In the beginning of 2016, Chhattisgarh, a state from central India was in news about minority persecution, when a church was attacked. The print and broadcast media went into a full frenzy reporting these events continuously linking these attacks to the election of Modi’s Hindu nationalist government at the center. The virtuous media, worked overtime to lend more credence to the narrative that the “secular” Indian social fabric was under threat in a “Hindu-Nationalist” Modi’s rule. The abhorrent attack which was decried, as it rightly should’ve been, by every right thinking Hindu didn’t matter much to these news outlets. Also, the fact that the perpetrators were arrested and brought to court counts even less.
About a year before the above incidents in 2015, every global news media outlet trying to peddle the westernized versions of truth, started to show their aversion to the Modi government, albeit subtly. Articles like this and this from the New York Times which raised the issue of Christian churches being attacked started appearing out of nowhere. Adopting a tone of moral ascendancy these guardians of truth tried to extort an apology from the newly elected PM of India Mr.Narendra Modi. The vile tone of NYT’s editorial board becomes apparent when they write “Mr. Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right”, implying PM Modi’s overlooking the act.
About a week ago on eve of Republic Day celebrations in India, came a very disturbing news from Chhattisgarh. Maoists had dislodged an idol of Lord Ganesh, from the top of Dholkal (a mountain shaped like a dhol), and hurled it down 13000 ft. which eventually shattered the idol into shards. The idol which would have made any culture proud was more than a millennium old. Also, that Ganapati is an “obstacle remover” whom almost every Hindu holds close to the heart, (almost every Hindu NRI car has a small Ganesh Murti on the dashboard) speaks volumes about how widely he is worshipped by all Hindus. Given the brutal Islamic pillory over a thousand years it is a pleasant surprise to see such a beautiful sculpture of Granite to be still intact. Sub-consciously, Hindus may have offered a silent prayer of immense gratitude to see their structures of faith intact. But it was not to be so. The idol was dislodged and flung deep down to be broken into pieces. The idol as of now has been restored back to its original place and shape by the officials.
In India, idols being attacked and brutalized, broken is a hardly surprising news. For the past few years, in the state of West Bengal, where worship for Ma Durga is like second nature to every Bengali Hindu come news of desecration of idols of Ma Durga. In 2009, in Miraj, a small town in the state of Maharashtra, there were riots and stones were hurled at idols of Ganesh over the depiction of Afzal Khan during Ganeshotsav festival. Both these incidents are verifiable, but unsurprisingly no mainstream media which regularly goes berserk over minority atrocities reported this. Both these incidents are reported here and here (Warning: Graphic video, and YES stones are being hurled by Muslims on Ganesh Murti at 3.29 mins.).
The main point worth pondering is why there is such a sympathy gap when the victims are Hindus and the objects of their faith. A moving, semi-warning, semi- grieving piece written by Dr.Sanjay Dixit which ominously forebodes “the broken idol will be our future if we don’t wake up.”
The silence from the media on atrocities against Hindus is not just about muzzling the narrative of these incidents. But it is a covert, though audacious, attempt by the media to project their vision of “Idea of India” (whatever that means). Apparently, in this Idea of India, which is militantly secular, Hindus are the perpetual criminals guilty of being in the majority and thus all atrocities. Hindu culture, faith, worship, customs are all worthy of nothing but contempt. A contempt so deep and hatred so deep that, even closet Islamists for whom a movie on Mohammed hurts Muslim sentiments, can endlessly lecture Hindus about being secular and accommodating. So great a secularism where the Church openly “advises” its congregants on whom to vote in the state elections, and has openly professed its intention to Christianize India, but gets away only on account on being a Church.
Former president Barrack Obama on his visit to New Delhi in 2015 lectured “India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith – so long as it’s not splintered along any lines – and is unified as one nation.” Such sermons to Indians (though indirectly addressed to Hindus) are nothing new, but a time has come perhaps when a Hindu wonders about the worth or worthlessness of his pain in the eyes of intellectual high-flyers. Maybe the idea of secularism and religious pluralism as noble as it maybe, places an unfairly large share of burden on Hindus. This idea has tested the resolve of Hindus to participate in a democratic, secular nation but they have held still in-spite of many transgressions. Such a resolve will hold together, maybe for the foreseeable future until the tale of two pieties, which whenever one of them is wounded, are narrated with equal sympathy.