Over the years as I graduated from one degree to another, I found that it was becoming increasingly difficult to support the cause of Hindutva in college campuses, not because there’s anything wrong or sinister about the cause, but because it had become politically incorrect than ever before.
One stood to lose friends or ran the risk of becoming unpopular thanks to the “fundamentalist” or “right-winger” tag. And I realized I wasn’t alone in experiencing this. This tacit ostracization was felt acutely by several like-minded friends, who kept thinking of ways of giving the cause of Hindutva a more politically correct sheen. Some even flirted with the idea of either abandoning it, or never to speak about it in a public gathering or among friends, even when Hindutva-bashing happened right in front of them.
It kind of struck me that this is exactly what the communists and so-called “leftists” of this country so ardently desire. They want to make the cause look so dirty and smell so putrid, that no one would have the stomach or the heart to support it. Such is the stench they intend to raise.
So, is the solution to keep mum and wait for the “right opportunity”? Will a solution give birth to itself without its proponents standing up for it and talking for it on every occasion possible? Will not the movement die if all of us decide to hide behind the lousy and shameful excuse of “right opportunity”, to mask our cowardice and sheer lack of vertebracy? The questions being rhetorical in nature, I think the answers are fairly obvious.
In issues like these, the human tendency is to look for role models from history or in the present, from whom we can draw inspiration. For several years now, movements against ethnic or religious persecution have looked up to the Jews and their millennia-old quest for dignity, respect and a Jewish homeland.
Although the quest for a homeland of the Jews is one of the best examples in history to look up to, the common mistake that most commit while looking up to the Jews is to draw a one-to-one correspondence. In other words, they look for identicality in circumstances/backdrops and backgrounds. The object of such attempts at drawing parallels is certainly a noble one, which is to look for common traits/characteristics, and to adopt and employ the same solution as the role model.
But to me, this would certainly amount to facile, superficial and even pedantic parallelism, because the exercise may lose its purpose even if it manages to establish one-to-one equivalence. The very purpose of the exercise ought to be to distil the spirit or idea of fortitude, unity and concrete action, and to evolve our own solutions to our problems. Lack of originality has never led to the creation of a lasting movement or institution or nation.
I remember having read in my 7th standard, the autobiography of this Russian novelist Yevgeny Yevtushenko. The one line which stands etched in my memory from his autobiography is …“And from that day on, I knew for certain that there is no need to fear the strong. All one needs is to know the method of overcoming them. There is a special jujitsu for every strong man” (If my memory serves right, the context in which Yevtushenko made this statement was when he learnt Jujitsu to respond to a well-built bully in his neighbourhood named… “Red”…how apt…).
For us to expect other movements to hand us a solution to our problems on a golden platter is wishful thinking, and dare I say, a betrayal of the cause. We must chart the path to our own destiny instead of doing a cut/copy-paste job.
That said, we must learn from the courage of the Jews and their outspoken support for their cause. The sheer passion and frankness with which they support the Israeli cause is laudable and worthy of emulation. One proponent of Israel who has been extremely vocal and articulate is Professor Alan Dershowitz, professor at Harvard Law School and an eminent lawyer-cum-jurist.
His keynote speech at Geneva at a pro-Israel conference in 2009 is a must-watch for all proponents of Hindutva. Here is the link to the Youtube videos of his speech, please watch the entire speech which is split into 3 videos.
In this speech, of the several arguments he marshals in support of Israel’s right to defend itself in a hostile environment, the one that is of relevance to this post of mine goes something like this- Prof.Dershowitz says his students at Harvard frequently ask him- “Do you think the entire world is wrong? And that only Israel is right?”
To this question, he bluntly says the entire world has been wrong before when it comes to Jews (in obvious reference to several pogroms against Jews in several countries, and of course the Holocaust).
How is this point relevant to Hindutva? Sometimes, a few of us feel “outnumbered” and “isolated” seeing the deluge of anti-Hindutva bilge on TV by “Koopasthamandukas” (frogs in the well). Thanks to this, demons of self-doubt rear their ugly heads once in a while leaving us wondering if we are supporting the right cause.
The obvious questions that pop in our heads is “How can all this history be wrong? How can everybody be lying? How can everybody be conspiring against us? Aren’t we being a bit paranoid? Aren’t we taking this Hindutva thing a bit too seriously?”
To all those doubting Thomases, I quote Prof.Dershowitz and say “the entire world has been wrong to us too often”. Let’s not get squeamish lest our flexible spines get the better of us. Let us not fall back on lifeless and half-understood pacifism and nihilism to justify our innate proclivity towards inaction and “things-will-fall-in-place-themselves” approach.
The one thing that all proponents of Hindutva must accept, is that our goal is not an easy one to achieve, nor must we expect miracles to happen. If the next generation is to live under the skies of Hindutva and breathe the air of freedom and dignity as worthy inheritors of the Vedic civilization, this generation must don the mantle of a collective Shiva and drink the poison of being painted as villains and “fascists”.