An Open Letter to the Secular and Democratic Individuals, institutions and parties
Why Oh, why do we not cite the example of Nepal while opposing Hindutva chauvinism?
[13 January 2003]
This question has always bothered me. Of course, Nepal is the only Hindu Rashtra in the world.A fact which hardly needs repetition. Nor is it necessary to elucidate further that a Hindu Rashtra is where the administration is based on the Hindu system. I had an occasion to visit Nepal in the aftermath of the demolition of the Babri Masjid and see for myself at close quarter the Hindutva juggernaut in action.Really speaking it was then that the real impact of the implications of a Hindu Rashtra fell on me. I had then brought out a brochure dealing with the matter, 'The Tragedy of being a Hindu Rashtra'.
I also ran from political party to party, social organisation to organisation and activist to activist trying to convince them that the implications of a Hindu Rashtra should be brought to the attention of the people quoting the concrete instance of Nepal.However,both the big parties and the small activists refused to fall in line. The specious excuse was that we have special diplomatic besides historical and cultural relations with Nepal. Would it not be tantamount to interfere in its internal affairs?
As if we have always walked on the thin and narrow line!
We have fallen on ourselves in deprecating religious fundamentalism in countries under the influence of Islamic or other religions.The parties opposed to left politics frequently target the breach of human rights in China. Our voice was the shrillest when denouncing racism in South Africa.
None of these regions are part of India. So we took umbrage under the specious excuse that this action was for the safeguarding of human values and civil liberties.When USA attacked Taliban-ruled Afghanistan we tried to secure public acquience by chilvalrous reference to the plight of the damsels in distress there.
It is not that voices have never been raised here against the autocratic rule in Nepal.Both the political parties and social orgnisations here have not only justified but supported the democracy movement in Nepal against autocratic rule. But when the question of exposing the Hindutva there arises we suddenly remember our delicate diplomatic ties? On the other hand the Hindu chauvinists in India shower encomiums on Nepal as the singular Hindu Rashtra in the world. If somebody attempts to raise the autocracy of the royal rule there he is branded as anti-Hindu.
The roots of religion indeed lie very deep. All these parties and organisations must have been driven by this deep down force within and therefore, their reactions are not surprising. It is hardly necessary to tell here how embarrassing the Hindutva enthusiasts must be finding to keep away the truth of Hidutva in action in our neighbourhood !
In fact, the very emergence and development of the Hindutva forces over half-a-century of secular administration is ample proof of the unfortunate fact that the arbiter of secularism and parties collaborating with them have not been able to make secularism their culture. There are a number of instances where it could be seen that in many of their decisions, actions and transactions the secular administrators have, knowingly or unknowingly been helping the communal forces.Today many communal organisations are able to quote some comments or personal opinions of some respected leader as testimonials in their support.
At this stage I only want to suggest that if we are really opposed to any type of theocratic state and if we have chosen to confront any country or nation based on religion it is incumbent upon us to expose the social reality of countries run on Hindutva lines as also under Islamic fundamentalism.
What is the reality in Nepal?
1. Being a Hindu Rashtra the autocratic rules still persists.
2.Nepal stands at the top of all poor nations in the world.
3. In order to preserve its Hindu character conversion to any other religion is prohibited.
4. In view of this ban on coversions 90 percent of the population is stated to be Hindu.
5. Being a Hindu Rashtra all royal claims are are legal.(The Hindu king can do no wrong.)
6.Varna Vyakvastha is socially absolute.
7.The status of dalits and backward communities is the same as it was in India 100-125 years ago and whose remnants are seen even today.
8.Hindu Rashtra has become the single biggest supplier of its citizens.The system,as if, trains young workers and soldiers for other countries.Statistics of persons leaving this 'Ram Rajya' on account of poverty and migrating to other countries in search of jobs can be seen.
9.This is the only country in this wide world where from thousands of women migrate to neighbouring countries for prostitution.All these are Hindu women.It is quite possible that a major portion of them would be coming from dalit, adivasi background. And lastly the richest people in this Hindu Rashtra are the royalty, priestly class or outsiders living here.
This is not the entire truth. Those who consider that Hinduism is most liberal can see the real nature of this 'liberal character' here. This is a system which encompasses many conflicts and contradictions within itself and yet manages to retain its original form.
I feel that a determined drive to expose the Hindu system for what it is at present may pay richer dividends in our fight against communalism than sorting out rags of history. This is a concrete truth which everybody can touch and feel.
The hitch in the development of a Secular society need joint efforts. I am there with you all.and always.
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