(These views were written with reference to the viewpoint of Salil Tripathi in Wall Street Journal titled "Intolerant India")
Many of us here in India have faced enough hate and hate speech to show India as not-so-tolerant society. But we also know what is the “Laxman Rekha” (the fine line of bellicosity) that must be maintained. For example, till recently I got away with calling Gandhi a “B—–d Bania” to have his family bay for my blood and the Indian Parliament threaten to arrest me for being a “verbal terrorist” (don’t know what that means).
I fully understand – and love Hussain’s paintings and art work — knowing where he comes from (Bollywood poster art). I’ve called the immensely popular Baba Ramdev “an idiot” on TV and got enough hate mail. In Bombay, despite the Shiv Sena’s threats, I continue to edit and publish a gay and lesbian magazine called ‘”Bombay Dost” and have even sent copies to Bal Thackeray for reviewing in his stupid newspaper ‘Saamna”. I even wrote a letter to his nephew to get out of Bombay as it belonged to my Mother’s family (her family temple still stands safe from Muslim marauders at Banganga at South Bombay’s tip at Walkeshwar (Walu means sand and Keshwar is another name for Shiva with his matted hair).
India is a huge jigsaw puzzle and you must love the whole picture to understand how to navigate it. For example, I would support Taslima Nasreen because she is a Muslim who challenges Islam from “within Islamic tradition”. I will NOT support Hussain because he is a Muslim suddenly seeing “purity”: in depicting Hindu goddesses in the nude. He happens to be Muslim and let him interpret Islam from within Muslim tradition and not give me lectures how much of Tulsidas’ Ramayana he knows. When asked why he did not paint Mohamed’s wife Ayesha in the nude, his answer was:” But Muslims won’t tolerate that” says it all.
You must know Hinduism takes to “shashtrarth” (shredding the scriptures and analyzing them ruthlessly) seriously and I have stood within orthodox gatherings of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad known as the most intolerant of the right wing Hindus and talked about “Our Homosexual Heritage” without a single person throwing stones at me. I dare Hussain or any Muslim gay man to do that at a gathering of devout Muslims. Or Christians for all I care. One of my Christian kids did that at a Christian-Muslim gathering and they threw shoes at him. He’s converted to Kali worship in retaliation..
If you don’t know your India then don’t interpret it for these damn Feringis and their followers. I don’t care to say more than that.
Salil, you do a great dis-service. Remember Savarkar’s advice to Bhimrao Ambedkar: “Bhimrao, once you cross the river of the Dharma (Dharmantar) do not look back. Create your new world and fight for that new world”. That’s why Ambedkar became Buddhist and did not go into the festering swamps of the Abrahamic cults and Hindus still listen to Dalits but not to Kancha Ilaih because we know whose mouthpiece he is.
Hinduism will find her feet and she will find it though every kind of discourse and discussion. But that will be W-I-T-H-I-N the four corners of the Indic Dharma as even the Akali-Sikhs are realizing after their followers got beheaded in the cesspool called Pakistan.
India will win in the end
So understand that Salil and others – and wonder at this great civilization called India.
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