Rati Hegde

At the outset, a minute’s silence for the Hindu Civilization which is probably the most persecuted civilization and which has always remained silent about its wounds despite being pushed to the wall for the last 1000 years at least.

Now, a thousand gun salute to the Hindu Civilization which stood resolute and strong and did not allow itself to be wiped off despite the worst of attacks on it. Every time it was pushed to the wall, the most unexpected of leaders rose from the ranks and awakened people to save it from destruction. It could be the unexpected warriors like Chandragupta Maurya, Shivaji, Lachit Borphukan, Hakka and Bukka, our Sikh Gurus and many more – all of who were never even remotely expected to lead the fight (because they were not born into a dynasty); it could be giant intellectuals who were also Dharm Gurus like Adi Shankaracharya, Chanakya, Vidyranya Swamiji, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Dayanand, Swami Vivekanand and many more; it could be Bhakti Saints like Meerabai, Tukaram, Namdeo, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and many more; it was also commoners who were not simple people like Subramanya Bharati, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and many more – all these people awakened the Hindus who were either deep in slumber or who were clueless about how to fight the marauders, and kept Hinduism alive and kicking.

When we got our Independence from the British, Hindus heaved a sigh of relief and thought that now they would be able to keep their culture and heritage alive and healthy. Little did they realize that the course was now set for destroying their very identity, in a web of deceit which was cleverly worded and sugar coated. Once again we realized that we have been pushed to the corner and we are once again fighting for survival. Our Constitutional rights and privileges are misread & misused by our Politicians and Judiciary, to hurt our religion, traditions, education, temples, sentiments, etc. to the benefit of those who are called ‘minorities’. On one hand we call ourselves a Secular Nation and on the other every Government in power, uses every opportunity to use Religion (and minorities) to stay in power.

On September 22, 2018, something exceptional happened. More than a hundred intellectuals gathered together in body and spirit from 17 States of Bharat to brainstorm a way out of the mess Hindus are in today. Organizations like the Srijan Foundation, Indic Book Club, Garuda Prakashan and other high profile individuals like Sankrant Sanu, RVS Mani, Rahul Dewan, Bharat Gupt, Eeshankur Saikia, and many more, took the lead.  The result was a Charter of Demands which need to be fulfilled by the Government immediately to keep intact the soul of this great Civilization. Let us go through these demands in brief:

  1. Amend Articles 26 to 30 of the Constitution to give equal rights to all, be it Hindus or people from any other religion. It was never the intention of the makers of our Constitution to deny to the majority the rights expressly provided to the minority. Yet interpretations of Articles 25 to 30 were twisted so that only the minorities were given rights withheld from the majority, generating an unhealthy feeling of discrimination among the majority community. In order to restore equality among all the citizens of this country irrespective of religion, there is an imperative need to abolish this discriminatory legal regime and provide constitutional and legal parity among all sections of people irrespective of their religion by suitable amendments to the Articles 26 to 30 of the Constitution, so that we Hindus would be able to enjoy the same rights, privileges and protection of the law on par with the minorities in matters of management of places of worship, entitlement to various benefits from government schemes, scholarships, benefits etc. and establishment and administration of educational institutions of their choice without undue interference of the Govt and its agencies.

Dr Satyapal Singh (prior to becoming minister) had introduced in the Lok Sabha a Private Member’s Bill No. 226 of 2016 to amend Articles 26 to 30 of the Constitution. Hindus demand that this Bill pending in the Lok Sabha be passed immediately in the forthcoming session of the current Parliament itself.

