Monday, February 04, 2008


[prohindu] Ramprsasad's Children and the Rs. 1,868,00,00,000 handout


Devendra Singh to hindiusa, prohindu
show details 11:19 AM (7 hours ago)


What a sad state of politics in Bharat in the name of religion. It's better to kill a person instantly rather than giving him/her a slow poison. My heart goes out to millions who have to endure the kind of inhumane injustice Ramprasad goes through often.


Ramprasad, our neighbourhood rickshaw puller came to me this morning. He was looking happy. Before I could ask him the reason, he said, “Sahib, ab bacchon ki fikar nahin hai. Sarkar padhai ka paisa de de gi.” Someone had told him that the government had announced scholarships for deserving children in class 1 to 10 and he had two daughters, studying in classes 9 and 8 and a son, in class 6. Studying mostly by candle-light, in his shack in Kanhai gaon, all three usually came first in their classes. It broke my heart to disillusion him. This scholarship was not for his children, I told him and when he asked why, I had to tell him that these scholarships were not for any Hindu children. They were only for the children of parents who were non-Hindus.

Ramprasad’s face fell. He was silent for some time and then asked me to find out if he can convert to Christianity, so that his daughters and son will be eligible for the scholarships. He told me that he would be sad to convert but if this ensures the future of his children, then he would convince his wife. He added wistfully, “Khali bacchon ka dharam badalne se kaam nahin chale ga Sahib?” Will it not work if only the children changed their religion? I told him that I still do not know what the rules are – perhaps the local pastor will have to issue a certificate or something like that, but I will find out. I am waiting for the detailed procedure to be announced and will then approach the neighbourhood church to find out if Ramprasad can become a Christian and then apply for the scholarships.

This episode has made me think of the State of our Union. Our government has just announced a scholarship fund of Rs. 1,868 Crores. Hindu children are not allowed to apply for this. Does it not skew the concept of freedom of religion? Would this work as an incentive to convert to minority religions? On the face of it, it does not appear that one should give up one’s faith for Rs. 350 to Rs. 1,000 per month or so per child. However, as Ramprasad’s case shows, if you do not have money to send your children to school or keep them there, perhaps it is better for them to have a better future as a Muslim or a Christian. At least they can study and make something of themselves, rather than pull a rickshaw as a Hindu. For millions of Hindus living in grinding poverty, this is a real unpleasant choice which they will have to make if the present government’s skewed anti-Hindu policies continue.

The preamble of our Constitution states:

We, the People of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:

· Justice, social, economic and political;

· Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

· Equality of status and of opportunity;

· and to promote among them all Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation

in our Constituent Assembly this twenty-sixth day of November 1949, do hereby Adopt, Enact and Give to ourselves this Constitution.

Is our government providing Ramprasad and his family equality of status and opportunity? Would this biased treatment assure him dignity? Would it promote a spirit of fraternity in him and his like? Is this an example of social or economic justice? On no count does this edict of limiting the scholarships to non-Hindus conform to the fundamental principles on the basis of which we the People of India formed our union. It is an example of our present leaders breaking the sacred covenant made with the vast majority of the people of India sixty years back.

Yes, the state must do all it can to promote education, but it should be on the basis of economic necessity and demonstrated merit, not on the basis of which faith an Indian follows. I wonder why the political leaders in the UPA government would do such a thing, which goes against all common decency, is socially and economically unjustifiable and would deepen the religious divide. The given logic is that in Hindu-dominated India, Hindus have a “natural” advantage and the non-Hindus have been persecuted. Mr. Jinnah formed Pakistan on this very expectation and now our UPA government is saying, in effect, “Yes, Mr. Jinnah, you were right. We have been persecuting the minorities and they deserve to be treated by our UPA Government in a preferential manner. During the last 60 years, the Congress Party has led the country for more than 80% of the time and now we must atone for our sins. Let us bend over backwards to prove our non-Hindu bias.” Thus, the Prime Minister announces that the minorities have first right over the nation’s resources and his Finance Minister demonstrates his own “secular” credentials in this unsecular manner.

One is reminded of the Latin adage says, cuius regio eius religio – the ruler determines the religion of his subjects. In Ramprasad’s case, this is perhaps literally going to be true. However, even metaphorically, this is not far off the mark, in today’s secular India. In West Bengal, we have the cadres imposing the Communist Religion. At the center, we are ruled by diverse religious groups but the predominant voice of the leaders and the media is of the adherents of a faith which is not a formal religion, but which carries all the weight of a religion. It’s founder was Macaulay and it is his children who rule India today. As assiduously nurtured and shaped by Macaulay and his ilk, they have learnt to sneer at whatever is Hindu. They feel that everything Hindu is to be looked down upon and the language, culture and faith of the Hindus treated in a manner so that their self-esteem remains as low as possible. And, they treat the Hindu faith dismissively in a similar manner, taking its adherents and votes for granted. If they themselves are Hindus, they are generally dismissive of their religious affiliation and are often embarrassed even to admit it. Truly, the faith founded by Macaulay appears to have totally conditioned the minds and hearts of Indian intelligentia, its media and its leadership. And, in these perverse times, these people determine what the religion of their subjects, the often mentioned “common man”, should not be.

Elections to our Parliament are due in April 2009, almost a year from now. This is the right time for the majority religion to ask, “What has the UPA done for Hindus in Hindustan?” The answer would not be far to seek, for the list is not too long. A bill was introduced in our Parliament in 1978 to declare that Secular mean “equal treatment for all religions”. At that time the Congress Party had voted against this definition of secularism. It appears that its stance has not changed over the years.

I do not advocate that the government should do anything special for Hindus. I feel that it should do whatever it can, for the upliftment of all Indians, regardless of religion or caste. The only criterion for affirmative action by the government should be economic need. Only then can India be really secular and only then can we effectively be one people. The present religion-based petty politics will lead India into social injustice, bitterness and inter-religious strife. If you do not believe me, ask Ramprasad.


Post a Comment

<< Home