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Friday, March 7, 2008

A letter from Pakistan on Pakistani Hindus

'The only place I call home'

7 Mar 2008, 1654 hrs

This letter was written by a Times of reader who chooses to be called ‘Asa’ in response to a recent article (“ Allah’s will and US strategy ”) on our website by our regular columnist Tarun Vijay. The lucidly written letter, which provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Hindus living in Pakistan, is reproduced in its entirety below.

'The only place I call home' 


Karachi bears the symptoms of Mumbai. It has the Arabian Sea where the hordes go to breathe because the ceiling is so high, hopeful youth walk briskly on the roads to seize the day and of course fail, beautiful women travel in the quiet isolation of the backseat with a man they know as driver, eternal Parsis fear that they are all dying. And, incredibly, Shiva, Lakshmi and Vishnu have encroached on prime real estate. Outside one such temple in the posh Clifton neighbourhood, on a distant Monday four years ago, stood a man in pathan suit. His name was Jayanti Ratna. He was wielding a stick and surveying the large crowds that were trying to enter the temple. "Jai Shiv Shankar," he kept screaming. Occasionally, he stopped some people by placing his stick horizontally around their chests. "Muslims are not allowed," he said to them. He stopped me too. "Are you a Hindu," he said, "Muslims are not allowed inside." That was the first time during the two month tour of Pakistan that my religion was asked. And it was outside a Hindu temple. He was shown the passport. His eyes softened. "Christians, too, are not allowed. But then you are an Indian." It was inevitable that he would let me pass. Wasn't it dangerous for a man to stand in the heart of Karachi, outside a temple, and ask Muslims to get lost? "Not at all," he said, "I was born here. I belong here. I'll exercise my right to serve my faith." The next day, outside the Lakshmi Narayan temple, a small austere shrine that stood at the edge of a creek, four Pakistani girls were stopped at the gate by an ageless Gujarati woman called Bani. "Muslims aren't allowed," Bani told them angrily. "We just want to walk around and look," Rumi, one of the girls said. "Then go to the zoo," Bani told them. The girls were not outraged at all. They pleaded in between giggles. "We just want to pray," one of them said. From inside the temple emerged, Hirakumari, a young woman who was related in a complicated way to Bani. She shouted at the girls, "Go pray to your god. You eat cows, make fun of our gods, ask if our gods don't feel cold being naked..." But Hirakumari would eventually tell me that deep down she loved the Muslims. "They will feed us for the rest of our lives, if it comes to that. Pakistan is the only place I call home but how can we let them inside the temple?" Pakistan's Hindus number somewhere between 2.5 million (an official estimate which is suspect) and 5 million (the figure granted by Hindu politician Kishinchand Parwani). Over 95 percent of them live in the Sindh province, chiefly impoverished farmers and labourers. Some of them are visibly rich though, and they are allowed to be rich without peril. Like fashion designer Deepak Perwani who had a Ganesha tattooed on his right arm, and whose red dyed hair often perplexed urchins. His analysis of the Indo-Pak divide was, "Indians can't cut a salwar to save their lives and Pakistanis can't cut a churidar ." Ten years ago, when he wanted to open a store in Karachi, his friends asked him not to flaunt his name on the door. He didn't listen. "There's been no trouble, not a single incident outside my shop," he said. Since Partition, the only time the Hindus of Karachi felt insecure was in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition. But Perwani, once Pakistan's cultural ambassador to China, did have a problem. The Sindhi community was small and it was not easy for him to find a suitable girl. "The girl has to be imported," he said, "since I am doing too well here to be exported." His mother Renu, an amicable and efficient woman said, "People in India don't want their daughters to live in Pakistan. It's a mindset." As she considered the various options for her son, her eyes turned a bit severe. "I will never accept a Muslim girl in my house." The simple aggression of Pakistan's Hindus was just one of the many things that confused the Indians who toured that country in the merciless summer of 2004. The visible life on the streets of a nation that was almost always governed by the military and of another that glorified democracy, was the same. The roads and the slums looked the same. Even there, lazy cops stood in street corners without poise. People drove like fools. Pedestrians ran across the road and giggled at the end of the effort. This place was home. Our plight was the same. Our hereditary memory was common. True, pork was hard to find here and beef easily available. Every hotel room, no matter how cheap, had a bidet. There were no pubs, and emasculated newspapers said, "Pakistan and India" instead of "India and Pakistan". But we had expected much grander things to separate the two nations. After an unscathed life in Pakistan, a Hindu in Karachi becomes dust in a crematorium that lies beside a Muslim graveyard. The crematorium has a room called the 'library' where there are no books. Just bundles of ashes of men and women who have become memories. These ashes will stay here, sometimes for years, until the relatives are granted visas to let them immerse the remains in Ganga.

