Recently Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi made a statement in an all-party meeting, emphasizing on the fact that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is territory rightfully belonging to India. He also asserted that time has come for Pakistan to answer for the brutality it inflicts on the hapless people of Balochistan. Without saying in so many words, Shri Modi actually bucked the trend of a deep seated Hindu failure. We Hindus have consistently failed to be assertive, we have consistently tried to defend what’s ours, without trying to push the enemies of Sanatana Dharma onto back foot. We seem to be forever resigned to the fate of fighting a rear-guard battle, to save our territory, home, hearth, families, people, culture and faith. On the contrary, Islam, Christianity and Communism remain on the front foot, trying to increasingly cleanse us from our own territory, convert our people, demolish our temples, denigrating our faith, raping our women, brutalizing our children, slaughtering our cattle, and maiming our general population. No wonder then that even in an Independent India, Kashmir valley has been completely cleared of the Pandits, who were forced to leave at gunpoint. Small wonder then that the last Hindu temple in Nagaland was demolished in 2015, in a frenzy generated by Church-sponsored hate mongering. No prize for guessing why Hindus are being driven out from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, or why Hindu families are afraid to even step out of their home in Kaliachak, West Bengal. We are defending. They are attacking. They have the initiative. They attack at a time and place of their choosing. We react, that too, late.
This cycle of retreat-regroup-rearguard must be broken. It is critically important for us Hindus to reclaim the initiative. Intellectual giants have given the right clarion calls. Koeanraad Elst, in his book ‘Decolonizing Hindu Mind’, calls for breaking the fence of Islam, the fence Islam uses to keep its flock together. Vamsee Juluri, in his book ‘Rearming Hinduism’, calls on each of us to understand what Hinduism represents, and confidently stake our claim that we remain the vibrant hope of the world, with our philosophy of integral and holistic living over the tyranny of exclusivist ideologies such as Jihad or ‘Dictatorship of Proletariat’. Hindol Sengupta, in his book ‘Being Hindu’, exhorts on us to pursue the intelligence that is the hallmark of Sanatana Dharma. Rajiv Malhotra, in his book ‘Being Different’, attempts to turn the gaze on Judeo-Christian paradigm of ‘tolerance’, and asserts that we must stop at nothing less than ‘equal respect’. Anang Pal Malik in all his blogs relentlessly drives home the point that the non-violence which lets our women and children be slaughtered by Jihadists and Communists is not be worshipped as a virtue at all, and at no cost can we afford to lower our guard when facing implacable foes such as Islam, Christianity and Communism. All right calls.
However, we Hindus will never to be able reclaim the initiative only by standing on the shoulders of such giants. While we will have the occasional traitors as Jai Chand had demonstrated, the larger Hindu society must stand up and spread Hinduism. We are not a proselytizing religion. Right? Or wrong? Well, both actually. In so far as proselytizing means “My god is the only agent of heaven, and you will burn in eternal hellfire if you do not follow my religion”, we are not proselytizing. However, we Hindus have taken this to an extreme level, where we have practically stopped spreading the eternal values taught in our Shruti and Smriti. Kids after kids you meet, will sadly surprise you with their complete ignorance of what Hinduism meant for the over 100 million people who gave up their lives over the last 1400 years to defend our faith. Much of our ancient literature has been lost. Late Swami Chinmayananda estimates that out of possibly 280 branches of Upanishads, we have only a little over 10 still surviving. Every day you will come across kids, even adults, especially within the ‘educated’ upwardly mobile class, who have no idea what “Ram Rajya” meant. This is nothing but our own failure, rooted in our own defeatist behaviour and apathy. We do not need to convert people in Russia or USA into Hinduism. (An important point to note at this juncture is that free thinking people in the West has been discovering Sanatana Dharma on their own, for several centuries now. Celebrated leadership guru late Stephen R Covey’s books regarding 7 habits of effective person or the 8th habit from effectiveness to greatness, all point to meaningful selfless action, exactly what has been prescribed in Srimad Bhagvad Gita. Not surprising. He took inspiration from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau had drawn their own inspiration from Indian texts such as Vendanta.) However, we must speak up and spread the great cultural and philosophical treasures our forefathers had created with so much dedication and care. First, we must learn our Sanatana Dharma, ourselves.
Every criticism that fails to look within and exclusively focuses outside, is bound to be meaningless. Hence, before criticizing any other Hindu, I will now criticize myself. The objective is not to beat myself down. The objective is to be truthful and humble, hoping that we Hindus will individually cause ourselves to rise up.
I ate beef. When I was younger. I am ashamed. The shame has now forced me to shun non-vegetarian food. But till now I have not done anything towards protection of Indian cattle, except of ranting on the Internet.
I took my own ‘Upanayan’ (sacred thread ceremony) lightly, just as a joke. I am ashamed. But, till now I have not done much to spread the word about the importance of such Hindu ceremonies, what impact they can have on one’s inner life, what profound opening to wisdom such ceremonies can provide a seeker with.
It took me 42 years to pick up Srimad Bhagvad Gita, and painstakingly read the Sanskrit verses. Only after reaching 43, I spoke about the enormous intellectual treasure this contains, to even my daughter, who is actually very receptive and respectful. And I complain about kids being ignorant about Hindu culture!
I donated to organizations such as Greenpeace, with my eyes closed, without understanding what havoc they are wrecking in my own homeland. Only after I crossed 41, I understood my folly. This is what happens when we leave the field wide open for Western imperialism, Islam, Communism and Christianity. Even after understanding my folly, I do not spread words about Hindu organizations such as Center for Fundamental Freedom, 5Forty3, Chinmaya Mission etc.
I was nearly 43 when I first read the original Hindi ‘Sri Hanuman Chalisha’ of Goswami Tulasidas. Till date I have not completed ‘Sri Ram Charit Manas’. And I lecture of Hindu culture potentially facing existential crisis!
It took me 43 years in my lifetime to know Gayatri Mantra, which is all of 4 lines! Such is my commitment to my faith, about protection of which I have been ranting on Internet for years!
The point is simple. Do we have a future that is brighter than the current depressing state we are in – brutalized by Islamic/Chsirtian/Communist terrorists, pilloried by English media, legally discriminated against in our own country (we can not run our own educational institutions or temples free from Government meddling, while these same kleptomaniac government steals money from our temples and gives fat Haj subsidy)? The answer is yes, but only if we take our destiny in our own hands, instead of waiting for one Narendra Modi to deliver the goods for Hindu society. Late Swami Chinmayananda, in his commentary on Taittiriya Upanishad, calls on Hindus to become physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually stronger. He exhorts us to create wealth, carry on the line of progeny, propagates the vast treasures of our rich faith. He was right. Without doing these, we have left the field wide open, for the soul vultures, for the cult of Jihad, for the madness of ‘Dictatorship of Proletariat’. Change we must. Each one of us. Let me start with myself. One Narendra Modi, of 66 years, will not be able to deliver us to our safety.