It is true everyone would like to see any object or issue the way they like it. Individual biases are intrinsic and are often visible, when the analyst is not good enough to camouflage the bias with sufficient amount of truth. The selection of Ramnath Kovind as ruling party candidate for the post of next Indian President had again exposed the various prejudices that our intellectuals have and limitations of their abilities in comprehending and analysing the issue.
First, it was seen as a Dalit appeasement strategy. Well, by now the political acumen of NaMo-AmiSh combination has become a legend of recent times. Considering the right wing political party that BJP is, they both have understood how critical this selection would be regarding the future of the party and how the party is seen in the future. The best part is Modi waited till the last moment to take decision and the decision was taken with a great speed surprising the opposition and media including many of BJP leaders themselves.
Reactions have evolved on the selection from ‘Who is Kovind?’ to ‘Do you know what Kovind said on…’ within forty eight hours. Considering the ample amount of information and number of internet legions, our media and analysts have exhibited their inefficiency by taking such a long time only to come out with one remark he made on Christianity and Islam being alien to India.
The way the drowning man holds on to the straw, our media hooked onto this statement. Allegations and counter-allegations flew left to right and reverse, but none of them had any ‘aim’. If the leftist commentators wanted to malign the character of Kovind, rightist ones were trying to play the role they have mastered over years – that of being apologetic.
The blame on Kovind for his statement “Islam and Christianity are alien to the Nation”. He made this remark while explaining his stance on rejecting reservations to Dalits in Muslims and Christianity but accepting reservations to Dalits following both Buddhism and Sikhism.
He stated his opinion and as a matter of fact, he wrote an elaborate column in Organiser, one of RSS publications when the National Commission on Religious and Linguistic Minorities, headed by Justice Ranganath Misra recommended to provide reservations to Dalits from Muslim and Christian communities too. Not only RSS, even BJP opposed extending reservations to Muslims and Christians. The reasons for this rejections were too well recorded citing deliberations of even Constituent Assembly.
However, the statement of Ramnath Kovind made seven years ago was projected as there was something wrong in the statement. And, all the leftist analysts never bothered to explain why he was wrong. “He made a statement that is indeed to be looked down” – this was the tone of the columns that have dealt this subject.
The right brigade walked right into the trap and rejected the claims. They said the original statement of Kovind was ““Islam and Christianity are alien to the Notion” that ended with NOTION and not NATION. They further explained he was talking of the ‘notion of caste’ being alien to both Islam and Christianity.
Both sides have many photoshopped evidences that none believed in and simply ridiculed the original thought of the Presidential candidate. Lost in the battle was the context and essence of Kovind’s opinion.
I never could understand why the right wingers were defending the statement by talking of two words – nation and notion. More intriguing is what is that in this statement that made left angry? Is the heaven going to fell down had he said the two minority religions are alien to India? Do the leftists think Islam and Christianity are native religions? If so, they shall prove it with some facts for back-up. Everyone knows they can’t. Not only both religions were foreign to India, even the notion of caste too is foreign to both religions.
Forget the RSS, the PCLM and ICRA forums representing Christian Dalits too see extending reservations is not the solution to their problems – to put it mildly. RL Francis, President of PCLM (Poor Christian Liberation Movement) states clearly that despite 30% of educational institutions in India are controlled by the Church, more thatn 40% of Christians remain illiterate. They want a blanket ban on conversions too. Too much for a Dalit Christian to talk like that, Huh!
But, the pain behind such statement is the dark truth that the leftist analysts do not dare to question. The seepage of castes into both Abrahamic religions. As Francis explained, in Andhra Pradesh, after conversion a Mala becomes Mala Christian, Madiga becomes Madiga Christian and a Reddy becomes a Reddy Christian (verbatim from his article). So, it is clear that the conversion has not helped to reduce the social discrimination that was faced by the lowest strata of Hindu community. They simply moved into a new religion without any change in their position in social structure. Yet, the Church continued harvesting souls by promising equality to one and all.
As the Hindu religion is already labelled as the most retrograde one that practices the most discriminative practices in the world by excluding people on the basis of birth, is it not the responsibility of the so called intellectuals to remind the Church that it is the responsibility of the Church to eliminate the practice of caste based hierarchy in the god’s fold? Does the Church not declare that there is no discrimination within the Christian fold? Similarly, should the intellectuals not remind Islamic clergy ‘In the eyes of Allah, all are same”?
Why then, the intellectuals remain silent about the practices that are not intrinsic to these religions? The answer is simple. If they criticise the Church may harm them financially and criticising the Mullahs may result in physical harm. The foolish Hindus are there to receive criticism in good spirit. At the best, all Hindus could do is to talk about which word was used.
True, Casteism is the darkest aspect of Hinduism. Despite the right wingers claim that originally i.e., during Vedic period caste was not by birth but by character, it is a prevailing practice in our society. Exploiting the weak is a universal trait of human beings. Every society classifies itself into various groups. Only names change with geography. If Hindus use the word caste, Europe and America discriminated using ‘race’ as the criteria. Muslims have many sects within themselves.
Yet, preachers of both Islam and Christianity talk there is no discrimination within their society. If there is no discrimination, why reservations to followers of Islam and Christianity? Or let them declare openly that both these religions too are infested by ‘caste’ similar to Hinduism
And those exclaiming on Kovind’s remarks may better remember one thing. That both Islam and Christianity are not native to India. True, many Indians follow these religion in good faith – even if we discount those who practice them without proper understanding. There are many religious scholars in both Muslim and Christian communities in India, who became hallmarks in their communities. When many in China, Japan and Thailand can follow Budddhism, why Indians cannot follow Islam or Christianity? They certainly can. Our constitution gives us right to follow whatever religion we want to. But, even the constitution cannot change the fact that both these religions are alien to India.
It is time for our leftist intellectuals to stop getting angry on something they cannot understand. And rightist ones better stop being apologetic on everything. Facts are there for everyone to see. Can anyone fool everyone all the time? It is time to accept past mistakes and present facts.