(Dr R K Chadha)
Time has come to unshackle the alien narrative about India which is being constantly fed to us through the narrow lens of western view-point to undermine the superiority of the Hindu civilization and the Indian psyche.
The Bhoomi Pujan ceremony to construct a Ram temple on August 5, 2020 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the announcement of our determination to regain the glorious past and change this narrative. The glaring fact that day passed off incident-free and was celebrated throughout the country, though with precautions in place due to pandemic, shows the acceptance by every soul in India. However, this day might have disappointed the naysayers in the society who in their hearts wished disturbances like in yesteryears, but also a few feeble bickering were heard post-event from marginal leaders in Hyderabad and some Mullahs in Uttar Pradesh.
Whether these voices were expression of hidden sentiments of a minority section of society or just some random noises made by some leaders, is a question to ponder. But, what is now certain is that their livelihoods are threatened and they have to make their relevance felt by making provocative statements for their future survival. A highlight of this event, which was missed by everyone, was the resolve of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to stick to the appointed date and time. This was in spite of the attempts by certain vested interests to sabotage the event by citing positive testing of Covid19 of the Chief Priest and the Home Minister Amit Shah as “inauspicious,” which went unheeded.
The sheer grit and determination of the leadership to act decisively and rise above superstitions for which they are often accused of, is yet another hallmark of this event. A strong message that comes out loud and clear is to be an Indian First and as such we should declare this day as “Indian First” day and should be celebrated every year to keep our country united and strong.
History tells us that strong leaders decide the fate of nations. On one hand we have seen dictators and fascists like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, most important ones in the 20th century butchering millions of people and ordering the genocide of Jews and on the other hand we have a nation builder like Lee Kuan Yew, who transformed Singapore as a leading Asian country during his tenure from 1959 to 1990 after gaining independence from the clutches of Imperial Britain. Even after stepping down from the premiership, Lee kept on contributing to the growth of his country as a mentor and donated his life-long earnings amounting to $13 million. These were the earnings from his memoirs, lectures and appointments in advisory capacity post his tenure as Prime Minister.
This contribution was not known to the people till the book by Zuraidah Ibrahim et al., “Hard Truths – To keep Singapore going” came out in 2011 few years before his death. In India an opportunity has cropped up where the country’s reign is in the hands of a strong, honest and a nationalist leader like Narendra Modi, who has a missionary zeal to develop India with the support of over a billion people who trust him. Our country is in the midst of people who have the right credentials and the frame of mind to take us to the world stage and help us occupy our rightful place under the Sun. We must not let go of this opportunity at least for the next decade.
People have to be told about our historical sufferings in the past and how evil forces tried to destroy our nation. Let us take an oath on this day to follow the path of Lord Shri Ram and let us support the man who possesses the virtues of ethics, sacrifice and valor propounded by Shri Ram to rebuild our nation.
Nation building requires being aware of our history so that we do not repeat the same mistakes of the past and become cautious about the pitfalls. Since the independence of India in 1947 we are constantly being fed with a false narrative of secularism in terms of western thought. Our minds are conditioned to follow the Oxford and Cambridge definitions of the word secular, stricto sensu, while history tells how their Church influenced civilizations.
The impact of such conditioning was that the word secularism became synonymous with appeasement of Muslim minority in Indian politics. Historically, the Indian subcontinent, which was both culturally and economically the richest part of the world since Indus valley civilization 3500 BCE, had been the arena of plunder first by the Muslim invaders and then by Imperial Britain.
The agenda of Muslim invaders was to loot the wealth of the country, desecrate the places of worship of Hindus and spread the religion of Islam by forceful conversions.
The Islam religion originated in the 7th century CE in a remote corner of Arabian Desert in Asia inhabited by nomadic Bedouin tribes. The western coast of India which had several trade links with the world saw the first arrival of Arab traders in the 7th century in Malabar, Kerala. Initially the Arabs adopted the Camel and Arab approach in which the occupant of the tent is kicked out by the camel, first by putting his first leg, then second followed by his head and then occupying the entire tent.
After initial conversions of Hindus to Islam by marrying the gullible Hindu women in low income strata the population of Muslims increased in Kerala. The Cheraman Juma Masjid was the first mosque built in India at Kodungallur in Thrissur district of Kerala in 629 CE. The converted Muslims who later became to be known as Moplahs, which is the English pronunciation of Mapilla in Malayam meaning the son-in-law started dominating as they grew in numbers. Some of these Moplahs were settled in Coorg by Tipu Sultan and other parts of southern India, later. The looting and plundering of India was set in motion by other Muslim invaders from 8th century CE onwards and continued unabated for the next 1000 years.
