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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Indus Calling The liberal Hindu is on a global high

SUNDAY TIMES
Saturday Nov 15, 2009

Tarun Vijay

A week ago i received an offer that was difficult to refuse. I was invited to speak to a distinguished audience at Taj Mumbai, which was partly destroyed during the 26/11 terrorist attacks. Nearly a year later, the hotel stands restored. In a way, it may be seen to represent the spirit of Hindu resurrection.

Its rise, literally from the ashes, could be seen in the context of the ancient Somnath temple, which was repeatedly destroyed by invaders and rebuilt each time. The audience was the great surprise of the evening. It was well-heeled and very keen to find out about the global Hindu footprint in the contemporary world. That’s the ‘new Hindu’ — modern, rich, powerful and a staunch believer in pluralism and diversity.

This ‘new Hindu’ is everywhere today. Lakshmi Mittal, one of the world’s richest people, now lives in London. Molecular biologist Venkat Ramakrishnan, who shared this year’s Nobel prize for chemistry with his colleagues, is based in the US. Pranav Mistry, who works at MIT’s tech lab, is the founder of the futuristic techno invention SixthSense which may change the way we live. Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo chief and ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s 100 most powerful women lives in the US. The list is endless. All of them are players at the global level; they make waves in their respective fields and force the world to sit up and take notice. They are a force to reckon with; they are difficult to ignore.

Till a few centuries ago, the Hindus were confronted by marauding Muslim invaders and proselytizing Christian missionaries. But they showed extraordinary resilience. Their rise to great heights is this millennium’s incredible saga of resurrection.

These ‘new Hindus’ are taking the religion to new lands, which would have been unthinkable just a little while ago. This is why Shanghai celebrated its first Diwali with businessman Vijay Chaudhry from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan. Swaminarayan temples world wide are turning into Hindu awareness centres including the one at Muscat. Sri Sri Ravishankar was asked to spread the message of peace in war-torn Iraq.

Some little time ago, Time magazine’s cover story was on the healing powers of yoga and chanting of ‘Om’. This is the first year that Diwali was celebrated in that seat of world power, the White House. The Gayatri mantra can now be heard in Rome, New York and Beijing. All this thanks to the liberal and successful Hindu, who will never bomb his adopted country, but instead makes it home by importing a bit of his native land. In Paramaribo, Suriname’s capital, the local river became the Ganga for Indians settled there; in Mauritius’ Port Louis, a water body was named Ganga Talab; in Bangladesh, Hindus have strengthened a movement to rebuild a Kali temple destroyed in 1971.

The point to note is that today’s Hindu is different from before. He is more empowered, open to new ideas and adventures. His political affiliations may vary but he believes that India needs a revival with an unmistakable Hindu stamp. Spiritual gurus such as Sri Sri Ravishankar and Mata Amritanandamayee are among some of India’s most globally admired Hindus. Unlike the fossils of Deoband and Raj Thackeray, they strive for the greater common good, which empowers India to be strong as well as punish the wicked.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has become India’s largest non-governmental effort in hospitals, blood banks, eye donation, schools and the barefoot doctors’ movement. This, at a time that it is threatened by a class of attacker known as ‘the secular’.

Hinduism is the world’s only living religion to be known for its compassion and wisdom, rather than its massacres. The challenge is to build a grand future that does not knock the sentiments and beliefs of the majority, which has been trying to rise after centuries of
brutalization.

1 comment:

Dr. Milind said...

आदरणीय तरुणजी
आप के उपरोक्त लेख की सभी बातें उचित हैं. कल मैं गुणवत्ता संचलन और प पु मोहनजी के कार्यक्रम के लिए पुणे में था उन्होंने भी राज ठाकरे के विषय में कहा और अख़बारों में हमेशा की तरह तोड़ मरोड़ के लिखा गया.
पर सवाल है राज ठाकरे सफल क्यों है.(यदि उनकी सद्य सफलताओं को देखें )., अथवा इस प्रकार के अवसरवादी कुछ समय के लिए भी सही सफल हो जाते हैं.
यदि अबू आज़मी जैसे लोग किसी भी तरह से, कोई भी हथकंडा अपनाकर स्थानीय लोगों के वर्त्तमान और भविष्य के साथ खिलवाड़ करते हैं तो राज ठाकरे सफल हो जाते हैं.
फिर स्थानीय जन मानस इतिहास मीमांसा नहीं करता , मध्य प्रदेश और दिल्ली के मुख्यमंत्री भी बिहारी अतिक्रमण के प्रति यही भावनाएं रखते हैं .
मैं तो समझता हूँ कि, महाराष्ट्र कि समस्या वर्त्तमान के सिमित अवसरों के कारण जन सामान्य में भय (insecurity complex ) के कारण उत्पन्न हुई है . राज ठाकरे जैसे लोग उसका फायदा उठा रहें हैं . राज को इतिहास समझाकर इसे हल नहीं किया जा सकता, इस बात को सभी ने समझना चाहिए. हम जनसामान्य से भी ये अपेक्षा नहीं रख सकते कि वे संविधान ने दिए अधिकार के कारण उत्तर भारत से हो रहे mass migration का विरोध न करें. इस आर्थिक विषय को आर्थिक नीतियों में सुधार ला कर ही हल किया जा सकता है.

Milind Khandwe, Nasik