Sanatana Dharma should be eradicated. It is akin to diseases like dengue, malaria, and coronavirus. It should be stamped out just like them. These were the statements made by Udayanidhi Stalin, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin and a Minister in the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) dispensation, earlier this week.
Many leaders, especially those who call themselves ‘secular’ and ‘progressive,’ have made it a fashion to bash Sanatana Dharma and its followers: the Hindus. They repeatedly disparage and insult Hindu Gods and Goddesses, ridicule Hindu rituals and shame Hindus for practising their religion. For example, on one occasion, Mallikharjun Kharge, the Congress President, had warned the public that if Modi gets more strength, the rule of Sanatan Dharma will rise again – suggesting Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism is something to be feared and despised. In another example, only a couple of weeks back, the cadre of the Congress party’s ally in Kerala, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), in a public rally, raised anti-Hindu slogans, threatening to hang Hindus in front of temples and burn them alive.
Yet, the ‘secular’ leftist ecosystem, which never cared or dared to question any other faith, has consistently defended those who denigrate Sanatana Dharma and its followers or the Hindus. In most cases, it has praised and promoted such Hinduism bashers.
However, none has gone as far as Udayanidhi and called for its total eradication. Once Udayanidhi’s comments made wide circulation, the I.N.D.I. Alliance, of which DMK is a part, was quick in coming out in his defence. Priyank Kharge, son of the Congress party’s national president and Minister in the Karnataka government, supported Udayanidhi and added: “It is as good as a disease”, referring to Sanatana Dharma. D. Raja of the Communist Party of India – another I.N.D.I. Alliance partner – went a step further and claimed Sanatan is not Dharma. Prakash Raj, a famous actor, self-proclaimed secular leftist, and a fan of Congress, mocked Sanatanis as Tanathanis.
The hatred displayed for Sanatana Dharma and its followers, the Hindus, is chilling. There are only two ways a religion can be obliterated – by converting everyone to another faith or killing every one among its practitioners. The Holocaust, in which Hitler exterminated around six million Jews, comes to mind immediately. In Kashmir, the slogan “Raliv, Tsaliv ya Galiv” – convert, flee, or die – was raised against Hindus before a genocidal attack on them. Over the past thousand years, Hindus have faced murderous attacks by foreign conquerors attempting to convert them, killing countless. Given this historical backdrop, the brazenness with which Udayanidhi and his supporters doubled down on their initial statements is mind-numbing.
While the second-rung leadership of I.N.D.I.A were going all-out, threatening the eradication of Sanatana Dharma, the senior leadership of the alliance, especially Rahul Gandhi, who claims to be a Janeudhari Brahmin and a Shiv Bhakt, observed complete silence. Most parties in the I.N.D.I.A grouping either remained silent or made cursory statements claiming they respect all religions and do not agree with the comments of Udayanidhi.
Given that the I.N.D.I.A bloc leaders have either vehemently supported Udayanidhi, like D Raja and Priyank Kharge, for example, or only gave out general statements of mild disapproval while abstaining from expressing outrage or forceful condemnation of Udayanidhi’s remarks, it is natural to conclude that the entire I.N.D.I.A grouping agrees with Udayanidhi on Sanatana Dharma. Imagine if one of their alliance partners had made similar statements against non-Hindus; the grouping would have forced the partner to backtrack and apologise immediately, or else it would have faced expulsion from the alliance.
Closer home, in Telangana, the voices of the Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) first family, which includes Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, his son and Minister Taraka Rama Rao, fell silent. Earlier remarks of CM Chandrasekhar Rao, who derisively called Hindus Hindugallu – Bondugallu, his son Taraka Rama Rao’s statements describing Hindu temples as investments that make good financial returns, give the impression that they too agree with Udayanidhi’s prescription. Of course, when one is in alliance with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen, whose MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi made the notorious “15-minute” comment, how can one doubt their ideological alignment?
These developments pose a serious question in the minds of the Hindus of this country: if the I.N.D.I.A grouping does win in the upcoming elections and forms the government at the Center, will they be able to practise their faith unhindered? Will they be able to celebrate their festivals like Rakhi, Krishnashtami, Dussehra, Diwali, etc., without hindrance? As it is, they currently face much denouncing of their celebrations during festivals – from being regressive to being environmentally harmful – stealing their joy. And for those from Telangana, the very prospect of I.N.D.I.A government at the Center with a “15-minute” MIM-steered government in the state makes one shudder.
(The author is BJP TS spokesperson)