Generally speaking, when governments want things, they can just snatch them away. But you can’t do that too much, or you might invite a public uprising. Especially when your objective is to seize somebody’s religion by force.
There is a second, more roundabout approach which our ‘democratic’ Indian state uses to take matters of Hindu religion into its own hands. Directly taking over Hindu temples and crushing them might look bad. So you seize the temple and hand over the keys to a “Board”. The “Board” is a quasi-government organization that will have some measure of independence. On paper.
As days pass, the ruling party and its cronies take over the Board, one tiny rule at a time. The Board works on the inside to hollow out the character of the temples and strip them of their Hindu character until there is nothing left.
In Kerala, this job is carried out by the so-called Devaswom Board. Observe here one little baby step by the Communist government of Kerala to pickpocket Hindus.
This extract from a July 6, 2018 notification from the Government of Kerala recently started to go viral on the internet. As you can see, the notification removes the requirement that the Devaswom Board should be headed by a Hindu!
Issued in July 2018 and came to notice only in October. Which means they really thought they were getting away with it.
Much annoyed CNN-News18 reports that “BJP and other Parivar outfits stoked a controversy” over this issue. Observe how the blame is shifted to the BJP, with its grand total of 0 MPs and 1 MLA from Kerala, while the ruling Communist government of the state gets a free pass.
And CNN-News18 goes on further to state that:
Oh, it was just a ‘confusion’. A teeny tiny oversight by the government of Kerala. Those poor babies might make a mistake or two now and then, but rest assured that their hearts were always made of gold. Can we ever forgive the BJP and other Parivar outfits for stoking a controversy over a mistake made by the little angels who run the Kerala government?
This is the same sensationalist Indian media that can discern a Hindutva hand behind almost anything. Remember how Modi was caught trying to take over Christmas by celebrating Atalji’s birthday, which coincidentally also happens to be on Dec 25? Deep-rooted conspiracy on part of Atalji in choosing to be born on that day. Every day, the media and opposition uncover another conspiracy by BJP to undermine Muslims in India, from Modi not wearing a skull cap to not wearing enough green outfits. Remember when the New York Times discovered a Hindutva conspiracy behind the textile ministry promoting handloom sarees and even minister Smriti Irani’s personal choice to wear sarees?
No, all that was hard-hitting journalism. A crystal clear notification from the government of Kerala removing the requirement that the Devaswom Board must be headed by a Hindu? Well, that’s just a ‘confusion’.
The notification came in July. It is October now. The Kerala Government now says that it was just a mistake. And considering the kind of clout that Communists enjoy in our media, they will most likely get the benefit of the doubt. In fact, hardly any mainstream media, at least in the English language, even reported this event.
Imagine if a ‘mistake’ like this had happened with respect to another religion.
This reminds me of another horrendous ‘mistake’ made by the Government of Kerala some years ago. At the time in 2013, it was minor children who were at the losing end of that one.
The circular allowed child marriage in the Muslim community in Kerala based on a mysterious “Muslim Marriage Act, 1957.”
The only problem? No such “Muslim Marriage Act, 1957” exists in India!
The “Muslim Marriage Act, 1957” based on which the govt of Kerala issued a circular exists in Jamaica, not India!
Another ‘confusion’. Shame on anybody who tried to stoke a controversy over this.
When the British were taking over India, they didn’t actually fight that many wars. Instead, they signed networks of treaties all over India, installed puppet rulers who gave them special trading rights and created a patronage network to suck out the wealth of the country. In India, the government uses the same methods to suck the life force out of Hindu society.
And there are two things that the Indian state is particularly good at. Oppressing Hindus as a community and oppressing Muslim girls and women. Both for the benefit cum appeasement of Islamic patriarchy.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.