Home > Uncategorized > Internet Hindu discourse on secularism and economic reforms

Internet Hindu discourse on secularism and economic reforms

Internet Hindus [IHs] refers to twitter denizens whose main aim in life is to denounce everything “secular” as immoral and unpatriotic. They combine this morbid pastime with an intense devotion to the person of Narendra Modi. In the normal course their rants, coming as they do from a lunatic fringe, would be dismissed as inconsequential. However, they so monopolize the discourse on secularism that it is beginning to echo through the mainstream.  In a recent instance, I ran into somebody who argued that “secularism” was not intrinsic to the Indian Constitution, being a concept inserted into it by Indira Gandhi during the emergency! It did not occur to him that the body of fundamental rights forming the basic structure of our constitution guarantees a secular republic.  We need to worry if our understanding of secularism is this shallow. We have injected far too much partisanship into secularism.

As the ruling party till the 80s, the Congress was under obligation to articulate and establish secularism as a basic tenet of our public life.  Over time, the party learnt to exploit religious and caste fault lines in our polity even as it went about preaching secularism and railing against the evil of casteism.  This basic contradiction between precept and practice was brought to the fore by caste-based politics relating to quotas and reservations. To counter this divisive trend in Hindu society, BJP fired the first salvo against secularism in the late 80s. It began by denouncing Congress praxis as pseudo-secular, as if to distinguish it from the real thing.  BJP went on to win the elections on that slogan, thereby giving anti-secularism a certain electoral validity.  Even so, genuine secularism was never in contention.  In all probability it still isn’t, except to a fanatical group clustered around Modi, especially after the 2002 Gujarat riots.  Modi himself has never questioned the validity of the genuine genre of secularism.  No politician can really afford to do so. However, that has not prevented IHs from projecting both pseudo-secularism and the real thing as evil. BJP’s ambiguity on the issue is also worrisome.

One rarely hears any of the minority groups arguing against secularism. This includes Muslims who may have a doctrinaire objection to secularism according to some extremist interpretations.  The fact is that minorities see India’s secularism as the best guarantee of their fundamental rights. They see it as an acceptance of their distinct identity while still being very much Indian. Indeed, it is their lifeline against what could be an oppressive majority. Lack of sensitivity to their concerns by IHs is fraught with risk.

What have IHs to offer in place of secularism?  Do they demand revocation of fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution?  Can the Hindus come up with a codified version of Hinduism based on which we could rewrite our constitution?  Would such a faith-based constitution command the consensus needed to make it work? Hinduism is not a revealed religion. It is more a collection of philosophical methods, tools and techniques to study and interpret the empirical world around us, and learn from it. It is the very opposite of doctrinaire certitude. To be Hindu is a mode of being that best blossoms when minimal rules permit maximal creativity. Hindus do not see the world through another’s eyes.  They are required to make sense of it through their own empirical experience. Secularism that empowers empirical study free of state sponsored dogma is the natural environment in which Hinduism flourishes. It therefore comes as no surprise that we take to it like a duck takes to water. Secularism came to us much before the legalistic separation of church from state in the western world. Why then are we trashing the very concept that is our unique contribution to civilization?

Secularism continues to suffer hideous aberrations in implementation. The Congress has a pronounced proclivity to pander to the most obscurantist sections of Muslims and other communities.  To win the Sikh vote in Punjab it chose to pander to Bhindranwale with disastrous consequences.  Likewise, it panders to the hardline Deobandi clerics in the Muslim community to reestablish its credentials as a pro-Muslim party.  These practices are reprehensible and deserve the widest possible condemnation. Trashing secularism however is no answer to communal politics of the Congress.

The debate on secularism tends to be unduly colored by contentious issues of the day including the Ayodhya temple, Gujarat riots and fundamentalist terror in Kashmir and elsewhere.  IH activists seek to deepen the polarization around these issues in an effort to garner political support for their cause, instead of finding common ground that helps resolution. One of the main reasons these issues drag on indefinitely is that they help ease political mobilization by lazy politicians who are loath to fighting elections around real issues of development.  Hate works better at rallying crowds at election time than garbage collection.  However, even the IHs will concede that secularism is the correct ideological response to address minority fundamentalism.  It promotes integration.  But how do you sell secularism to the minorities if the most vocal majority group is busy denouncing that very concept as evil? This contradiction in the IH discourse is obvious to all but the IHs. You cannot fight obscurantism by being antediluvian.

