reason given? That Togadia had come to Maraad, Kerala some months ago and given a speech 'instigating communal bias,' even though he had promised that he wouldn't.
This, it was felt, was enough reason to walk all over his constitutional right of free expression and his right to propagate his religion, both of which are brandished endlessly by the usual suspects whenever Christians and Muslims are caught red-handed fomenting communal violence or conversion.
I don't exactly know what Togadia said in Maraad. But let us remember that Maraad is the place in Malabar where Muslims massacred eight unarmed Hindu fishermen with malice aforethought on May 2, 2003. They had planned the attack well, to ensure that they could inflict maximum damage and melt away in the confusion at dusk, and they even stored the bloodstained weapons in a mosque. So what might Togadia have said?
Maraad is worrying precisely because of the 1921 Moplah Rebellion. Muslims, allegedly unhappy about the disbanding of the Caliphate in distant Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Pasha and the British, went on a rampage against their Hindu neighbours who had done neither them, nor the Caliphate, any harm, nor provoked them in any way. Apparently the Muslims wanted to kill Britons, but since none were available, they killed Hindus.
In the words of B R Ambedkar, not known to be excessively fond of Hindus, 'The Hindus were visited by a dire fate at the hands of the Moplas. Massacres, forcible conversions, desecration of temples, foul outrages upon women, such as ripping open pregnant women, pillage, arson and destruction -- in short, all the accompaniments of brutal and unrestrained barbarism, were perpetrated freely by the Moplas upon the Hindus The number of Hindus who were killed, wounded or converted is not known. But the number must have been enormous.' (page 163, Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches Vol 8).
There is more, too: consider an article in the Chennai newspaper called The Hindu, dated March 24, 2004, titled 'Swords recovered from Marad area.' Apparently five more swords had been found in a field. 'The police had earlier seized about 50 swords and other weapons from the Marad Juma Masjid and other places on the beach.' And so if there was such a well-planned operation, would Togadia have been at fault in warning Hindus to beware? Surely they have the right to self-defence?
The Catholic Pope came to India a few years ago and gave a fundamentalist and insensitive speech. Violating the atithi maryada of not embarrassing one's hosts, he showed his disdain for the religions and cultures of Asia, expressing his wish for a 'harvest' of souls of Asia in this millennium. Mocking Deepavali, he suggested that true light is only in the acceptance of Christian dogma. What he did not acknowledge is key: that the native religions of Asia are valid spiritual paths. He did not ask his flock to live in peace with them: cross planting is all he was interested in. This qualifies as communal, provocative speech. No wonder China, Sri Lanka and many other Asian nations refused to allow him to visit, anticipating this.
This is the same Pope who complains that Protestants are preying upon his flock like wolves in Latin America. This is the same person who has apologized, on various visits to West Asia and elsewhere, to Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Jews, and so forth, about the depradations wrought on them by his church in centuries past. But he has never felt obliged to apologize to Hindus for the great sins committed against them by his cohorts. For instance, the Inquisition in Goa, the destruction of Hindu temples like Chennai's Kapaleeshwar, and sundry other acts.
Yet, unlike native son Togadia whose freedom of speech has been violated, the Pope, a foreign prince and ruler of Vatican City, was allowed free rein. The chatterati of the English language media in India, and the Nehruvian Stalinists who claim to be the conscience-keepers of India, all nodded their approval of the old Polish man's one-sided fundamentalism; just as they applauded the violation of Togadia's rights as a citizen of India.
This is just one example of the double standards that are practiced in India. In summary, here is the truth. A Hindu, or Sikh, or Jain, or Buddhist, or even a Parsi, has no rights in India. A Muslim, Christian or Marxist, especially a foreigner with white skin, has ten times more rights than a poor brown-skinned member of Indic religions.
For instance, consider the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 in New Delhi. Thousands were hunted down like so much vermin, burned alive, raped, murdered in cold blood immediately after Indira Gandhi's assassination. According to the Nanavati Commission, a number of Congress bigwigs, such as Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, were responsible for instigating the violence against Sikhs.
Yet, wonder of wonders, these selfsame Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler find themselves as Sonia Congress candidates from New Delhi for the 2004 election. Yes, clearly, the Congress is extremely 'secular.' I do hope all Sikhs will remember how much the Congress cares about their sentiments. Or about their lives.
