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Perils of liberal accommodation

Perils of liberal accommodation

Author: Priyadarsi Dutta
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 14, 2002

What brownie points will someone who claims to have mastered German by learning English, earn? Well, before you dismiss that as drivel, listen to his arguments-all but three letters of the alphabet are the same in the two languages. That is not really ridiculous, since Hindu pseudo-secularists are practising this, as it were, day-in and day-out.

Hindu secularists (who remain safely ensconced within the borders of a country defended by a Hindu and Sikh army) claim to understand the behavioural pattern of Islam also. According to them, every religion's preaching of love and brotherhood leads to the same truth. Many of them say, like Gandhi, "I am a Hindu, but I am also a Muslim, and I am Christian". Agnostic or atheist, born in liberal Hindu tradition or Western humanism, they presume that the world thinks as they do. But unfortunately, India is not the world and the world is not Hindu. A Hindu (including Sikh, Jain, Buddhists) might think of all religion as true. But does a Muslim or Christian also think that way? Can any Muslim say-"I am a Muslim; and I am also a Hindu?"

Many are reportedly feeling ashamed of calling themselves Hindu after the Gujarat riots. Surely, the riots were brutal and unfortunate, but they were neither the first nor the worst in independent India. If they dislike Hinduism, has anything prevented them from converting to Islam? Yes, one thing deters them; their own hypocrisy. Once converted to Islam, they would be subjected to a rigorous religious order and deprived of the liberty they now enjoy.

There is also a misperception about love and brotherhood in Hinduism and Islam. Hinduism says: "Truth is one and sages call it by different names". Islam says: "There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger". Hence a Hindu might think avatarey asankhyoe (countless are his manifestations) but to a good Muslim, Hinduism is 'kafiresque'. The Taliban, by tearing down the Bamiyan Buddhas, and Kuwait, by recently disbanding the sole gurdwara in the country, did the proper thing from an Islamic point of view. They did not indulge in any secularist hypocrisy.

Apart from itself, Islam recognises only two religions, namely Christianity and Judaism. The Quran had absolutely no concept of a vast Hindu-Buddhist hemisphere lying to its East with a far more ancient and probably richer civilisation than that from which Islam grew. The Quranic brotherhood is the Umma, which is like a giant pan-national corporation wherein all Muslims are brothers. And all those outside the corporation are kafirs who are either to be converted or physical eliminated.

Hypocritical secular Hindus need to address this question to themselves. Muslims who comprise 15 per cent of India's population claim to be a terrorised and decimated community. Can a terrorised community perpetrate Godhra through a cold-blooded conspiracy in a Hindu majority country? Is not the pitiable situation of 15 per cent Shias in Sunni majority Pakistan another proof? Did Hindus, who were in a minority in then East Pakistan, have the 'guts' to attempt even half a Godhra? Even for VHP activist reportedly leading riots, such conspiracy is beyond Hindu daringness. Let me know which Hindu fundamentalist could have conceived of a WTC-Pentagon attack in even five thousand years?

Since Muslims have not been emasculated by liberalism, they continue to fight for a small territory called Palestine. And Jews, despite their intellectual tradition, could defend Israel for the same reason alone. Muslims have kept Palestine alive for 50 years whereas Hindus abandoned their rightful claim to now Pakistan and Bangladesh-a territory 40 times that of Israel. They are lucky not to have been brought up in the sprit of Hinduism.

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