Sunday, 8 July 2007


This piece appeared in the Herald July 5.

Hindutva is a bane on the Indian nation!

By Fr. Peter Fernandes, sfx.

This ancient land, rich in culture and heritage, which gave birth to world religions, has fallen prey to the Hindutva’s notion of India. The monster is slowly devouring the nation, stripping it of its peaceful dwelling, and imposing a hostile culture, which is alien to this land. For centuries, with few exceptions, different cultures, languages, food, dress code and religions co-existed without trying to trample others. Today’s India has taken an ominous turn around for the worse, which is very frightening and destructive towards the progress and well-being of its citizens.
During the freedom struggle, people came together, as one nation, to overthrow the foreign power. India’s successful achievement of this, on 15 August 1947, was the fruit of the unity and solidarity of the population of the entire nation. Independence marked the new beginning of an era of peace and prosperity. Everyone joined, with one voice, in singing our national anthem, and made known to the world that we are one.
Mahatma Gandhi led the freedom struggle with non-violence. Non-violence was the age-old dress code of this nation, which Gandhi so beautiful weaved together, as he encouraged us to embrace it, in fashioning our future. No one could ever imagine, much less believe, that India possessed such a powerful weapon to overthrow a mighty power. The Indian nation was admired, and looked upon with pride.
Gandhi saw the menace of the foreign power, which was exploiting India. Unfortunately, he overlooked the more destructive force within, “the caste system”, which is a scourge on the Indian nation. This system has exploited our people for centuries. Instead of eliminating the caste system, Gandhi promoted the “Ram Raj”. Over the years, few noble souls of our homeland fought to emancipate those who suffered under its oppression, but met with little success.
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the father of the Indian constitution, truly comprehended the danger of the caste system. He fought on behalf of all for human rights, and for the recognition of each person, as equal before the law. It is absurd for a nation to stand on four different levels and call itself Indians. We are born into a human society with merit and worth, and not into a system that dehumanizes. Dr. Ambedkar once said, “I was born a Hindu, but I will not die a Hindu”. He totally opposed the Hindutav concept of caste system. He called the downtrodden as Harijans (Children of God)
After sixty years of independence, to our national shame, half of the population is living under the poverty line, millions are illiterate, atrocities towards the untouchable are countless and deplorable. Religious freedom is a distant reality in this secular country. Minorities are living in fear of being attacked, as recent history speaks volumes of the pains and suffering precipitated on this segment of humanity by the Hindu fundamentalist.
BJP, along with RSS, Bajrang Dal, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad are destroying the culture and peace of this country because of their fundamentalism. They have distorted the history to fit their own whims and fancies. Their claim is that their actions speak for their gods. However, God is not god whose will is to segregate people, and promote hatred and injustice. If their actions truly speak for their gods, then they should engage in eliminating hunger, illiteracy, and segregation; and promoting justice, harmony and goodwill.
As we have ushered into the new millennium, let our thought be pure and out actions directed to bring peace and justice. We cannot allow this monster, Hindutva, to take over our beautiful country, which has such a rich history of tolerance. Let us follow in the footsteps of the father of the nation, who taught us to dress with non-violence, and the father of the Indian constitution, who helped us to walk as one people, steadfast, with dignity and respect. With integrity and self-esteem, let us always be proud to call ourselves Indians.


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