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I am a Hindu and I am not a terrorist

September 14, 2012

I am a Hindu and I am not a terrorist. Don’t get me wrong. Not all Hindus are terrorists and not all terrorists are Hindus. Heck, all Hindus don’t even subscribe to the political ideology called Hindutva. No, I am not saying all Hindutvawaadis are terrorists or that all terrorists are Hindutvawaadis. Let’s get this straight: terror has no religion.The disturbing allegations about Hindutva terrorism are giving a bad name to Hindus. I do not want people to look at me with suspicion when I am passing by a mosque. I do not want foreign countries to deny me visa because of my religion. I do not want to be detained at airports or be profiled into databases because of my religion. I want to say it once and for all – I am a Hindu and I am not a terrorist.

Hindus who have been accused of terrorism do not represent my religion. They are a fringe minority. All religions have bad apples. Hindu scriptures, values and traditions do not advocate terrorism and killing of innocents. The great, ancient religion could not have lived so long if it did not preach morality.

I am aware that many Hindus have been charged with terrorism cases lately. Whether or not the charges are true, we will hopefully know sooner or later. I know the wheels of justice move slowly but as an Indian I have faith in the Indian judicial system.

Last year, a court in Mumbai convicted and sentenced for ten years Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari (53) and Vikram Vinay Bhave (29) of the Sanatan Sanstha for attempting to blast a bomb each in Vashi and Thane. Just as they were convicted, I as a Hindu and as an Indian demand that all those who take to violence in the name of my religion be given exemplary punishment.

I am forced to write this article because we are not talking of one or two isolated cases but quite a few of them by now.

In February 2007, suitcases with bombs went off in the Samjhauta Express. The 68 dead were mostly poor Pakistanis on their way home, but not all of them too. The Indians who died included security personnel, who were Hindu. I unequivocally condemn the loss of each of their lives, regardless of nationality and religion, and demand that the court trial against former Indian Army officer Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit of Abhinav Bharat be expedited.

On 18 May 2007, a mobile phone was used to trigger an RDX bomb blast inside Makkah Masjid, not far from the iconic Charminar in Hyderabad. Fourteen Indians died. This blast has also been blamed on Abhinav Bharat and Swami Aseemanand. A charge-sheet filed in court by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has claimed that Abhinav Bharat’s aim is to ‘propagate a separate Hindu Rashtra with its own Constitution’. In other words, they seek to overthrow the Indian state, like, say, the Maoists. It is surprising, therefore, that unlike the Communist Party of India (Maoist) “and all its formations and front organisations,” the Abhinav Bharat’s name does not figure in the list of organisations banned by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In October 2007, there was a bomb blast at Dargah Sharif, the shrine of the great Indian Sufi, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. Three people died. In 2010 the police arrested five people, four of whom were said to be members of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. Although Swami Aseemanand has retracted his confession, the confession should still be valid as it was made before a magistrate. I do not buy his argument in the confession that the bombing was to avenge acts of terrorism by non-Hindus. I do not buy this argument because nothing justifies terrorism. We can end the scourge of terrorism only if we stop justifying it, no matter who does it.

Four Indians died and 70 were injured in September 2008, when a bomb went off near a hotel at Bhikku Chowk in Malegaon, a small town in Maharashtra. The same day, a blast killed a 15 year old boy near a mosque in Sukka Bazar in Modasa in Gujarat, while the mosque was conducting Ramzan prayers. The prime accused in the Malegaon blast is Pragya Singh Thakur, a sadhvi who began her political career with the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. Lt. Col. Purohit and Swami Aseemanand are also accused of involvement in the blast. As for the Modasa blast, newspaper reports say the National Investigation Agency has zeroed in on Hindutva elements for it.

If the above named and/or other Hindus were indeed behind these and possibly other cases of terrorism in India, we should stop calling them Hindu because remember, terror has no religion.

It is often said that it is because India is a Hindu majority country that it is secular. I don’t know how true this is because the world is full of Christian and Muslim majority countries that are not theocratic states. As a Hindu, I do not think the state has any business to be a Hindu state. The world is full of theocratic states with religious and sectarian strife. Just as I as a Hindu would not like to live as a second-class citizen in a theocratic Buddhist, Islamic or Jewish state, I do not want non-Hindus in India to feel they have a lesser right over this country than me.

To terrorise is to induce fear, and bombs are not the only way to do so. The end-goal of terrorism could also be achieved by mob violence. Unfortunately, there have been many cases in which fellow-Hindus have committed such violence against non-Hindu Indians in Bhagalpur in 1989, in Delhi in 1984 and Gujarat in 2002, to name only a few. It is sad that in most cases justice has been elusive. I am happy that there has been some justice in Gujarat recently, and as a proud Hindu I hope that more bad apples from my religion will be brought to justice. Particularly harsh punishment should be given to those people of my religion who provoke other Hindus to take to violence – such as four Hindu youths who allegedly hurled beef at a temple in Hyderabad in April this year, blaming it on non-Hindus and bringing the city to a tense halt. Thankfully, nobody died.

Hinduism is a religion of peace. Those who take to killing people with bombs in the name of my religion only serve to defame my religion. The silent majority of peace-loving Hindus must break its silence and unequivocally condemn these extremist Hindus who are straying away from the dharma.

(First published in The Pioneer.)

22 Comments leave one →
  1. jayant permalink
    September 14, 2012 8:11 PM

    An interesting perspective. I think (hope) that it is effective in driving the point home.

  2. Kousaalya permalink
    September 14, 2012 8:17 PM

    One surprise and one thought to share. The surprise is the above article getting published in the Pioneer, a magazine edited by a BJP Rajya Sabha MP, whom I would expect to deny any such thing as Hindu terror even existing. The thought to share is about Hinduism being a peaceful religion. Try asking Dalits and finding Ambedkar’s thoughts on how peaceful (both structurally and physically) the Hindu religion is.