Tarun Vijay interview on

'If you sow the seed of poison you will reap hate' -Tarun Vijay

'Onkar Singh in New Delhi March 03, 2008 14:18 IST

Two decades ago Tarun Vijay was asked by then Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh sarsanghchalak Professor Rajendra Singh to edit Panchjanya, the RSS Hindi weekly. It was a job Vijay accepted gleefully as it coincided with his views of strengthening Hinduism.
On February 25, Vijay relinquished the editorship of Panchjanya to take over the directorship of the Bharatiya Janata Party think-tank, the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation.
In an interview with Senior Associate Editor Onkar Singh in New Delhi, Vijay says the India of his dreams is one where everyone gets an opportunity to flower just like the Jews who found solace in India while they were being persecuted elsewhere in the world.
A journalist since 1976, he began his career with Russi Karanjia at the Mumbai-based tabloid Blitz and then as a freelance journalist for major dailies and magazines before spending five years as an RSS activist in the country's tribal areas. He was the youngest member of the then home minister's advisory committee during Indira Gandhi's government before joining Panchjanya.
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee once said about him: 'Tarunji looks small in physique, but his brilliance and sharp intellect, his logical writings make a deep, very deep impression on the readers.'
An avid photographer he has covered the Himalayan region extensively and his pictorial book An Odyssey in Tibet has been well received. His photographs on the river Indus had been exhibited in Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. He also led the first Indus expedition from Demchok to Batalik.Why is Indian society becoming so intolerant?
I must admit that intolerance is everywhere. This kind of apartheid is due to the Leftist influence in politics and the intellectual arena. Though Charvak spoke against the Vedas he was given a high pedestal of a Rishi by Indian society. He was called one of the six most exalted Rishis. So intolerance against other religions is an un-Indian attitude.
The Indian ethos believes in a million flowers and a million fragrances. The growing intolerance is because of jihadi assaults and the wrong policies of the government which thinks that anything that is linked to Hinduism has to be ignored. It pays to be a non-Hindu in India. There are endless examples like special universities for non-Hindus, special loans for a particular community. If non-Hindus are in trouble the government and the media gets perturbed.
Has the establishment ever thought of including Hindus in Kashmir in this list?
Do you think Hinduism is under attack?
Hinduism allowed all the religions of the world to flower in India. But now the very core of Hinduism is under attack. It is our responsibility to make society awaken to such dangers.
Are you saying that Hinduism must be strengthened?
Certainly so. We must have free and fair society which believes in coexistence, in Vasudeva Kutumbam (The world is one family).
Do you believe that the BJP has a chance to win the next general election?
The present atmosphere gives us hope that the BJP will come to power in the next Lok Sabha election provided the party continues to stick to its ideological moorings. I feel that people have trust in the party. It is a party which believes and propagates the nationalist ideology.
Did the BJP commit a mistake by giving up the Ram Mandir issue?
