Tag Archives: amarnath land

Reciprocity and Hindu anger

Source: Rediff.com

August 19, 2008
Once upon a time, there was a tiny village in South Arcot district in Tamil Nadu, called Kuilapalayam. Now Kuilapalayam is like hundreds of villages around Pondichery: it is peopled with Hindu Vanniars, poor, living off agriculture, usually a few meagre fields of cashew nuts. But then Kuilapalayam just happened to be in the midst of Auroville, the international township founded by the Mother of Pondichery based upon the ideals of the great yogi and revolutionary, Sri Aurobindo.

Thus Kuilapalayam prospered: Its inhabitants learned trades needed for the city: carpenters, masons, craftsmen, and some of its children attended Auroville’s schools and were educated along with Western kids and in time graduated and went into white collar jobs. From a few bicycles 40 years ago, Kuilapalayam today has motorcycles, tractors, cars, vans, cable television, cell phones, etc. The main road of Kuilapalayam, which used to be only shady huts, became lined with fancy shops which sold everything, from vegetables to handicrafts.

And then the unavoidable happened: A Kashmiri from Chennai heard about Auroville and the prosperity of Kuilapalayam and understanding that he could make a packet with so many Westerners passing though Auroville, he opened the usual shawls and carpets shop in the village. Now Kuilapalayam never counted a Muslim amongst its population in its 1,200 years of recorded history; but in true Hindu tradition, this one was welcomed and nobody raised any objection, although he was competition for some of the other shops.

Our Kashmiri Muslim, seeing his success, called his cousin in Kolkata, who came and opened another shop; and that one phoned his friend in Mumbai, who also landed up and opened a third shop. Still nobody found anything to say. Kashmiris are sociable fellows and they quickly made friends with Westerners, so business was booming, till they were seven or eight Kashmiri shops in Kuilapalayam. And again nobody complained, even when the fellows started doing their naamaz in the open. “Isn’t God everywhere and isn’t He Krishna, as well as Allah?” said one of the villagers.

Then Rathinam, one of the young boys of Kuilapalayam who had gone to study in Delhi [Images], told his parents when he came back, about the fact that not only were no outsiders allowed to buy land or start a shop in the valley of Kashmir, where the shopkeepers came from, but that 400,000 Hindus were chased out of the valley by terror. His parents started talking to their friends and there was the first hint of resentment against the newcomers.

Fifteen days later, the Amarnath row exploded. Rathinam’s father went to see a group of Kuilapalayam Kashmiris having tea and told them that Hindus never complained about the government giving billion of rupees in subsidies to Indian Muslims so that they can visit their most holy place, Mecca. But when Hindus, he continued, need shelters, toilets and basic facilities at a height of 15,000 feet to worship at Amarnath, one of the holiest places of Hinduism, why do you Kashmiri Muslims deny it to us?

The Kashmiris looked a bit uneasy, then replied that anyway the Amarnath ice lingam had been discovered by a Muslim shepherd and that Muslims had always welcomed their Hindu brothers to Armanath. But this did not convince the Kuilapalayam man who had heard from his son that many grenade attacks had happened over the years on the Amarnath pilgrims. And anger has started mounting in Kuilapalayam.

So, it is all a question of reciprocity. Most Hindus are peace-loving people. The average Hindu that you meet in a million Indian villages, such as Kuilapalayam, 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, Hindus go even a little further, they hate trouble and go out of their way to avoid it. Have you noticed how every time there is a possibility of a strike or riot, Hindus stay home? Or how — forget about rioting — Hindus never speak up, complain or protest in a united manner? There is a UN Human Rights Conference on terrorism in New York coming up on September 9, and they have been desperately trying to get Hindu survivors of recent bomb blasts to testify; but no one is willing to come forward.

Despite that, everywhere in the world Hindus are hounded, humiliated, routed, be it in Fiji where an elected democratic government was twice deposed in an armed coup, or in Pakistan and Bangladesh where Muslims indulge in pogroms against Hindus every time they want to vent their anger against India (read Taslima Nasreen’s [Images] Lajja to know more).

In Assam, Tripura, or Nagaland, Hindus are being outnumbered by Bangladeshi illegal immigrants and terrorised by pro-Christian separatist groups while local governments often turn a blind eye.

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

Hindus also gave refuge to all the persecuted minorities of the world, from Parsis to the Jews (India is the only country in the world where Jews were not persecuted) to Armenians and Tibetans today. The first Christian community of the world, that of Syrian Christians, flourished in Kerala [Images], thanks to Hindus’ tolerance; Arab merchants were welcomed by Hindu rulers to do trade and live in India while practicing their religion, from very early times.

Thus Hindus, who accept everybody and welcome all religions, allow Indians from other parts to trade next to them, as it happened in Kuilapalayam, do not receive in return any gratitude and the same respect.

So, sometimes, enough is enough. At some point, after years or even centuries of submitting like sheep to slaughter, Hindus, the most peace-loving people in the world, those Mahatma Gandhi [Images] once gently called ‘cowards’, those who cringe in their houses at the least sign of a riot, erupt in fury, uncontrolled fury.

Instead of trying to pour water over the fire, instead of appealing for calm and communal harmony, political leaders, journalists as well as spiritual leaders would do well to look at the root cause of Hindu fury, and try to address their demands and frustrations.