The tragedy of India is that the history that has been told and taught to us in schools since Independence is influenced by the narrative of the western world.
Most of the Indian historians educated in the west especially the UK at high end universities or institutions are in a race to score more and more brownie points for their benefits. This has been going on for several decades and as a result we have lost our self-esteem as a proud Hindu race.
The impact created by such left-liberal thinking historians has made us slaves suffering with white color syndrome. We accept and believe anything told by a white man and yearn to elicit his positive response to whatever we do. This is glaring when we see the history books in our schools which mention very little about the bravery and struggle of Indians against the Muslim rulers during Mogul Period. In every debate it is vociferously argued that the Mogul rulers came to India and stayed and made India very rich and that it was the golden period. Nothing will be far from truth as history tells us a very different story which is not very often told. The 21st century has provided us with tools where truth cannot be hidden anymore and facts and incidents in the history need to be interpreted truthfully.
The Muslim rule in India forms the darkest and the bloodiest phase in Indian history especially from 11th to 19th century.
The Muslims invaders who were no more than local tribal leaders in their own countries in central and west Asia arrived in India with the twin aim to loot and spread Islam in India by the sword. Initial period was dominated by the different dynasties like Mamluk, Slave, Khilji, Tughlaq, Sayyid and Lodhi who came from Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Egypt. They established a Sultanate in Delhi. Later, in the 16th century the Mogul dynasty from the region of Uzbekistan, Turkeministan, Fergana and Samarkhand in central Asia took over when Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodhi at the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 CE.
The Mogul period ended with Bahadur Shah Zafar as the last emperor in 1837 CE. During the entire period of the Muslim rule Hindu kingdoms were attacked and conquered, wealth was looted, temples were destroyed, men and women were butchered. Two choices were given to the people according to the tenets of Islam, either convert to Islam or pay Jizya which was a tax to remain a non-muslim (dhimmi), if not they were killed. Men were killed and women were taken as slaves called “laundees” to be used for sex satiations of the rulers or were sold in Arabia.
Several arguments are put forward that Moguls made India very rich which is an absolute lie told to us repeatedly for the last several decades. It is also told that Moguls stayed back in India to develop and hence spend the money in the development of the country.
India was already a very rich nation in the first millennium CE with 34% GDP share of world economy. Agnus Maddison in his book on The World Economy published in 2004 says that when Babur came to India our share of the world economy was 24.2% and in 1600 CE it went down below China when Akbar was the ruling Mogul Monarch. If one reads Babur Nama, the primary source of information, the jewels, gold and silver along with the revenue collected as tax from Hindu masses was sent to Kabul, Baloch, Khurasan and Uzbekistan as the economic conditions there were not good. A substantial amount of the loot was also sent to Mecca and Medina.
The hatred of Babur for India can be gauged from the fact that he wanted to be buried in Kabul in Afghanistan after his death.
Today, one can go and visit his mazar in Kabul. Akbar was relatively less barbaric, but he too collected taxes from Hindus and a major share of which was sent to Mecca and Madina. He wanted to project his image as a tolerant ruler who believed in Hindu-Muslim unity and as a secular person. But Ain-i-Akbari/Akbarnama by Abu’l Fazi tells a very different story. The incident of the massacre of 40,000 peasants ordered by Akbar shows the barbaric side of him. He was such a narcissistic that he tried to propagate a new religion called Din-e-illahi. He even minted coins with inscriptions of “Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar Gazi Badshah” on one side and the other side with the Muslim Kalma “La Ilaha Illallah Muhammadur Rasulullah”.
The last of the most barbaric Mogul was Aurangzeb, whose atrocities are well known and his notoriety is so evident that even the most left liberal authors could not project any of his actions in a positive way. During his tenure there was a slight increase in the GDP share of India but it was mostly attributed to the rise of Marathas. But by the time Aurangzeb died the coffers of the Moguls were almost empty. One can imagine where all the money was routed.
The trauma of the Hindus was not yet over with the end of Mogul rule that Imperial Britain occupied India. They also came in the garb of business houses to join the party to loot and plunder the resources of India and kill the flourishing Indian economy by destroying the cottage industries and agriculture. The British hated the cultural, economic richness and the brilliance of Indians so much so that they wanted to somehow kill the country by attacking Hindu religion.
