Monday, April 25, 2011

What’s our take?

When this article is being written, two phases of the West Bengal State Assembly Election 2011 have already completed and the third is round the corner. The following ones will take place soon and the final result will come to the fore by the upcoming 14 th May. But this is not all; there is also a strong buzz across the state – 2011 election will witness downfall of the reigning Left Front.

Surely, if this gets true, there would be the rise of TMC (Trinamool Congress), strongest Left adversary at the moment. This is the law of nature – nothing remains vacant, all are replaced by the new ones.

Nevertheless there is another question as well. What would be the fate of Hindus in Bengal amidst all these? This question remains unanswered as usual, even if its positive or negative outcome would impact majority of the state’s populace. It is to be noted that religious persecution on Hindus in Bengal, with silent (often vocal too) support of political parties and effete state administration, is in full swing. Not a day passes when there is no torture on Hindus and all these are getting intense more and more.

Can there be any benefit to Hindus then? This is the most disregarded issue though of no less importance. Hindus, as a whole, were in a stable position till the advent of Left Front in 1977, responsible for exponential demographic changes, especially in the border districts of Bengal. Their fate began to be sealed from 80s and the cat is out of the bag by now. TMC has also become a part of this culture and truly, a war is going on between the two to woo Muslims.

No organization or political party is even ready to reckon Bengali Hindus and this, beyond any doubt, is due to incapacity, lack of assertion and frame of mind to struggle of the community. Both general people and principally Hindus have forgotten that Hindus do also have the right to exist and its existence is at stake within 65 years of the nation’s independence.

What can be done in this terrible situation? Hindus have just two strategies – either to steer clear of election en masse or opt for tactical voting. Is any of these two possible? To be precise, even if Hindus go for the next one, there can’t be any relief once and for all. Bengali Hindus have got to be aggressive and not defensive any longer and plunge into the ensuing struggle.

Notably, during partition, there were 55 Muslims against 45 Hindus among every 100 Bengalis in the Indian subcontinent. The situation has changed drastically by now and against 30 Hindus, there are 70 Muslims at the moment. The situation is clear by now – either struggle or perish for the eternity.

The election is of no issue to Bengali Hindus; it has no take on the whole. Well, if tactical voting is used, it can be useful to some extent. But to do the same, there is the need of moral fiber and strength.

Are you ready?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kashmiri Pandits must become hawkish to procure citizenship in Kashmir

One fact must be made clear in the beginning. Plights of Kashmiri Hindus, generally identified as Pandits, even if known across India but in a cloak-and-dagger mode, happen to be one of the most disregarded catastrophes in the realm of South Asia and as a result, their anguishes unlike their Muslim counterparts have failed to draw in the attention of global intelligentsia and human rights bodies. There can be several other factors behind this apart from the religious persecution and exodus of Pandits from the Kashmir valley owing to Islamic extremism initiating in 1989 leading to imbecility and befuddlement. Audacious leadership among Hindus has always been the greatest casualty.

Pandits have taken shelter in Delhi and Jammu and are struggling immensely to keep their customs and traditions alive. It is to be noted that there are less than 4,000 Pandits still in the valley and up to 400,000 Hindus either fled or were driven out from Kashmir by the end of 1980s. What will be their fate then? Would they continue to languish as refugee in their own land? Future remains unknown yet but it’s sure unless Pandits group themselves and plunge into an active struggle there is no hope at all.

Struggle or a vigorous attempt to attain the objective can be of different forms; it’s not necessary to be violent all the time. It can also be to establish own identity through claiming back own cherished properties and none more than temple can be dearer to a Hindu.

Fortunately, a section of Pandits is engaged with the same at the moment. In accordance with Mr. Sanjay Tickoo, president of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti, an NGO, following mass departure of Pandits, more or less 98 per cent of the temples were not attended. Only 23 temples have remained in unremitting use. The NGO, at the moment, is trying its best to restore other temples too and preserve the community’s rich tradition continuing from a remote past thus.

The question remains whether they can have the support of Muslims to make the dream fulfilled. As per both Muslims and Hindus, whether it is fraternity or interactions between people, everything remains better at the personal level. Same was the situation during pre-militancy era in Kashmir and nothing has changed in all these years. And surely it is getting more difficult; Islamic militancy in Kashmir has been inherited by the present generation and inheritance can never be compromised.

What is the way then? Benevolence and gentle stances of Kashmiri Hindus can never resolve problems. They have to make an all-India confederation with like-minded organizations like Hindu Samhati in Bengal and others hailing from various states. No demand is ever met without struggle and unless it becomes hawkish, there is no hope.