Your Silence About Anti-Hindu Violence in India Must End Now: An Open Letter
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Since his election in 2014 and even after his re-election in 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has failed to speak up or act against systemic anti-Hindu, anti-indigenous violence under his watch. It has allowed sacred indigenous forests and hills to be colonized, hostile racist media and education systems to spread lies and hate about Hindus, and encouraged a culture of self-deception and jingoism among its followers while avoiding its duty of securing human rights for all Indians including Hindus. Our petition urges the Prime Minister to listen, act, and change the tragic direction that indigenous Indian lives and lands are caught up in under his rule.
DEAR PRIME MINISTER MODI,
I write this letter not as part of a group of “achievers” who blame you for not doing enough to stop violence against minorities in India nor as part of a group of “celebrities” who blame the aforesaid “achievers” for being selective and biased. I write only as a scholar and teacher who seeks truth in communication, be it in the media, which is my field of study, or in higher education, which is the institution in which I work.
And as part of a small group of scholars, writers, and media professionals who have ended up in the position of defending your name and reputation against a 17-year-old smear campaign against you by powerful forces because Truth demanded we do so, I now have to defend Truth itself from forces that surround you and perhaps enclose you in the centers of power within which you live and work today.
It is ironic, yes, that a man who won the hearts of his people by standing for the Truth of his commitment to seva alone, now has to be told that he seems to be in danger of forgetting that Truth even as delusion, self-congratulation, cultish personality-worship, and “humble bragging” seem to have become the only answer to the un-truth that colonial and neo-colonial forces have established over 70 years.
Mr. Prime Minister, my job is neither to praise you nor censure you without reason. My job is to place my pen in service of all that my intellect, spirit and heart lead me to believe is true, and right now, I believe only one thing to be frightfully true about you and your rule: it is simply that the indigenous Indian who goes by the name “Hindu” has been more seriously endangered under your rule than ever before.
Every day since 2014, we see reports in citizen groups and social media (since mainstream media won’t deign to report one these), of Hindu women, children, and men being attacked by mobs in India. We see reports of Hindu sacred sites being desecrated not only by petty criminals, but also by the full might of the state machinery, as we saw in the case of two sacred mountain sites in Kerala; one snatched from the local indigenous tribal culture to make way for “trekking” by urban elite women tourists, and the other, well, more or less the same.
We see frightening pictures of meat-industry operatives stealing cows from poor farmers at will (poor farmers who happen to Hindu and Muslim), and smuggling them across borders with explosives strapped to the poor, terrorized animals’ bodies in order to deter the security forces from retrieving them. Have you once recognized the magnitude of the terror that has been unleashed on animals and animal-protectors in India under your reign, sir? You have made stern announcements about some of the unethical “cow protectors” who allegedly take the law into their own hands but have you once spoken up for the hundreds of peaceful, law-abiding people who have been beaten, terrorized, their tongues torn out and killed (like in the case of the Bhayanaknath temple priests in Uttar Pradesh) for simply reporting to the police about the crime of cow thefts in India?
And what of the people who have been attacked, tortured, killed, simply for the crime of being Hindu in India, sir? From the Kashmiri terrorist who declared Hindus to be “cow piss drinkers” before he slaughtered them to the dozens of attacks taking place around the country (and outside), do you not see it fit to speak up against bigotry as a Prime Minister entrusted with the well-being of all his people? Are Hindus not Indian citizens too, and deserving of their Prime Minister’s attention beyond their being naively adoring audiences for your Hindu pilgrimage selfies and photo-ops?
I do not know about your own thinking but your party and the wider organizational spectrum it inhabits have systematically signaled their own neo-colonial “civilizing mission” attitude towards Hindu sacred lands, traditions and customs since 2014. Unable to steer past the neo-colonial state’s ideology of Hinduphobia masquerading as secularism, your leadership seems to have settled into a comfortable role of selling this ideology to the very same constituency, a constituency of painful suffering and desperate hope that has been the life of the Hindu in a hostile planet for a thousand years, instead of representing them in the echelons of power which was what democracy demands you do (and human decency, considering the number of lives and careers that have been lost by the people who have stood by you and your party, believing in its promise).
You and your party have spoken often of a Congress-mukt Bharat, sir, and the people have supported you for this with their votes. And yet, will this really come to pass without understanding with honesty what exactly it is you wish to “purge” the country of?
Mahatma Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj, a book quite similar to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s own Integral Humanism that you often pay obeisance to, warned us and all colonized people over a hundred years ago that Swaraj did not simply mean a change in the group of people ruling a country, that wanting a tiger’s rule without a tiger was no freedom at all. Yet, do you not see what is at stake now as complacence, self-congratulation, and delusion reach monstrous and deadly levels around you? Your government, with its systemic silence and frequent declarations of wounded pride and denial about its failures to speak for and protect a large part of the Indian population from historically hostile forces to it, is in danger of facilitating the permanent establishment of Congress rule without the Congress in India.
I register, therefore, Prime Minister, my respectful but firm protest at your leadership’s frightening failures on the matter of safeguarding a vital part of indigenous Indian cultural and natural sovereignty against predatory onslaughts from transnational and domestic forces and interests. In a week when we saw the sacred Brindavana of the great spiritual guide of the Vijayanagara empire Sri Vyasa Raja desecrated and vandalized in Hampi (one day after the most famous living Dvaita personality called on you for Guru Purnima), and indigenous people everywhere around the world from Mauna Kea in Hawaii to Standing Rock in South Dakota rising to speak for preserving the sanctity of Mother Earth and our ancestral traditions that have protected her from greed and violence, you did NOT utter a word about any of these vital matters of not just civilizational but indeed planetary survival.
I urge you sir, on behalf of all who sign this statement of protest addressed to you, to cast off the powerful ideological blinders of the neo-colonial Indian state that have excluded Hindu people and sacred lands from the national conversation on human rights and environmental preservation altogether. I urge you to speak, clearly, loudly, frequently, every time an Indian is harmed by an act of bigotry, even if that Indian is Hindu and that act of bigotry is Hinduphobia.
If you shy away from even naming the problem that your voters expected you to solve and instead continue to offer self-deluding reality-adjustment packages while the blood of people and cows and holy forests continues to pour down this holy land, you will have failed not only us but also the high standards of seva you invoked from Jyoti Punj to your speeches.
I urge you, Prime Minister, to stop pretending there is nothing bad happening to Hindus under your watch. Please act now, or at leastsignal through your words for starters to all who have read your silence as permission to proceed with genocide that you represent all Indian including Hindus, that you represent democracy, and that you represent a constitution that has not yet quite declared it legal for Hindus to be slaughtered and Hinduism to be violently and irrevocably eradicated from the land of its birth.
Vamsee Juluri and other signatories below
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