  1. Repeal the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 2010, to completely ban foreign contributions except those by OCIs in their personal capacity. Foreign charity comes with stated or implied purposes to subvert our society, to change demographics, to convert Hindus, to create conditions for break-up of our country, to foment social unrest, to create hurdles in our social, economic and technological progress, to colonise our minds to suit the foreign sinister purposes, to create extraordinary influence both subtle as well as obvious, on the executive, legislative, judicial aspects of our country, on the pretext of either humanitarian or social intervention.
  2. Complete ban on export of all types of meat/beef, and enactment of the Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act. India has acquired the notorious distinction of being the largest exporter of beef/meat with about 14 lakh tons exported during 2017-18. This has led to growth of beef/meat mafia, and an alarming rise in cattle theft, large-scale movement of cattle, illegal slaughtering, export and illegal smuggling of cattle to neighbouring country etc. Why should we have blood of innocent cattle on our hands? Our holy rivers too are being polluted with their blood and the wastes of tanneries. Is this the Ahimsa Gandhiji spoke about?
  3. Abrogation of Article 370. Article 370 is the source of the problem of unending Kashmir strife, which is also a stumbling block in achieving better national integration. The fact that all trouble-makers vehemently defend continuation of Article 370 which is a temporary provision in the Constitution is itself the proof of its mischief. Almost all CMs of the State have been from the Kashmir region only leading to neglect of Jammu and Ladakh regions in comparison to Kashmir. The demand is to Abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and repeal the Constitution (Application to J&K) Order, 1954 issued there under, so that the changes affected to the Constitution such as Article 35A also get omitted there from.
  4. Amend Constitution to insert an enabling Article 11-A for expeditious grant of citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs from any country. Since India is the motherland of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, it is natural that when persecuted they look up to India for succor. But the disquieting reality is that huge number of Hindus who managed to escape religious persecution and reach India have been languishing in refugee camps for want of citizenship. The genocidal disappearance of millions of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs is a sickening reality. There is thus an urgent necessity to immediately amend the Constitution by inserting the following new Article 11-A, and thereafter amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to all persecuted followers of Indian origin religions from any country, provided they continue to follow these religions only and do not convert.
  5. Protection of Native Cultural and Religious Traditions, and Prohibition of Institutionalized Religious Conversion Activity Act by the Central Govt. Currently our freedom to practice our traditions and pass them on to our succeeding generations is being threatened in two ways. One, by a large-scale institutional foreign-funded conversion war being waged upon us; and Two, by an increasing encroachment by the Indian State and the Courts (often via foreign-funded PILs) on our religious, traditional, cultural and folk practices. We require the Government to make illegal all institutional conversion efforts aimed at destroying our religion, culture, traditions and civilisation.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples-2007 (UNDRIP) to which India is a signatory, imposes certain obligations on Member-States to protect, preserve, nurture and promote indigenous religious, spiritual, cultural, traditional and knowledge systems by suitable legislative, governance and public policy interventions. Article 253 of our Constitution enables Parliament to make laws for the whole of India on any subject to implement international conventions etc. As such, the Central Govt is also under an international obligation to protect, preserve, nurture and promote Sanatana Dharma – the fountainhead of our civilisation – expressed in all its myriad forms and expressions.

  1. Establishment of Haindava Samskruti Jeernoddhaarana Nigam (Hindu Culture Restoration Corporation) as a Central PSU with an initial seed capital of not less than Rs. 10,000 Crore and annual grants of equal amount. Thousands of places of worship of Hindus were desecrated or destroyed, and many more are in dilapidated and abandoned condition. Yet even today, more than 70 years after independence, many of these are lying in disuse and disrepair. All Hindu temples and sacred places including those managed by the ASI and State Archaeology departments, should be reconstructed and restored to their original state, allowing worship in all of them. Furthermore, Veda Pathasalas, traditional and folk art forms, literature, dance, music, painting, sculpture, architecture etc which are our intangible heritage and the vehicles for sustenance and transmission of Santana Dharma and culture, should get righteous Patronage.
  2. Create equal opportunity for all Indian languages. All major countries of the world have become developed by using the languages of the common people for higher and technical education. UNESCO guidelines have stated for decades that a child learns best in their mother tongue and this is borne out by volumes of scientific research. Pushing English at all levels is simply crippling the minds of Indian children and hampering their development for the challenges and opportunities of a digital and scientific world. Thanks to English medium education, from a great innovative civilisation for eons we have become a copycat civilisation blindly aping the West in everything. Give equal access to the children and youth to study in the Regional language to the highest level and to offer professional and vocational courses including engineering, medicine, law, business, chartered accountancy and all subjects.
  3. Enact “The Hindu Temple and Religious Endowments Act” by the Central Government. This is one of the most important demand. Temples are the soul and life of Hinduism, which explains why they have been the targets of incessant attacks for hundreds of years. With the State Govts taking over control of large number Hindu temples along with their properties the Hindu society has been deprived of institutional capacity for self-correction, self-defense, development of spiritual leadership and organic growth. The Hindu temples have been made extension of State Govt. departments; there is large scale misappropriation and diversion of their properties and funds for ‘secular’ purposes, instances of appointment of non-Hindus as Members of Temple Management Boards and as employees of Hindu temples etc. It would be pertinent to ask as to how a secular Govt can take over control and management of religious places that too of only of Hindus?

Note : This article first appeared in http://www.indusscrolls.com under the heading “http://www.indusscrolls.com/intellectuals-demand-end-to-systemic-institutionalized-discrimination-against-hindus”

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