The hunt for the ‘real core Hindu’ is on. Somebody ‘right’ asked the other day: ‘Will the real core Hindu please stand up?’ So far nobody has stood up. Resident Indian National Congress leader in Pakistan Mani Shankar Aiyar is not ‘real core Hindu’. He told his Pakistani constituency that 69% of India did not vote for ‘Hindu nationalist party’ BJP. Aiyar’s main point was the 69% who did not vote Modi were a “fractionized” lot.
The ‘real core Hindu’ is different from ‘hardcore Hindu’. He is supposed to have certain standard traits. He should be hollering for a Uniform Civil Code; he should be a nationalist to the core; he should be against the Right to Education Act because the RTE is spelling death to ‘Hindu schools’; he should insist on the return of Kashmiri pandits to the Valley and demand that article 370 be scrapped; he should rewrite history books, cull them of left-fluff, and hark back to the Vedic Age but not compromise on science.
So, are the ‘real core Hindu’ among the 31% who did vote for Modi? Mani Shankar Aiyar, who endorsed Jinnah, is not ‘real core Hindu’. In fact, the Congress Party, which tolerates Aiyar, doesn’t have any ‘real core Hindu’ in its top echelons. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is definitely not. Ditto former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former defence minister AK Antony, leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, 10 Janpath-fixture Ahmed Patel…
Leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Malikkarjun Kharge? He is Dalit and, therefore, separated from ‘real core Hindu’. Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot? No idea, except that Pilot has marriage relations with Kashmir’s Abdullah family and that cannot make him a ‘real core Hindu.’ In short they do not fit the ‘real core Hindu’ bill.
That leaves only Rahul Gandhi, the janeoudhari Brahmin. The Congress president has been trying hard to prove to the hoi polloi that he is a ‘Hindu’ albeit with a soft heart ‘filled with love’. Rahul’s temple-runs in Gujarat and now in Karnataka have, if not proving him ‘real core Hindu’, given the jitters to the BJP, the party supposedly overflowing with the ‘real core Hindu’.
But scratch BJP and not many ‘real core Hindu’ pop out. BJP President Amit Shah is by no stretch of imagination ‘real core Hindu’. Lal Krishna Advani? For a while yes, when he rode the ‘rath’, but then he went to Pakistan and praised Jinnah! Shah’s guru-buddy Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not qualify for ‘real core Hindu’ even if he is allowed to sit repeated examinations to gain admission to a Hindu gurukul. All these BJP leaders haven’t worked to fulfil any of the ‘real core Hindu objectives’ despite getting a majority in 2014.
The likes of Yogi Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj or Uma Bharati are different. Their saffron attire gives them away. So do their public pronouncements. Modi and Shah had to transport Adityanath to Karnataka to blunt Rahul’s temple-run and Siddaramaiah’s calf love for the cow. The fact remains that the majority of BJP Members of Parliament, including Arun Jaitley, are not ‘real core Hindu’. They would stumble on the temple steps if they went that way.
What about the 31% who voted Modi, are they ‘real core Hindu’? Count out the Aghori and the Naga babas, the naked and near naked, those who hang around in the Kumbh Mela and at Varanasi’s ghats, they don’t carry voter ‘id-cards’. That leaves the Hindu devotees thronging temples and baying for a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, an amorphous mass who during their working hours go to 9-5 jobs, tend shops, selling everything from the sari to rice and dal, paan and pakoda. These are the ones who stayed home on voting day and the BJP lost Phulpur and Gorakhpur.
There are supposed to be ‘real core Hindu’ all over India and when the BJP won 21 states, the map of India was painted saffron. Events in Bihar and West Bengal in recent months have brought a degree of clarity to the identity of the ‘hardcore Hindu’, essentially people who go in procession through Muslim mohallas brandishing ‘Hindu weapons’ and shouting ‘Hindu’ slogans.
So, are the hardcore Hindu ‘real core Hindu’? The hardcore Hindu is a violent animal, his agenda to saffronize India, which just happens to be a big country, geographically and in population. How many of the Hindu in this population fit the ‘hardcore Hindu’ bill? The ordinary Hindu is hardly hardcore Hindu. He sits on the cement-culvert on an evening, feet hanging inches above the dirty water flowing, wondering, wondering… Tuesdays he might go to the temple. Sundays he will swat flies or watch television at home.
Region-wise, south India is not ‘hardcore Hindu’, not with people not averse to eating beef and mingling with the Muslim on Onam and other such singular days, not with idli and dosa and sambar-vada. Northeast India is, despite the BJP making inroads into it, not ‘hardcore Hindu’. It is another matter that the south and northeast are where scattered ‘hardcore Hindu’ have gravitated to in droves on motorized modern-day chariots, to win BJP ‘India’.
The fact of the matter is the ‘hardcore Hindu’ is heard and seen on television and spotted at places where they ought not to be – communally-sensitive Muslim ghettoes, shouting their lungs out, sometimes sent packing with wounds to lick, and grudge to nurse.
It is also the hardcore Hindu who cast a jaundiced eye on Valentine’s Day and New Year Eve. And, like it’s happening in Haryana these days, not tolerate the faithful tumbling out of mosques to pray on the streets.
The ‘hardcore Hindu’ is a minority. He is Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Yuwa Vahini and Hindu Sene in Karnataka among other ‘Hindu fringe outfits’ operating elsewhere in India. Maybe, he is also the one going about killing atheists. But these are individuals and minority groups with no mass following and when they range out on streets they attract only rubbernecks for whom such spectacles are exercise for the neck and grist for the mill.
The whole effort to identify the ‘real core Hindu’ is part of an exercise to build an intellectual right platform vis a vis the intellectual left platform, set apart the ‘real core Hindu’ from the fanatic ‘hardcore Hindu fringe’, which is hurting the entire Hindu fold, giving Hindus a bad name and no legs to stand on for the Hindu intellectual right. The intellectual right is the new kid on the block with issues that are reasonable to raise and fight for. Horribly outnumbered, scarred by acts of Hindu bigots, it is the intellectual right which is asking, “Will the real core Hindu stand up, please?” So far it has met with only silence. (IPA Service)
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