IHs and the wider religious right have often argued that economic reforms are simply too esoteric to serve as a rallying point for the masses. They would rather bait the crowds with rightist rhetoric and switch to economic reforms at a later date. This is patent nonsense. As the experience in South Korea and China shows, successful economic reforms bring about an intense nationalist resurgence. Pride in one’s culture and civilization follows, not precedes, economic reforms. Modi’s own success in sustaining the developmental impulse unleashed in Gujarat by economic reforms and in assimilating that into “Gujarati Asmita” shows India’s path will be no different. So if the rightist idea is to promote their avowed nationalist agenda, the path lies through economic reforms and not mythmaking by playing around with religious and cultural symbols. On the contrary, promoting a religion-based agenda inexorably degenerates into an ideological beauty contest where the ugliest contestant wins. BJP’s own experience on Ayodhya shows how quickly its leadership was overwhelmed by extremists like Singhal and Tagodia.

The Religious Right needs to review its strategy of accentuating polarization along communal fault lines. A preponderance of voters going to the polls in 2014 will be in the 20-to-30 age group, focused on jobs, careers and setting up a home. They won’t be too concerned with identity-based politics.  The old notion of progress coming at the expense of somebody else in the system has given way to the idea that the pie itself can be grown with the right mix of policies. IH identity-based politics pits the younger aspirational sections of the Hindu majority against the older, more conservative, sections of the same community.  In short, it divides itself without gaining anything for the causes it seeks to espouse. On the other hand, it is on the losing side of demographics.  Politics based on identity, whether caste or religion, needs to give way to a focus on development and economic reforms. IHs are the wrong side of history in India’s march towards modernization of its economy.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Abhinav
    October 9, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Most of their anguish stems from real frustration at how this country is run. Most of them are just middle class kids with a phone/computer. In any country urban middle classes tend to be moderately right wing. However, their vitriol is far multiplied because I don’t think in any country, the Liberal faction will be as duplicitous as the Congress Party in India.
    This is due to several issues. On the economic front UPA has failed badly it appears. But if you delve deeper, you’ll find that they do not want to succeed. They just want to create an entitlement society so that they win elections, which is all Congress cares about, even if this country goes to crap. On counter terrorism, our failures are shameful and THIS is one area which provides ammo to IHs. They aren’t completely wrong in questoning Congress “secularism” when the meagre efforts made by the agencies are squandered by Congress politicians who scream “Muslims are being targeted” while shouting “Saffron terror” at same time.

    I also oppose what the Congress calls “secularism” since its the corruption and adulteration of the very ideals that the actual thing stands for. A truly secular nation will be the United States which doesn’t let crackpot sentiments come before national security. India has a LONG LONG way to go. It’s quite funny that the only truly secular politician we’ve ever had is AB Vajpayee, a lifelong right winger.

    And about Narendra Modi, the thing is that like it or not, he’s the only man who “can get the job done” in a chaotic, indisciplined India. Five yrs ago I wouldn’t dream of supporting him but today I feel that he is the “need of the hour” just because of the UPA horrors.

    Hmmm…….so do all these make me “communal”, Madam?

    • Baskar
      October 9, 2011 at 5:13 am

      How will Modi get the job done in ‘in-disciplined India’? Like what he did in 2002 to ‘rein’ the ‘in-disciplined’ minorities?
      If you are you a part of this ‘in-disciplined India’, how far you are disciplined? Just asking?

      • rohit
        October 16, 2011 at 7:07 am

        One thing I don’t understand is how modi and indian army’s stance is different. He is doing something (bad things i think) in Gujrat for last 10 years (on communal ground) and he believes there are things that has to be handled “this way” only. we can see at least in Gujraat governance is good (in other aspects). On the other hand Indian army is their in kashmir for 60 years, and against indian army these sort of and even more serious allegations are there. There is no resolution in site. yet Modi is a curse and indian army is honorable. either both are correct or both are bad. (I believe both are unfair but so is life) what will you say? Just asking ?

    • Vijaykumar
      October 9, 2011 at 9:37 am

      So, if Congress is not perfectly secular, that gives one a right to be completely communal? Secondly, regarding ‘entitlements’, it is one idea/policy to focus on areas/people who are most marginalized (due to caste system and what not). But if you differ, you are free to propose alternate policies – does not give one a right to be spread communal hate/violence. Thirdly, you are forgetting that Cong is weak in dealing with hindu extremist/violent organizations, much more than they are of any other kind. But you are right, we have a long way to go, because the main opposition (BJP), instead of competing to be more secular, what to exploit any issue, to be more communal.

    • October 9, 2011 at 11:02 am

      Abhinav, I agree with most of your arguments, however, I would request you to value Freedom above all and never forget the lesson from History as enshrined in this Quote:”First they came for the Communists but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews but I was not Jewish so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
      Martin Niemoeller”

  2. Curry Hurry
    October 9, 2011 at 3:03 am

    blah blah.. Hinduism is passe.. bring on Shariat or Vatican’s rule in India

  3. commonindianman
    October 9, 2011 at 4:34 am

    One juvenile reporter couldn’t take a bit of criticism and coined a term “Internet Hindus”. Self styled experts then started analyzing the term relating it to economic reforms, just incredible.
    Just for the record, I don’t believe in any religion before I get branded “Internet Hindu” too..