They adopted a very intelligent approach of selectively cultivating a section of the educated upper class Indians including leaders in politics from across the country and provided doles and personal benefits so that they become their ambassadors and mouth pieces in future. This resulted in a section of society which today constitutes the elite liberal and secular class influenced by the western thought and philosophy.
Even today the lineage of this class continues at prestigious centers at JNU, AMU, Jamia and several other lesser known institutions. This class of society which filtered into almost all major institutions, thanks to the ruling dispensations of the time, had their dream run since the independence of India in 1947. With the change of guard in 2014 they feel threatened about their existence and have turned the narrative as the fight between the civil society, as they call themselves and the right wing politics.
The hatred of Imperial Britain towards Hindus has been the default position of many influential people in Britain for more than 200 years and can be gauged by its intensity. Very early they realized that if they have to break India they will have to bring in differences between the Hindu and Muslim population. James Mill in his book The History of British India in 1817 wrote “The Hindus are full of dissimulation and falsehood, the universal concomitants of oppression. The vices of falsehood, indeed they carry to a height almost unexampled among the other races of men”.
As for religion, Mill wrote “No people have ever drawn a grosser and disgusting picture of the universe than what is presented in the writings of the Hindus”. Mill had no such problem with Islam: “Very few words are required; because the superiority of the Mahomedans in respect of religion is beyond all dispute”. Mill also felt that Muslims believed in the ‘natural equality of mankind’, whereas the Hindu performance of religious ceremonies was ‘to the last degree contemptible and absurd, very often tormenting and detestable’.
For Mill, the greatest contrast was in the behaviour of Hindus and Muslims. ‘In truth the Hindu, excels in the qualities of a slave … the Mahomedan is more manly.’ Thomas Babington Macaulay, who made the decision that Indians should be taught in English rather than their native languages, described Mill’s history as ‘the greatest historical work which has appeared in our language. Like Mill, Macaulay also fulminated against Hinduism saying: ‘In no part of the world has a religion ever existed more unfavourable to the moral and intellectual health of our race.’ The Hindus had ‘an absurd system of physics, an absurd geography, and absurd astronomy’. Nor were they any better at art. ‘Through the whole of the Hindoo pantheon you will look in vain for anything resembling those beautiful and majestic forms which stood in the shrines of ancient Greece. All is hideous, and grotesque and ignoble.’ In contrast Macaulay admired Islam, calling it a faith belonging to a ‘better family’, related as it was to Christianity.
After the revolt of 1857 in British India there were calls to eradicate Hinduism. The Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon told a congregation of 25,000 at Crystal Palace that ‘such a religion as the religion of the Hindoo, the Indian government was bound, as in the sight of God, to put down with all the strength of their hand’. One can go on and on about the hate writings of British people about Hindu religion. But the worst of the hate outbursts came from the greatest known British fascist and a war hero in UK, Winston Churchill. In February 1945 Winston Churchill had dinner with his secretary John Colville and Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris. Colville’s diary records that: ‘The PM said the Hindus were a foul race … and he wished Bert Harris could send some of his surplus bombers to destroy them.’
Even earlier, Churchill had expressed contempt for Hindus. He called Indian a beastly people. Once he had told Ivan Mikhailovich Maisky, the Soviet ambassador in London, that, should the British be forced to leave India: ‘Eventually, the Moslems will become master, because they are warriors, while the Hindus are windbags.’ In his youth Churchill had considered converting to Islam. He had always admired the Muslim faith and, during the war, even lied to Roosevelt that the majority of the Allies’ Indian soldiers were Muslim while the fact was majority were Hindus. This Hinduphobia persisted even after British left India. Francis Tuker, who spent 33 years in the Indian Army, retired as head of Eastern Command in 1950 expressed concerns that in independent India, he feared the advance of Communism which will further harm India, the prophetic words which came true.
In spite of such a traumatic history of the past 1000 years India has emerged unscathed and remained a Hindu majority nation. Though Hindu philosophy teaches us to forgive and move on, forgive we may but we must not forget of what we have undergone so that the history is not repeated. We have to be constantly on guard as even within our country there are forces which are bent upon breaking India.
Barbarism exhibited during the Moplah Genocide of Hindus in Kerala in 1921 is a stark reminder of brutality on Hindu community by Mapilla Muslims who were our home grown haters of Hinduism.
