The Hindu Rate Of Wrath

Illustration by Sorit
OPINION
The Hindu Rate Of Wrath
When the Mahatma’s cowards erupt in fury, it hurts. It isn’t terror. ......

Is there such a thing as ‘Hindu terrorism’, as the arrest of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur for the recent Malegaon blasts may tend to prove? Well, I guess I was asked to write this column because I am one of that rare breed of foreign correspondents—a lover of Hindus! A born Frenchman, Catholic-educated and non-Hindu, I do hope I’ll be given some credit for my opinions, which are not the product of my parents’ ideas, my education or my atavism, but garnered from 25 years of reporting in South Asia (for Le Journal de Geneve and Le Figaro).

In the early 1980s, when I started freelancing in south India, doing photo features on kalaripayattu, the Ayyappa festival, or the Ayyanars, I slowly realised that the genius of this country lies in its Hindu ethos, in the true spirituality behind Hinduism. The average Hindu you meet in a million villages possesses this simple, innate spirituality and accepts your diversity, whether you are Christian or Muslim, Jain or Arab, French or Chinese. It is this Hinduness that makes the Indian Christian different from, say, a French Christian, or the Indian Muslim unlike a Saudi Muslim. I also learnt that Hindus not only believed that the divine could manifest itself at different times, under different names, using different scriptures (not to mention the wonderful avatar concept, the perfect answer to 21st century religious strife) but that they had also given refuge to persecuted minorities from across the world—Syrian Christians, Parsis, Jews, Armenians, and today, Tibetans. In 3,500 years of existence, Hindus have never militarily invaded another country, never tried to impose their religion on others by force or induced conversions.

You cannot find anybody less fundamentalist than a Hindu in the world and it saddens me when I see the Indian and western press equating terrorist groups like simi, which blow up innocent civilians, with ordinary, angry Hindus who burn churches without killing anybody. We know also that most of these communal incidents often involve persons from the same groups—often Dalits and tribals—some of who have converted to Christianity and others not.

However reprehensible the destruction of Babri Masjid, no Muslim was killed in the process; compare this to the ‘vengeance’ bombings of 1993 in Bombay, which wiped out hundreds of innocents, mostly Hindus. Yet the Babri Masjid destruction is often described by journalists as the more horrible act of the two. We also remember how Sharad Pawar, when he was chief minister of Maharashtra in 1993, lied about a bomb that was supposed to have gone off in a Muslim locality of Bombay.

I have never been politically correct, but have always written what I have discovered while reporting. Let me then be straightforward about this so-called Hindu terror. Hindus, since the first Arab invasions, have been at the receiving end of terrorism, whether it was by Timur, who killed 1,00,000 Hindus in a single day in 1399, or by the Portuguese Inquisition which crucified Brahmins in Goa. Today, Hindus are still being targeted: there were one million Hindus in the Kashmir valley in 1900; only a few hundred remain, the rest having fled in terror. Blasts after blasts have killed hundreds of innocent Hindus all over India in the last four years. Hindus, the overwhelming majority community of this country, are being made fun of, are despised, are deprived of the most basic facilities for one of their most sacred pilgrimages in Amarnath while their government heavily sponsors the Haj. They see their brothers and sisters converted to Christianity through inducements and financial traps, see a harmless 84-year-old swami and a sadhvi brutally murdered. Their gods are blasphemed.

So sometimes, enough is enough.At some point, after years or even centuries of submitting like sheep to slaughter, Hindus—whom the Mahatma once gently called cowards—erupt in uncontrolled fury. And it hurts badly. It happened in Gujarat. It happened in Jammu, then in Kandhamal, Mangalore, and Malegaon. It may happen again elsewhere. What should be understood is that this is a spontaneous revolution on the ground, by ordinary Hindus, without any planning from the political leadership. Therefore, the BJP, instead of acting embarrassed, should not disown those who choose other means to let their anguished voices be heard.

There are about a billion Hindus, one in every six persons on this planet. They form one of the most successful, law-abiding and integrated communities in the world today. Can you call them terrorists?

Comments

Narayan said…
When one writes about any issue he should write based on the merit of the issue. Where the author comes from, what his background is and so on are beside the point. But here we find that the author consumes a lot of space for details about himself. This act is not very respectable. This also gives one a forewarning that the author is uncertain of the varacity of his thoughts and is therefore preparing a background for the latitude he wishes to have.
I also wonder why he tells us Hindus how good we are! What is his purpose? I am always alarmed by somebody praising me on my face! The same thing happened in case of this araticle.
Then he goes on to the issue of Babri masjid which a good citizen wants not to be reminded of because it is so emotive. He even talks about attacks on churches saying, “Without killing anybody” secretly praising the act and forgetting the cases where our Indian Christian brothers were killed. He does not forget even visiting year 1399 to blame Christians! What is his intention?
What does the writer want to achieve? When a neighbor says to one brother how he is better than the other brother or how he gets less than he deserves, one immediately knows that the neighbor is aiming to cause a rift between the brothers.

This author does it very blatantly. He himself confesses that he has a origin different than India. So he should try to do favorable to the country that has accepted him. Should not harm that country.

Not good. Please spare our country of hatred.
Devendra Pai said…
I am very happy that francois gautier had the courage to speak the truth which is uncommon is even media circles today and people to prefer Mr Narayan's ( who has made a comment here)line of words and worngly believe in hiding the facts and maintain status quo. Well, Mr Gautier is not certainly encouraging any drift in the society but explaining the causes of the drift in the society from a third person point of view. The media has made the society think is certain way and if you don;t hink that way you are commual; which is complete false.
Well, I thank francois gautier from my heart for writing the artcile and providing an example on how a certain isssue should be looked upon as rather than just going through with popular feelings and sensationalising the issue to gain commercial gains and well as increase viewership.
Vasavi said…
Sir,

This is a wonderful article. why anti-hindus like this Narayan guy is offended is a well known thing to us. they do not want any body supporting hindus whether they be westerners or easterners and always come with hindu names spouting all kinds of nonsense. Hindus should open their eyes atleast now and say enough is enough and be proud of thir heritage. It is us who are keeping this country alive, imagine one day this country is devoid of these magnificient temples, vedas, puranas and ithihasaas. i wish i wont be alive to see when nobody remembers vishnusahastranamam beautifully sung by M.S.Subalakshmi or Bhagavadgia sung by Ghantasala. Muslims and christians want to build their mansions on the corpses of hindus. we beleive Lord Vishnu took Nine avataras to protect us from 'adharma' so i am confident he is going to come again to save us from this 'adharma'
thegreatone69 said…
Francois Gautier is Boss...one of the great journalists of this era

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