The volcano of Hindu fury erupts sometimes

Fran�ois Gautier

Source : The NEWINDPRESS

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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ALSO READ HIS EARLIER POST ON THE SAME SUBJECT FROM PARIS

Unity, not separation, is the answer
Tuesday July 1 2008 08:17 IST

Source: The Newindpress

READING in Paris about Kashmiri Muslims rioting because of land transferred to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) and the People’s Democratic Party pulling out of the Jammu and Kashmir Government coalition, one feels a little bit surprised. The Amarnath pilgrimage is an ancient tradition and after all, Kashmir,much before some of the inhabitants of the Valley were converted to Islam, is the seat of Shaivism, the place where thousands of yogis, sadhus, holy men, prayed, meditated and often attained realisation, for at least 3,000 years.

Millions of devotees have flocked to Armanath over the centuries — and Muslims from Kashmir should show them generosity, because in India, although Muslims have been a minority since the beginning, Hindus have always respected the religion of Islam. Indeed, Muslims in India have had a freedom that Hindus or Christians do not enjoy in Saudia Arabia or Pakistan.

Furthermore, Indian Muslims returning from the Gulf, have built, in the last 20 years, tens of thousands of mosques, thanks to Gulf money, often with land donated by the Indian Government and without the Hindus ever protesting. Kashmir is also the land of Sufism, where the best of Islam and Vedanta blended, which allowed many generations of Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims to worship together in mosques and temples and attend each others’ festivals.

Unfortunately, after the creation of Pakistan, a hard Sunni fundamentalism has entered the Valley, mainly with Pakistani and Afghan jihadis, and four lakh Kashmiri Hindus have been forced by death, terror and violence, to flee the valley of their ancestors, one of the biggest ethnic cleansings in human history. Sitting in Paris, one wonders if it is worth it for India to fight for Kashmir.

After all, both Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh have hinted time and again that self-determination could be a solution. But all those who have covered Kashmir extensively, like myself, know that 98 per cent of the Valley would vote to separate from India and eventually land in Pakistan’s lap.

This leads to the next question: should India surrender to international pressure and let Kashmiris decide their own fate? Well it all depends on the Indian people’s determination. Each nation has, or has had in the past, a separatist problem.

Today, the Spanish have the Basques, the French the Corsicans, or the Turkish the Kurds. Amnesty International will continue to lambast India over human rights violations. But has Amnesty the right to decide what is right or wrong for each nation?

Can India let itself be dragged into this mire? Why should India, which took so long to unite itself and saw at the departure of the British one-third of its land given away to Pakistan, surrender Kashmir? The evolution of our earth tends towards unity, oneness, towards the breaking up of our absurd borders, the abolishing of passports, bureaucracies, no man’s lands; not towards the building up of new borders, new customs barriers, new smaller nations.

India cannot let herself be broken up in bits just to satisfy the West’s moralistic concerns. To preserve her Dharma, India has to remain united, even conquer again, whether by force or by peaceful means, what once was part of her South Asian body. For this she should not surrender Kashmir, it could be the beginning of the breaking up of India. Still in Paris, reading the BBC’s coverage of the Amarnath episode, any Indian lover such as myself can only be appalled. Reports of the BBC on Amarnath always speak about “Indian-administered Kashmir”, never giving the full picture of Hindus being forced to flee the Valley, nor of the sacredness of this ancient pilgrimage for all Hindus.

It reminds me when we were covering Kashmir in the Nineties, how the BBC always scoffed at the Indian Government’s accusation that Pakistan was sheltering, sponsoring and arming Kashmiri militants, which it was sending back across the border to create havoc. The accusation has been proved true, but, of course, the BBC never apologised for its partiality.

It’s arrogance and hypocrisy, of course, because we all know how the British decided to go all the way to the end of the world to retain the Falkland Islands, killing many innocent Argentinians in the process.

Indeed the BBC is a state within a state: recently a BBC journalist did a feature on Auroville, the international city near Puducherry based on Sri Aurobindo’s ideals, making accusations of of paedophilia. In spite of numerous protests by residents of Auroville, and the fact that there is no paedophile in their midst, the BBC never apologised. Finally, Kashmir, the Valley of all absurdities, atrocities and human cruelty, could also become the land of hope and redemption, if only the Muslims of Kashmir would understand that their forefathers were Hindus, who must have suffered a lot during invasions by Turk or Afghan warlords, often converting out of fear or necessity.

If only Muslims in Kashmir would understand that Hindus are their brothers and sisters and that although Hinduism and Islam are so different, only Hinduism recognises the divinity of other religions, the avatarhood of other prophets — not Christianity or even Buddhism. If only Kashmiri Muslims would allow Sufism to make a comeback in the Valley, would permit the spirit of Bhakti, of devotion, of tolerance and acceptance of other creeds to re-enter the Islam which is practised in the Valley, it could not only save Kashmir, allow the return of their four lakh Hindu brothers and sisters, but it might help Islam to regenerate itself, open its dogmas to a world which has changed enormously since the Koran was written 1,500 years ago and save itself from the path of confrontation with the West on which it is embarked at this moment.

The author, a journalist and writer, is editor-in- chief of La Revue de l’Inde.

E-mail: fgautier@sify.com