It is an irony that Hindus who supported the Khilafat Movement in India led by the infamous Ali brothers, Hakim Ajmal Khan,Abul Kalam Azad and other prominent Muslim leaders during 1919-21 to restore the caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate in Turkey were massacred in India by the people of the same Caliphate philosophy. It is under the same Ottoman Caliphate Moguls invaded India in the 15th century and destroyed our temples, raped and killed our women and men and looted the wealth. The violence in Malegaon in Maharashtra and Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh during the Khilafat movement in India are yet other examples of atrocities on Hindus by the home grown Mapillas for which we have to be watchful.
The time has come to tell the world the correct definition of secularism practiced and preached by India. Indians follows the path of Sanathan Dharma which is different from religion and means “path of righteousness”. This Dharma is based on pluralism, accommodation, liberalism, peace and love, the real meaning and tenets of secularism.
The word Hindu refers to the people in the Indian subcontinent around and beyond the Sindhu River and is more a geographic, ethnic and cultural identifier associated with Indus Valley Civilisation. So, all citizens of India are basically Hindus, be it Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis and others. Even the atheists in the country are Hindus.
Why anybody should have a problem calling themselves Hindus? Even the Pakistanis or Bangladeshi are originally Hindus except that their forefathers converted to Islam under force and duress.
India is a thriving and vibrant democracy because it is a country of Hindu majority with 20% minorities unlike more than 50 Islamic countries. India runs as per the constitution given to us after the Independence which did not even mention the word secular while drafting the constitution. It was only added in the Preamble through the 42nd Constitutional Amendment which was adopted in 1976.
The Supreme Court at that time opined that the word secular is inherent in the constitution because of Article 25 which says “all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health. This amendment was probably one of the greatest blunders during Indira Gandhi’s time which led to the beginning of appeasement politics in the country.
India made tremendous strides in developing into a modern nation through the efforts of earlier political leaders who fought for the country’s freedom. The British left us a fractured country, dismal economy after the loot, a below poverty population, communal riots, partitioned India and with minimal resources. Faced with the challenge of uniting a vast population diverse in culture, language and religion, the First Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru successfully unleashed various economic, social and educational reforms that earned him the respect and admiration of millions of Indians.
His policies of non-alignment and Panchscheel—principles of peaceful coexistence—guided India’s international relations until the outbreak of the Sino-Indian War in 1962, which contributed to his declining health and subsequent death in 1964. Although, Nehru made several mistakes during his tenure as Prime Minister, he signaled the arrival of India on industrial map beginning with the implementation of the first of his five-year plans in 1951, which emphasized the importance of increasing agricultural production.
Several Dams, Steel plants were constructed and public sectors were established. He also promoted scientific and technological advancements through the establishment of higher learning like the IITs, Atomic Energy, Space Technology, Research Institutes and instituted various social reforms such as free public education and meals for Indian children, legal rights for women—including the ability to inherit property and divorce their husbands—and laws to prohibit discrimination based on caste.
After the death of Nehru the solid foundation laid by him was lost by the leaders who followed him. Politics in India became more personality oriented and became the proverbial “Last resort of scoundrels”. Lust for power took precedence over the interest of developing the nation. The secularism in India became synonymous with Muslim appeasement. Terrorism increased in the country. Muslim leaders from J & K started dictating the Central government and harassing Hindu community in the state. Emergency was declared and rights of common citizens were taken away. Communal violence became a regular feature.
The atmosphere in the country was that of anarchism. In between there were few sparks of brilliance like India becoming a Nuclear Power with two explosions in 1974 and 1998, self sufficiency and green revolution, white revolution and becoming the number one producer of milk and dairy products, defeating Pakistan and creating Bangla Desh, abolishing permit raj, initiating economic reforms and liberalization of economy, reaching double digit economic growth, becoming a leader in space technology, moon and mars missions and implementing RTI for transparency. All these developments were overshadowed by the disease of corruption which crept into the roots of our system. Corruption became a norm and shamelessly justified as a normal part of our daily lives. This slide reduced the prestige of Indians on international arena. We were laughed at and our self esteem was at its lowest and took a hit.