The construction of a Ram temple is a one hundred per cent certainty. Whether the BJP does it or someone else does it is hidden in the future. The Hindu is the first enemy of Hindu issues. The Ganga is polluted by Hindus. The majority of cow slaughter houses are run by Hindus. Many exporters who export meat including beef are Hindus. Those who give reservation to non-Hindus are Hindus. They find it politically beneficial to assault Hindu issues. This situation has to be reversed.
And this can be done only through Hindu reforms. We must show Hindu solidarity which is the key to most of the problems that we face today. Those who visit temples do not keep them clean. People do not ensure that the priests recite the right shlokas and that the pronunciation is correct. We have to ensure that the priests do not loot pilgrims. This is a kind of reform that has to come from within.
The youth of today must take the initiative and we cannot blame others.
Hindu solidarity is not against any minority and it would be beneficial to all minorities including Christians and Muslims. It is for the national good.
Are you turning into a hardliner once again?
To be a Hindu one is essentially liberal. My liberalism is inherent in being a Hindu. It is part and parcel of my Hindu religion. I would like everyone to share this thought including Muslims and Christians. According to me, if water and education is not provided to everyone and if the women are not empowered there is no Hindutva -- it means that every citizen of India, whichever religion he may belong, achieves progress.
What was the RSS's reaction when Mr Vajpayee announced that he was going to Lahore in 1999?
We were the first to welcome it and I was invited to join the party. Nawaz Sharif, then the prime minister of Pakistan, was there to receive the Indian prime minister. Pakistan has been created on the basis of hate and this must go. Pakistan should not be Arab-centric. This is civilisational disorientation in Pakistan. India and Pakistan have the same roots and just because we worship God or Allah should not make us enemies.
What is your solution to the problems faced by the BJP?
Any organisation needs water to bind it and the answer lies is Bhagwakaran (saffronisation). India's greatness would lie in Vidya (knowledge) and Charitra (character) , Rajju Bhaiya (Professor Rajendra Singh) once told me. I believe he had a point.
My job is to have a manthan (discussion) where both friends and those who do not subscribe to our theory can come together.
Can you emerge from the shadow of leaders like Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani?
I don't have to. In fact, I do not even think in such terms. I am fortunate that these stalwarts are there to guide me. My post may be director but I will be a student seeking their advice, guidance. I will be providing inputs on ideology and governance. All policies would have to be looked at from our point of view and interpreted accordingly so that they can apply in the areas of their influence. We will be setting up chairs in the name of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya in areas where our nationalism is being challenged and assaulted. This is a very critical period.
What about the nationalism of the kind that Raj Thackeray propagates?
If you sow the seed of poison you would reap the hardest of hate. The fragmented polity of the country provides this kind of space that further divides society and fragments it. It is beneficial to those who are looking for such opportunities to get votes.
In Jammu and Kashmir and the north eastern states you cannot buy land despite the fact that you are a citizen of India. Things like Article 370 create problems.

