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Decimation and Missing of Hindus in south Asia

The population of Hindus has declined at an exponential rate in about last 50 years.

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Hinduism in Australia
A ritual in Hinduism. Wikimedia
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There was recently an article published at dailyo.in titled “The missing Hindus in South Asia and a conspiracy of silence” by Saswati Sarkar. She laments that Indian media is quick to cover all kinds of international events, be it Arab Spring or Gaza conflict or beautification of saints at the Vatican. But it is surprisingly silent to the genocide of Hindus at the global level and more closely in their vicinity,ie, neighboring countries. Seh says that there a ‘conspiracy of silence’ in our media regarding decimation and missing of Hindus in south Asia region.

According to Sarkar, our neighbors such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Myanmar have done a commendable job in eradicating the very essence of Hinduism in their respective countries. She adds that starting off with the scandalous episodes we have Pakistan on our list at the top. When it comes to India, Pakistan is the mother of all conspiracies.

Pakistan: A closer look

The population of Hindus has declined at an exponential rate in about last 50 years. As mentioned by Saswati Sarkar“ In 1947, Hindus constituted about 15 percent of the population of West Pakistan (current Pakistan); by 1998, it is about 1.6 percent “ Thanks to all the social and legal discrimination which exists there. Some of them are as follows

  • Only Muslims are allowed to stand for presidential/prime ministerial candidate.
  • Targeting Hindus via court harsh punishments such as death sentences through Blasphemy laws.
  • Not giving any family-related laws to non-Muslims.
  • Promoting hatred against minorities in through academics (via schools and Madrasas).
  • Forcing women and girls to change religions.
  • Even temples have not been spared .Stone idols were smashed off. One of the most sacred places such as Hinglaj Mata temple was also targeted. As a result, many Hindus are now taking refuge abroad with no hope left behind.

Bangladesh: A closer look

Coming off to the next episode we focus towards Bangladesh. Continuing the legacy of killing Hindus it has performed indeed well.

  • Simply in the name of Hindu women are raped here.
  • Girls are sold.
  • People have been forced to leave the nation (especially Bengali’s Hindus).
  • Spiritual festivals such as Durga Puja are targeted and people are decimated.
  • Enemies’ this is the term used there to refer Hindus community.

Bhutan and Malaysia: A closer look

Coming next on the list we infer countries are Bhutan and Malaysia .They make look small but they are no behind.

  • Nearly 100,000 Hindus have been expelled alone from Bhutan.
    Policies such as Bhumiputra have affected a major chunk of Hindus in Malaysia.
Traditions in Hindus community Wikimedia Commons
Traditions in Hindus community, Wikimedia Commons

Hats off to our government and Media for playing a major part in adding to their misery. Right under their nose all these decimations were taking place and they remained as mute spectators. We didn’t even bother to give help to the officially declared Refugees. Neither did we care about raising these issues in United Nations. Thanks to our present Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and some leaders such as Shivraj Singh Chauhan who showed special concern towards these needy people.

  • Fast track process of Indian citizenship.
  • Private jobs will now be offered to these refugees.
  • Unlike us (home to the largest democracy) leaders from the US such as Tulsi Gabbard and Aaron Schock have stepped up in eradicating these atrocities on minorities.
  • Protests have been organised in Washington DC for a help of those people in the name of humanity.

Sarkar laments that it is a matter of shame for us for turning a blind eye to those brothers and sisters of ours. Even on our own soil Kashmiris Pandits have been killed in large figures and were forced to eat beef.

Related article : Plight of Kashmiri Pandits

Role of media

Sarkar then takes in the Media. Uncovering our media, they were expected to do something regarding all these horror acts. Some of which are mentioned as follows-

  • Leaders such as Zafar Ali Khan put forward his notion that no Sikhs shall live in Pakistan.
    • Adding to the fact 7 million Sikhs and Hindus were eradicated from Pakistan.
    • Nearly 10,000 to 20,000 were killed in Sheikhpura district and 7000 Hindus were killed in Rawalpindi district.
Distribution of Hindus in Pakistan, Wikimedia Commons
Distribution of Hindus in Pakistan, Wikimedia Commons
  • Tortures were commonly practised such as-
    • Cutting off Nipples
    • Ripping of wombs of pregnant women and destroying their foetus.
    • Inserting of rods in private parts of women.
  • Children were even burnt alive and were often thrown to swords.

India Today did cover the misery of Rinkle Kumari in 2012. It did receive some coverage. Such is the irony that small media groups and sites with much fewer resources compared to rich Indian media have collected and published more facts. And our own media is standing numbly in front of them with nothing in their hand. When it came to a killing of a Muslim in Pune or be it Gujarat riots coverage or any martial persecution or be it Slapping of the civil servant by any political leader or the conversation of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism. These are well covered and are projected by our media but when it comes to the killing of Hindus by a Muslim or raping of a girl by a Muslim or be it brutal torturing of Lt Col Purohit or burning of Hindus homes by Muslims mobs or Torturing of national level Indian shooter Tara Sahedo our media becomes silent. In Tripura NLFT (National Liberation Front of Tripura) has banned Hindu festivals and has used rape as a tool to force Hindus to listen to their atrocities.