  4. kamal
    October 9, 2011 at 4:53 am

    agree that most of People are trying To give new name to secularism but yes in our political condition no party is secular.
    @doingkamaal
    http://k9kamal.blogspot.com

  5. radnus0
    October 9, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Abhinav’s comment, especially his feelings on Narendra Modi as mentioned in his last paragraph sums it all up for me. India’s rising urban middle-class population whose aspirations find little or no vent in the stifling environment created by the Congress over many, many years, are over-reacting to the situation and the root-cause as they see it.

    So the vote-bank politics of the Congress leads to a backlash in the now-democratized, previously denied medium, the Internet. The rampant corruption of Government and administrative+police services leads to an over-reaction by way of the draconian Jan Lokpal which is lustily cheered by the same (or similar) population. And so on and so forth.

    The lack of action by the main-stream media in identifying the root-causes, sometimes even preferring to be the mouth-piece of the Congress only adds fuel to the fire. As history has taught us again and again, an aggrieved population always feels the second wrong will set right the first. Rather than point fingers and castigate this mass sentiment, it is time for leaders of the society to make course corrections on aspects of the governance, jurisprudence, elections, economy, etc., that need urgent reforms.

  6. Redhish
    October 9, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Secularism as implemented today is nothing but appeasement to a certain section of society in the name of fundamental rights…where in the constitution talks about reservation based on religion and benefits based on the minority status. if you think that Haj subsidy, special status to minority dominated districts, jobs based on religious denomination are fundamental rights approved by the constitution, then its time to rewrite it..India is secular only because the majority are hindus…

  7. October 9, 2011 at 9:29 am

    The Hindu religious right believes that discourse is itself esoteric, and not practical for politics. Simple sound bytes that equate national pride with national religion are what work. The rallying point can be flexible. In the past is was Ram now it is NaMo. I also unfortunately disagree with your demographic hopefulness. The RSS/BD/VHP and particularly ABVP are focused on winning over the youth in a disciplined and systematic way. It is a shame that no secular party has this discipline or commitment. I also think that there does need to be a national debate on a meaningful and neutral common civil code.

  8. October 9, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Agreed to Sonali..IH is Narrowing the term Hindu.
    sala iss religion ne hee to desh ka Kachra kar rakha.. a party need only 20% votes to come into power,and congress have understood this fact very well. so it favour minority by leaps n bound and makes assure that it gets 20% minority votes.Its not parties which are at fault but we the people.Majority should start voting.I am in no favour to bring hindu-fanatic bjp in power,but when majority will start voting whether congress or any other party, they will realize power of their votes and stop favouring blindly to minorities.
    As Karl Marx said-Religion is just a tool used by state to Black-mail and harrase its citizen.so whether its bjp/congress or any other regional party like Shiv sena or Shromani Akali Dal.

  9. Abhinav
    October 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks for the replies.

    If Congress is not perfectly secular, then it does NOT give ANYONE the right to be communal. It gives us the right to question them and to call out their bluff on “secularism” and to lambaste them, of course, in a civilized manner. It is our duty as educated citizens of this country to understand and analyze what Congress has done for our country, ruling it more than 55 years. Vijaykumar said that we don’t have the right to spread communal hate. So, does it seem to you, that in my previous comment I was preaching communalism? If so, where? Please point it out and if the author finds it true, then she can delete my comment. Vijaykumar, you say that ‘entitlements’ are an idea. Of course, they are. But of the worst kind of self-serving ideas to fool the gullible. Please point out one social security scheme of UPA that has achieved anything worthwhile, there are plenty of them since 2004. What has MGNREGA done except crippling growth, infrastructure projects and ABOVE ALL, increasing INFLATION to intolerable levels which eventually HURTS the POOR the WORST. So, they’re BRAINWASHED and FOOLED by Congress to vote AGAINST THEIR INTERESTS. My solutions? They won’t be accepted but still: involve the free market completely, concentrate on primary education, that money’ll be better spent than Re1 rice, subsidizing gas cylinders and laughable “iPad Killer” tablet computers. The free market is man’s greatest invention since fire, so why does it evoke so much hatred in Indian politicians?

