INDIA STILL STRUGGLES WITH LUMPEN LEVELS OF RELIGION AND BELIEF
…THETRAGEDY OF A GREAT CIVILIZATION
THE rise of a low and crass Hindu nationalism today in modern India was a disaster waiting to happen. It was a sure backlash to foreign rule and suppression of Hindus, mass conversions by the sword, as in Kashmir, and centuries of fear as second class citizens in their own land.
One can see parallels to this new theo-fascism among a section of Hindus who are obsessed with hindu supremacy, to the rise of Nazi fascist and racial extremism. An idea and an obsession presents a ray of hope to a depressed society. Certainly one cannot carry this parallel too far, but the similarities , specially at the level of cultural lies and propaganda are unmistakable. Rewriting of history books, renaming of streets that bore names of Muslim rulers and the interference with the smallest things like food habits, are now happening. The Cow Obsession, the ban on beef and cow slaughter, central govt sponsored and funded research on cow urine therapies and the free run to marauding cow protection vigilantes called “gau rakshaks” is the comic-tragic manifestation of a people going nowhere on the magic carpet of false belief. All other national problems have taken a back seat in the saffronized lumpen journey to futility.
This saffronised boorish Hindu belligerence is what we sarcastically call Hindutva today and forget that the word was actually coined by Veer Damodar Sarvarkar, a great Indian Nationalist who was also an atheist. He totally and unequivocally DISAPPROVED of cow worship and false Hindu beliefs.
We have things happening in places in India that come out of the adventures of a Don Quixote. Our Hindu obsessed leaders are hell bent on putting up totems for a quick- fix victory of their cynical and limited idea of Hinduism. And in most cases, the Holy Cow is the symbol of a civilizational aggression. A good example of this was the recent tilting at windmills by an RSS man who, quite unbelievably, lectured Toa Muslim audience to say they should not eat beef as their holy book the Koran prohibits cow meat as being unhealthy. Not only did he quite ignore the fact that the entire world eats beef, he went on to say that the Muslim festival of Eid may well be celebrated with cows milk. He gave some tricky explanation that the word “ gosht” means beef and Muslims are exhorted by the Hkly book not to eat “gosht” while they can eat all other meats which are not called “ gosht” but are called “Maas.”
One has no idea where this man got that from. Everybody now and for centuries in India has used the word “ gosht” for all meats. And I suspect that the word “ mass” is not an Urdu or Muslim word but a word of the hybrid ( Urdu combined with Hindi ) Hindustani colloquial language.
The point of it all is that three years into the Modi Administration and we are in the full shadow of the old indian anachronism…the Holy Cow. The cultural regression is complete. The saving grace is that the vast majority of a billion plus Hindus, and certainly the Muslims and Christians, are totally opposed to these revanchist developments. There is a groundswell of protest and condemnation of all this forced bovine love by a handful of screwballs. Almost 70% Indians eat meats and nearly 50% of them eat beef. The high caste and highly orthodox Brahmins of Kashmir, the Buddhist Indians of Ladakh eat meats. The Brahmins of Bengal all eat fish, though they give it the name “jal-torai” ie: a gourd from water.
The ban on beef and the near manic hindutva push for a vegetarian India, elicited a felling response from a friend who wrote:
“ If this madness goes on and meats are banned by theee morons, I will be forced to make a change in my food habits. I will have to learn from the Chinese and far easterners and start eating the following: Fried cockroaches and worms, insects and bumblebees and locusts, marinated snakes and grilled rats and bandicoots and other creatures like bats and octupii.”