The Weakening Hindu Power in South Asia
Tarun Vijay sees a further weakening of the Hindu identity in South Asia with the installation of Prachanda as the prime minister of Nepal
The regime change in Nepal is much more than a mere transformation of a monarchy to democratic republic. The anointing of Prachanda as the country’s prime minister is actually a symbol of the weakening of the Hindu power in entire South Asia.
The Maoist organisation to which Prachanda belongs has an armed guerrilla unit called the People’s Liberation Army, which is known for its terror tactics and spreading anarchy. Prachanda has been its commander-in-chief.
About 15,000 Nepali citizens have already been killed in Nepal due to the Maoist terror that has been ravaging the Hindu country since the last 12 years.
During Nepal’s Maoist revolution, the Maoists made it a point to attack the symbols and traditions of Hinduism such as temples and Sanskrit schools. In the shadow of the Maoist terror, conversions of Nepalese to Christianity increased rapidly and anti-India forces made rapid gains.
Calculated attempts were made over the years to create low self-esteem and inferiority complex among the Nepalese Hindus about their religious identity, despite the fact that these are the very same people who from birth to death have traditionally prayed for the welfare of entire humanity and whose entire outlook and character is built around giving equal respect to all faiths of the world.
In a travesty, the propaganda machinery working in Nepal declared these central tenets of Hinduism to be anti-humanity and anti-modernity. In contrast, the more the Christian and Muslim communities hardened their religious identity and fussed about their mundane rituals, the more they were declared to be secular people and worthy of respect.
Nobody in Nepal has shed any tears for the abrupt termination of the monarchy. This institution is considered responsible for the condition in which Nepal finds itself today. The Nepal which was once known by the temple of Pashupati Nath is today giving more importance to the Bishop House. This seems to be the defining characteristics of the particular brand of “secularism” practised by the Nepalese communists.
In this world, there are many countries which are a beautiful balance of democracy and a traditional monarchy grounded in religion Examples include the Christian countries of UK and Belgium as well as the Buddhist countries of Japan and Myanmar. But the way the Nepali Maoists single-mindedly pursued the eradication of the Hindu identity of Nepal, it would seem as if there has always been a huge contradiction between democracy and tenets of the Hindu faith.
Take one look at the map of South Asia and it immediately becomes clear to what extent the Hindu power and influence has been curtailed in its own homeland. In East Pakistan, now called Bangladesh, the Hindus were once 30 percent of the population. It has now been reduced to a mere ten percent.
The birth of Bangladesh was made possible by the blood of Indian soldiers and taxes of Indian citizens. But Sheikh Mujib, the very first leader of Bangladesh, did not allow the reconstruction of the famous Ramna Kali temple that was destroyed by the Pakistani army in 1971. Even after so many decades, the Hindu agitation to get the temple rebuilt is still continuing in Bangladesh!
Taslima Nasreen, who wrote about the cruelties inflicted on Hindu women and the rest of their community in Bangladesh, is being humiliated and pushed around in the Hindu-majority India. Not a single Hindu has ever become a cabinet minister in Bangladesh. I have been to Pakistan six times. There, the priests of whatever Hindu temples have been left wear a Muslim half-moon cap while venturing out on the streets so that they cannot be recognised as Hindus. Hindu women dare not put a bindi on their foreheads. Holi and Diwali are celebrated behind closed doors.
According to the Hindu American Foundation, in 1947, about 24 percent of Pakistan’s population was Hindu. Not they are well under two percent. In Sri Lanka, Hindus constitute 15 percent of the population. There was a time when the victorious flag of the Hindu civilisation used to flutter from Bamiyan in the West to Borobudur in the East. The world’s largest Hindu temple – Angkor Wat – was built in Cambodia, not in India.
The area from Gandhar in Afghanistan to Laos in East Asia used to be called the Swarna Bhumi (“Golden Land”) or Hind-Asia. Even today, the name of the Bangkok Airport is in Sanskrit which means “Golden Land.” The moment you enter this airport, a sculpture about “Sagar Manthan” (churning of ocean in Hindu theology) greets you. But in India, the anti-Hindu fad of secularism did not allow any sympathy in the state for Hindu culture or for solidarity with the Hindus of neighbouring countries.
Myanmar, because of its Hindu-Buddhist traditions, did not become anti-Hindu. But wherever in the region the creeds of fundamentalist Wahabi Islam and communism took root, Hindu culture was rolled back mercilessly. The self-centred, vote-seeking Hindu leaders of India are responsible for this situation. These leaders have only one philosophy: “Their votes should increase, even if the Hindus decrease.”
For them, being a Hindu means wearing finger rings, conducting “hawans” and going to temples to pray for their own personal benefit such as getting an election ticket or becoming a minister. In other words, they ask from Hindu gods something of a personal nature and then return the favour by building a small temple somewhere. In this exchange of favours, commitment to the nation or rest of the Hindu society does not figure in the equation at all.
These are the same type of Hindu leaders who conspired with the British Raj by becoming the ‘Rai Bahadurs’ and ‘darogas’, but still continued with Hindu rituals and worship at a personal level. Social reformers such as Swami Vivekanand, Dr. Hedgewar spent a lifetime attacking this mentality of some Hindus and made untiring efforts to organise and unite the Hindu society. That their work has remained incomplete is proven by the ongoing agitation of the tricolour-waving Hindus of Jammu.
When a million Hindus are made refugees in their own homeland, when traitors and separatists cannot tolerate the Indian flag on the Lal Chowk, when they refuse to give a tiny patch of land to create temporary toilets for Hindu pilgrims, then how can one expect India to protect Hindus of neighbouring countries from their slow but steady elimination?
This situation shows the lack of unity and organisation in the Hindu society. Hindus are amongst the richest Indians of the world. Hindu saints are world famous. Hindus hold top positions in multinational companies. But these prominent Hindus never seem worried or concerned about the roll back of Hindu civilisation in South Asia or the continuous reduction in its demographic and geographical spread and political power.
Nepal was the only corner of the region in which Hindus could see the lamp of Hindu identity burning bright. With the replacement of the king by the anti-Hindu Maoists, even that steady glow has begin to flicker.