  3. Kshitij permalink
    September 14, 2012 8:23 PM

    I have been reading some of your posts and to be honest though it is well written and all..I can not see the point of writing this.As a Hindu majority, Hindus are anyways not subjected to the same suspicion as a Muslim as…I do not think that many people even consider extreme hindu right wing as terrorist organisations.

    I am also a Hindu, but I do not agree with your – Hindu scriptures, values and traditions do not advocate terrorism and killing of innocents…..I know plenty of sources which legalise and go to extreme measures on how to punish people just by the virtue of their gender or caste.

    • sania786 permalink
      September 15, 2012 3:20 PM

      @kshitij…kindly read out my comment below and u will get d point why all this is written….its an attempt to make people realise the plight of muslims being labelled as terrorists…this write up has double meaning and i hope my friends r intelligent enough to get the hidden msg

  4. Navn permalink
    September 14, 2012 10:15 PM

    Derived from the Farsi word Sindhu can you please tell what/who is a hindu? because at least the holy books of this, to quote you “great, ancient religion”, do not talk about hindu or ‘hinduism’. Wasn’t it always situated in an exclusive nationalist framework? I mean why do we have to be so politically correct all the time. Christianity, Islam and Judaism are differently structured religions while what you cal ‘hinduism’ never had a fixated name, why then the need to emulate/compete with other religions by shaping a name, code of ‘morals’ identity and ‘ism’ ??

  5. Siddharth Agarwal permalink
    September 14, 2012 10:24 PM

    Just one simple point – the very idea of India was to separate religious identity from the national identity and putting the latter above the former. This automatically defeats all claims that India should be a Hindu state or whatever for the sole reason that Hindus are a majority in India. Probably the creators of the Indian Constitution overestimated the ability of average Indians to understand where the idea is coming from and they did not state this explicitly in words which left ample room for all the pro-Hindutva goons to twist and turn the story whichever way they pleased.

    • bilal permalink
      September 15, 2012 8:23 AM

      i guess people are missing the satire in the post.

  6. sania786 permalink
    September 15, 2012 2:58 PM

    Yes, its a satire to make my hindu brothers and sisters to feel the pain and anguish of muslims on being called and treated as terrorists on a general basis, i.e., the whole muslim community being labelled as “terrorists”….its to make them realise the double standards being practised in this matter….now try to imagine how it would be if the whole hindu community get labelled as terrorists and treated partially likewise just because some evil elements of their commmunity r involved in such terrorist activities against non-hindus in the name of hindutva or hinduism!!…how it would be if u have to justify urself everywhere that u r not terrorist???

  7. September 15, 2012 4:50 PM

    Bravo Shivam. Takes courage to write a post which is not exactly about whats written but the point it subtely makes without the need of disclaimers for fear of being judged a Hindu apologetic.

  8. Raghu permalink
    September 15, 2012 6:08 PM

    A pathetic attempt to prove that all Hindus are terrorists citing all proven and unproven events, allegedly involving some Hindus. How many Hindus have carried out bomb blasts in UK and USA??

  9. September 16, 2012 12:22 AM

    It is eye opening to a gr8 extent to see so many Kafila readers missing the point of this post COMPLETELY.

    • September 16, 2012 12:37 AM

      If our radicals had a sense of humour, or even some plain common sense, they wouldn’t be as politically irrelevant as they are

  10. Prachi permalink
    September 16, 2012 2:12 PM

    This article comes at a crucial juncture where people of the two communities are engaged in accusing each other’s religion. Instead of facing the truth of non-propagation of violence and hatred by any religion, they end up augmenting the antagonism against each other.

  11. September 16, 2012 11:04 PM

    not sure wat the post is trying to tell ……

  12. Sohail Hashmi permalink
    September 18, 2012 10:27 PM

    I am an Indian and i have a sense of humour
    see I make fun of others all the time

  13. SadMan29 permalink
    September 19, 2012 6:51 PM

    A religious person cant be a terrorist. Religion is a philosophy not weapon. Religious practice opens up one’s horizon.

  14. JGN permalink
    September 22, 2012 2:33 PM

    “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” ― Steven Weinberg

  15. savitri ambedkarite permalink
    September 27, 2012 5:26 PM

    the best book written on this subject is by Retired IG of police Maharashtra. Mr shfiq. log on to http://www.whokilledkarkare.com . this book explores and concludes the dubious role played by right wing extremist in our security apparatus

  16. basith permalink
    January 22, 2013 4:56 PM

    most readers, i believe won’t be able to grasp the satire in the piece, though well written by Shivam Vij

  17. January 23, 2013 6:18 PM

    the history shows war, bias by caste, placed down and punished for being a lower caste and so many social activists have taken so much of effort in abolishing sati…..it has a history of killing and blood like any other religion and specially in india there are a lot of examples and events showing that no religion is peacefull. at one stage or the other every religion has taken up arms to either defend or offend.

    shivam vij – this article would have made more sense if you could write about im a human and a hindu but not a terrorist. you were very peculiar in just prophesising your fantasy hinduism !!!

  18. Ramesh Narendrarai Desai permalink
    January 25, 2013 9:19 PM

    Terror lies in the mind of the terrorist. He is himself so terrorized and does the bidding of others in that condition that he thinks others would also do what he wants done if he terrorizes them just as he himself does others’ bidding under terror. Such persons are found in ethnic groups that are intolerant among other characteristics, in greater number. If you take episodic history and data, terror is more among people other than Hindus. Hindus can not however be written off totally, even if it is in response to terrorism from others. This is truth though it may not be politic to say so in some circles.

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