    About Hindu extremism or “saffron terrorism”, sure the people who engage in them are rotten and don’t belong in the human gene pool. But is it wise to equate them with Islamic terrorism? Timothy McVeigh, the man who blew up the IRS building in Oklahoma City was a Christian terrorist. So, do American politicians say that “Christian terrorism” is the biggest threat that the United States faces? No, they don’t. But Congress politicians do say that “saffron terrorists” are our biggest danger (Rahul said it’s a bigger danger than Pakistan’s LeT) while at the same time say that using the term “Islamic terrorism” is downright wrong. Above all, what differentiates the two is FUNDING. These Hindu extremists are basically ramshackle outfits of crackpots and nutjobs who, WRONGLY, think it’s ok to kill innocent Muslims because India routinely suffers Islamic terrorism. Mainstream Hindus SHUN them, BY and LARGE. Islamic terrorists, on the other hand, get MASSIVE FUNDING from oil rich gulf states, Saudi Arabia exports Wahhabi Islam world over with its oil dollars, the Ayatollahs of Iran provide the inspiration and the Generals in Pakistan finally get things executed.

    About Narendra Modi, I know he polarizes everything and people are either Worshipers or Haters, nothing in between. But that mindset is precisely why Indian politics is so screwed up. His worshipers think of him as a modern day Maharana Pratap, Prithviraj Chauhan, Shivaji and Sardar Patel rolled into one while his haters think he’s worse than Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Polpot combined. He is NONE of them. His greatness lies in being an awesome administrator, the best we ever had. Baskar said about Modi “reining in indisciplined minorities”. If true, why weren’t there any riots since 2002? Do you know that he imposed curfew the day of the Godhra incident? Do you know that he ordered army troops from neighbouring states with Congress CMs who refused? Do you know that the police killed 200 HINDU RIOTERS and more than 16000 HINDU RIOTERS are undertrials in jails? Sure, he needs to be criticized for not engaging in a truth and reconciliation but can you keep looking at him ONLY through a 2002 lens, ignoring all his achievements ever since? Sure, Gujarat was always rich but does it not take one minded devotion to polish a diamond and make it shine even better? It’s inspiring that he’s embarking on efforts like ‘ICreate’, to encourage venture capital (nonexistant in India) and nurture young entrepreneurs. How many Congress CMs have done that? Don’t look, they can’t think beyond Re1 rice, Rs2 wheat and quotas/reservations and welfare schemes.

    To be honest, there are many politicians who’ve had their shortcomings but still achieved many great things. America “needed” a Franklin D Roosevelt to win World War II and Britain “needed” a Winston Churchill. Roosevelt had racist views about blacks and refused to meet Jesse Owens who won medals for America at the Berlin Olympics, just because he was black. He even promoted racial segregation. But still, wholeheartedly supported India’s independence, led America on its road to become a Superpower from oblivion/isolation and is remembered as one of America’s best ever Presidents. Churchill had many racial prejudices and was a supporter of imperialistic thuggery but still is known for his inspiring leadership which eventually led to an Allied Victory. Perhaps the best example is that of Thomas Jefferson, the man because of whom separation of religion and state came into existence in the modern world. He had blacks as slaves but still wrote the landmark Bill of Rights which gives every American the rights to pursue success, regardless of race. He’s the true golden standard of secularism (I know Nehru is now rolling in his grave!). No man is wholly evil or wholly good, we’re all in shades of grey. Same is true about Modi. India “needs” him if it is to win the war against corruption, nepotism, misgovernance and the perception it creates in the world as a land of misery, suffering and poverty. Gulping sanctimonious rhetoric from Congress about “secularism”, “all inclusive growth” and many more won’t help us a bit. The proposed Communal Violence Bill rips apart all of their pretense of “secularism”.

    P.S.- I understand that some people feel scared of Modi’s autocratic approach to administration but to quote the Great Steve Jobs “Polite teams often get polite results”!!

    • Vijaykumar
      October 10, 2011 at 2:47 am

      Abhinav,

      >> Vijaykumar said that we don’t have the right to spread communal hate. So, does it seem to you, that in my previous comment I was preaching communalism?

      No, I did not say that your comment is preaching communalism. I was talking about rank communalists talking about alleged imperfections in Congress secularism and using it as pretext to continue their brazen and blatant communal hate/violence.

      >> you say that ‘entitlements’ are an idea. Of course, they are. But of the worst kind of self-serving ideas to fool the gullible … subsidizing … laughable “iPad Killer” tablet computers

      Is it not true that some sections like dalits are pushed to misery and discriminating jobs (as their duty)? What is wrong in saying that this is an unusual situation needing solutions like reservation? Most would agree, in fact. I myself would not agree that it amounts to ‘fooling the gullible’. I can equally argue that to say that dalits do not need enablement amounts to fooling the ignorant and pandering/appeasing the privileged. Even regarding the Tablet computer, I happen to believe that if it can indeed provide internet access to all (like mobile phones), it can create an even bigger positive revolution. In any case, if you disagree, you are free to put forward your view and win the battle of ideas. That is legitimate/normal political discourse and has nothing to do with secularism/communalism.

      >> Saffron … is it wise to equate them with Islamic terrorism? …Timothy McVeigh, the man who blew up the IRS building in Oklahoma City was a Christian terrorist. So, do American politicians say that “Christian terrorism” is the biggest threat that the United States faces?

