By Nithin Sridhar
India is today celebrating its 67th republic day. It was on this day 66 years ago that Indian constitution came into force. Indian constitution is not only central to Indian democracy, it also upholds the fact that India is a sovereign nation and it is no longer under foreign rule. Thus, the celebration of Republic Day is in many a sense symbolically more significant than the celebration of Independence Day.
Independence Day marks the day India became independent from British rule, but Republic day attests each year of our sustainment of that independence, of our democracy. Each Republic day marks another year when India has been successful in retaining her sovereignty, her democracy, and more importantly her Prana (life force). India is a very old nation with a very long history and culture of many thousand years. It is a living civilization that refused to die in spite of repeated invasions and occupations by outsiders. Its Prana, which was described as Ma Durga in Vande Mataram, is still alive and flourishing. Thus, Republic day does not just represent the formation of a new country, it truly marks the freeing of an old national spirit personified as Bharat Mata from the clutches of colonialism.
But, this Indian Prana, the very lifeline of our republic, faces more threats to its existence- internal and external- today, than it did in 1947 when India finally got out of colonialism. There are a number of breaking India forces (to use a term popularized by Rajiv Malhotra), who are continually attempting to exploit already existing fault lines in the Indian society and also trying to create new fault lines where none exist.
Let’s take a few examples from 2015 itself. There was a great uproar over the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq by few Hindus in Dadri allegedly over a rumor that a cow was killed and consumed. This was indeed a ghastly incident and was rightly condemned. But, did the incident really call for the whole propaganda of alleged intolerance rising in India? Did it really call for writers returning their awards over supposed intolerance? If such an incident indeed calls for such huge outrage, why was there no outrage, no return of awards over the death of Sanju Rathod, which happened many months before Dadri, and who was killed by a group of Muslims because a cattle belonging to a Hindu family grazed on the land belonging to a Muslim family?
Violence or murder is indeed ghastly and condemnable whether it is committed by people belonging to majority community or minority community. Yet, why only one deserved media attention and country wide staging of outrage and the other was equally ignored by everyone? This incident clearly establishes how there are certain breaking India forces working behind the scenes who exploited Hindu-Muslim fault lines that exist to defame India and create a false sense of fear and intolerance about India. The whole intolerance movement, which magically became silent after Bihar election’s outcome, points towards a deep nexus between people in various fields who have joined hands with breaking India forces.
A similar media bias and exploitation of an existing fault line can be seen with respect to Dalit issues. Any incident, any crime related to a Dalit is always portrayed as an issue of caste discrimination, though in reality it may not be. At the same time, any incident that identifies Dalit as a Hindu is deliberately suppressed as well. A comparison of the media’s treatment of suicide of Rohith Vemula with the media’s treatment of the recent murder of Savan Rathod clearly brings out the biasness.
Rohith’s suicide has been increasingly being portrayed as Dalit issue and issue of Caste oppression, though his family is claiming he was not even a Dalit. At the same time, the death of Savan Rathod, another Dalit, who was burnt by a group of Muslims simply because he was a Hindu, has been completely suppressed. This incident again reinforces the fact that certain sections of the media and outrage brigade has no real concern towards losing human lives or care towards increasing violence and crimes. They are only concerned at exploiting these historical fault lines of Indian society to further weaken Indian society and destroy the idea of India as Bharat- the living national spirit that had come down from hoary past.
These are not the only attempts at breaking India. The year 2015 was marked with various serious issues that were in many a sense manufactured to create a new fault line where none exist. The issue of women’s entry into Sabarimala and the ban on Jallikattu, and the outrage over elephants kept in temples are only a few major examples.
It is significant to note that each of these issues is related to Hinduism, Hindu traditions, and practices. The issue of prohibition of women into certain temples like Sabarimala was deliberately transformed from a religious issue into an issue of women’s rights. Similarly, Jallikattu was banned under the pretext of animal rights violations, though the ground reality was something different. These very same people who cry over supposed injury to temple bulls or temple elephants have continuously maintained silence over illegal cow slaughtering, celebration of beef eating, or even goat slaughtering during Bakrid, etc.
The fact of the matter is neither Jallikattu nor temples keeping bulls are by design violent in nature. There may be occasional incidents of injury to animals. But, such incidents can be minimized by proper regulation and monitoring. The outrage brigade is clearly not interested in such monitoring, because their actually concern is not the safety of the animals, but regarding how they can exploit the issue to dismantle Hinduism that forms the foundation of Indian life and Indian national spirit-Prana.
It is in this context that various initiatives that map elements of Indian society, be it Harvard mapping of the Kumbh Mela (exposed by Rajiv Malhotra), or reports about how burning incenses are causing air pollution, or reports released by the ilk of ‘Armed Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights Project’, must be understood. These are all attempts at dismantling Indian society, culture, and traditions, so that they could be broken down and Indian way of life is completely destroyed.
Then, there are of course the Christian missionaries and their evangelization projects like Joshua Project, Project Thessalonica, etc. using which they harvest the souls; and the rising influence of radical Islam and Islamic terrorism, as witnessed recently in Malda violence and the recent arrests of ISIS suspects. These are other major threats to Indian society.
It is high time that the Indian political establishment, as well as the common citizens, stop whitewashing burning issues and start identifying the power centers that fuel these breaking India forces and develop proper responses and mechanism to counter them. Unless Indian society develops these necessary responses, we are at the risk of losing our national spirit, our national Prana in the coming decades.