Sunday, August 15, 2010

On Being an Indian

Today is supposed to be the grand day when my country achieved it's Independence from the British Rule. Everywhere around there are celebrations big and small. The common people are probably unaffected by this day after they pass out from schools and colleges. Politicians are perhaps thanking God for making them Indian because perhaps no where else can one gobble down large sums of the country's money and still be able to have a free run. Thanks to the ever-forgiving Congress. I often imagine the 'Congressis' holding on tightly to each others' underwear. The deal is that, 'you try to pull down mine and I will pull down yours too'! So no one is threatening or questioning anyone else.
And of course, the country is so screwed by the politics of religion, mis-placed feelings of patriotism and Indian-ness. Where else in the entire World can a former Italian waitress enjoy the status of the 'daughter-in-law' of a Holy Land called 'Hindustan', who is silently running the show behind a puppet of a Cabinet. We are still ruled by white-skin in a way.
No other nation in the world humiliates and mocks at the culture, religion and spirituality of the people who form the majority. How does the humiliation happen? Very simple and subtle. By simply denying privileges that are handed over to the minorities. There are heavy subsidies for Haj travellers, for instance. But when a riot ensued when the majority asked for a subsidy for the annual Amarnath Yatra. In the North-East, Hindus...whatever are now left, are converted at gun-point to Christianity. Hindus are a minority there. So it's logical that the minorities would get special subsidies, right? Wrong. Hindus do not enjoy any such 'privileges'.
Well, my grouse is only that if the Congress proclaims itself to be "SECULAR", why not at least be religiously neutral??? This is definitely not secular.
I would rather have my country to be called 'Hindu-Land'. Because for me, being Indian equates to being Hindu. And being Hindu means taking pride in India's true riches: Yoga, Philosophy, Ayurveda, Culture, Tradition and Teachings. This land is the cradle of my religion: Hindu. And how can I separate the two.
Also, being Hindu for me means being one of the most knowledgeable, yet tolerant, all-accommodating people. And Hinduism is not only a religion of peace for namesake, we practise it as well! To test it, simply send a Christian missionary to carry out conversions in a purely Muslim mohalla by telling them how great Christ was and that if you are not Christian, you are going to go to hell. And if Hindus were not peaceful, we would have had a riot every day for the way Hindus are being torn apart from all sides.
The tragedy of our minds is that we take pride in Hinduism only after we discover how 'cool' it is. And it is far more than just 'cool'. It's not without a reason that it is one of the greatest and oldest religions of the world! What is needed is just a bit of an effort to understand it's depth. So, the next time you are tempted to rubbish a particular idea, ritual, concept or philosophy that is essentially Hindu, think twice. Our Rishis and Sages were some of the wisest people to have descended on the planet. And if they have exhorted something, it's with a good reason. Look deeper with openness in the mind and you will see!

Jai Hind!