      While it may be true that saffron extremism did not quite succeed, but if it did (and it still may), it would impact a billion Indians, no small scale catastrophe. I think the mistake you are doing is to consider just bomb blasts as extremism/terrorism. That is not the case. 1992, 2002, Orissa, many other incidents of violence, attacking artists/authors, vandalizing, incitements/hate-speeches etc (and not just bompb blasts) all amount to saffron extremism and if it that extremism clicks (glimpses of which we saw in 90s), it is no less catastrophic. There are many hindutva organizations that believe that it is alright to indulge in riots/violence, if there is alleged provocation for it. These groups have a lot of following and are not isolated case like Timothy McVeigh.

      >> but can you keep looking at him ONLY through a 2002 lens … No man is wholly evil or wholly good

      There has to be positive evidence that Modi now shuns the hate-speak that he and his colleagues from hindutva fraternity indulged in, and that he swears against communal hate/violence, and that he asserts the rights/justice/welfare/participation of all citizens. Till that happens, it is our duty as citizens to demand such basic ethics. While it is true that “no man is wholly evil or wholly good”, there are some pretty basics, that everyone must, at least, in-principle agree.

    • JJ
      October 18, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      Timothy McVeigh was actually an agnostic. It’s a common mistake made by some in the media to label him a “Christian terrorist” because he had relationships with people in Christian anti-government groups.

  10. commonindianman
    October 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Funnily enough this blog was printed in a Pakistani newspaper where you are killed for being Shia Muslim, Ahmadi Muslim and you better commit suicide if you are Hindu or Sikh.. Perfect place for an article on Hindus.. Wish we had more of such comedies..

  11. Chara
    October 9, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Dear Ms Sonali,
    We have a freedom of expression & we are exercising that right against an almost defunct govt kowtowing to an Italian sphinx & her prince.The rants as you call it is so because of a biased & flawed electronic media in India which is both unethical & immoral.If you have a spine why don’t you advise your cohortd in the media to practice what they preach & maybe you can see a notable change from your myopic eyes as the Almighty Jesus Christ said rightly ‘Don’t see the speck in anothers eyes see the log in your eye first’.
    NaMo is an efficient ruler & administrator a man we admire as we admire a Sheila Dixit.Unfortunately the Indian media is like in the Middle East where I am based.Their entire rhetoric is against Isreal when everything is falling apart in the neighborhood.
    In these tough economic times made worse by the inertia & dubious policies of the UPA instead of keeping NaMos administration as a benchmark to emulate he is instead lampooned by the likes of you who hides between identities & by a derogatory media.I think you are more frustrated because NaMo dosent respond to any amount of provocations by you all.And moreover I haven’t heard your comments on either B Dutts broker business or the 100 cr defamation fine on Times Now.
    Grow up before you advise others.

    Ram

  12. raj
    October 10, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Once again very well articulated. The Hindutva brigade is simply a reaction to the duplicitous secularism of the Congress. Congress’s brand of secularism is BJP’s brand of Hinduism. Both brands pander to votebank politics. This is not to deny that some Congress leaders in the past such as Gandhi and Nehru, or BJP leaders such as Vajpayee, were genuinely secular, or that India is basically a secular society, one fashioned both by our civilization and our constitution.

    The IH is simply the abusive arm of the Hindutva brigade. At the moment, NM is the cult around which the brigade is focused.

    When people on Twitter complain of IH abuse coming their way like a swarm of bees, I often picturise it as the machines attacking the spaceship ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ in the movie ‘The Matrix’. Sadly, there is no ‘The One’ to save them here!!

    • Vijaykumar
      October 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm

      >> The Hindutva brigade is simply a reaction to the duplicitous secularism of the Congress.

      That must be one of their most bakrupt and fake excuses. Thats like saying Nazism is reaction to allegedly duplicitous discourse on human rights/justice.

  13. Ajit G Joshi
    October 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I think TV is completely monopolized by leftist activist kind of journalist . Since Marxist ideas may not be acceptable to their owners/investors BJP, the only way they are able to show their mindset is by RSS BJP bashing. I feel that internet seems to be only medium for Rightist Hindus most of them grown from middle class background in 70s & 80s to express themselves. Also with social media they can talk ill about anyone which they would be scared in person

    • Vijaykumar
      October 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      Sir, media being leftist is a old story, no longer true. The new big media is a slave of big business/corporations. And Modi for one, is a darling of big business/corporations. So dont expect media to cross a Lakshman Rekha, while criticizing. As for internet, with the low penetration as of now, it is swamped by hindutva ideological extremists. Wait for the time when most of the people in our country has access. My guess is that the common people will the hindutva extremists, a run for their money.

