Is it me or is it really happening ? Finally, more and more of the secular, middle-of-the-road folks are writing on the SCI. The noise generated by the langot-brigade on the net seems to be coming down a few decibels. We all owe a big thanks to the relentless efforts of people like Vijay Fafat and Balaji Kannan (and Bijoy Sagar, Shiva et al) for dealing with the fanatics and their illogic, post for post and still managing to make hilarious posts.
Mr (or is it Ms ?) Indu Sekhar, I enjoy your lucid arguments with choke full of logic. You must be truly gifted. A quick existential question for you. Are you yourself or are you a parody of yourself ? I know you have the inalienable right to say whatever you have to say. The next time you are in a movie theatre, I won't be surprised if you yell 'Fire' (or 'commie' if you so choose) even if there is no fire. You are a fine example of a person using his freedoms to the fullest while trying to deny them to your fellow-citizens.
I am duty-bound to fight bigotry. Gosh, in this age of highly synthesized Political Correctness, how can ordinary people like Indu and Gokhale spew such bigotted statements and believe it is okay ?!
I have always maintained that the only way to deal with fanaticism is to attack it and ridicule the fundies, because there is no point reasoning with them. So here is a laundry list of 'Hindutva Syllogism' and doublespeak that routinely appear on the bboard and what we, the normal, majority Hindus say in response.
(1) What the Hindu fanatics say: "Bash the Muslims. Muslims bombed the World Trade Center, Muslims are trouble whereever they go, from West Asia to Bosnia to Indonesia. Muslims caused the fourteenth century problems, fifteenth century problems and so forth. Muslims are the reason for Hindu insecurity and the reason why so many Hindus are suffering from lower back pain these days. Hey, a healthy Hindu fanaticism depends on Muslim bashing."
What we say: "We know your sneaky techniques. You are trying to play on the irrational Muslim-phobia that exists in some segments of the American population. It won't work, because people are not naive to believe in blanket statements about 'Muslims'. Or for that matter about other religions. Just read the Associated Press news releases that are posted on this newsgroup by Bala of A. T and T. They clearly distinguish between Hindu fanaticism and all Hindus. What is happening is not a Hindu-Muslim religious struggle, but a simple fanaticism vs Secularism struggle."
(2) What the Hindu fanatics say: (Oakian historical proof technique) "Taj Mahal is Tejo Mahalay, the Oak Ridge lab is actually the birthplace of Sri Oak, the ancestor of Sri. P. N. Oak."
What we say: "Under this technique nothing is impossible to prove. The Aryans could have either migrated from the North Pole or sat on their asses all years in their living rooms in India. You choose what you want to be the history. In fact, Oak should change his name to P. N. Joke or PJ for short."
(3) What the fanatics say: "commie, commie" or its variation "COMMIE, COMMIE."
What we say: "This is just an extension of your Muslim bashing technique. You are hoping to play on the fear of communism, although you don't realize that the threat of communism is greatly diminished - to almost nil. The Russians are becoming capitalists, the Chinese have stock markets and Jyoti Basu is courting NRIs to start industries in his state. Don't worry, your children are safe. Where had you been all these years ? So who is going to fall for your arguments on communism ? If the communists did not succeed in India, some fifty years ago, when casteism, colonialism and Zamindari systems were creating an ideal Marxist revolutionary climate, why would they be successful now ? What is wrong if the so-called communists ask the right questions along with us capitalists ? If the communists also want to stop Hindu fanaticism, may the force be with them. Calling Sanjeev Mahajan a commie or his mother a commie, will not get you one convert. McCarthy has been dead, you know. You might as well have called Mahajan something obscene.
Do us a favor. Take an elementary course in Sociology. And while you are at it, take a course in Philosophy of Science and read Kant, Popper and others before discussing Vedic science."
(4) What the fanatics say: "Even Swamy Amritrajananda says that Hindu fanaticism is great. He is a great scholar on Gita and so he should know everything - even about programming in C++ language. Even the French folks want Hindutva, only they call it 'Hindutoir'. 'Murphy Brown' has endorsed Sprint company. So we should all switch to Sprint." (The 'Big name endorsement' argument)
What we normal Hindus say: "Even if Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi all told us that secularism is bad and Hindu fanaticism is good, we will not go "Jeez, we are wrong and you are right. Now we are convinced". Sure, we will be influenced by great thinkers but not by fanatical statements coming out of a Swamy who knows his Gita well."
(5) What the Hindu fanatics say: "Don't pick on Virendra Vermin. He is old enough to be your uncle. Pick someone your size. Verminji has the right to say what he wants to say."
What we normal Hindus say: "We are sure Vermin is a big boy now and can take care of himself. Nobody asked him to stop making posts. Heck, we need our daily dose of humor and be told whether we are 'Bhartas' or 'Bharatas'. But we reserve the right to taunt him and make him look like a fool. If he has the guts to make posts and wants all the ensuing attention from the bboard readers, he should be prepared also for the flames. Bboard is no place for pussyfoots. This bboard does not guarantee automatic adulation to Vermin's posts or anyone else's. Also, it is one thing to express your opinion. But if any of you make racist, bigotted statements, we will go after you full blast."
