I came across a blogpost by a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist on the “real facts behind the Mangalore pub attacks.” I wondered, for a short while, whether to link to it and give it more publicity than it deserves. But, it was so outrageous, and so provocative, that I can’t stop myself. So, here it is. (edit: It’s not there any more. He removed it!! :-P) Now, where do I start?
He says there is an orchestrated attempt to “seduce, entrap and convert innocent Hindu girls”. Hmm. Ok. Then, he says the jehadis want to flick girls from our religion. Flick? WTF? Does Mr. Kamat think we are pencils or erasers that some can flick and use? Sorry. No. I will do exactly as I please. I will make friends with people from other religions because I choose to see their personality and not their religion. I will go out to a pub because I want to relax and have some fun. What I do with my life is my business. Who the hell is some random hooligan on the road to “save” me?
He goes on to say a lot of crap and spread communal hatred against members of the Islamic community. I don’t think they are worth rebutting because he is not worth the effort. But, what hurts me is the attempt of a few fringe outfits like this Sri Rama Sene to usurp the name of my religion to preach what Hinduism does not preach. I am a Hindu. My religion does not preach intolerent. My religion does not condone violence to uphold or protect its culture. My religion does not ask people to shun contact with all other religions to preserve its sanctity.
I am a Hindu, but I do not support this criminal conduct in the name of Hinduism. I do not support the Sri rama Sene, the Bajrang Dal or even the BJP, because they have irreversibly maligned the name of the religion in which I grew up. My religion taught me to love. My upbringing in a Hindu mission school taught me to respect others’ faiths and beliefs and not try to convert. My conscience taught me believe in the inherent freedom of the individual to do what he/she deems right. My study of women’s studies taught me that women are disadvantaged. My sense of justice taught me to fight for that equality in reality.
When I read people like Kamat saying women must be protected from other faiths because we will be brainwashed and converted, it violates my sense of justice. It provokes me into declaring that I am not a piece of cattle to protect and feed, and exploit when required. Women have a certain intelligence that nobody can dispute. They can decide for themselves what’s right and what’s not. They don’t need protection. But yes, what they do need is understanding. They need trust. Above all, they need equality and respect.
Let’s make one thing clear. Attacks such as the one in Mangalore are condemnable, irrespective of the religion of the perpetrators or the motive behind it. Using religion to justify such behaviour is unpardonable. Blaming the attack on decadence or on the victims themselves is even less tolerable. Some day, I would like to live in an India where I will not be judged by my gender, my religion, the colour of my skin or the caste into which I was born. Will I ever see an India like that? At least before I die?