With Defenders Like Muthalik, Genuine Hindu Causes Are Sure To Suffer
Hindus need to sideline voices such as Muthalik if they are to win the larger battles that actually discriminate against them – causes which have no anti-minority angle at all.
Some alleged defenders of Hinduism end up doing more damage to genuine Hindu causes by their behaviour and ill-thought-out statements than dyed-in-the-wool nonphobics in the “secular media”.
A case in point is Pramod Muthalik’s outburst in Bengaluru on Sunday (17 June), when he talked about the Gauri Lankesh assassination in intemperate language. In the context of Congress governments failing to find the murderers of Narayan Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M M Kalburgi, he is quoted as having said: “no one questioned the Congress government's failure... instead these Left-leaning intellectuals ask PM Modi to speak on Gauri Lankesh's death. Do you expect Modi to respond every time a dog dies in Karnataka?”
It is possible to claim that the reference to “dog” was not about Lankesh, but about emphasising that the PM need not react to every tragedy in the country, but the language surely betrays a visceral streak in Muthalik that is difficult to miss.
Another case reported today (19 June) involves an Airtel customer who had raised an issue over Twitter, and was responded to by someone named Shoaib. But the woman did not want her query responded to by Shoaib and made uncomplimentary comments on the Quran. The next responder was someone other than Shoaib, and Twitter went into paroxysms of rage over this apparent willingness on the part of Airtel to pander to the customer’s religious bigotry.
While the Muthalik outburst had no overt communal angle even though it displayed an undertone of dislike for Gauri Lankesh, the Airtel customer case is a clear case of bigotry. You don’t abuse the presumed religion of a customer care executive who was only trying to help.
These instances actually set back the genuine causes that some Hindus may espouse by allowing Hinduphobic segments of the mainstream media and political parties to tar all Hindus with bigotry.
Hindu causes that have validity include the removal of government control on temples, ending of the one-sided burdening of majority-run schools through the Right to Education Act, banning foreign contributions to organisations that focus largely on religious conversions, addressing the issue of increasingly adverse Hindu demographics in parts of Jammu and Kashmir, the North-East, Kerala, and parts of West Bengal and eastern Bihar, reworking history books to make them more balanced from an Indic perspective, and ending the subliminal Hinduphobia of mainstream politics and the media, among other things.
There is no shortage of genuine Hindu areas of concern that need sustained campaigning, but it is easy to derail these causes by allowing the media to focus on what a Muthalik says or what a Hindu customer says to an Airtel executive who happens to be Muslim.
Hindus need to sideline voices such as these if they are to win the larger battles that actually discriminate against them – causes which have no anti-minority angle at all.
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