A Hindu’s response to Tufail Ahmad’s ‘Abrahamic Hindutva’
As a Hindu reading the recently published article on Firstpost, my first response was anger and hurt. Later while I continued reading the article, I realised how little Tufail Ahmad actually knows about Hinduism that I started laughing out loud.
Tufail Ahmad is a former BBC journalist and author of the book, “Jihadist Threat to India – The Case for Islamic Reformation by an Indian Muslim”. I have always respected Ahmad’s anti-Jihadi, pro-reformation and pro-liberal stance, and to that extent I agree with him. He has often spoken up in support of the Uniform Civil Code and in favour of eradicating the growing threats of ISI in India. However, in this article written prior to the most recent article in question, he claims that:
Abrahamic Hindutva, Hinduism influenced by jihadism of Islam, denotes a growing inability of Hindu youths to comprehend their Hindu identity as sufficient in itself – without a reference to Islam and Christianity. We are witnessing a closing of the Hindu mind which is increasingly unable to defend ideals.
This is where I have a huge problem in accepting Ahmad’s narrative. According to Ahmad, the cow vigilantes who fight towards the protection of the gentle cow is akin to Muslims who fight towards spreading Sharia, enacting forced conversions, killing numerous people (sometimes even their own), and cultivating fundamentalist Wahhabism.
Tufail Ahmad’s false equivalency proves only one thing; that he has no inkling of what Hinduism and ‘Hindu theology’, as he calls it, is all about. Throughout the entire article, Ahmad has constantly used this false equivalency:
Muslims believe they must kill you if you insult Prophet Muhammad. Hindus similarly believe that they should kill you if you harm the cow. The theological views associated with Prophet Muhammad and the cow are identical and murderous. In Pakistan, you can be legally punished with death for blasphemy. In India, Hindu youths out to defend Hinduism are willing to kill you for transporting cows.
While the Quran (5.33 & 5.34) clearly says that anyone who commits blasphemy against Allah and his messengers will be put to death or crucified unless they repent, there is no such rigid law in the Hindu Dharma Shastras that says one should kill people for harming the cows. Therefore, the theological views associated with the Prophet Muhammad are not identical with the Hindu view and this clearly shows that Ahmad is not acquainted with the basics of Hindu Dharma.
Tufail Ahmad speaks the truth when he says that Sanatana Dharma has been pluralistic since its conception. However, during the Vedic period, which is arguably more than 5000 years old, no Abrahamic faiths existed. When our scriptures revealed the verse in one of the Upanishads, “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vandanti”, which means “that which exists is ONE, but sages call it by various names”, none of the monotheistic religions were in existence.
Such an all-encompassing world view could only come from Sanatana Dharma, and it certainly did not include the religious denominations that originated outside of the Indus Valley plains. The pluralistic nature of Sanatana Dharma is applicable only to the six philosophical schools (Shad Dharshanas) and the six traditions (Shan Matha) and not to the Abrahamic faiths. However, the current day Hindus have been indoctrinated to co-exist with other faiths in the name of “tolerance”, which is now threatening the very existence of Hinduism within its own birthplace called India.
Pluralism, according to Hindu Dharma, only extends to the range of the various denominations within Hindu traditions, while all other belief systems that reject the Vedic authority are false doctrines. This argument has been constantly echoed by Dr David Frawley, Dr Frank Morales in his book Radical Universalism and many other Hindu intellectuals and scholars.
This is not the first time Hindus have arisen from their slumber to take up arms in fighting off invaders and hijackers of the Hindu Dharma. While Hinduism advocates peace through its principle of ahimsa, fighting wars for the establishment of Dharma, when all other efforts to reconcile have failed, is not prohibited. Be it with weapons, like in the Mahabharatha war, or with debates, like how Sri Adi Sankaracharya defeated the Buddhists and made them to abscond, Hindus have fought against forces that have threatened the survival of Hindu Dharma.
When any right wing Hindu groups are constantly maligned and berated by the largely pseudo-secular and Westernised liberal media, even after 1200 years of constant persecution and struggles, what else does Ahmad expect from the Hindus? We Hindus have no mandate, like the Jihadis do, which instructs us to wage wars in order to proselytise our Hindu Dharma. We can only defend ourselves from people who wish to belittle Hindu causes and Hindu Dharma.
Divorcing Hinduism from Hindutva is a common tactic handled by the left-liberals, so that while not offending and antagonizing the Hindus, the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra can still be opposed. According to Savarkar, the original preceptor of the concept of Hindutva or Hindu Nationalism, Hindus are those who consider India to be the land in which their ancestors lived, as well as the land in which Vedic civilization thrived.
As a Hindu, if I believe that India is my janma bhumi (birth place) and punya bhumi (the place where my Hindu Dharma originated), therefore, I am a Hindu Nationalist or a Hindutva follower. Would that make me a Hindu terrorist or Abrahamic Hindu who is akin to Islamic Jihadist? If all Hindu organisations that fight for Hindu causes and for the survival of Hinduism is to be maligned as “terrorist”, who actually speaks for and fights for the protection of Hindus and Hindu Dharma?
India did not thrive under liberty, like Ahmad claims; the Indian civilisation thrived under Vaidika Dharma. Liberty or freedom is defined as:
A condition in which a man’s will regarding his own person and property is unopposed by any other will.
Such a concept of freedom and liberty is totally a Western idea, which cannot be applied to the Indian civilization, especially to Hindu Dharma. According to Manu Smriti in Chapter 2 verse 6, one’s own will is the last of which you live according to, preceded by the Vedas, Smritis and the conduct of virtuous people. Our own will is not a reliable means of knowledge, hence reliance is always placed on the highest authority, the Vedas. As such, the Hindus have always regarded the Vedas as the ultimate authority, which also call for the protection of the cows and veneration of the cows. Therefore, Ahmad’s fundamental argument that our ancestors practiced liberty, while we Hindus are becoming increasingly “close-minded”, calls his qualifications to write about Hinduism into question.
Therefore, my dear Hindus, there are no Abrahamic Hindus. There are only Hindus who transgress the laws of the country, and the rightful authority must detain them and punish them according to the law. There are also Hindus who have studied about Hinduism and know what their scriptures say. Then there are Hindus who simply feel very bad about their own religion because people like Tufail Ahmad want to portray some rebellious Hindus into terrorists. This is where the danger lies if we allow a bogus term like ‘Abrahamic Hindutva’ to get into established narrative.
I am an aspiring writer and a spiritual seeker. In the corporate world, I am an accountant. I teach Hinduism and Hindu Philosophy at The Hindu Hub, a non-profit organisation situated at Singapore.