The Third Eye

6Mar 2008

Tarun Vijay

Mahashivaratri is a day of awakening from darkness to light. To annihilate the wicked and usher into a regime of Shiva, literally meaning goodness. Those who worship Shiva and observe fast, and their count keeps on swelling to unimaginable numbers each passing year, have a responsibility to pray that the third eye of Shiva is directed for a national rejuvenation too. Shiva's third eye has inspired millions around the globe since ages, Adobe being the latest one. Before that, CERN was inspired by it. Its the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as a highly respected centre for nuclear research focusing primarily on fundamental physics, finding out what the universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature. CERN established a two metre high statue of Nataraj, the dancing form of Shiva with an open third eye at their headquarters in Geneva. A special plaque next to the Shiva statue explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva's cosmic dance with several quotations from The Tao of Physics . Here is the text of the plaque, which I have taken from Fritjof Capra's site: Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, seeing beyond the unsurpassed rhythm, beauty, power and grace of the Nataraja, once wrote of it "It is the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of." More recently, Fritjof Capra explained that "Modern physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not only manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and death of all living creatures, but is also the very essence of inorganic matter," and that "For the modern physicists, then, Shiva's dance is the dance of subatomic matter." It is indeed as Capra concluded: "Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shiva in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics." Foreigners adore the significance of our Shiva, but what about Indians and the duty that this knowledge bestows upon us? Rather we use Shiva for our personal plans, for a secular barter in the garb of religiosity that touches nauseating arrogance of castiesm and shamanism. Shiva is the most benevolent boon giver of all the gods we know. He destroys the negative forces with his glance and feels happy in the company of the most disadvantaged and the deprived 'un-elitist' crowd! He loves Bhakti , the true devotion and not the artificiality of the rituals. And there is a story of a tribal boy Tinn in the western Godavari area of Andhra, who would offer a handful of pork meat and water stored in his mouth at the Shiva Lingam, daily in the wee hours of the morning climbing up the steep hill where the temple was situated. The priest got mad seeing such a sacrilegious act, caught him one day and beat him red and blue so much that the Lord appeared from the Lingam and scolded the priest saying the boy's devotion was more honest and innocent than the priest's mechanized rituals.
If Shiva is so clear hearted and noble, his anger knows no bounds and when he opens his third eye, the radiant energy emanating from it destroys all the evil and brings in Pralay Kaal . The dooms day or apocalypse won't be able to convey the true meaning of it as the purpose of discharging energy from the third eye is to prepare for reconstruction. The same Shiva spirit is manifest in peoples' power. They are virtuous, noble but unleash an uncontrollable energy out of anger when cheated and abused. Shouldn't we say, the time for its occurrence is now? Have leaders kept our faith in them intact and delivered even fifty percent of what was expected of them? Or turn inwards and ask, if we, the people, have discharged our citizen dharma in maintaining the civility and contributing in the goodness factor of the society? If the answer directs us for self introspection, shouldn't we be asking for an annihilator's attitude for the destruction of evil in us and the leaders through ballot boxes? With 'vote the budget' Chidambaram basking in his last year of glory in Parliament, the election campaign has been virtually kicked started. It's the time for people to open their democratic third eye to destroy all that evil accumulated in the political jungle and reconstruct with a clean slate. The world is changing fast. Iran-Iraq animosity has ended. Obama is on a wining trek. Russia has got a new President. India's young are the world champs. And we are stuck with the same old archaic polity of status-quo-ism and appeasement (take a not-give a vote) as if time has frozen for Indian politics. Change it or perish, that's the only message of a youthful, vibrant India who can't wait to emerge victorious. Ask a few questions before you go to sleep. Why can't our primary schools, universities and airports be the best in the world? And courts, police posts, hospitals, roadways and railway stations more people friendly? The chaotic and dirty platforms, uncleaned compartments and difficult journeys speak about the rich oriented, elitist hypocrisy of 'Garib Rath' wallahs. The stark truth shows up on any metropolitan station where the poor wait for a corner in the trains like unwanted dirt as they can't afford to buy a reserved berth. Any day, any time, Indian capital's twin station show the raj of the middlemen, filthy platforms and a system blind to the passengers' plight. The situation has improved only for the internet users and credit card holders who travel AC class. But which part of India do they represent? Thousands of people, Indian citizens, live like insects on footpaths in Delhi and the night shelters govt. runs for them are the messiest dens of dark acts.