      • Kartik Bagaria
        October 16, 2011 at 8:51 am

        Going by your arguements modi is darling of media. Then why i see only negative reporting about narendra modi? Can you give one instance where narendra modi is praised by media.

      • P.V.Saket
        October 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

        I don’t know whether your question was directed at me or not. But since no one else has talked about Modi, I assume the question is for me. Assuming thus, here’s my reply. I never said Modi is a media’s darling. On the contrary, I believe that the media unfairly throws mud on Modi overlooking all the good work he has done and continues to do. As such there is no question of the media praising Modi. But fortunately, the entire world is not unfair to Modi. I can site a few examples of appreciation attributed to Modi. Mukesh Ambani once said “Gujarat is to India what India is to the world.” Everyone knows what Ratan Tata feels about Modi and Gujarat. There are n number of independent reports highlighting Modi’s administration in Gujarat like the Sachar committee report. So if you look at the media as the benchmark, then you will remain

        Finally, if the question was not meant for me, then you may choose to ignore this.

  14. Anubhav
    October 11, 2011 at 5:07 am

    First and foremost, I do not agree with the term Internet Hindus being used as a pejorative by you. Hindu terror would be pejorative because terror is a pejorative. Your addition of adding two positives to create a negative is neither intelligent nor commendable.

    Secondly, being someone who I think identifies sometimes with some of the right wing tweets/blogs/voices. I would like to say that not all the right wing voices point in the direction of being communal. You seem to be taking the discourse on right wing voices in our country in an altogether different direction by trying to wrongly equate right wing activism as communal. The former is a well documented ideology and is required in any dmocracy/society as much as is left and center, the later however is undoubtedly condemnable.

    The right wing ideology, if I understand it correctly is not about being communal but about having a conservative point of view. There is a similar or greater rightist influence in the american polity, but the people calling them communal is still counted as fringe and not mainstream.

    You should perhaps tackle communalism and rightwing activism in different manner. Trying to bundle them as the same package is not only over simplistic but also detrimental to an active democracy.

    And finally, much of the amplitude in the right wing voices (that leads to congress and other liberal spin doctors give it a communal tinge) would go away and subside to a regular level that is necessary for a healthy political discussion, IF there were any medium for propagating right wing views. What I mean is what you get nowadays is right wing ideas +anguish, which is not good. But sadly much of our media exhibits a strong anti-right and pro congress tilt and the voices that should be heard are muted.

  15. sanket
    October 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    just out of curiosity, was right wing terror groups present in a pre independent India, If not why did it come to existence then ?

  16. Hindu
    October 16, 2011 at 6:30 am

    This is the first and last warning for your newspaper and Ms. Sonali Ranade. Remove this article as soon as possible.

  17. Hindu
    October 16, 2011 at 6:34 am

    Remove article or be ready to face criminal legal case.

  18. rohit
    October 16, 2011 at 6:46 am

    bad write-up! Secularism is talked about but not defined. There is so many version of secularism followed by politicians, which one is she talking about? here are few version:
    1) have common code of conduct and every one should “fall in line”.
    2) every one is free to follow their own practices and in case of conflict its “poor victim” minorities view triumphs.
    3) every one is free to follow their own practices and in case of conflict point to unfairness used in the point to above and ride on majority view.
    4) be silent on conflicts. as long as conflicts are there tv channels will have something to show.

  19. Bobby
    October 16, 2011 at 6:48 am

    If you reading this comment, I just want you to understand that most of the rant that you see from so called Hindu folks, is mainly targeted towards pseudo secularists, a term I am sure you must be familiar with through the rants, but let me help explain again.

    A pseudo secular is the one who indulge in minority appeasement by quoting secularism, but when it comes to supporting the majority then they wouldn’t speak even if the majority is right just coz they fear that minority might feel offended.

    I just wanted to say this.

    Thanks
    Bobby

  20. rohit
    October 16, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Internet Hindus!!! lol.. I think for her secularism is “every thing should be at par”. Since Islam is now considered extremist and related to terrorism there is a strong need to make Hinduism at par with it. Show how hindus are also extremist (in sophisticated manner though ) so internet hindus…

