No, for the faith is greater than an individual

By SUGRUTHA RAMASWAMI

Man sowed the seeds of higher thought and spiritual aspirations everywhere he lived. Some perhaps died even as seeds, some as saplings, some after living for a while as trees before being felled. Some trees still live, but they generally have to be protected closely and fanatically, lest some enemy deliver a deathblow to the trunk or poison the main root system.

But there stands one tree that needs no round-the-clock protection. It is a huge banyan tree, its millions of column-like roots-cum-trunks holding up a vast structure of branches and leaves aloft for several millennia now. No one knows where the main trunk is or which roots hold the lifeline to the tree, so strong and thick and robust are most of the supporting roots.

People come and take refuge in its vast shade, make their home underneath it—live and die, laugh and fight, sometimes even unaware of what is providing them the blissful space. For a foe to go after every root and branch would be as futile as Dushasana trying to disrobe Draupadi of her unending sari.

Well, almost. For, the knowledge explosion of the past few centuries has not only added alarmingly destructive weapons to man’s repertoire of armaments for conventional warfare but also amazing tools for the more insidious and deceitful psychological warfare.

The lack of response from the larger Hindu community to the Kanchi episode itself says it all—that the arrest of Kanchi Sankaracharya caused only a slight tremor, if at all. Perhaps a dent here or a crack there, nothing that cannot be fixed. Still, that is no comfort. There was hardly a whimper outside of the usual Hindutva groups and the Tamil smaartha community: the reason is the wide and loudly negative portrayal in the media of the Kanchi Mutt and the seer. The marksmanship therefore was deadly and on on-target, for it succeeded in creating a big question mark about the bonafides of the mutt.

This attack is but the beginning, the proverbial tip of the ice-berg; what lies beneath is lethal. Nothing is lost yet, but the affair is an indication of the malignancy of such attacks. The battle is now closing. This is an example of a frontal attack, more to follow in the future. Hindu elites are busy lamenting Hindu-dividedness, or the Dravidianists, or the woes of the poor, hounded, victimized Brahmins. In the meantime, conversions will be stepped up, friendly legislations will be passed, and the back-door will be a happy thoroughfare. Sometimes I worry that what a nuclear weapon cannot achieve, an army of termites can, over a long time. But I have faith in the robustness of this Beautiful Tree, which has outlasted so much.

Sugrutha Ramaswami is an IT professional in New Jersey.

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Yes, this is religious persecution of Hindus

By RAJEEV SRINIVASAN

India has been, ever since the time of formal independence from Britain, a dhimmi state, wherein a combination of Semitic ideologies has been treating Hindus as classic dhimmis, second-class citizens. India is the only place where paleo-Semites (Zoroastrians, Jews), meso-Semites (Christians, Muslims), and neo-Semites (Marxists, Dravidians, Nehruvian Stalinists, Macaulayites) all coexist happily, for they are normally at each others’ throats. However, certainly for the meso and neo varieties, Hinduism is the Other that they wish to destroy.

The Semites have managed to write into the constitution various clauses that provide them with benefits that do not accrue to Hindus. So, for instance, almost all Hindu temples in India are controlled by the government, which expropriates the money that the pious donate. However, Muslim and Christian entities are not even required to submit audited accounts. Even the declared flow of money coming to them from abroad is in the billions, not to mention covert amounts sent to NGOs for conversion efforts.

Similarly, Christians and Muslims mint money through educational institutions they are free to set up—Hindus are not—which the government subsidizes and pay salaries for, but management rakes in millions in “capitation fees.” In effect, the taxpayer funds Christian and Muslim educational businesses and the latter get to keep the profits.

All this has been going on for some time. Now, however, that Bush II is triumphant, and Sonia Gandhi and her Christian advisers run India, it appears the decision has been made to destroy Hinduism once and for all. After all, their principal cleric, the Pope, declared open season on India a couple of years ago.

What better to do than to commit a tejovadham (psychological murder) of the best-known and most visible Hindu seer and thus destroy the mutt as well? He has earned their wrath by actually doing something to uplift the Dalits, which is a nuisance for Semitic conversion efforts, which rely mostly on material blandishments to the poor and disadvantaged, as has been seen, disgustingly, even in post-tsunami relief efforts.

That Semitic fundamentalists should do this is not surprising. What is amazing is the extent of Hindu apathy in the face of such grave provocation. Smug and self-righteous Hindus mouth pious platitudes such as “no one is above the law” and “if he is guilty, he must be punished.” But they never say this about Semitic fundamentalists who violate common decency and laws about hate speech.

Hindus suffer from a collective Stockholm Syndrome, whereby they have been conditioned to believe that it is proper that their religion be insulted and humiliated.

Hindus are back to the worst days of religious persecution, a la Aurangzeb. It is hard to see how the religion and culture can survive this onslaught.

Rajeev Srinivasan wrote this from Hampi, Karnataka.

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