(6) What the fanatics say: "Well said Langot. I agree with you 'toto'. Well said Dinesh, your arguments make a lot of sense to me. Good work Induji". (The 'self-feeding frenzy' technique)
What the normal Hindus say: "Actually, such mutual back-slapping is a matter of supreme indifference to us. In fact, it helps us count how many of you are out there, polluting the net".
(6) What the Hindu fanatics say: "Chapter X1 of Gita sez it is okay to bash the Muslims and Chapter 22 of Qur'an itself admits that the Muslims are dangerous."
What the normal Hindus say: "Again, perhaps you are right. But while interpreting religious texts, usually nobody is right all the time and one can always quote out of context. None of these religious text-quoting can justify fanaticism or pulling down a mosque, which after the December 6 th Ayodhya incident, all you fanatics have started calling a 'structure'. You guys quickly adapt, don't you ?"
(7) What the Hindu fanatics say: "I am sick of ... I am tired of.."
What the normal Hindus say: "Basically, you have run out of arguments. The 'I am sick of ...' type of venting is usually the last resort to make you sound reasonable. It might work on people that might take you seriously. But not on a bboard. You are a spokesman only for a minority of the Hindus. You don't speak for us, the majority Hindus, who want secularism."
(8) What the Hindu fanatics say: "Even Sikhandar Bakht's kids have Hindu names. Even some Muslims want the temple built in Ayodhya." (The 'Good Muslim-Bad Muslim' technique)
What normal Hindus say: "You still don't get it, do you ? We are not talking about brownie points out here or about symbolic gestures. A Nazi-like movement is going on in India very seriously and we ought to stop it. You cannot justify your brutal campaign with such statements about some of the Muslims. By the way, have you really bothered to make friends with any Muslims, personally ? Maybe you should. Because ignorance is the root cause of much bigotry."
(9) What the Hindu fanatics say: "Mahabharat is not an epic. Ram was in Ayodhya the night of Oct 15, 4365 BR (BR refers to the new Hindu era reference point, 'Before Rekha') and we have historical proofs !" (also known as 'Whitewash that history with mythology' technique)
What the normal Hindus say: "Fine. Each person to his belief. We can practice such things in privacy. This should not disallow other religions from practicing their religion or having a pluralistic India with multi-ethnic culture. The Hindu religion is a great one, however that does not contradict the great contributions to India of Islam, Sikhism, Jainism and so forth and the people who practice those religions."
(10) What the Hindu fanatics say: "Golmalkar never said it. RSS is never bad. Shiv Sena has saved the country". (The 'black is white, white is black' technique)
What the normal Hindus say: "You seem to have numerous references of everything and you can always pull a quote to prove how these fanatics and fanatical organizations are actually Nobel peace prize quality units. The point is most of India agrees that VHP, ISS, RSS etc are fanatical organizations and that they were banned for a good reason. If you are going to sing praises such organizations, then you are tacitly violating the ban. You probably think that the government should not have banned them in the first place. You may be right. However repulsive it may be, even the Ku Klux Klan, (analog of RSS, ISS, VHP and Shiv Sena in this country) is allowed to function."
(11) What the Hindu fanatics say: "This is all because of Rajeev Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Devi Lal. Blame them. Don't blame us. MP government, UP government, Orissa government blah blah blah It is the Congress government who caused the problem, because they amended the constitution in the Shah Bano episode and that is why we pulled down the Babri Masjid." (The 'Micro-political quagmire' technique)
What the normal Hindus say: "This is your standard stalling practice to peg some of us down to some meaningless politics quibble, while your comrades are setting fire to a Muslim hut. We can certainly point fingers to a lot of things of the past. And we should learn a lesson or two from the past. But nothing justifies mad fundamentalist outrage. The main problem is 'now' and 'here'. Let us stop Hindu fanaticism 'now', before it consumes the country. Don't bring the past over and over. Discovering new etymologies for the present problems will not solve them."
(12) What the Hindu fanatics say: "We are angry."
What the normal Hindus say: "Tell us, who isn't ? Everybody is angry. Everyone is angry in his or her own way because there is too little money, too little sex and too many problems. If suddenly you find yourselves angry, it is because your passions are whipped up and you are lead like a bunch of sheep by self-serving bigots like Advani, Singhal and Deoras. Sack them and think for yourselves. Look at yourselves. Aren't we minorities in this country ? How would we like it if a Christian fundamentalist group comes and demolishes some of our temples in this country which are built on converted churches ? Aren't we supposed to be sensitive to minority issues ?"
(13) What the Hindu fanatics say: "Listen to both sides." ('Hey guys, let us have symmetry' argument)
What the normal Hindus say: "No, there are no two sides. Bigotry, racism, fundamentalism all have only one side - the bad side. If you are willing to apologize for what happened in Ayodhya and Bombay and are willing to work for a secular India, we can talk. I am sure you have some genuine grievances, but nothing should make an animal of you. You clamor for a common Civil code. We should be able to work such things out, even though the Civil codes don't impact 99.99 % of the population of India."