' Congress MPs need to take a lesson in Indian history!'
15/08/2012 19:21:34 Dr. Vijaya Rajiva
Congress MP Mani Shankar Iyer said on national television that India is not a Hindu country ! He pompously allowed that it is a Hindu majority country. The occasion for his outpourings was a program on NDTV, ' Should India take a stand on minorities in Pakistan?' (Aug.13, 2012). The question being discusssed was related to the seeking of asylum in India by Hindus fleeing Pakistan.
Mr. Iyer, even the barbarian invaders spoke of Hindustan when they referred to India. And well, the Persians called the river Sindhu, the river Hindu owing to a change in pronunciation. These references happened Mr. Iyer because the word Sindhu occurred in the oldest of our Hindu scriptures (assuming that you consider yourself a Hindu which you well may not). Be that as it may, the majority of the 800 million plus Hindus of India (and those in the diaspora) consider that the land south of the Himalaya and extending to Kanyakumari, and from east to west , is Hindu, because of the civilisational ethos of the country, which goes back several thousand years and certainly long before that of the two proselytising minorites, Islam and Christianity.
Where did this Congressman go wrong ? In the NDTV program it became clear that he was using the occasion to make a case for keeping the millions of illegal migrants from Bangla Desh in Assam, so that the vote bank of the Congress will be safe. At the same time he managed to take a swipe at his sworn enemies (as he sees them!) the BJP, by accusing them of communalising the issue of both the Hindus of Pakistan and the illegal Muslim migrants from Banglas Desh. His ploy did not work for the simple reason that Dr. Chandran Mitra (editor of The Pioneer) pointed out that even the Assam Chief Minister had made a distinction betweeen refugees and illegal migrants !
That being taken care of Mr. Iyer sulked quietly, waiting for the next opportunity to hit two birds with one stone. Unfortunately for him that opportunity did not come his way.
The question needs to be asked by Hindus. Where did this Congressman go wrong ? Even his erstwhile boss, the late Jawaharlal Nehru did not go as far as saying that India is not a Hindu country, even though he did not seem to be concerned that it was and managed to mess up many aspects of decision making whether of foreign policy or interference with Hindu religious practice. And certainly, Mani Shankar Iyer's current boss cannot be blamed since she is neither fish fowl nor red herring, being a Catholic (not an Indian Catholic) but one who came from afar and whose educational and civilisational background did not prepare her for Hindu India (except for its famed wealth, especially it is reported, its antiquities !).
What is it in the educational training of Congressmen such as Mani Shankar Iyer ? For political reasons he appears to be willing to say that his own grandmother is not Hindu !
Whither Congress ? Whither ?
(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university).