We hear several unhappy supporters of PM Narendra Modi, who had high expectations of a Hindu revival under his Prime Ministership, speaking up that he is ignoring Hindu issues and appeasing minorities, much the same as was done under Congress-UPA Rule, and that this amounts to a betrayal of his popular vote. Some people have even termed him anti-Hindu. But are these allegations justified?
It is no doubt true that the majority of BJP MPs and MLAs are also suffering from the same self-deluding version of secularism that afflicts the population at large. But does this rot go to the very top? Is Narendra Modi really playing games with Hindus’ sentiments? In this thread, I will put forth my views on the subject and leave the reader to analyse the truth of this allegation for themselves.
Development vs Hindutva
A common refrain we hear is “what use is development when Hindus are under threat”. It is precisely for this reason that development is needed. It is the most poorly kept secret that religion is purchased for a price and predatory soul-vultures look forward to natural disasters as a means of mass conversions. Development is the single biggest tool against induced conversions: it is well known to the evangelists that people with money in their pocket and food in their plates are not easy targets for conversion. Listen to this podcast, and it will be crystal clear that development will hit induced conversions the hardest.
It is no one’s case that welfare schemes weren’t run earlier, but money meant for the poor was being siphoned off – the figures vary from 50% to a staggering 97% as per various reports. Using Direct Transfer and the much-maligned Aadhar, Modi has succeeded to a large extent in making that money reach the actual beneficiary, and this will have ramifications in multiple areas. It will make people less likely to convert for better financial prospects. Also, it is very difficult for anyone but the most committed leftist to oppose development itself, making it a safe, effective and non-controversial tool in this civilizational battle.
Condemnation of Gau Rakshaks
Narendra Modi has received strong condemnation for his remarks on violence by gau-rakshaks. It has been misinterpreted by media-people and his supporters alike as a condemnation of gau-raksha. However, even a simple reading of what he has said will make it clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. He has stated that violence is not an acceptable method and that there are laws available to deal with the problem instead of taking up weapons. It should not be anyone’s case that violence is permissible to tackle the menace of cattle-smuggling. A prime minister appealing to his citizens to maintain law and order and use legal options instead of violence is certainly not condemnable. However, there is another larger cause of concern for Modi as I see it. And that is what these attacks are doing to the global image of Hindus and Hindu Dharma.
A large part of what Narendra Modi is doing is image-building for Hindu Dharma globally – from the spectacular Hannover Messe to mobilizing an International Yoga Day, from presenting distinctly Hindu icons and gifts to powerful personalities worldwide to organizing visits of heads of state of various countries to temples and visiting temples in other countries when abroad, the efforts being made by this man to project the positive aspects of Hindu culture and traditions at every available opportunity are commendable, and when viewed in totality are breath-taking.
His projection of himself as a proud practising Hindu, so to speak, itself is designed to send out a message to our own deracinated fellow Hindus: that there is beauty and not shame in practising one’s own religion and living one’s cultural heritage. The last thing Modi would want are reports of gau-raksha associated violence putting a spanner in the works. Hence, a dissociation of Hindu Dharma from these attacks and appeals to people not to indulge in violence are completely in line with what would be expected from him, and the larger picture must be taken to get a correct perspective.
Bharat has traditionally been a haven for the persecuted worldwide, and that is the image that should continue to be projected even while we deal with the more vexing problems that plague Hindus. From a contrarian viewpoint, while the PM’s image building exercise is laudable, as a nation we have to evolve into a mindset that we are guided by Dharma, and not by international approval – thus it would have been more appropriate if at least a few senior party leaders had spoken about the well-armed and extensive cattle-trafficking racket that claims many police and citizen lives each year. However, such articles are finally making it to the pages of newspapers – albeit much more slowly and much less prominently than those in which gau-rakshaks are portrayed as the attackers – which was not the case in earlier days.
Protection of Temples
One of the biggest failures of the Modi government is its inaction on handing back Hindu temples to the local communities and keeping them under government control despite ample evidence to show that there is rampant corruption and mismanagement in the temples that are under government control. Yet, no one seems to have a satisfactory answer to the question: what is the guarantee that the people who take over the shrines from the government would not be worse? The saving grace is that there are several organizations now addressing this issue and moving court as well to prevent further takeovers of temples.
Moving a bit away from this debate, the question is whether our shrines are receiving due protection. We will examine the actions of Modi government with regard to the Vaishnodevi shrine. The erstwhile Omar Abdullah government gave permission for mining on the Trikuta Hill that houses the Vaishnodevi shrine – land which belongs to the Shrine Board was acquired by the Government and handed over to J&K Mineral Development Company free of cost – and in brazen collusion the UPA government denotified the entire Trikuta Wildlife Sanctuary to enable the mining to proceed.
