We are all familiar with some version of this question. Hindus are nearly 80% in India. What do we have to worry about? Are Hindus a majority with a minority complex?
On the face of it, that seems like a good question, coming from the man who has sometimes been called India’s “Numero Uno historian,” along with a whole bunch of other careers that he is believed to be capable of. That question is right up there with other questions like “Why can’t the government just print money so that we can all be billionaires?” Or something like “Why doesn’t the earth fall?”
And just like those questions, this one shows a complete lack of sophistication or understanding of how things really work. Something that would be cute if a three-year-old were asking, but an adult could never get away with.
How did Hindus come to dominate ‘everything’ in India? Well, that’s because Hindus were chased out of every other corner of their historic homeland. Once upon a time, Hindus used to live in Lahore as much as they live in Delhi. Not any more. Those of us who are not pretend-historians might remember the mention of Rajtarangini from school. The book was written in Sanskrit by Kalhana in the 12th century and is an extensive account of the Hindu kings of Kashmir.
In case you haven’t noticed, Hindus don’t “dominate” Kashmir any more.
India’s National anthem, written by Rabindranath Thakur, mentions one province called Sind. Where is it? I can’t find it anywhere on the map of India. I suppose Hindus also “dominated” the place at some point. Then, they were chased out.
Don’t worry, intellectuals and pretend historians will soon argue that Sind was not a real place at all. Members of the Sindhi community in India will be described as claiming descent from something ‘mythical.’ You know, like the river Saraswati.
Then, there is “West Bengal,” a state whose name suggests that there might be an “East Bengal” somewhere. Where did it go? Did Hindus live there too? I appreciate the insistence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that the state should be renamed as “Banga” instead of the current “Paschim Banga.” Perhaps it is time to stop believing in the myth of East Bengal?
And yet, we Hindus are asked: you dominate everything in India. What are you worried about?
Look at this photo.
It is a picture of the Seawise Giant, the longest and heaviest ship ever built. If stood up straight, it would be 50 feet taller than the Empire State Building in New York.
Now you could say: the crew have the ship under their command, they have the control of the engine room, the rudders, everything. What could the captain possibly have to worry about?
To understand this, you have to zoom out of the ship and see what surrounds it. That is when you realize that the ship is not even a speck of dust when compared to the vastness of the ocean that surrounds it.
You don’t understand what’s happening until you see the ship in the context of the ocean. Then, you know why the captain would be worried if the water is entering the ship through a hole.
Now think about India. This is India. Big country. And yes, it is dominated by Hindus.
But you don’t understand what’s really happening unless you see it in the context of this map.
Suddenly The Republic of India doesn’t seem so big any more. And you realize that Hindus have nowhere else to go!
And the boundaries of India have been closing in. The world’s largest Hindu temple is in Cambodia, not in India. The cities of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, the cradle of Indus Valley Civilization, are no more in India. Taxila, the ancient seat of learning, is no more in India. Hindus have been purged from Kashmir. Hardly any Hindus live in lower Assam any more. Hindus in many villages of Western Uttar Pradesh are looking to leave their homes and move to ‘safety.’
The India that we see is only the current iteration of Bharat. Each iteration leaves us with a smaller, more diminished, India.
Liberals want us to see that we control the ship. They don’t want us to see the ocean that surrounds the ship. How foolish (and dangerous) is that? Imagine being on a ship, but being unaware of the ocean that is all around it. If this ship sinks, where do we go?
We have liberals on this ship who tell us to close our eyes and pretend that the ocean isn’t there. They tell us not to worry about the ocean because we have keys to the engine room on board! They say don’t be paranoid.
Yes, I’m paranoid. Because I want to live.