A friend of mine and I got into a slightly heated debate last night over the recent ‘unpleasant incident’ where ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s comments on Prophet Muhammad in a television debate ‘hurt religious feelings’ of Muslims and triggered riots where calls for her beheading, hanging publicly were made.
“Do you think what she did was right?” he asked. I said she cited the Islamic scriptures. What she said is written in their holy books. “But what was the need?” he asked. It got me thinking. I would have thought the same and reacted in similar fashion a few years back. Having brought up with ‘secularised education’ where Mughals are hailed as some sort of brave men who ‘gifted’ India the Taj Mahal, we were deprived of the actual history where Hindu temples were razed down and the atrocities inflicted on us because of our faith. The forced religious conversion, a menace that plagues India even today, was enforced by the ones who ruled us. Our school books never really taught us that. And most are so brainwashed that they refuse to see reality of forced religious conversion and dismiss it as imagination of ‘Hindutva’
So I don’t quite blame him. And the 80% Indians who think Nupur shouldn’t have said things (which, I must reiterate, is in the Islamic holy scriptures). But even if whatever she said upset you, how is it justified to call for her beheading? A maulana in Kashmir threatened to behead Nupur such that her head would be at one place, her torso elsewhere. In a viral video, little Muslim kids who have not even attained puberty yet are urinating on picture of Nupur while showing their middle finger.
Protests have erupted across India in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Delhi and so many places on two consecutive Fridays after the Jumma Namaz where rioting Muslim mobs have pelted stones while protesting against Nupur Sharma. All this, even after Sharma has withdrawn her statement and the BJP has suspended her. At a mosque outside Belgavi in Karnataka, an effigy of Nupur was hanging, in an apparent threat to the fate she and anyone else who does the ‘gustakhi’ deserve.
You now who else does it? The Taliban.
Taliban, as soon as it returned to power in August 2021, in gross violation of human rights, Taliban unleashed atrocities on dissenters and people were killed and their corpses were hung from cranes for public viewing. What Taliban did yesterday, some in India are demanding today.
How is this all okay? If what Nupur said was ‘wrong’, is all this in response to it justified?
We are all conditioned by our ‘secular’ upbringing that we refuse to see that the rioting in name of blasphemy or calling for someone’s beheading for same is a bigger crime than actually citing one’s religious scriptures which they decided is blasphemy because perhaps they just felt like. It is so deeply ingrained in our minds that while we all speak about freedom of speech, in front of a rioting mob, we end up blaming the victim for ‘triggering’ them by ‘hurting their religious sentiments’.
When Hindus feel offended that the Shivling found inside the wuzukhana of disputed Gyanvapi structure is referred to as ‘fountain’ and jokes are cracked, many Hindus themselves accuse them of being ‘too sensitive’. “My faith is not that weak that it can’t take a joke,” they would say to justify how Hindus should not feel offended at the idea that those who offered namaz at the disputed structure were washing their dirty hands and feet in the wuzukhana where the Shivling was found. That they knew and they still did it. The same people would then blame Nupur for her comments for triggering riots.
What is good for the goose should be good for the gander. Just because Hindus don’t take to street power and don’t run riots or give calls for beheading those who mock our faith, it is they who must be mindful of not hurting others’ religious feelings. Because the other side knows how to play victim and get away with it because of the ummah.
But what is the proof it is the Shivling? “You can’t go about calling every stone a Shivling,” my friend said. Fair. But the fact that Aurangzeb demolished the Kashi Vishwanath temple, the evidence of which is abundant, is ignored. ‘So now what?’ Well, now we reclaim our history. We reclaim our temples.
धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः – The Dharma protects those who protect it.