  21. P.V.Saket
    October 16, 2011 at 9:17 am

    @Sonali Ranade & all Modi bashers: Glad that for once somebody has not labelled the Congress as secular and pictured them exactly as they should be- communal to the core with a mask of secularism on their faces. As far as IHs, etc. are concerned they are frustrated people and the frustration comes from the double standards employed by the ‘secular’ political parties. But all these things are known to everybody. Where I contradict you is on your views about Narendra Modi. You seem to feel that Narendra Modi is a tyrant and a crusader against the minorities. But you would be stunned to read the report of the Justice Sachar committee regarding the condition of muslims in Gujarat as compared to Hindus in Gujarat and Muslims in other states of India. Also interesting is the level of improvement in the living condition of Gujarat’s Muslims since Narendra Modi came to power. All this poison against Modi spread due to the hate-campaign undertaken by people who realize more than most of us that they cannot beat Modi on grounds of development, clean image and providing administration is actually keeping people away from reality. The latest local body elections in Gujarat which took place last year showed how much the people of Gujarat, irrespective of their community, favored Modi’s administration and leadership in the state. What anyone who happens to visit Gujarat can see very clearly is the extent and kind of development that has transcended all barriers of religion and class/caste provided by the state government under Modi. You have to see it to believe it. Believe me as a person who has been in Gujarat for the last 15 years, I have seen with my own eyes the work that has been undertaken in the state. Nobody should and nobody does support what happened in 2002- both the Godhra incident and its aftermath. But to attribute motives, playing the blame-game and maligning a person based purely on perception formed due to what is projected on a very biased and opportunistic media is the last thing that would solve any of the problems concerning most of us. When people say that Modi has won elections by playing the communal card they tend to forget that in 2007, it was Madam Sonia Gandhi who tried to play the communal card by enticing the Muslims of the state against Modi through her “Maut ka Saudagar” statement. Until that point Modi’s campaign was only highlighting the development work of his government over the past 5 years. Even after that remark by Sonia Gandhi, Modi didn’t raise the Hindu-Muslim issue. He only talked about terrorism and the Congress’ unwillingness in tackling terrorism. Unfortunately, the media projected it as communal. I am least interested in whether Modi should become the PM of India or if he will become the PM of India. But if he does become the PM of India, while I will be happy that an able administrator who has a vision and more importantly the intention of providing good governance will lead our country, I will be unhappy that he would not be leading the state I live in as that might mean a lesser rate of development and a greater amount of inefficiency in governance. While you ask the Hindus to be open-minded, I find it surprising that you seem to close your own mind just because of one incident whose culprits have not yet been found and in doing so you are actually missing a far greener picture about the state of Gujarat and everybody living there.

  22. Kartik Bagaria
    October 16, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Now I am convinced, why internet media is far more better and growing tremendously than other media. If you read above article and comments posted by readers, you will feel that you get more insightful information, more balanced view not by columnist but by readers. This is the power of internet media where people are better informed and unbiased in their view. For established professional media persons, news & views are part of their bread butter (Often wine and cashew too). Sometimes I feel that they are doing this out of their professional compulsions but readers are free aces who are straight forward and express what they truly believe. Hats off to Abhinav !!!

  23. goldenbreeze
    October 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    You article falsely assumes that majority will always oppress the minority. Indian History has shown that this is not the case. Indian majority(hindus) have always been tolerant and inclusive all along the history (the very fact that secularism has wide accpetance now is proof for that) . But what has caused the awakening of the conservative consciousness among the youth is the state’s perverted attitude of minority appeasement and the constant vilification of Hindu groups. Congress party, a secular party has no problem in going on with a coalition with Muslim League(a party representing Muslims), but it denounce BJP and other Sangh groups as Communal. Minority appeasement is not Secularism. Even if you conduct a poll for Uniform civil code(which is a perfectly secular initiative) now, you can get maximum support from IH, but the mainopposition will come from Congress and other so called seculars.

  24. shivesh
    October 17, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Actually most of economic development is coming from the BJP/NDA ruled states as also revealed in several surveys and reports. BJP as a right party already knows the goods of economic development and has implemented the idea of economic growth in states and at center when in power. The employment and entrepreneurship record in the country was far better during NDA regime as revealed in the NSSO survey. Interestingly, economic stagnation and rampant corruption have become the hallmark of Congress rule in center and states. I believe IHs are distressed by the king of pseudo-secularism practised in India which has been repeatedly legitimized by a section of academics and media; not they are opposed to concept of secularism itself. IHs actually want a strict adherence to secularism, the prevalent lack of which is actually feeding all their anger and resentment.

  25. JaiHind
    October 18, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    What do these so-called secularists have to say about large-scale conversions to the foreign Christian religion in impoverished places? I support secularism as long as people don’t convert others to their religion. Christian conversion is a form of violence and terrorism against Hindu culture.