In these circumstances we had a whiff of fresh air when Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over. He brought with him a promise of development which swayed the country. He came with a track record of service as a Swayam Sevak at a grass root level, a simple man with impeccable record of honesty unheard of in politics. His first term was marked with some good and bad decisions but what stood out were his honest intentions to take the country on the path of development by correcting the system and getting back the self esteem of Indians to feel proud once again.
Though many critics wrote him off after his first term, he bounced back with greater force. India was put on the world map once again and the kind of attention and respect he got from the world leaders is a testimony to his character. He has put an end to the dynastic politics which is slowly leading to the destruction of the Congress party. Once again the left liberal lobby and media played mind games to put down his enthusiasm and started backdoor games to uproot him. Unmindful of criticism, Narendra Modi took the bravest decisions which were brushed under the carpet by earlier leaders.
He removed the obnoxious practice of Triple Talak in Muslim community which nobody dare thought in their dreams. The Muslims women thanked Modi for his bold decision and alleviating their sufferings at the hands of their spouses. The mullahs went silent for the fear of a backlash. He then abrogated Article 370 and called the bluff of triggering unprecedented violence by the antinational leaders of Jammu and Kashmir.
On the security front he showed Pakistan that India can destroy the terrorist camps under their tutelage after the Uri attack by a surgical strike and demonstrated that he will not hesitate to enter in their homes and demolish them after Balakote strike. In the process all the hot air of Pakistan being a borrowed nuclear power state was deflated. All channels of funds for terrorism through Kashmir were blocked leading to a terrorism free India. Today, Pakistan backed terrorist activity is only confined to the borders of J&K.
The Galwan valley incident has taught a lesson to China that India is not in a mood to tolerate bullying and Narendra Modi made this message very clear by visiting Leh to boost the morale of our armed forces. No leader in the history of independent India has achieved so much in such a short period of time. To a great extent the corruption through middle man has reduced. To clean the house containing decades of dust needs time but as things are moving the hope is alive.
The greatest success of Narendra Modi is the starting of the construction of a Ram Temple at Ayodhaya. It signifies many things. Any nation which is in the process of rebuilding needs to build the character of the nation as the first step which he did by performing Bhumi Poojan on August 5, 2020. He ignited the fire in the hearts of Indians to feel proud as a Hindu by boldly declaring it.
He announced to the people that India will be run by upholding the constitution of the country and not by appeasing Muslims minorities and doing the vote bank politics.
The speed of actions by Narendra Modi has upset the so called civil society and all political parties. Feeble attempts are made to incite violence at the first available opportunity like the anti CAA and NRC agitations at Shaheen Bagh, JNU, Jamia and other places. But people have seen through how these agitations are sponsored by the vested interests. Even the nature looks to be with Modi, as we see how the Shaheen Bagh agitation fizzled out on its own. In spite of their best efforts the opposition lobby is unable to stop this juggernaut.
On TV debates and in media the economic doomsday is being animatedly discussed by everyone and sundry in the garb of experts. Not finding any other issue to pin down Narendra Modi an attempt is being made on vulnerable economic front. We are all aware that the condition of economy is in bad shape not only in India but the world over. Covid19 has further worsened the situation. But comparison should not be drawn in these extraordinary circumstances. There is definitely a slowdown in economy since 2017 after demonetization which hit the MSMEs very badly.
Although, GST a wonderful reform, came too early after the demonetization. The data speaks for itself. In India MSMEs are the base of economy which feeds upwards and not top down. Strengthening of this sector is very critical for the revival of economy. Economy is essentially a game of demand and supply. Somewhere economic policy has faltered leading to low growth and all time high in unemployment. Piece meal approach adopted by the government has not helped. Reducing corporate tax last year has not help in revival of economy as expected and this money went into ledger adjustment of big corporate. So instead of targeting supply side the government should concentrate on demand side. Three sectors should be targeted to revive economy, the MSMEs, Real State and tourism as this sector utilizes most of the skilled and unskilled work force and Healthcare.
But in spite of these setbacks there is no need to panic. India is a country of 1.3 billion people, a big market so demand can always be created by adopting intelligent economic policies and creating an environment of trust. Our godowns are overflowing with grains, banks are flushed with liquidity, inflation is still in single digits, monsoons are normal and people have money but they are not spending due to certain uncertainties.
The day is not far when the economy will be back on rails. But again when the economy revives we need people who are honest and have the highest integrity and there lies the importance of having a Prime Minister like Shri Narendra Modi. (The author is a high-profile retired Seismologist from NGRI and continues to pursue his research in his chosen subject)