Saturday, 7th February 2004
The Agni Foundation (The Hague, Holland) organized on Saturday 7 February 2004 the lecture ’Religious cleansing for centuries in the south Asian subcontinent’. The following is the talk given by HHR.
Sceptics might well ask the question-“Why the need for a Hindu Human Rights Group?” The answer could go something like this………………
In a world where one sixth of the entire global population is Hindu and Hinduism is one of the most observed religions (including New Age practices), at the same time we are seeing a rise in the persecution of Hindus in all parts of the world. This takes the form of premeditated killings of Hindu children, women and men, murder, rape, abduction, forced conversions, theft of property, destruction of mandirs and murtis
For example in Pakistan we hear of abductions and murders of Hindus, of destruction of mandirs, and Hindus are forced to take on Muslim names in hope to avoid being targeted. Bangladesh is where the largest genocide in the world of the indigenous Hindus is taking place on a wide scale right now…
In Sri Lanka the Hindu Tamils are being persecuted by a Sinhalese Buddhist government the situation is being taken advantage of by the Christian Missionaries and the Islamists.
In Nepal, the only Hindu state in the world, the Maoist guerrillas are murdering Hindus in the thousands in the name of a discredited ideology (Communism)
Sadly in India, where the majority population is Hindu, the Indian constitution makes them into second-class citizens (Article 13 permits religious minorities to open and to govern schools with government funding but Hinduism is not taught in the National curriculum and it is almost impossible for Hindu schools to get funded and established). Hindu temples are also heavily taxed, taxes which help the funding of the above mentioned so called “minorities”
Hindus are under attack within the borders in India: In Kashmir almost all Hindus have been religiously cleansed and the attackers have now strategically begun their cleansing strategy in the Jammu region. In Kerala and West Bengal, decades of Communist government have succeeded in demoralising and dividing the Hindus whilst strengthening the hand of the minorities who are hostile to Hindus. In the North East, Hindus are now a tiny minority due to decades of forced conversions to Christianity.
Outside the Indian sub-continent, in USA for example (which is supposed to be a democracy, and the upholders of civil liberties) a Hindu cannot put up a religious flag (J handi) outside his house also, American Christians openly attack Hindu homes and places of worship and to add insults to injury, the Christians evangelists are openly degrading Hindus and their spiritual practices, denigrating them as idolaters, on TV and in their propaganda tracts.
In the Caribbean the Hindu populations are forcefully discriminated against in terms of education, employment, housing. Hindu families are targeted by violent crime, kidnappings and even murder and rape. Whilst the American fundamentalist churches are busy seducing and converting poor Hindu families with money, school books and jobs. There are a number of websites set up by Christian sects specifically dedicated to the conversion of the Hindu Caribbean.
In the UK mandirs and kovils are regularly attacked and Hindus are the victims of race and religious hate crimes.
In the thriving drug culture that is found rampant in Amsterdam and London for example, Hindu deities are used as a marketing ploy. Indeed it is ironical that more Hindu symbols are abused in the West than are worshipped!
The news and the media is another area where Hindus and the Hindu religion are subjected to a subtler but no less sinister denigration. For example in TV serials, if an Asian family is portrayed it is more likely to be Hindu rather than from another religious background, and the family is portrayed as severely dysfunctional whilst the females are depicted as loose women of ill repute. If the TV networks dared to portray a family originally from the subcontinent belonging to another religious tradition, in the same demeaning manner, they would soon be bombarded with death threats and law suits.
These are only a few of the reasons as to why HHR UK came into being as an umbrella structure to combat regionalism and parochialism amongst Hindus, to enable them to unite and to see their plight in a more global way. Our website highlights abuses against Hindus from all parts of the world and addresses these issues at all levels.
