UNHINDU HINDUS Apolitical Intolerance Has Now Struck the Community

Tunku Varadarajan believes that we are UnHindu, because we stand up for Hindu dharma!  Maybe, he missed the Dotbusters era…

India Today (North American edition)

Sep. 14, 1999

ALTERNATE ACCENT | Tunku Varadarajan

 

UNHINDU HINDUS – Apolitical Intolerance Has Now Struck the Community

I am a Hindu. My childhood was steeped in Hindu scripture and prayer, and we

often spent our vacations in Benaras, where my old grandmother lived in

Hanuman Ghat. My father took us to the Ganges in the mornings, where – in

spite of the obvious presence of muck – we had a reverential, but rapid,

snaan together. My father prayed to the gods, giving them thanks and asking

for their blessings. I prayed to the gods too, also begging them to spare me

from the agony of water-borne diseases. Our religion was calm and tolerant,

quite different from other creeds. As a Hindu, over the years, I’ve observed

cultural fanatics from the other religions go about their cretinous business.

I’ve watched daft ayatollahs, and their brainless acolytes in Bradford,

Karachi and Lucknow, rant against Salman Rushdie’s allegedly offensive

writings. “Burn, burn, burn,” the mobs bayed. “Ban, ban, ban,” the mullahs

spewed.

 

I’ve watched Christian hotheads attack Martin Scorsese for his film, “The

Last Temptation of Christ”, with bands of aggressive pickets heckling

cinemagoers. I’ve seen Jewish extremists disrupting archeological digs in

Jerusalem – digs that would have revealed vital new information about the

earliest years of their own religion – on the grounds that they were

sacrilegious. Hindus, I’ve always held, do not behave in this way. I am not

saying that there have been no acts of savagery by Hindus. The assault on the

Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was a shameful case of Hindus behaving in a manner

that was – and there’s no other way to put this – un-Hindu. But even those

barbaric kar sevaks were not as bad as the vandals I have described in

preceding paragraphs, for theirs was an expression, however unpalatable, of a

political revolution that was then sweeping India. Those who objected to

Rushdie, Scorsese and the archeologists were, on the other hand, an

abominable species of knee-jerk primitivist. There is nothing worse than

apolitical intolerance. No, not even Babri Masjid.

 

But the disease has now struck Hindus. What is worse is that the Hindu

cultural loony resides in America. Taking a cue from the fire-breathers of

other religions, some American Hindus have made it their mission to scrub out

anything “offensive” to Hindus from this country’s cultural canvas. When Mike

Myers posed for a jocular spread in Vanity Fair dressed as a Hinduesque

demigod, the Hindu loonies howled for his blood. When the makers of the TV

series Xena screened an episode starring Hanuman, these caterwauling

Hinduistas demanded that it be withdrawn.

 

These cultural madmen trained their guns recently on Eyes Wide Shut, the new

film by Stanley Kubrick, demanding that Warner Brothers expunge an “orgy”

scene because the soundtrack contains a shloka from the Bhagavad-Gita. Ajay

Shah, convenor of American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD), boasted that “we

gave them 13 days notice” to pull the offending soundtrack.

 

I am sorry to report that Warner Brothers has caved in. I am sorrier to

report that I live in a country where groups like AHAD call the shots. Can’t

the nice Hindus of America, the civilized ones, do something to shut these

people up?

 

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