A double digit growth chart is fine, but the poor have become poorer and the suicides of farmers are a statement of an economy that doesn't care for its common people. Travel north to south in any train, preferably in a sleeper class and see the vast expanse of the land on both sides. It's all agricultural land and people with faith in karma sweat to feed a nation that cares more for the cricketers and film actors. Political parties vie with each other to give a parliamentary seat to glamorous entertainers who would be simply inaccessible to the cadre and masses after the swearing in. Its moneyed who live luxuriously on the labours of the commoners. The system facilitates this irony. Faith and economy go hand in hand in Indian ethos. Deriding faith and hijacking economy for the neo-rich and politically influential is a murder of trust imposed in the state by the people. That’s what this government is doing. Imagine leaving your house in New Jersey, Oklahoma , Fatehpuri in Delhi or Lucknow for fear of terrorists and living in tented accommodations hundreds of miles away. Lost orchards, deserted temples, bewildered and traumatised children, emasculated dreams and ambitions dying young. With no future that can excite or thrill. Life means waiting to die. That's what this government has given to our own patriotic people in an independent nation. From Kashmir's Pandits to Tripura's Reangs, the story is the same. Look at Bundelkhand. Scorched earth dried up water levels, no harvest and no space for any livelihood. People have died of hunger, malnutrition and lack of bare minimum living conditions. And the politicians are the richest millionaires of this region. None helped the dying farmers and rural labourers. Moneyed and powerful, who could have helped wrote letters to the editors and issued statements condemning each other. Political leaders failed. The non-political leaders fled. Is that the India we celebrate as the fast moving economy? Money spent is not development ensured. If that was the case, J&K would have been the most developed area with people happily singing national anthem and north-eastern states would have left Mumbai and Bangalore miles behind. Money was never in scarcity for Orissa's Kalahandi or Punjab's farm lands. Yet the poor died of hunger or committed suicides. Farmers of Punjab on the suicide path? It should have woken up the people and Parliament like the Taj Mahal was being bombarded. Nothing happened. Because farmers are not models or film actresses. Hence media too took a cursory notice.
The worst kept temples in the north are the Shiva temples where Brahmin priests have not only refused to train the disadvantaged children into priesthood, but have laboriously managed to tighten their stranglehold on disrobing the faithful and keeping the lanes and surroundings of the temple in the most unhygienic condition. Sometime back, a friend's family came from Suriname to visit Kashi with young members of the family, obviously first time visitors to Hindustan, to show them the land, culture and religious places of their ancestors. Having visited Kashi, they wept and lamented for their decision. Brahmin priests robed not only their money but also their trust in the pilgrimage and religious rituals. Opening third eye means unshackling our temples from such a castiest stranglehold and making them a centres of cultural and civilisational rejuvenation open to all Hindus without any discriminations and seeing that to be the high priests, the only factor that should matters is the qualification and a scholarship to deliver and not the caste which makes even the illiterate to hold high position and deprives the others even to aspire for it. Why do we have to wait endlessly to have our brave hearts released from the Pakistani jails? That too after their conversion to Islam? Is converting a helpless, jailed person an act of bravery and brings glory to their religion? Rivers of India are fast drying from Ganga, Kaveri to Bharat puzha. Glaciers are shrinking. The senseless pilgrims and apathetical governance leaves all the garbage at Har ki pauri, Rameshwaram, Gangotri and Gaumukh- the source of Ganga. All the filth and human excreta is straightway downed in Ganga and Jamuna by hoteliers and government guest houses in Gangotri and Yamunotri. And then they worship the river for 'sanctioning' a son or an election ticket!! An Islamic centre known world over as the production point of Taliban mentality issues a statement on terrorism like its the victim of terrorists who come from 'Unidentified Foreign Lands' and media laps it up as if India and United states have joined hands to finally ‘smoke out the terrorists from their hideouts’. No voice is heard against the sheer duplicity and the hypocrisy of the long bearded insensitive mullahs using 21st century luxuries and liberties to nurse a 14th century Arabian mindset. It's the flow of the Indian soul that's been under assault by a stale, fossilised, unacceptable colour of politics. Change it. For the good of the nation. Make up your mind. For preserving and re-inventing everything that defines India.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The blessed path