Oh, by the way, another very 'secular' new member of the Congress: Syed Shahabuddin, perhaps the most stubbornly obscurantist Muslim in India, or at least the one who is most willing to admit it. In one of his articles, in the Pioneer in 2002, Shahabuddin says: 'As followers of a strictly monotheistic religion, Muslims tend to look with surprise, sometime with horror and even derision, at the worship of objects and persons, living or non living. Monotheism tends to breed a sense of religious superiority in the average Muslim.' How secular indeed!
Similarly, when foreign white Christian missionary Graham Staines was murdered, the system lost no time in sentencing native son Dara Singh for the crime. In most countries, citizens have greater rights than foreigners; in the US, visa violators are treated very harshly. But in India, the reverse is true, even though Staines was violating his (tourist) visa: according to the court judgment in the Dara Singh trial, 'Graham Staines's missionary activities did lead to conversion of tribals belonging to Ho and Santal tribes to Christianity.' This is illegal, as there is no such thing as a missionary visa.
Citizens, especially of Indic religious persuasion, are attacked and killed routinely, sometimes by foreign terrorists, sometimes by local terrorists of the Muslim and Christian persuasion. Consider the case of Shanti Tripura. Shanti who, you ask. Precisely the point. He was a Hindu priest shot in his temple on August 28, 2000 by Christian fundamentalist terrorists of the NLFT in Tripura. But did his case get an iota of the publicity that Staines's case got? In fact, did his case get any publicity at all? Of course not. Did his murderers ever get caught? Of course not.
These cases are symptomatic of a large disease: the systematic and endemic apartheid against Indians of Indic religions. Laws are interpreted to give the maximum benefit of the doubt to those of Christian, Muslim and Marxist religious faiths; but turn around, and these laws are interpreted extremely stringently for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. This is very similar to how the US discriminates vigorously against its black population, and how apartheid South Africa discriminated against its own non-whites.
This disdain for the civil and human rights of Indic religionists is endemic amongst the 'secular progressives,' who for reasons unknown, are solidly anti-Indic. They are happy to make excuses for Muslims if they attack Hindus. Here, for instance is what one such worthy said, in the aftermath of the Godhra massacre, where 59 Hindu pilgrims were burned to death on a train, as reported by The Washington Post.
Teesta Setalvad, head of Communalism Combat, a group that opposes religious extremism in India, said that 'while I condemn today's gruesome attack, you cannot pick up an incident in isolation. Let us not forget the provocation. These people were not going for a benign assembly. They were indulging in blatant and unlawful mobilisation to build a temple and deliberately provoke the Muslims in India.'
If she were truly even-handed, Teesta Setalvad could have said the following about the ensuing Gujarat riots: 'While I condemn the gruesome violence in Gujarat, you cannot pick up an incident in isolation. Let us not forget the provocation. These people were not going for a benign assembly. They gathered in a two thousand strong mob at 7am at Signal Falia, armed with Molotov cocktails, before the train was torched. They were indulging in blatant and unlawful mobilization to incinerate people and deliberately provoke the Hindus of India.'
But, of course, Teesta Setalvad said no such thing. In other words, according to her, provocation and attacks against Hindus are acceptable, but not against Muslims, and she is willing to argue this all the way to the Supreme Court. One is forced to conclude that according to her legal stance, the Indian Constitution's guarantees to life and liberty do not apply to Hindus.
The recent decision where the Honorable Court ordered the retrial of the Best Bakery case is another example where Old Leftists have continued to badger the courts. I have some points of disagreement with what the Honorable Court said, but in fear of contempt of court, I shall say nothing.
But I do wonder, are there different rules for different people in India? Are some more equal than others in the eyes of the Constitution or the arms of government? For instance, without naming names, let me point out that there is a well-known individual who has done a number of things that would normally bring the wrath of the law down on them.
- This individual had, for many years, a web site with the external boundaries of India shown incorrectly, with Kashmir, for instance, given to Pakistan. This is a serious, non-bailable offense, and many people have been arrested for it. This person, however, got away scot-free.
- The same person heads an NGO which acted as a 'front' organization for the Congress in the 1999 election, running large advertisements that were Congress-friendly. Nobody made a fuss about this.
