Thursday, 22 July, 2010

Hindus won in India

Subramanium Swamy says here that Hindus did not lose to Muslims because in spite of 1,000 years of Muslim rule, India is still 80% Hindu. He also says Indian heritage is mainly Hindu. 

First, you’d need a very special reading of history to get those 1,ooo years because it forgets all Hindu and Sikh kingdoms existent when the British created their Indian empire. Those 1,000 years should be in mad heads like Zaid Hamid’s and Pravin Tagodia’s. Strangely, it is in almost all our heads’. In this video, a medieval historian repeats it, and I suppose he is typical. I have heard it more times than I can count.

Second, Dr Swamy gets his demographics wrong, which is strange and perhaps not an altogether innocent mistake considering he teaches economics. While my country is 4/5 Hindu, the Indian subcontinent (India + Pakistan + Bangladesh) is 3/5 Muslim. So, Hindus can still be ‘congratulated’, if they must be, but the ‘margin’ doesn’t look so impressive any more.

If we could wish away religion, I wouldn’t care about the margin either ways. We can’t. Also, we cannot wish away the role of religion in shaping our thinking, even if we may be atheists. 

Which means whether it is 4/5 or 3/5 perhaps does matter in understanding ourselves. To use Indian as synonymous for Hindu is not only dangerous but stupid (unless one is doing it deliberately to incite hate).

I would be very surprised if you found only Hindu beliefs if you somehow dag into my mind; and not at all surprised if you found Muslim and Christian beliefs as well.  If our language, clothes, architecture and food were ‘polluted’, should we not expect that our minds were polluted too?

I am not saying Hindu-Muslim bhai-bhai or that the Christian English civilised us or that everyone except Communist historians are communalists . I am saying we Indians have at least three religions in our heads. That’s all.

But do Swamy & Co mean that since Hinduism has been around much longer than Islam and Christianity, India is mainly Hindu? By that logic, Western Europe must look for all answers in Athens and Rome and none in Jerusalem. And Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia must find their history in Ajodhya. Can they?    

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