Wednesday, October 08, 2014

HINDUPHOBIA :Bigotry & Hate against Hindus

Swaminathan Gurumurthy
Why Does Hinduphobia and Bigotry Against Hindus Get a Free Pass?
On a daily basis, if you take a look at any of the largest India-based media giants like NDTV, CNN-IBN, Times of India, you’ll notice an overt and asymmetric negative bias towards Hindus and Hinduism when compared to the treatment of other major religions such as Islam and Christianity. The trend of Hinduphobia has become so widespread in India that over the years it has even become a transnational phenomenon, with some US and UK Media outlets participating in the same game of bigotry. The true problem is how these writers and Media giants only target Hinduism and Hindus while conveniently ignoring similar political and religious issues within the Christian and Muslim communities. The Hinduphobia phenomena is even stranger due to Hinduism having a well known history of pluralism, tolerance and acceptance of various opinions.

India is a country composed of approximately 75% Hindus and 20% Muslims – so why all the hostility and ill-treatment towards Hinduism? There are a number of reasons to explain this. Every reader should keep in mind the checklist below to identify whether the content they are reading is in fact Hinduphobic and biased against Hinduism:

1. Ownership of the Hinduphobic Media houses (there have been reports identifying select Media giants being owned by people engaged in Communist, Maoist, Evangelist and Islamist activities)

2. History of the Hinduphobe writers (some writers have a clear bias and this is shown when the last 9 out of 10 articles are focused on Hinduism under a negative light)

3. Political bias and influence (many writers are married to or hail from a particular political party such as the Indian National Congress)

4. Editorial bribery (there have been cases where ex-anchors say they were approached by members of parliament to write on a topic)

5. Sensationalism and ratings (some media giants only care for ratings and will sensationalize whatever gets them more views, even at the expense of a religious group’s sentiments)

6. Class-wars among India’s elite (anchors have been caught calling villagers as classless)

7. Fear and appeasement of some religious groups (some writers are afraid to cover stories on specific topics due to fatwas and violent backlash from certain religious and terrorist groups)

Just this past week there was an article in the well-known Washington Post titled ‘Narendra Modi was speaking in code when he visited America. Here’s what he was really saying to his Hindu nationalist base‘, by popular film producer and writer Mira Nair, who is also the wife of well-respected Mahmood Mamdani. The article can be seen as anti-Hindu and an unbiased reader could easily identify the attempt to find any reason to show Hindus and the PM in bad light – even going as far as suggesting that the newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wore ‘a shade of orange’ during his speech to signal support for Hindu terrorism. Can you say ‘ridiculous’, I know my mother, who is an American surgeon volunteered 20% of her time volunteering in war-torn countries and wears shades of orange because it’s her favorite color. I also have an aunt that wears orange more than often because she was raised under the belief that orange (or Saffron) is auspicious and brings good blessings if worn. It is more than probable that PM Modi wore orange because of the latter, and if not, then likely it may have been just a coincidence. At the least, one cannot conclude that it was likely worn to signal support for elements of Hindu terrorism (whose existence is very debatable). It is this type of bigotry that fosters and influences bullying of Hindu children for such little things like wearing orange. I actually first came across this article when my American co-worker (and friend) who has a keen interest in geopolitics made a joke about my orange shirt and jokingly implied that I am a Hindu terrorist, after reading Mrs. Nair’s article.

Just recently, there has been a viral video where famous Hollywood actor Ben Affleck called comedian and academic/author Sam Harris racist for saying that homophobia is a problem under the ‘Muslim world’. Can you imagine how liberals such as Ben Affleck would yell ‘racism and bigot’ on people such as Mira Nair if they were to suggest that a leader supports Islamic terror because they wore black like ISIS or green, which happens to be the holy color of Islam (similar to orange/saffron is for Hinduism)?

I’d also like to make note of how author Mira Nair (who is neither an authority on politics or religion) conveniently left out (ahem, ahem) the symbolic gifts PM Modi gave to US President Barack Obama, and just focused on one – Modi giving Obama a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. “Hello! Where is the context Mrs. Nair?” For people that don’t know what the Bhagavad Gita is, it is one among dozens of major religious books of thought and spirituality that guide Hindus in their journey within Hinduism. Mira Nair went on to imply that giving a book from the majority religion of India ignores representation of minority religions such as Sikhism, Islam and Christianity, that make up 20% of India. Well, here comes the bad news to Mira Nair and just another proof of how her article yells communalism and Hinduphobia: PM Modi did not just give a plain copy of the Gita to Obama, but rather gave ‘Mahatma Gandhi’s version of the Gita’. It is a well known fact that Barack Obama highly respects Mahatma Gandhi, and giving a version of the Gita in Gandhi’s perspective shows it as a relevant and thoughtful gift from the Modi-led BJP Government. But, that’s not it, Modi actually gave a few Islamic paintings based on a historic Persian painting art form to President Barack Obama. The Modi goverment said that the Islamic paintings symbolized the large Muslim population in his home state of Gujarat, where this historic Islamic art form is being preserved. So yeah, looks like Mira Nair either should not have spoken so soon, or validated her arguments before writing for such a large publication as the Washington Post. Such convenient mistakes or accidents usually cause major loss in credibility of writers. Perhaps the pull of Hinduphobia is so strong that people may just let it go one more time. After all, to many Hinduphobic writers around the world, Hindus and Hinduism are just an idol-worshipping, or monkey-worshipping religion that only poor people in villages follow.

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