  26. Ankit Kabra
    October 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    This is one of the best articles i have read in recent times. I am an atheist in real life but an extremist hindu in virtual world. In real life i find nationalism and religion boring and too archaic as a belief system however i crave for an identity which is primarily Indian. As an indian i would like to take pride in my history, in the secular nature of my culture but than i see cultures foreign to this land subverting my identity. I see burkhas in malls, christian missionaries converting people, which does not actually affect me but asks me to identify myself with someone. The effect those skull caps, those burkhas and those missionaries however peaceful they may be have is extraordinary. I see the brand of secularism Congress and its allies have adopted. I see the desperation in the eyes of politicians to get the minority vote. This is what has pushed me to extremism. Your article makes a very valid point about BJP and Congress’s take on secularism. I believe that UTOPIA is as real as a unicorn, so in all practicality i have to chose whats best for my country and my future generation. I believe no country can survive without acknowledging its true identity, this is Hindustan, Hindustan has always been secular but Hindustan is what the word says. We dont need to be apologetic about it, muslims, christians whatever, if you are an Indian you are an Indian but the character of this nation is hindu, it is secular but it is hindu.
    So to sum it up, rather than pandering to Osama Bin Ladenji i chose Narendra Modi. Yes, you got that right, same coin, different sides.

  27. Indian
    October 18, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Do you know that the police killed 200 HINDU RIOTERS : Fantastic Myth, Keep on spreading lies to defend the communal politics

  28. K P Ganesh
    October 18, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    “What have IHs to offer in place of secularism? Do they demand revocation of fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution? Can the Hindus come up with a codified version of Hinduism based on which we could rewrite our constitution? Would such a faith-based constitution command the consensus needed to make it work? Hinduism is not a revealed religion”.

    Sonali Ranade, please read Kautilya’s ARTHASHASTRA. You wouldn’t need any dumb ass Western defined democracy et. al. It covers every aspect of whatever you and your bed-fellow leftists libtards keep ranting.

  29. sanjay
    October 19, 2011 at 4:20 am

    I want to ask just one question were there any communal riots before Muslims came to India

  30. Ankit Kabra
    October 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Also i think Congress has diluted and compromised on National Interests in order to remain in power at any cost, congress in its blind pursuit of power has compromised everything that a true patriot dreams of. What do we as a citizen of this country want, we know we can beat poverty, we can beat resource crunch and we can beat all the other nations in the world. We had a wonderful history, culture.

    When people like us show their fustration agaisnt anti-national, power hungry approach of Congress we are termed communal. Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has made a career out of this.

    We see Narendra Modi as our only chance at a no-nonsense government that can take India to the future, we believe in his commitment to the nation and his dedication.

    If this makes us communal so be it.

  31. P.V.Saket
    October 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    @Vijay Kumar: I am a strong a believer of the notion that the Indian media plays a major role in shaping our views and political beliefs. And my belief only gets stronger when I hear people use the term “saffron terrorism” or “Hindu terrorism”. The point of contention when either of these two terms is used arises not from the use of the word terrorism but from the use of the adjective Saffron or Hindu. As somebody said in an earlier comment, just because some people belonging to a particular community subscribe to terrorist activities, one cannot attribute terrorist activities to the whole community. Therefore, terrorist activities by some Hindus should not be called “Hindu terrorism”. In fact, such people and such activities by Hindus are strongly condemned by all quarters of the Hindu society. Praveen Togadiya is not the most poplar leader among us Hindus if you want an example. When it comes to Islamic terrorism though, it is not us who gave it that name. They are called Islamic terrorists because they call themselves so. That does not mean that all Muslims are terrorists. It simply means that that group of terrorists are Muslims and they spread violence in the name of Islam and Jehad. Rahul Gandhi’s statements where he says Hindu terrorism is a bigger threat than LeT and Islamic terrorism should not be called so are examples of the double standards employed by the Congress in order to win the minority votes. If RSS’s ideology is to be understood it will take a more rational mind instead of blindly using terms like Saffron terror or Hindu terror or blindly singing praises of Congress’ policies.

    Also, when you say that Congress have the right to focus on particular communities as a policy matter, it does not give you or anybody else the moral right to call Congress a secular party. I don’t have a problem with Congress selectively focusing on specific communities for ‘development’. But I have a problem when they get the support of so-called intellectuals by calling themselves secular. They are cheating the country by claiming to be secular and that is not acceptable. Let the people know all the truth and then decide for themselves who they want to be ruled by.

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  33. June 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

    The Indian Constituion does not define the word Secularism. No constitution in the world does. Before stating before anyone is secular or not pl define the word. Hindus have given shelter to Parsis, Jews and others when they persecuted in the land of their origin. Compare that with how the Muslims and Christians treat others when they are in a majority so we Hindus do not need sermons on Secularism what ever that word means.

  34. July 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    The Author would have done well to evaluate why the Internet Hindus who are against Pseudo Secularism have grown in such large nos during the last 20 years. Hindus want equal human rights – we want the right to manage our temples and use the funds for the benefit of Hindus. Two we want the right to manage our Educational Institutions. If all other institutions are subject to Reservations for SC/ST then too will happily accept reservations. I have tried to put the Hindu Agenda in this arti briefly – http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/Would-the-construction-of-a-Ram-Mandir-satisfy-Hindus-1.aspx. It does not talk abt Hindu Rashtra or anything which psedos talk about.

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