As mentioned by the writer herself “It is telling that my references for the terror allegedly fomented by the church in India’s North East have been BBC, and not Indian media reports.” even I got a major help by non-Indian media sources rather than our own media giants. It is therefore high time that our government along with our media should introspect so that this brutal killing of minorities (mainly Hindus) be stopped in regions such as South Asia.

Prepared by Pritam

Pritam is a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. A simple person who tries to innovate and improvise himself. Twitter handle @pritam_gogreen

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Belling The Cat: The Difficult Relationship of India with Turkey

The land of the Whirling Dervishes, where the compassionate views of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi have cast a lasting shadow, is India’s forbidden fruit

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Turkey and India's relationship is very rocky. Pixabay

By Tania Bhattacharya

  • India and Tukey share a bad relationship
  • There are numerous reasons for it
  • Some of the reasons are as trivial as they can get
Ms. Tania Bhattacharya

When the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, passed away on the morning of the 10th of November 1938, months before the world broke out into war, a Turkish lady in the streets of Istanbul commented to a reporter covering the tragedy, lamenting “Turkey has lost her lover. Now, she must marry and settle down”. The incident is mentioned in Irfan’s Orga’s ‘Phoenix Ascendant’, a comprehensive biography of Mustafa Kemal Pasha.

National heroes are lionized almost everywhere among native communities; but Ataturk and his younger contemporary Subhash Chandra Bose, enjoy a kind of veneration among their people, that even hardened jingoists elsewhere, would not be caught doing. Subhash was an admirer of Ataturk and was determined to meet him, until the British overlords of India, put a spanner in the works. That was not all. In his ‘Glimpses Of World History’, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, made glowing references to Mustafa Kemal, calling him a progressive head of state with the singular objective of emancipating the women of his country. Indeed in Turkey, Kemalism is the byword for progressiveness and the radical intellectual approach.

India and Turkey have troubles due to Kashmir as well. VOA

The trajectory of Sultanate ridden Turkey, and post-colonial India have been analogous, but with a few exceptions. Both countries started out with a prominent Socialist outlook, and statesmen who could navigate the complex waters of international one-upmanship to establish their nascent independent territories into positions of respect. Ataturk did this by having the humiliating Treaty of Sevres, scrapped and Nehru hoisted India to the enviable position of the leader of the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement).

Both men encouraged the scientific temper and set their respective countries on the path of western style democracy. India and Turkey are both Constitutionally Laic, Socialist Republics, with elected governments at the helm of affairs. Both states have successfully produced indomitable women heads of state; Indira Gandhi in India, and Tancu Ciller in Turkey.

However, barring the temper of the Constitutions of the two countries, there have been dichotomies which cannot be missed. The Indian state has an army that has never displayed an interest in the legislative functioning of its polity, maintaining a respectful distance from political upheavals. On the other hand, the Turkish military has tried to usurp power multiple times, in that country. The first three times it attempted to do so, it successfully affected a regime change. The years were 1960, 1971, and 1980. A fourth rumbling from the uniformed men was heard in 2016, but was immediately suppressed and extinguished by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Some insiders and whistle blowers have claimed, that the coup was an eyewash, that was perpetrated by Erdogan’s moles present within the military. After all, the only person who benefitted from the crackdowns, was Erdogan himself.

India’s north-western neighbour, has been a major roadblock on the path to India-Turkey relations. Right from its inception, Pakistan has been a firm ally of Turkey. The roots of this friendship go deep down and can be found embedded in the Khilafat movement of the sub-continent during British times, when Indian Muslims had banded together to oppose the abdication of the last Turkish Sultan, and with him, the position of the Caliph of Islam. Turkey supports Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir, something that has always troubled the Indian upper echelons, which wants to steer the relationship between their nation and Turkey, ahead.

Where Kemalism had impressed itself upon the elite masses of Turkey, with its accent on westernization, President Erdogan has managed to ride the votebank of the working class, with his emphasis on political Islam. He, unlike his other civilian predecessors, has not only managed to hold on to his position, but has also been successful in reinforcing it and becoming the master of all he surveys.

Terrorism is yet another problem between the two countries. VOA

Turkey remained unaffected by the Arab Spring revolts that have shaken the Middle East since the April of 2011, with the latest victims being Yemen and Iran, which is a testament to its stability. But, as India has watched from the sidelines, this crucial NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) member, has shown its back to democracy by embracing a new shade of totalitarianism in the form of the Turkish President’s office, stifled the opposition, dissolved protests from dissidents, and has sought to deal with the Kurdish problem in a much harsher way than previous governments.

