Justice is due to Kanhaiya Lal, as justice is due to the Hindu civilisation.
The murder by Islamists of a tailor in Rajasthan, because he put up a status on social media in support of a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson, and video recording the murder to display it as a trophy and as a warning, is nothing but a classic instance of how humans can become inhuman when they become fundamentalist.
Religion is an innately wired, experience-seeking feature, well displayed in Homo sapiens. Beyond that inner experience, everything else, if not taken as an instrument to achieve and fine-tune that experience, should be considered as delusional.
More literal the claims of a religion, more delusional its adherents will be. More a religion turns inward, more pacifist it becomes. The violence is still there — as mob frenzy perhaps, but it is not institutionalised.
Let me illustrate through an apocryphal incident often told in the literary circles of Tamil Nadu.
A few decades back a prominent magazine from Bangalore (now Bengaluru) brought out a story whose title and main character shared their name with a person Muslims consider to be their last prophet. Beyond this, the story had nothing to do with religion at all. It was a character — a totally secular character acting out the secular events of life. But the title enraged the Muslims.
Ultimately, the magazine establishment quivered before the mob and apologised in public — an unconditional apology. Total submission.
When someone talked about this event with Jeyakanthan, who was a great literary figure, and who postured himself as a brave and fearless man (because of the covet support of Indira Gandhi of course) he allegedly told the person that he knew exactly how to retaliate against such religious fundamentalism.
And then he did.
He came up with another story of his own and titled it after a Hindu deity.
I have heard the story umpteen times but cannot vouch for its empirical truth. But its civilisational truth is undeniable. It at once shows not only the Hindu passiveness but it also shows the elite Hindu hypocrisy that comes with such passiveness.
Winston Churchill is said to have put it with his characteristically obsessive Islamist admiration that while Hindus sharpen their arguments the Muslims sharpen their daggers.
States tremble before such brute, unreasonable, deluded, fundamentalist violence. Why provoke the deluded? But the problem is the fundamentalist is also an expansionist. If not today, then tomorrow he is going to offer you the choice — either get deluded like me or die.
So, the question is should Hindus too go with daggers indulging in gory violence and show videos as pristine symbols of their power or should they take this worldview head-on, come what may, on their own civilisational terms?
What then are the Hindu civilisational terms to combat such delusional murderous fundamentalism? It should be to strictly adhere to democratic values and implement them as strictly as possible. The culprits have been already arrested and they should be given exemplary punishment as quickly as possible.
That is justice to the slain Hindu. Beyond that, this civilisation needs justice. That justice has to come in the form of voluntary handing over of Kashi and Mathura shrines to the Hindus with a civilisational apology.
The Hindutva movement in this nation has the right to demand such an apology from the expansionist monopolistic religionists. When it came to the upper-caste atrocity of not allowing the scheduled community brethren inside the Hindu temples, Hindutva movement made the descendant of the very priest of the temple who refused to allow the scheduled community members of Hindu nation, make a public apology. So, the national movement Hindutva has the right to demand the same.
Temples should be handed over with a public civilisational apology. That is as much needed as the returning of the temples. It will help uncover unverifiable 'truth statements' for what they are — delusional.
Finally, the essential nature of Hindu nation is that it is secular. Let us not forget that. Hindu dharma is not a religion but a family of religions. Even there it is not a religion in the sense of the proselytising prophetic cults. It is time government of India comes up with a curriculum that tells children the impact of science on religious worldviews. It should make evolution the basis of understanding religions.
Every religious place of learning must have a course on evolution. If a secular institution like the army can have a religious service provider for every religion attached to it, then the demand that every religious institution should have a compulsory course in evolution, is more than justified.
A strong grasp of evolution gives us the realisation that we are just a branch of apes, with all our gods, goddesses, only sons of gods and final prophets and the claims of hell and heaven and holy books. We are apes given to fantasy and imagination. We are apes given to contemplation, technology, poetry and painting. We may be advaitic apes, theistic apes and atheistic apes.
Yet, apes we are.
In that lyrical Bhaja Govindam attributed to Adi Shankara, a verse points out that the strong objects of our libidinous desire, which are our extraneously attractive parts of the bodies, are actually modifications of flesh and fat. This reductionist realisation is considered as a good antidote against lust.
Similarly, the realisation that we are just apes, just a small insignificant branch in the deep history of the phylogenetic tree of life, in this insignificant planet, should make one realise how futile fundamentalist and literal interpretations of any religion are and how horrendously delusional any claim by any religious text to absolute truth.
That shall be the sustained tribute we shall pay to the memory of Kanhaiya Lal, who is today all of us.
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