- The same person has an NGO which indulges in loud and continuous anti-India propaganda, often collaborating with other like-minded groups overseas. This NGO also raises money overseas, and spends it on boondoggles for its staff, in violation of tax-exemption rules. This does not attract the attention of the powers that be.
So some individuals are more equal than others: the strictures of the Constitution and the Indian Penal Code may not apply to them as they do to lesser mortals.
An Indian filmmaker recently won some prize for his documentary about Gujarat, The Final Solution. Funny, there are successful final solutions all around India where Hindus are the victims, but our Old Left propagandists don't shed any tears about the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits (400,000 of them), of Bangladeshi Hindus (down from 25% in 1971 to less than 10% of the population), and so on. A Kashmiri Pandit's own documentary, And the World Remained Silent by Ashok Pandit is the only one that I remember; this staggering film breaks your heart if you see it.
All this is encouraging open season on India's Hindus. See the following story from the Kerala Kaumudi of April 17, 2004, an article titled 'Guru mandirams and temples were attacked to create riots: Accused admits.' Translation from Malayalam mine. Guru mandirams are simple roadside shrines to Sri Narayana Guru, the revered religious and social reformer, who, ironically, preached unity of castes and religions. His shrines have been attacked, including his samadhi at Varkala, where the main lamps were stolen recently. These are acts intended to hurt the sentiments of the backward-caste Ezhava community, into which the Guru was born.
Adoor: By destroying Guru mandirams, temples and churches, the main aim was to create Hindu-Christian riots, according to the statement given to police by principal suspect Mohammed Sirajuddin (28) of Bismillah Manzil, Adikkattukulangara. He was arrested in the case involving attacks on Guru mandirams and temples.
Temple hundis from Panthalam, Poozhikkad, Ulavukkad as well as Guru mandirams in Vallikkunnam, Thamarakkulam and Pavumba were the targets of attacks. When temples and Guru mandirams were destroyed, there would be hartals, and in the chaos of the hartal, the idea was to attack Christian churches, thus instigating Hindu-Christian communal riots, the suspect admitted to police.
However, despite the attacks on the hundis and the Guru mandirams, the situation did not deteriorate sufficiently, and therefore it was decided to make petrol bombs and destroy temples. On December 4th, a group of men had set out to bomb and destroy the Chamakkavu temple. However police apprehended them in Edappone, and that caused the plan to be aborted. On that day, the architect of the plan, Mohammed Sirajuddin, had evaded the police, and had been living underground in Madurai, Sikandar, Malappalli, Trivandrum and Beemapalli.
He was planning to flee overseas when caught by the police. Three passports with his photograph were recovered from his possession, one issued from Cochin in 1993, another from Trivandrum in 1997, and a third recently from Cochin.
Not surprisingly, even the Islamist terrorist Sirajuddin decided that it is safe to attack Hindu shrines but not Christian churches. (Unlike Deendar Anjuman, a Pakistani-funded group, which did attack churches, and caused Hindu organizations to be blamed a while ago.) Even though Adoor is in the Bible belt of Kerala, where there are Christian shrines roughly every 100 yards, Sirajuddin and cohorts only chose to attack Hindu temples. Why? Because it is the 'secular' thing to do. Such is the spread of apartheid in India: attacking Hindus is natural.
I got some interesting mail about Rahul Gandhi's degrees based on my column 'The Great White Hope.' Reader Hindu Sitah sent me the following link to the affidavit filed by Rahul as part of his nomination as a candidate for elections in Uttar Pradesh. Here is what it says about his education in a sworn and notarized statement:
Very interesting. The man does not list an undergraduate degree from St Stephens or from Harvard, yet he has managed to apparently get straight to a pre-doctoral degree without a Bachelor's or Master's. How is this possible? Some clues: Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi were both students at this same Trinity College. Maybe there are different rules for the high and mighty.
But the question remains: why are Rahul's handlers lying about his education? What else are they lying about? I think voters have a right to know. Most companies will withdraw job offers if a candidate is found to have lied about their qualifications. Why should the job of being an MP have any less stringent qualifications, especially if the MP is not just a run of the mill member, but is going to be 'India's Future Prime Minister'?