RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has called upon Hindoos to unite to survive attacks on the religion by forces uniting against it. He has pointed out that at times even the lion needs to form packs if it were to ward off attacks by wild dogs. Bhagwat may have a point but only in a very narrow sense. It is possible that this could be an effort to get Hindoos to unite which may work in disfavor of the religion. At present the religion gives space for all kinds of people and beliefs, however irrational it may seem. One is free, as a Hindoo, to consider any thing or being as god and to ritualise prayers and offerings to it. It is a religion that believes in the existence of the same energy across all inanimate and animate things on Earth. Even among the religious individuals, there is great diversity in practices and beliefs across the country. To consider a Hindoo as if s/he was equal to a Catholic who, no matter where on earth, thinks the Pope is supreme divinity or a Moslem who can only think of the Haj as a singular option for pilgrimage may not sound logical. It surely is fascinating to note how all the options for a Hindoo vary from place to place. Though the name of the religion may be the same the uncommon tenets are now being sought to be steamrollered into a false unity. There are many points where the multiple streams of thought might intersect but the beauty of the religion depends, to a great extent, on its diversity. It may be because of this potency of the power of disparity inherent in Hindooism that it has been able to withstand the onslaught of multiple military and religious forces over time. The Mughals and the British were unable to convert Hindoos in large numbers to their respective religions.
They had to use force or coercion by means of physical deprivation to achieve their ends and seed their religions in India. The Mughals, in fact, were ‘Indianised’ and became part of the culture in many ways in due course. It was believed that differences in Hindooism helped it survive such attacks. There is no doubt such differences also helped the British use the divide-&-rule policy quite effectively. It was not uncommon to see one king opposing the foreign invaders’ occupation on the grounds of certain ideals while another would align with the outsiders on the basis of some other logic. The confused muddle presented to the foreigners has ensured the survival of the essence of the spirit that we call India today. We got to admit that despite all intentions to enslave and exploit this land, all invaders have fallen by the way. At present, segments of the vocal population of India appear intent on getting the Hindoos united to serve their own political gameplans. This group of vote seekers probably considers that the majority population, consolidated under the umbrella of Hindooism, could act as one big vote bank that can ensure victory without great effort. However, such an effort would be akin to the current American leadership’s Make America Great Again policy that hinges on protectionism and pressure tactics. Protectionism is fine in terms of economic thought. It may deliver short-term benefits but is bound to recoil and cause long term societal damage. The unity that Hindoos need is not required for saving their faith from other religions but to keep the core principles of the faith intact in belief, since practice and customs vary greatly.
Hindoos need to unite to wipe the huge gap among haves and have-nots and to also ensure that the society offers the essentials of life to all, irrespective of their social and economic position. Hindoos must also unite to introspect and correct themselves rather than to become votebanks or to protect the faith by turning zealots. The starting point of unity could commence by actively eradicating/opposing all habits and traits related to castes that dangerously divide the religion since ages.
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