Fran�ois Gautier on Amarnath land issue

INSTEAD of calling an all-party meet to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir row, the government would do well to try to understand the fury of Hindus and not limit the scope of the introspection to the Amarnath issue. Are Hindus angry only with the hypocrisy of the government on the land issue? Are there no other topics that make them furious?

Hindus are a peace-loving people. The average Hindu is easy-going and accepts you and your diversity, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Parsi or Jain, Arab, French or Chinese. He goes about his business and usually does not interfere in yours. In fact they take it a little further: They hate trouble and go out of their way to avoid it.

Everywhere in the world, on the other hand, Hindus are hounded and humiliated; be it in Fiji where an elected government was twice deposed in an armed coup, or in Pakistan and Bangladesh, where Muslims target Hindus every time they want to vent their anger against India (read Taslima Nasreen�s book Lajja). There were one million Hindus in the valley of Kashmir in 1900. Only a few hundred are left today, the rest having been forced to flee through terror. In Assam, Tripura, or Nagaland, Hindus are being outnumbered by Bangladeshi illegal immigrants and terrorised by pro-Christian separatist groups, such as the Bodos or the Mizos, while local governments often turn a blind eye. Their temples are being taken over in states like Kerala or Karnataka, the donations appropriated by the state governments.

Yet in 3,500 years of known existence, Hindus have never invaded another country and never tried to impose their religion upon others. No, it has rather been through peaceful invasions that Hinduism has stormed the world, whether in the East, witness Angkor Wat, or in the West today, where the byproducts of Hinduism, yoga, meditation, ayurveda, pranayama have been adopted by millions.

Hindus also gave refuge to all persecuted minorities of the world.It�s a pity that these two communities turned against their Hindu brethren , the former by way of lured conversions, and the latter with bloody invasions.

Hindus, who accept everybody and welcome all religions, are mocked and bombs are planted in their markets, their trains and temples are attacked, they are chased out of their homelands; television and newspapers make fun of them, their own politicians ostracise them.

So, sometimes, Enough is Enough. At some point, Hindus, the most peace-loving people in the world, those Mahatma Gandhi once called gently �cowards�, erupt in fury � uncontrolled fury.

Yes, one should condemn the Gujarat pogrom, but one should look also at the causes. It is not only the 36 innocent Hindu women and children who were burnt to death in a train by a mob of criminals. It is also how much silent frustration and anger must have built over the years, decades, or centuries even, amongst Gujarati Hindus, that in one moment, 1,25.000 Hindus, normal, peaceful people, came out on the streets of Ahmedabad with such fury.

The same thing is true of Jammu and the Amarnath issue. Hindus never complain about their government giving billion of rupees to Indian Muslims for the pilgrimage to Mecca. But when Hindus need shelters, toilets and basic facilities at a height of 15,000 feet to worship at Amarnath, it is denied by the same government. So they erupt in fury.

Instead of appealing for calm and communal harmony, instead of giving us all this eyewash about a 500-year-old Dargah �mostly patronised by Hindus� political leaders, journalists, and spiritual leaders, would do well to look at the root cause of Hindu fury, and try to address their frustrations.

Journalists should also do a little bit of introspection. Hindus have had enough. If this government, or the next, does not take note of their frustrations, we might very well see more Jammus erupting in the coming months and years.

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