This is Namrita, a Hindu medical student in Pakistan who had her whole life ahead of her.
Her young life brutally cut short. The fate of so many Hindus in Pakistan who are regularly killed for their identity, their places of worship destroyed or desecrated, their daughters kidnapped and forcefully “married” off to Muslim men and so on…
Namrita’s death kicked off a Twitter trend in India that lasted for about 2 hours. Then, everything was forgotten. Even that was a lot of outrage by the standards of what usually happens when Hindus face persecution somewhere.
Of course, global human rights organizations, Nobel Peace Prize winners, etc had nothing to say about the case of Namrita. Why would they care?
As a kid, we all learn the saying: God helps those who help themselves. There are variants of this: if you want respect from others, you have to learn to respect yourself.
We should therefore be asking ourselves: Why do 1 billion plus Hindus need crumbs of sympathy from some global human rights organisation or some Nobel Peace Prize winner? Can we not learn to respect ourselves, speak for ourselves and throw around our weight on the world stage?
Concerns of Hindus anywhere should be problems of Hindus everywhere. If that becomes a reality, nobody can ignore us. There are 1 billion of us. Too many to ignore if we all speak up at the same time.
Talk to the average Hindu about the condition of Hindus in Pakistan or Bangladesh. Sadly, the most common reaction is one of indifference. A kind of sympathy, yes, but more of a sense of resignation. For the most part, Indian Hindus have given up on Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh. As if everything is already lost for them. Yes, Partition happened on the basis of religion. But under no circumstances can it be presumed that Hindus in Pakistan are no longer entitled to their basic humanity.
The attitude towards Hindus in Pakistan or Bangladesh extends for the most part towards Hindus of Kashmir as well. After Kashmiri Hindus were pushed out in the early 90s, it took 3 decades for the Indian government to take the mere first step to restoring their rights in Kashmir. In a democracy, this can only happen when a population is extraordinarily passive.
Ironically, the other side has invested very heavily in studying Hindu society, analyzing our weaknesses, documenting our fissures and how to deepen them. This is why they invest so much capital into any narrative that can tear Hindus apart: Region, language and of course, caste. And these people understand more than anyone else how powerful a united Hindu samaj could be. That’s why they jump on us with expressions like “Hindu Taliban”, “Hindu Pakistan” and smears like Nazi, etc as soon as we talk of united Hindu identity. Observe how they have to borrow all their metaphors from groups that subscribe to Islam, Christianity or Communism.
Again, blaming the other side only goes so far. What have we Hindus done to help ourselves? How have we played the public relations game? Have we taken charge of our own image?
Can you believe that the Citizenship Amendment Bill lies in tatters? The Indian Hindu majority is still not fully convinced that Hindus escaping from Pakistan and Bangladesh are asylum seekers who deserve special treatment. Many are still making this a matter of linguistic and regional identity. As if there is no common threat. As if Hafiz Saeed would check the linguistic identity of a Hindu before designating them as a kafir.
Take Mahatma Gandhi. Historical figures like him live on only in the manner in which they are presented before the world. Everything else is irrelevant. So what story does the world hear about Mahatma Gandhi? Observe how the other side uses Mahatma Gandhi’s message to make a highly successful case for their kind of politics. But the Hindu right has mostly failed to highlight the fact that the Mahatma’s message was rooted in his devout Hindu beliefs.
Therein lies the difference.
Or think about it this way: there is one religion out there which officially prescribes stoning to death as a form of legitimate punishment. Countries which subscribe to this religion often use it as their legal code and officially organize such events where people gather together and stone a human being to death. In 2019.
But who is being defamed across the world as a society of mob lynchers? The Hindus! Imagine how messed up that is.
How about that the religion that prescribes stoning to death? Well, that one is now better known as the ‘religion of peace.’
The important thing to realize is that many of the failures lie inside rather than outside. We don’t live in a perfect world. We can’t go through life expecting other people to selflessly do nice things for us. We can’t expect the global elite to do our PR for us out of the goodness of their heart. Why should they? Would you?
There are two essential things changes that are needed. Of course the first one is to unite, so that concerns of Hindus anywhere become concerns of Hindus everywhere.
But the second most essential thing is to master the language of victimhood, which is the new global currency. The age of empires is at an end. We live in an era where it only pays to play victim. Observe how others deftly play the victimhood game. They made us pay Jazia for hundreds of years, they tore up our country and somehow still managed to play victim! If fake victimhood can go so far, imagine what we Hindus can achieve with our real victimhood of being oppressed for 1000 years.
At one time, they used to call us Aryan invaders. Now they call it “migration” instead. A weasel word that they also use to describe Ghazni’s coming to India. As the skeletons of Rakhigarhi open up about the past, they sneer at us and call us “outsiders.” Why is no Hindu staring right back at them and saying: “My ancestors paid Jaziya to live in this land. Therefore, it’s mine. How’s that?“