Now we come to the question as to why this abuse against our Hindu community is ignored? From the outsiders point of view we Hindus represent the last striving Pagan civilisation with a vibrant and living culture worldwide. All other Pagan communities have been lost or destroyed and exist only in history books and through their surviving artefacts in dusty museums. However we have survived because Sanatan Dharma is most powerful and eternal yet everyone is against us, even those who may not think they are. We even find within the Indian community born Hindus who reject Dharma due to the powerful distorted messages emanating from the media and the education system, which subliminally shape their perception of it. They will not rest until Hindus are reduced to a few thousand worldwide and are safely contained on reservation camps such as they have done with the Native American and the Australian aborigine.
It is a common experience for a Hindu in India and elsewhere to be condemned as fascist for declaring that they are Hindu!
Let us turn to the manner in which Hindu history has been taught. Even shortly after Independence the colonialist view of India’s history was propagated, especially the Aryan invasion theory, which has been discredited by the discovery of archaeological evidence. Yet this view of the Aryan invasion theory is still being vigorously defended since the Agenda it is used for is for the destruction of Hinduism and the undermining of the integrity of the Hindus as a whole.
The biggest problem in internal: 99% of Hindus do not know what Hinduism really is. They have been brainwashed by their Macaulayite education and the media, into maintaining a colonialist, anti-Hindu mindset and a secular stance. To proclaim oneself a Hindu is to invite attacks and labels such as communalist and divisive. Is it any surprise then that Hindus claim they are Hindu one minute and then non-Hindu the next? This is also the case with certain Guru lead sects taken up in a big way in by Westerners where the Hindu scriptures are manipulated and misinterpreted to bolster up their sectarian ideology.
The only way to challenge this is for each and every one of us here to learn our history from the original i.e. Hindu perspective and to study our Dharma properly. Caste and regionalism has to be secondary to our allegiance to Dharma.
Hindu Human Rights highlight abuse of Hindus by lobbying our respective governments, engaging in dialogue with other likeminded groups, street protests (the more established Hindu groups seem uncomfortable with this activity) and media watch.
We now come to the dreaded H word. When attractive treasures are taken from our Dharma such as Yoga, mediation, Vedic chanting, Vedic astrology, vegetarianism, environmentalism, Vastu, Tantra, Chackra concepts, Ayurveda etc and are stripped of their origins and associations with Hinduism they become a cheapened packaged consumer commodityand are stripped of their spiritual essence. However when talk of Sati, Casteism, Dowry and other social ills, arises it is automatically linked to the dreaded H word: HINDUISM. Sanatan Dharma then becomes equated with inequality, outdated and oppressive social customs and even down right superstitions.
“Let us check this tide. Let us take back what is ours and claim it as ours, as Hindu” as SadGuru Subramaniaswami of the Himalayan Academy Hinduism Today said while talking about Yoga. He also proclaimed “ You cannot separate Yoga from Hinduism just like you cannot disassociate the apple from the apple tree”.
For one thousand years the material wealth of India has been pillaged and looted .Now it is the turn of our spiritual, cultural and intellectual wealth to be treated in this same way. The hostile forces are ready to undermine, kill, convert, consume and destroy.
We have the traditional groups such as the Sangh Parivar who strive to protect Dharma. Yet now a more politically aware and assertive consciousness is emerging in the form of more proactive groups such as HHR who are taking the struggle for Dharma to a different level. As our self-confidence grows, more likeminded groups will emerge to be more effective in the defence, protection and promotion of the Hindu heritage worldwide.
We call upon Hindus in the West to become more politically aware and to not restrict themselves just to prayer, yoga, meditation and bhajans. They must not just concern themselves with spiritual matters but they should also rouse themselves from the Tamasic to the Rajasic state by promoting, advocating, physically defending and intellectually asserting the truth that IS Dharma. We must not forget to be more inclusive and warmly welcome those who are sympathetic to the Hindu cause and who are sincerely seeking for a spiritual dimension to their life. Sanatan Dharma is the Eternal Truth and Natural Law. It is cosmic and universal. It cannot be confined to the borders of India alone as it transcends all geographical and racial boundaries. These are the reasons why as Hindus it is our duty to protect Dharma and those who follow and live it fully
So now the question is: Will Hinduism be relegated as a dinosaur or become a global dynamo? Its fate lied in your hand!