Turkey being Asia’s gateway to Europe, a member of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), and a developed nation by many estimates, is crucial to India as not only an economic partner, but also a comrade among the fraternity of the Islamic states, with whom maintaining good relations is vital to India’s interests. During the Cold War, Indo-Turkish bonding had been left in suspended animation due to a conflict of interests; as India was a founding member of the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement), while Turkey was firmly in the Allied Camp, in the Western created and controlled NATO setup.

In the 21st century, India and Turkey have produced two unexpectedly hawkish point men, who seem to share a warm personal rapport with each-other. While India’s Prime Minister Modi, started out in life as a tea seller, Turkey’s Erdogan used to sell lemonade at a train station. Born and raised in humble circumstances, the two men have shown some resolve in bettering their bilateral ties. The year that Modi was indicted for his indifference to the carnage of Gujarat’s Muslims – 2002 – was also the same year that Recep Tayyip Erdogan made himself visible on the radar of Turkish politics.

Also Read: How a young Astronomer from Turkey turned into an Islamic State Fighter

Despite the co-incidental sweet spot though, India and Turkey are unable to capitalize on the opportunities afforded to each-other. Among the thorny issues that need to be tackled, are:

  1. Trade
  2. Kashmir
  3.  FethullahGulen
  4. Terrorism

1.Trade between India and Turkey, is to the tune of 6.4 billion, but India accounts for a much smaller percentage of Turkish imports than other countries, especially those from within the European Union, from whom Turkey buys goods. There is an enormous potential in investing in infrastructure via construction, as Turkey can provide its assistance to India over the matter.

2. On the Kashmir front, Turkey currently favours Pakistan’s stand, though not openly discouraging India. As an ombudsman in the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), it is imperative for India, to get Turkey on board over Kashmir and make that country sympathetic to our stand on the issue.

3. FethullahGulen is a spiritual Sufi Turkish leader, who presently lives in exile in the United States. He used to be a formidable political figure in the power corridors of Ankara, and was a close aide of President Erdogan. A one-time imam in Turkey, Mr. Gulen was an associate of Erdogan and his AKP (Justice and Development Party) and continues to preside over an empire of charitable institutions that provide education and low-cost housing to the needy, globally. Many Gulenist institutions function in India and have never caused a friction with the Indian state. However, during President Erdogan’s last Indian visit, which took place on the 1st of May 2017, he had insisted that India close down all Gulenist outlets, as they were instruments of sedition against his government. India refused to do so and looked upon the directive as amounting to interfering with our sovereignty, since any such decision could only be taken by our own authorities. Fethullah Gulen was accused of masterminding the military coup that took place in Turkey in the July of 2016, albeit without sufficient evidence. The coup itself, and the crackdown on it, was the bloodiest in the history of Turkey, but for the very first time, it was successfully contained by the elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Spiritually and philosophically, Mr. Gulen’s views are more feminist and reconciliatory than the pro-hardline views held by Erdogan.

President Erdogan of Turkey.Wikimedia Commons

4. During the day long meeting between President Erdogan and Prime Minister Modi, the former pledged full support to India in its fight against terrorism, but cherry picked on the issue. Erdogan’s primary concern was to help India in our war against the Naxalites, which is a Left-Wing secessionist movement in this country. As an Islamist Right Winger, the Turkish President’s anti-Naxalite stand was predictable. However, he evinced no particular interest in the incidents of cross-border terrorism that India has had to suffer. Pakistan and Turkey are close international allies, especially since Pakistan is the world’s only nation that supports the Turkish created entity of the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). Turkey has suffered numerous terrorist attacks ever since the inception of the Turkish Republic in 1923, that were carried out by the PKK, an outlawed, armed Kurdish, political resistance group.

The reason why Turkey is important to India, is due to the reality, that Turkey is West Asia’s most important state, geographically, politically, and militarily. Situated at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, this much-misunderstood country, has been knocking on the doors of the EU (European Union) and if it resolves its Human Rights record pertaining to the Kurds, and the Ottoman Genocide, it might very well become the only Asian nation to be an EU member state. As a leading member of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), Turkey’s support to India is vital for the latter to gain traction within the community of the Muslim world, since currently only some Gulf nations are friendly with us. Turkey is a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) member, and its military prowess within that body is substantial. It is the only progressive, and secular (though these are increasingly being eroded), developed nation in West Asia, with a stable political climate. India, being the country with the second largest Muslim population, it is imperative, that the two nations develop closer ties and lasting bonds, if they can lessen the distance between themselves.

The land of the Whirling Dervishes, where the compassionate views of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi have cast a lasting shadow, is India’s forbidden fruit. It can only be hoped, that political wisdom, farsightedness, and reciprocity, will allow the Indians to lay the foundations of a unique friendship, with the West Asian colossus of Turkey.

Tania is a freelance writer with a Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies who has a wide range of interests.