Why Hinduphobia should not be the opposite of Islamophobia
The right-liberal Hindu is today in grave danger. Barring his surname, anything that he does will be used to suggest that he is uneducated, sentimental, and orthodox, something which intellectualism has, from time immemorial, rejected. If he believes in his myths, he is deluded; if he avoids eggs on Tuesdays, he is the simplistic gau-bhakt. He upholds his religion, only as much partisan and sectarian as any other religion, and he is already an RSS-pig.
In the recent years, institutions with humanities departments in the metros have realised that a left-leaning conscience is for the collective good of the hitherto under-represented and dis-empowered minorities of the country. In the wake of such a realisation, Brahmin-bashing and a spirit of Hinduphobia has taken over these spaces. If not, why do we celebrate Mahishasur Diwas in premier institutions, but would wince at the slightest offence done to Prophet Muhammad? If not, why has there been incessant calling for the beheading of Kamlesh Tiwari, who unceremoniously called the Prophet, the ‘first homosexual of the world?’ Why, even worse, has the centre been rallied against for something said by a non-party element?
I’ve not even started with the whole argument that calling for Tiwari’s ‘beheading’ is objectionable, and should be protested. In a country that is so obsessed with criticizing beef bans, while horse meat and dog meat is banned in other so-called multicultural countries on religious grounds, such a demand is rather unreasonable, inhuman and brutish, among other things. Moreover, what if Tiwari is one of the many motor-mouths in the country, like Sadhvi Pragya, Yogi Adityanath and the inglorious Owaisi brothers?
But what has Kamlesh done? Surely, this is the post-homophobic age, and to cry out with such vengeance against a statement that was delivered to incite masses, is not only regressive, but very foolish of the orthodox Muslim masses. Behead Tiwari because he has called the Prophet gay? Not very gay, indeed. I’ll say the reasons will have to be homosexual-sensitive.
The right-liberal Hindu is afraid of divulging his mode of prayer, today, for it will be immediately understood that he still beats up certain members of his community for drinking from the same well, entering his sacred places of worship, and prays to an ape when he is scared. He immediately makes a show of being atheist, but even that is a liberty that the masses do not have. He will not wear threads and beads and should he have a tika on his forehead, it will immediately act as the record button to his backward, saffron-ist beliefs about Hinduism and its supposed polar-opposition with Islam.
But what of the open-flaunting of religion as a part of dress, even within the public sphere, that Islam indulges in? Should the tricolour be considered an instrument of hate-mongering among the different, diverse people of our country, the reason could well be that saffron is at the top and green at the bottom. Our conditioned privileging of the top vis-a-vis the bottom is another matter.
More and more Leftist-liberals are criticising Hinduism and are calling for the destruction of all its orders. The reasons look reasonable, with the best reason being Hinduism’s propensity for fostering caste hierarchies and patriarchy. And here, Hinduphobia begins. Do we not know of the extreme patriarchy that is found in the Catholicism and even later orders, or for that matter, the very characteristic Islamic patriarchy, of which the Burkha is the best example?
But it will be nonsensical to justify the upholding of the evils of a religion on grounds like these. Hinduism has to do away with Brahmanical politics and its share of patriarchy, but the castigation of a religion which has its share of extremists, is not only wrong, but bigoted and politically motivated. The liberal Hindu has as much a right to pray and follow the eccentricities of a religion because they provide psychological security, as any other liberal from another religion.