28 Feb 2008, 1739 hrs IST,

Tarun Vijay

What does it mean to leave a newspaper one has grown with for several decades and join a political party's think-tank? Leaving Panchjanya is like giving up a part of my body, a whole world of love and affection and unstinting support from those who kept the flame of my conscience alive. It's rare to become the second youngest editor of a journal which is widely regarded as the voice of the largest Hindu movement on earth and survive so long there. Working in an ideological paper elevates. But it binds too. It's unbelievable that in my nineteen years as editor, there was not a single moment when my RSS bosses called me and said: “Look, this is not done. What you have published is wrong in our eyes, better correct or...” Never. We committed mistakes, published what hurt our own, and took immense liberties. When L.K. Advani was Deputy. Prime Minister and Home Minister, we wrote an editorial severely criticizing his Kashmir policy. We were not de-listed. And Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not only my first editor, but first reader too. Many of our issues were warmly appreciated and severely criticized by him. He would call even when he became Prime Minister to say what we have published is good or simply intolerable. He didn't like criticising opponents personally and would always advise: “Oppose as vehemently you can, but on policies and programmes. Refrain from personal attacks.” We started publishing film reviews more freely, a women's column with a picture of a beautiful lady and news and views of all our opponents in a paper that was widely perceived as conservative and archaic. Everyone who opposed our ideological stand was published honourably without a single cut, from Somnath Chatterjea to A.B. Bardhan and D. Raja to Shahabuddin and Bukhari. IPTA's theatre new items got published along with Sanskar Bharati's. It shocked our opponents but pleased our friends – it showed the strength of our commitment to what we believe in – dialogue. That's Hindutva and not the Siberia-ism or creating of a Gulag on every news desk by the so called 'independent', 'objective' and 'fearless' journalists of the secular hue. There were moments when the Sarsanghchalak (RSS Chief) would simply walk in without prior notice to see how we were working and have a cup of tea or nimbu pani . We all worked at very low salaries put in the longest hours without complaining or demanding overtime; the mission kept us alive. It's difficult, if not impossible to work in a Hindi journal to cater ideological arsenal to the faithful when the entire intellectual discourse has been confined to just one language – English. You end up creating more foes than friends. But as Rajju Bhaiyya (Prof. Rajendra Singh), my mentor and the fourth RSS chief used to say, take the challenge head on and look into the eyes of your opponent fearlessly. You will emerge a winner. Be willing to self-correct and believe only in one god – your ideology with a 200 per cent commitment. Everything else, including the top leaders, is secondary to ideology. He would add that if you are going to Thiruvananthapuram, don't get into a squabble at Jhansi station. Once he said: “Never go too close to leaders you adore” , adding that sometimes proximity turns you from idolatrous to iconoclastic, citing the examples of Nehru and Narsimha Rao.
Too many years at one station makes one yearn for a change and new challenges. Going to Zanskar on a 10-day Wangchuk Chhenpo chaddar trek or getting lost in the Indus source region in Nyari province of western Tibet are some of the things I wanted to take up while exploring new avenues and vistas of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya's Integral Humanism as a student. I also had to honour my commitment to my Chinese friends to write a book on bilateral relations. It took exactly three years to have my work station changed. In the history of Panchjanya I got the best farewell ever given to an editor. What else would a journalist dream of? Some felt happy and a couple of friends emailed me – “Oh! Sorry to see you joining a political set-up... It's a world where old tea planters of the butchery inclinations have been replaced by 'news planters' pocketing media sources to back stab a colleague, in whose appreciation a book might have been released by the same politician hours before. In contemporary polity, talking ideology is not exactly an 'in' thing. Ideologies look collapsed and are fast replaced by a polity of wealth and deceit. Though it might be a general perception, the basic values of simplicity and commitment have survived and always find a patient audience. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Hiren Mukherji, Ram Manohar Lohia, Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel can be named among hundreds of such people who are still adored and inspire. Ideological apartheid should give way to a shared commitment to an idea called India. My take is: never compromise on your commitments. It's your actions alone that save. Ultimately you have to bear your own cross. As a Hindu, the life and soul are immortal, only the attire, the body, perishes and a new life awaits. So why fear? M.S. Golwalkar, the spiritual fountainhead of the RSS, would warn: never be hasty in forming a government without ideological commitment. I feel indebted not only to those whose colour I wear, but to those as much whom we have been attacking and hopefully will continue to oppose for their different hue of ideas. Some of the best friends who taught me the real meaning of understanding and intellectual honesty are those who are across the fence and they are Muslims, Christians and hardened Communists who make me envious of their unabridged commitment. They have enriched my life and opened new windows. To cap it, we went to Vaishno Devi on 25th Feb and it taught me strength of higher values, of ideology overpowering micro-identities. If life was just bread and butter, pilgrimages would be a non-starter and music wouldn't have been described as ennobling. In times of precipitated intolerance against each other based on parochial and religious identities, the pilgrims' progress shows the strength of nobler bonds. There were Marathis and Biharis, UP- wale bhaiyyas and Gujaratis mingling with Malyalees and Punjabis of all shades – amdasis, Sikhs and Monas (Hindus) and Buddhists from Leh and Sikkim .All melted in one colour - Jai Mata Ki. Each one helps the other to walk miles of steep climb and encourages the other to keep at it. They may be complete strangers and none notices if the other is well dress or poorly attired. A billionaire and a cobbler walk the same path with the same confidence and commitment. That's the miracle of sharing and believing I saw during the Ramjanmabhoomi movement where provincial, caste and language identities were completely submerged in the broader, higher goal of rejuvenating the bruised national icon of Sri Ram. During the Kargil war too, the same spirit of harmony was exhibited extraordinarily and it bound Indians of all faiths with a thread of patriotism. This can be achieved only through ideology of purpose and not through personality cults. It was an ideology that gave us Buddha who inspired people the world over, instilling universal values of acceptance and inclusiveness. Today he represents the soul of India more than anyone else. Life revolves around ideas. Bricks, mortar, reproduction and sumptuous meals play a supplementary role: essential yet not the whole. A stream of ideas encompassing a world view, woven around ennobling values and defining the relationship between the known and the unknown often forms an ideological way. Those who have chosen one are blessed. Today the battle is ideological being fought by ill-equipped warriors of different hues. Some understand it a personal play and keep their organization a private limited corporate business trading votes for some considerations. The long-term players with ideological commitments can wait patiently to find the opportune time for the final victory. That alone will help and not the impatience leading to unsavoury compromises. There has to be a paradigm shift in our approach and idioms that we use to address the youth. That alone is going to lead the war of ideologies. The myth of Aryan invasion, a Dhimmitude directing our polity and actions, intense hateful assaults on anything Hindu and spineless responses by an ill-informed crowd that represents the durbari class of Raibahadurs of the colonial period, absence of unity of purpose and the threat of barbaric intolerance can be faced with an uncompromising and unapologetic pride in being Indian inheritors of a great Hindu civilization. Being a Hindu should be an elevating and enriching factor of our life instead of making us feel embarrassed. Sri Aurobindo had clearly and unambiguously defined our nationalism as Sanatan Dharma, the eternal righteousness that defines what people understand as Hinduism. None has ever said that Sri Aurobindo was communal, so why do have fear today? He believed in the great destiny of India and gave us a path that was universal yet distinctly Indian. Why hesitate to redefine it and adopt for contemporary polity? Defeating ideologies incompatible with the contemporary values of egalitarianism and plurality should form our foundation of nationalism which strives for material progress and ecological safeguards too as an essential part of Hindu dharma. As much as 1.25 lakh sq km of our land is in enemy possession; this, as well as two flags for Kashmir fluttering over Srinagar Secretariat and the killing and uprooting of patriots should hurt us, give us sleepless nights and steel our resolve to undo the wrongs. Our entire approach to science and technological advances has to be tested on the touchstone of ecological safety and human happiness with an integral approach to all creations, overwriting the consumerist approach. Those who fear war get war and those who are ashamed at being what they are get nothing but shame from everyone. Never say yes when you ought to say no and never compromise on basic issues. That's what those who have an ideological commitment declare. Rest, simply pass time.