The role of Vaishnodevi Shrine Board in this is also questionable as they had filed a petition in Supreme Court asking for denotification of the Trikuta Wildlife Sanctuary on the grounds of creating better facilities for pilgrims – the mining was not even discussed in Supreme Court and of course no additional facilities were ever created. The Shrine Board received no compensation for the 450 hectares of its land, and only Rs.2.66 crores as compensation for environmental damage due to the mines.
Within days of coming to power, the NDA Government issued notice to the mining company for serious lapses in complying with environmental clearances (even the plans were not submitted) and in April 2016, under pressure from the Center, the J&K government revoked environmental clearance, keeping it in abeyance and finally issued a stop-work notice to the mining company. One may note that there was hardly any knowledge of this on social media and this was not even reported in mainstream media barring some articles praising the J&K government! Yet, the threat to the shrine was identified and it was duly protected. For the protection of the Vaishnodevi shrine alone, Hindus should be forever indebted to the Modi Government and all allegations of being anti-Hindu dumped into the dustbin.
Development of Infrastructure and Beautification of Temples under Swacch Bharat Abhiyan
A flagship scheme of the Modi government was launched in 2016. Under this scheme, a total of 100 iconic structures will be beautified, cleaned and avail infrastructure upgrade under the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. The list includes most of Bharat’s grand temples such as Tirupati Balaji, Vaishnodevi, Meenakshi Temple Madurai etc. The list also includes other iconic structures such as CST Railway Station and Charminar of Hyderabad for providing some balance. A zone of 2.5km around these iconic structures will be developed upto international standards. 20 structures have already been allotted for these works to different PSUs.
One may note that temple money is not being utilized for this purpose as has been done in the past. Who benefits from upgrade of temple infrastructure? Whose case is it that a government that is anti-Hindu will undertake works for benefit of Hindu pilgrims and residents of temple towns?
Several provisions of our constitution are discriminatory towards Hindus while privileging “minorities”. Admittedly these have come about by constitutional amendments in successive Congress – UPA regimes to maintain the privileges and overturn numerous Supreme Court and High Court judgments that have held that the provisions extended to minorities are meant for equality and not superiority. The last blow to fall was the disastrous Pramati judgment, barely a few days before the UPA was thrown out of power.
It is also an admitted fact that the Narendra Modi government has done nothing to reverse these judgments or to bring in fresh legislations that put the constitution on an even keel again. HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar in an interview to Swarajya, indeed has agreed that there are discriminatory provisions that are part of the problem. In the absence of a majority in the Rajya Sabha, it would be foolhardy anyway to introduce legislations to overturn these discriminatory laws. However, there are hardly any signs that things have even started to move in that direction.
The disastrous RTE Act and its amendments to keep minority institutions out of its ambit have already started taking a toll on institutions run by “non-minorities”. The Modi government has not done anything to address this modern-day jizya on Hindu run institutions. State governments of BJP, such as the Devendra Fadnavis government, have in fact made matters even worse for Hindu-run schools by rigorously implementing this draconian act.
The matter has now taken a turn in a different direction. BJP MP Maheish Girri has introduced a Private Members Bill seeking to remove the discrimination faced by Hindu institutions under the Right To Education Act which privileges the “minority” communities over the majority. However, as of date, it is correct that no significant action has been initiated on this front. It remains to be seen whether the Government supports Maheish Girri’s bill, as it was introduced last year as well but lapsed without being discussed in the House. However, some BJP MPs have indicated their support for the amendment.
FCRA Funding, National Security and Conversions
The Modi government has put a major squeeze on FCRA funding. In December 2016, it canceled the FCRA license of a staggering 20,000 out of a total of 33,000 FCRA-registered NGOs, bringing the number of registered NGOs down to just 13,000. Also, several new regulations were enforced making it illegal for an FCRA-registered NGO to fund a non-registered NGO. A bare perusal of this list shows how badly the missionary network has been affected.
In personal conversations with some Home Ministry officials, this author was informed that a major crackdown has been initiated especially against funding of religious fundamentalism from the middle-east. The action taken against Zakir Naik and the systematic manner in which his massive jihadi network has been dismantled is already well known and needs no repetition.
The Church network, however, is a much more formidable opponent backed by governments of several powerful nations who do not hesitate to intervene with their diplomatic might when funding of evangelist organizations is put on hold. The Modi Government’s firm stance against Compassion International despite US State Department’s strong lobbying, is admirable. There are unfortunately no easy solutions in this respect. Some movement has taken place as BJP-ruled states are putting in place bills limiting religious conversion. It remains to be seen how efficiently these bills are implemented at ground level. Meanwhile, it is essential for local Hindus to organize themselves against the well-oiled missionary networks at ground level.
