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Is UPA Government anti-Hindu?

Is UPA Government anti-Hindu?

Author: Anuradha Dutt
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: January 27, 2005

At a time, when the term secular in India seems largely to be equated  with Hindu-baiting, much disquiet is being generated by some events that  appear in the nature of an assault on the Sanatan Dharma. Whether by  design or coincidence, after the ascent to power of the Congress-led UPA  Government at the Centre, and the party in states like Andhra Pradesh  and Karnataka, there has been an increase in Christian missionary  activities in the south. Synchronous with this development is the  offensive against the Kanchi peeth and its custodians, the senior and  junior Shankaracharyas and their aides. These events, along with the  revival of the Ayodhya demolition case against BJP President LK Advani  and the UC Banerjee report on the Godhra disaster, fosters the  impression that the present regime is anti-Hindu.

If its predecessor was seen by many to be selectively pursuing a  communal agenda for political ends, the UPA Government has recoursed to  the old game of majority bashing. Much to the dismay of their  detractors, Hindus still comprise 80.5 per cent of the population, as  per the 2001 census. Their numbers then totaled 827.5 million. Muslims,  at 138.2 million, comprised 13.4 per cent, the second largest group but  minuscule when compared to the majority community. The 24 million  Christians were placed third, at 2.3 per cent. Sikhs, at 1.9 per cent,  numbered 19 million. In view of this data, the civilisational ethos of  the country remains overwhelmingly Hindu, despite most of the northeast  and many tribals becoming Christian.

Yet, there is good reason to believe that there is no one at the helm to  take care of the interests of Hindus, or feel their pain when their  beliefs or gurus are assailed. The two top positions in the Indian  state - those of President and Prime Minister - are currently occupied  by non-Hindus. The UPA chairperson's religious affiliation remains  ambiguous, since Ms Sonia Gandhi was born a Roman Catholic and  presumably nurtures sentiments for her natal faith. Andhra Pradesh Chief  Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy being Christian, he could not have been  expected to rush to the Shankaracharya, Sri Jayendra Saraswati's aid  when the Tamil Nadu police arrested him in his state.

The Centre's communist allies have made a career out of zealously  guarding minority interests, however recondite, while its Bihari  socialist component, the RJD, survives on Muslim-OBC support. They both  thrive on populism, that challenges the status quo. The disturbing  conclusion is that the ruling coalition's policies are subversive in the  context of the dominant ethos.

Two events, in particular, fuel suspicion of a hidden design to alter  India's religious and cultural identity. The first is the rapid descent  of Christian missionaries in tsunami-hit areas in the south, and their  shameful attempts to trade charity for conversions among the victims of  the natural disaster. A January 24 report of Rediff on the Net is  edifying. The writer, at the site of temporary shelters, built for  tsunami victims in Pattancherry village in Nagapattinam, witnessed "a  minor scuffle in a corner" between some inmates and a Christian priest  and two nuns. The former were resisting the missionaries' attempts to  convert them. Eventually, the three were forced to leave the place.

Elsewhere, said the reporter, the locals complained to the police that a  missionary group had taken away their belongings and the relief they had  got from NGOs and the Government, which they had kept inside the temple.  There was immense anger over the effort to capitalise on their  misfortune. At Karakkalmedu village in Karaikkal, for instance, the fact  that they had survived the disaster had led to a resurgence of faith in  local Hindus. Their faith in their goddess was stronger than before.

The second such episode concerns the American evangelist Benny Hinn's  healing mission in Bangalore, that saw Chief Minister Dharam Singh  gracing the event with his presence. Either the Chief Minister was in  need of the preacher's intercession himself, or had been instructed to  attend the jamboree. There could be no other reason for Karnataka's  political supremo to take time out of his busy schedule to give his seal  of approval to an exercise, aimed against Hindu idolatry. Why the  evangelist was allowed the freedom to launch such an attack begs an  answer. It was left to the media to highlight his excesses and force his  hasty exit from the country.

As its indifference, if not hostility, to the majority community's  feelings becomes evident, the Congress and its allies may soon have to  brave Hindu anger.

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