Monday, January 5, 2015

Communities, conversions and conversations!

WARNING : The following opinions and content is controversial and reader's discretion is advised to avoid any hurting of sentiments. If you are reading this further, it is at your own risk! 

It has been a while the ‘Pro-Hindutva’ government has been at the helm and the secularists have gone on an overdrive raking up the conversion issue. The communal tensions in Mumbai have just added fuel to the fire – the embers that have been carefully kept warm all these years.

India is a conclave of diverse faiths, traditions, geographies and languages. The political system in India, has been pretty much successful in maintaining the divide with one tool – reservations. It started with reservations based on caste for the upheaval of the bereaved – a noble intention to get all classes of the society at par. But what it resulted is in doling out undue sops to the unworthy. It is a known fact that the average aptitude of the reserved classes is lower and when such people rise through the ranks to be decision makers, you are going to have more decisions that go wrong than the ones that do good. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, must be really riling in his heavenly abode for the idea that he brought into the system. The man was good, the intentions were good, but, the en masse was not really up for it. The illiterate got literacy certificates but the maturity of thought that comes through generations of knowledge was absent. When the going becomes easy, there is no enhancement and it is evident.

Coming to religions, Hinduism is not really a religion as all the ‘experts’ say. It is more of a way of life where you have a set of gods you pray to. You have to be born a Hindu and can not be converted into one as faith is imbibed into you and cannot be just taught to you. It is the main reason why different religions like Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism et al could grow and prosper on this land. If you can take the cue, none of these religions believe in proselytism except Buddhism. And then, proselyte religions like Christianity and Islam made way to this land. The Muslims brought people to their fold with a dagger in their hand as chronicled in the history books while the Christians used coercion. Evangelism was celebrated for centuries and continued under the secular rule after Independence. Billions of dollars were pumped in through various routes to ensure smooth flow of the rituals. The question that how much of this actually helped the people is a different story all together!

It was all hunky-dory until the emergence of the ‘Hindutva’ bandwagon and its aggressive outlook. The secularists, who all these years had successfully manipulated the majority population in to believing that the minorities are different species that need special quotas and handling and sops, suddenly ran into a dead wall. When the majority started voicing their concerns about the right to equality, hell broke loose. The minorities who were by then used to the spoon feeding, took it as their birth right and started crying foul. The cash rich church wasn’t bothered. They have gobbled up billions worth of real estate for ‘convents’ where Christianity has always been portrayed as modern and sophisticated (which is kind of true as the literacy and knowledge quotient there is quite high. That may be also because of the knowledge and sophistication our foreign rulers got here with them) The Muslims though got stuck in their sandy roots, no real money as such, living in ghettos, oblivious to the world outside. The whole community, in general, seems to have missed at least a couple of decades of growth of thought.

The juncture, where we all stand now, is very critical. The majority that had been lying dormant now perceives a threat to its existence. The minorities, that faced only scathing glances till now, are being pushed back to ‘size’ (as many would like to portray). But this has been the course for a multicultural society. The minorities will always be slightly sidelined unless they shed their minority tag and be a whole hearted part of the mainstream. That is democracy where the majority always counts. Giving undue importance to trivial things like race or religion and identifying yourself with it will only widen the divide and create further tensions. Add proselytism to it and the mix will turn explosive.

‘Ghar Wapsi’ should not be about religion at all. Ghar Wapsi should be about making yourself at home with everyone and not confining your good intentions and good work only to your locality, community, caste, creed, religion or region! ‘Ghar Wapsi’ should be that umbrella under which you should need no crutches to establish your identity. It is all about your tryst with the truth. Your truth is that illusion you believe you have seen. If you believe that the country is a family, you will not bother if your sibling is white or black or Hindu or Muslim. And that is when India will start to grow!

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