A secular state has no business making separate provisions for any group on the basis of religion. This is even more relevant when the groups are globally dominant. Bharat on that grounds can be termed a false secular state, where not only are policies made on the basis of religion and caste, there are no proper studies done to ascertain which communities deserve that benefit if at all. This has remained unchanged under the rule of PM Narendra Modi.
Though the Haj subsidy is gradually being reduced (albeit under instructions of the Courts), several other schemes have been launched by the Ministry of Minority Affairs that directly advantage members of minority community over others, even if the socioeconomic status of both is on par. In those states where Hindus have become a minority, the Hindus are deprived of these benefits and the benefits are still cornered by the dominant community – the so-called “permanent minorities”. This situation, too, has remained unchanged under Modi Raj. There are few, if any, signs of a forthcoming change.
In the matter of PIL in the Supreme Court demanding grant of minority status to Kashmiri Hindus, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has finally given an assurance to the Supreme Court that it is considering the matter actively. The Centre has remained quiet in the matter despite being pulled up by the Supreme Court and fined for not filing its affidavit. In this respect, the Modi government has failed in providing equal opportunity to all its citizens and continues to provide benefits to the so-called “minorities” that are not available to economically and socially disadvantaged members of the majority community. It would not be wrong to say that the “minority appeasement” that BJP has denounced during its entire existence, is pursued by it vigorously when it is in power.
Rogue media and the “Lutyens’ Cabal”
There is no denying that the influence of the secular-liberal left, commonly known as the Lutyens’ cabal, has diminished greatly over the past three years, and continues to reduce steadily. Many of the erstwhile superstar journalists now find themselves in exile, a shadow of their former arrogant selves. Social media has relentlessly exposed these power-brokers, who have now started utilizing their clout to play victim to “Hindutva trolls who are destroying democracy” and to its credit, the Modi government has stood up and said that it does not support any restrictions on social media.
It is correct for government not to play a part in going after media houses in a democracy unless it is for fraud, as in the case of NDTV. However, in these changed times, at least three major channels have now started airing news from what were until now no-go zones: from love jihads to Basirhat riots and targeted killing of RSS workers in communist states, the reporting is now substantially on an even keel. The distortion is being corrected very naturally, and we have already moved very far from 2014 without most of us even realizing it. It is now time to move ahead to the logical next step: supporting the Hindu ecosystem.
The Modi government has taken definite, firm steps in building a new ecosystem – but it is unclear how it is different from the one it inherited from the UPA. Only the characters have changed. A Niti Aayog has replaced the white elephant that was the Planning Commission. PM, President, Vice-President and governors of almost all states are from RSS. Knowledgeable and renowned academics associated with the Sangh have been appointed to head various institutions that were earlier dominated by mediocre Leftists and Congress sycophants. The number of PhD seats – which were earlier permanently blocked by 40 plus year old “students” – have been slashed sharply.
The Lutyens elite find themselves out of favour, and Radia-type journalists have been rendered jobless. The sort of articles conventional media now carries, from reporting cases of violence against Hindus to writing about the ills of RTE, were unimaginable in the UPA era – a sign of changed times. Politically disruptive appointments into every field are being made and it is clear that a deep seated change is underway. The question remains: is this a Hindu ecosystem, or a sec-lib one with changed characters functioning on the same skewed rules and laws?
For one, though BJP-ruled states have changed the textbook syllabus, the Centre for some reason has not. Through the CBSE, the government continues to teach Leftist propaganda that demeans and demonizes the majority community and glorifies mass murderers. There is no progress on the various sectarian laws that disadvantage Hindus, although there seems to be some movement towards abolition of Section 35(A) that confers special rights on J&K.
Overall, we have certainly come quite a distance from the gory days of the UPA. Hindus now have a voice and are standing up to assert their rights, moving court and filing due legal proceedings wherever required. Have we formed an ecosystem yet? I would like to put this in another perspective: we are the ecosystem. Once a critical mass of aware and active Hindus has been formed – the core Hindu vote bank, so to speak, no political party will dare bring in laws that oppose their interests. The bottomline is that Hindus should not expect any saviours. They can at best expect neutrality. Each of us will have to take the responsibility of safeguarding our own collective interest. Even if 25% of Hindus vote en bloc, minorityism will die its natural death. That, in the end, is the only way forward if Hindu Dharma has to survive the well-organized onslaught of globally dominant Abrahamic religions.
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