When I was a young lad I declared myself not to be a Hindu.
Not because I didn’t believe but because I was 7 and didn’t want to be associated with people who called themselves Hindu.
India is a land created by it’s invaders and there have been a lot, but India has always eaten them and made them part of itself. It’s made them so intrinsic to it’s History and Culture that you cannot imagine it without them. From the horsemen of the Aryans to the Islamic Invaders to the Mongols to even the British, the culture of India has always been improved.
Maybe it’s why I loathe to specifically class the usage of Indian culture by non-Indians to be “appropriation”. Because specific to India, it’s culture is almost designed to be borrowed and mixed up. Maybe it’s why Indians are often successful anywhere you drop them. Their culture is flexible enough to survive any assault on it. India was not worsened by the arrival of the movie camera, it adopted it and made it into something unique. The printing press? There is no country with the level of newspaper readership that I have seen except India. Indians are blessed with a culture that may seem ancient but is willing to change and adapt. It may be why it’s so tenacious. It’s peers have all died and live in Museums but India’s culture is still “alive”.
But there are some people who just don’t get it. They think stagnation is the key to survival. These short minded idiots look at places like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia and think “Why Not Us”?
And unfortunately it is they who have a major say in politics.
When I was 7, Hinduism stopped being nice and harmless for me. I saw the Ayodhya riots. Hundreds of Muslims if not Thousands were killed for the crime of being Muslim because some Mongol dude did something a few hundred years ago. I didn’t want to be called a Hindu any more. I remember because my family saw it as amusing.
But with time I stopped really being interested in Hinduism. Oh I can recite Sanskrit with the best of them. And pray in dead languages that I barely understand, but when it came down to it I kind of “stopped”. And at it’s core was the sadness of what Gandhi’s religion became. We are proud of Gandhi. Oh Hitchens be buggered. Gandhi had flaws but you have to admit that he did things that were amazing. And so did Mother Theresa.
Rather than pull down their achievements we must make our own. Do not venerate them, criticise their flaws by all means but don’t take away from their actual achievement. Hitchens was not working with lepers and sitting up with the dying. He was enjoying his whisky and cigars while Theresa did. And it’s a lot easier to drink whisky than it is to do that.
This Sunday riots broke out in Northern India.
So far 30 odd people are dead and many injured. Many ran fearing for their lives and the army was called out to protect refugees. Hundreds are homeless.
And why? Politics. The politics of religion. The British benefitted from it. And now Indian politicians do too. Because it’s easier to exploit people when they are looking out for each other based on arbitrary positions. All Muslims have the same wants! All Hindus have the same wants!
And this happened just before an election.
This was not for any gods but for power. Hindutva’s ugly head only rises when politicians benefit from it.