Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Violence by Majority

What is the common thing between these incidents? Pushyamitra destroying Buddhist Viharas in BC, Veerashaivas sacking Jain temples in medieval period, 1984 riots and Gujarat riots in 2002. All were the act of majority against minorities. Both Left and Right Wing present different version. Does the Truth has any orientation (left or right) or can truth be just truth?

Pushyamitra's attack on Buddhist's monument.
Left version: "...Divyavadana, a text of about the second-third century AD, depicts Pushyamitra Shunga as a great persecutor of Buddhists. In a crusading march with a huge army he destroyed stupas, burnt monasteries and killed monks.
Right version (quoting from Koenraad Elst's site): After Ashoka's lavish sponsorship of Buddhism, it is perfectly possible that Buddhist institutions fell on slightly harder times under the Shungas, but persecution is still another matter. The famous historian of Buddhism Etienne Lamotte has observed: "To judge from the documents, Pushyamitra must be acquitted through lack of proof."

My point. If Ashokavadana and Divyavadana  are mythical books, we can treat both Ashoka and Pushyamitra as innocents. If we feel part of it at least must be true (which describes both Ashoka and Pushyamitra as brutal kings), then Ashoka's deeds becomes actions and Pushyamitra's deeds becomes reactions. Why cannot we (Hindus) acknowledge that a person could have retaliated against oppression and the retaliation could have been violent?
Second one: Veerashaivas destroying Jaina temples:
Left's version: The Jaina temples of Karnataka went through a traumatic experience at the hands the Lingayats or Virashaivas in the early second millennium AD ...... At Hubli, the temple of the five Jinas was converted into a Panchalingeshwara Shaivite temple, the five lingas replacing the five Jinas in the sancta. Some other Jaina temples met the same fate.
Right's argument: From Dr. Fleet's study of these sources, it seems that the Shaivas who were so hostile to the Jains, belonged to the Veerashaiva or Lingayat sect  ..... Now, the Veerashaivas were an anti-caste and anti-Brahminical sect. As these are considered good qualities, negationists have tried to link them to the influence of Muslim missionaries, who were indeed very active on India's West coast, where and when the Veerashaiva doctrine was developed. Let us assume there was indeed Muslim influence on the Veerashaiva sect. In that case, the negationists should acknowledge that the Veerashaivas' occasional acts of intolerance may equally be due to the influence of Islam.

My point: In the left's version, reason for Veerashaiva's anger is conspicuously missing. Let us not forget, Jainism was not a weak religion in south. It was the religion of the kings including Bijjala who supported Basava (founder of Veerashaivism). Being powerful, it tried to dominate and curb the Veerashaiva movement at some point. Veerashaivas retaliated. Neither Jainism was a helpless religion as left portrayed, nor Veerashaivas were inspired by Islam as advocated by rightists. (There was no need to bring Islam in this case). It was again action and reaction.
I can say the similar thing on Tipu Sultan as well. People who say he was secular ignore, what he did for people of Malabar coast. People who say he was fanatic will not bother to explain, why Hindu Marathas planned to attack Sringeri while Tipu gave shelter to Mutt. To me, both were political statements rather than religious ones. One rule for the things belonging to their territory, another for those who don't belong to their territory. I am not saying the same for other Muslim rulers. At least in Tipu's case; he was neither secular nor fanatic, not patriot either (getting French's help to fight British is not patriotism). He was just another ordinary king who looked after his kingdom, but was brutal towards the people belonging to other kingdom.
Delhi and Gujarat riots: Often the topic of clash with 2 major political parties in India each calling (only) one as the pogrom (ignoring the other). People who condemn Godhra riots (left) go quite while condemning the coach burning. People (rights) who say Godhra riots would not have happened if there was no coach burning are not ready to accept, Bombay riots also would not have happened if there was no Advani's Rathyatra. Side lining  Modi/Gandhi, BJP/Congress, I just try to consider the background and reaction of the mass.
Khalistan movement:  The movement of independent Punjab had highly communal shade (at higher degree than Islamic terrorism). A bomb planted by a Jehadi would kill some Muslims too. But Panjab militants have stopped the bus, have asked Hindu passengers to get down and killed them. Number of Hindus killed during this time (over the period of  ten years) was around 2000. Indira Gandhi's death was a trigger. It unleashed the anger inside Hindus, which was suppressed for a decade. When they hit back, they settled the score in 3 days.
Godhra: A train carrying Hindu passenger caught fire. All passengers got burnt alive. Scholars kept debating, whether the fire was intentional or not. People on the street put forward their point by rioting. The corresponding riot took away lives which were ten times that of the passengers burnt.
Common thing with both, it was not the majority who triggered the violence. Patience of the silent majority was continuously stroked by minorities (Sikhs and Muslims in each case). When majority finally retaliated, it replied brutally. I am not justifying any of the violence here. But what I am seeing is the nature's law. Yes it is not ideal, because we human beings are not ideal.
The theory put forward by left wingers during Ram Janmabhumi movement was, Hindus probably have no claim over the land. The ruins could be consisting of Jain temple, which was brought down by Hindus at some point. (When Hindus also have brought down others temples, they have no right to cry fowl when someone else brings their temple down). If what they are arguing is true, then they will have to give an explanation, why Hindus brought these temples down. If we try to find the answer, I am afraid their theory backfires them.  It was probably Hindu's anger against the ruling class (which suppressed their faith), which made them bring these structures down. They did it just the way what today's people are trying to do. 

For those people who equate Gyanavapi Mosque and the temple are one and the same, just one question; Can they give one example, wherein a Muslim family has travelled from Tamilnad to visit the Mosque? Hindus can give in thousands from every corner of India, where people went without any knowledge of Hindi, with no guarantee of returning. Whatever be the ruling ideology; Buddhism/Jainism/Islam or Secularism, it can't survive long if it overrules majority's sentiments for too long.

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