‘Tolerance, acceptance, co-existence’: BJP Hindutva denounces Hinduism Vivekananda spoke about

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Let’s take this opportunity to compare the Hinduism preached by Swami Vivekananda in Chicago with the Hindutva preached by the BJP.

128 years ago, on this very day in 1893, Swami Vivekananda rose in the world’s first religious parliament in Chicago and introduced Hinduism to the world. Swami Vivekananda, born Narendranath Dutta, was the chief disciple of the 19th century mystic Ramakrishna and the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. He is revered throughout India and is best known in the United States for his revolutionary speech.

Prime Minister Modi today recalled Swami Vivekananda’s speech and said it ‘beautifully demonstrated the importance of Indian culture’.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu also tweeted a quote from the speech and recalled that Swami Vivekananda “introduced India to the world in Chicago in 1893”.

Many Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have used the anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s speech to further emphasize the greatness of the Hindu religion. However, they conveniently missed the important parts of the speech that talked about tolerance, coexistence, bigotry, bigotry and more.

As we look back at the philosophically enriching and innovative discourse, let us also take this opportunity to recall the various facets of Hinduism described by Swami Vivekananda in his discourse and compare them with the ideals of contemporary “Hindutva” from the BJP to the power.

Tolerance

“I am proud to belong to a religion that has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We not only believe in universal tolerance, but we accept all religions as true.

As Swami Vivekananda spoke of the religion he represented, ie Hinduism, he rightly highlighted the history of the religion which has preserved the values ​​of “tolerance and universal acceptance”. When he noted that Hinduism not only believed in “universal tolerance” but also accepted “all religions as true”, we had a story to show the world of other religions coming to this earth and flourishing without persecution. . In a Hindu-majority civilization, religions like Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, etc. not only survived but co-existed peacefully.

Vivekananda at the Chicago rally. Credit: Parliament of Religion, 1893 [Public domain]

Under BJP rule, minorities have been living in fear of persecution for some years. Mass lynchings have become a new norm and no longer surprise or shock people. Just the day before yesterday, September 9, a 22-year-old Muslim man was beaten to death with sticks and rods by several men in Shamli, Uttar Pradesh. On Sunday, September 6, a Christian priest and two other people were beaten by a mob inside a police station in the city of Raipur, Chhattisgarh on Sunday. On On August 8, rabid anti-Muslim slogans pierced the air at a rally organized by Hindu nationalist groups at Jantar Mantar in central Delhi. Some of them were very communal and incendiary. It’s so bad that the Siasat Daily published a curated list of hate crimes against Muslims in August alone.

It was under the noses of the BJP’s top leadership that the nation’s capital, Delhi, saw the worst sectarian violence last year since the 1947 partition.

Under the BJP’s rabid ‘hindutva’, the majority became more intolerant, the opposite of what Hinduism stood for, according to the speech of Swami Vivekananda.

Accommodation of the persecuted and refugees

“I am proud to belong to a nation that has sheltered the persecuted and refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth.

When Swami Vivekananda emphasized the fact that he came from a country that has always welcomed the persecuted and refugees, he said: I am proud to tell you that we have gathered into our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to southern India and took refuge with us in the very year their holy temple was torn to pieces. by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion that has housed and still nourishes the rest of the great Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember having repeated since my earliest childhood, and which is repeated every day by millions of human beings: through different tendencies, so diverse as they appear, twisted or straight, all lead to You.

As the Taliban took control of neighboring Afghanistan last month and thousands of Afghans attempted to flee the barbaric regime to other countries, the Indian Foreign Ministry’s announcement to prioritize Hindus and Sikhs as a key focus of repatriation efforts from Afghanistan has drawn criticism from all quarters.

However, this was not the first time that the Indian government distinguished between refugees on the basis of religion. In a controversial 2019 Citizenship Act Amendment (CAA), which sparked mass protests across the country, the Indian government decided to provide a pathway to Indian citizenship for persecuted religious minorities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists. , Jains, Parsis or Christians, and arrived in India before the end of December 2014. The law, however, did not grant such eligibility to Muslims from these countries.

Demonstrators take part in a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in New Delhi. PTI

The motto “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the whole world is one family)” of Hinduism, which is often quoted by the Prime Minister on global platforms and was clearly visible in the spirit of Swami Vivekananda’s speech in Chicago, was conveniently thrown out the window by the current regime in the aforementioned cases.

Vivekananda on bigotry, sectarianism and fanaticism

“Sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful land. They filled the earth with violence, flooded it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent entire nations to despair. Without these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.

Swami Vivekanand in his speech targeted religious fanaticism which resulted from bigotry and sectarianism. He pointed out how they drew human blood, destroyed civilizations and sent nations to despair.

Just yesterday, the BJP appointed a certain Prashant Umrao as the spokesperson for the state of Uttar Pradesh. Umrao has a habit of peddling false claims and misinformation that could stir up religious tensions. With impunity from the ruling party, he has often targeted minorities, especially the Muslim community through his social media posts.

In the state of Uttar Pradesh, a Hindu priest, Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, has time and again delivered inflammatory speeches and dropped poison against the Muslim community. However, he has not been subject to any action for his words which are quite capable of stirring up violence. Although three FIRs have been registered against him after making indecent remarks about women, including those in the BJP.

Yogesh Kumar, the main accused of planning mob violence over an alleged cow slaughter that led to the murder of a police inspector and a youth in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh in 2018, won an election in the panchayat this year. Released on bail, Kumar, along with other members of Bajrang Dal, were charged with leading the crowd after putting the cow carcass in a cart in an attempt to cause large-scale riots.

On the front of controlling bigotry, the BJP government has not only failed but been seen behind the accused on numerous occasions. Right-wing Hindutva fails the Hinduism that Vivekananda was talking about.

A man beaten by a mob in the Chand Bagh area during the Delhi riots in February 2020. (Reuters)

Action, not just mere words

If the BJP led by Narendra Modi is serious about upholding the legacy of Swami Vivekananda and following the Hinduism he preached, it should immediately pass legislation against minority lynchings and end the menace that has engulfed Indian society. during the last years. a few years.

If the saffron party truly believes in the motto of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, then it should make amendments to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and remove the barriers of religion and nationality for refugees to obtain Indian citizenship.

If BJP Hindutva is not rabid and bigoted as it claims, it should ensure strict actions against those who hold inflammatory speeches to spread communal hatred and distance themselves from those who feed off minority hatred.

Taking these basic and minimum steps will make Indians believe that the BJP cares about Swami Vivekananda and Hinduism.

Because, as preached by Vivekananda in his discourse, the marvelous doctrine of the Gita says: “Whoever comes to me, in whatever form, I reach him; all men struggle along paths that eventually lead to me.

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