Saving the Dangs

I find the Sangh parivar’s focus on ‘converting’ Adivasis’ to Hindusim very odd. But, even odder is the Sangh parivar’s dedication to a term used by Persian invaders to describe a geographical entity – the people of the Indu river. Indoos. Technically speaking the only Indoos are on the other side of the border 🙂

Hindu is a catch all term used to describe anything from animism to atheism and a whole of lot if ‘ism’s’ in between. Technically speaking – and technicality is both the soul of law and theology – when you have a term that describes multiple paths – then surely Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Douglas Adamism, Mormonism, Iskonism, etal – can be considered to be equally valid paths.

But, unfortunately the Hindutva movement has nothing to do with the broad canvas that is called Hinduism. It is a narrow one way path filled with hatred, fear and venom. It has anyone who does not adhere to their narrow view of the world in their crosshairs. In that sense, they probably have more in common with the Al Qaeda than with the bulk of people who practise “Hinduism”. (aside, you should see my driver on his way into town – there is a little namaskar – at a church, a mosque, a temple, a tree with a garland – practically anything that has ‘religious’ significance’. You should see some of the villages in Maharashtra – the mosque and the temple sharing a commong wall is not an invention of cinema, it exists.)

Instead of doing damn fool things like distributing tridents, burning churches and mosques, terrorising missionaries, burning libraries, breaking and looting business establishments – if the Hindutva movement focussed on service and karma yoga – then maybe people will join them without any compulsion.

This current rant of mine has been brought on by two very differnt stories in todays’ newspaper.
The first was on the poorest district in India. No it is not in Bihar or Orissa. It is in Gujarat. The district is Dangs.

The second story is also about Dangs. It is about how the Sangh parivar is going to hold the Sabari Kumbh Mela to convert Adivasis to Hinduism. Both questions can be asked here – Why, would you convert some one from “hinduism” to “hinduism”. or how can you convert someone to something that doesn’t exist. If Hindutva mean Vaishnavite tradition or Ram worship – then it is not “hinduism” it is Vaishnavitism (if such a word exists). On the other hand if you are going to accept the term “Hinduism” warts and all – then it already includes the religion of the Dang people – whether it is tree worship or the worship of Jesus and Mary.

Also, will it not be better for the Sangh Parivaar if they actually ended up expending their organisational effieciency – and the parivaar is one of the most organised political entities in Indian – on alleviating poverty rather than a mela. If they built schools, hospitals, and funded projects that generated employement – maybe they will get more converts to the cause, rather than having a bunch of aggressive hindutvadis descend on the area for a week and have a free for all party.

And finally, if they really wanted to do service to the cause of Ram, then they should leave the Adivasis alone. For if they remember the Ramayan – then they should know that Ram never imposes his values on Shabri. On the contrary, he accepts her traditions without judgement. Maybe, if the Hindutvadi’s read the Ramayan or the Mahabharat – they would realise that this thing that they call “hinduism” is not about temples and buildings and symbols. It is simply following the path of righteousness.

5 Replies to “Saving the Dangs”

  1. 1. On a similar note, will you dedicate posts exclusively to bashing christian evangelists?

    2. Most RSS people I know personally are absolutely selfless individuals who have dedicated their lives to the well-being of the people around. They are most cultured and dignified, and do not have hatred against anyone or anything. Indeed, the RSS does huge amounts of social service, they have established schools etc. but the media pays scant attention to their work. I have read details of various social service by vanavAsi kalyAN Ashram etc. but haven’t met the people personally.

    3. The Indian express article mostly uses “indirect speech” – which means in all probability they would have twisted the words of the kAryakartas. It exudes tons of blind hatred.

    4. Now what has this to do with the first article – Dang being the poorest place? Even christian missionaries work only in the poorest places?

    5. Why do you imply that the sangh is “imposing” its idea? Holding a shabari pUja doesn’t mean that AdivAsi beliefs and customs are non-hindu or uncultured.

  2. a) i have an issue with aggressive evangalising what ever be the religion that imposes it. on the other hand i dont’ have an issue with relgiious order across the board who serve the poor. So you won’t hear me bashing the Shankara mutts, the arya samaj, ISKONites, Swami Agnivesh etal – or indeed the Fransicans and many of the Catholic outfits. You will definitely read me mocking Arab Money, Benny Hines etal. I haven’t had a chance to rip into them – yet on this blog tho’ i have on other people’s blogs- but sooner or later you will find me doing this.

    b) RSS is extremely well organised – i have said so in my post. I respect their ability to mobilise a whole host of things. But, on the other hand it also shows a completely dogmatic view of life. I also have an issue with their hypocrisy. Many RSSites i know – incluidng key leaders – are atheists – yet their political fixation with Ram is taking them down the same path of missionary activity that they loathe. Most RSS people that i know are rationalists and non ritualists -yet they perpetuate empty rituals for political mileage. If they had used this organising power to set up schools, hospitals, small training sessions for self employment, a system of marketing produce that ensured most of the money stayed with the dangs – they would not just earn more converts to the cause, but also improve the economic condition of the Dangs. One of the reasons that the Catholic church is gaining strength in India is because it works with the grassroots and tries and allieviate poverty. and then it tries to convert. not the other way round. maybe, the RSS should take a leaf out of this book. the rest of the Christian missionaries (non Catholic) go the other way. Preach and then allievate. It is not so successful.

    c) i didn’t see the ‘blind’ hatred that you do – so it is obviously a point of view.
    d) You want to save people’s souls and get them to your way of ‘life” then do something about it rather than a free for all party. In the poorest district in the country you spend money having havans. I am sure both Ram and Shabari are waiting with bated breath for some ritual that has no relevance to anything – either devotion, or survival, or love. The only faith that the Sangh parivar is trying to establish – is that of its completley demotivated followers by doing this kind of thing. AFterall, since the BJP lost the elections the parivaar looks more and more like one of the soap families – fighting about absolutely inane things in publice. And the level of demoralisaiton with the footsoldiers is huge.

    d) animism is as much a part of hinduism as yagna, havan or ram worship is. The adavisi way of life and their faith is as important as the “arya” way. And Ram recognises this when he eats the “jhooti” beri from sabri. He realises that a) she is a devotee b) that she payed him the greatest complement she chose the best tasting beri’s. He didn’t say “chee, jhoota hai – nahin khaunga”. Accept Hinduism in its spirit not in its rituals. Ram did – why do you assume that the Advisi belief is non hindu or uncultured.

    Finally, maybe if the frog came out of the well it may have a better view of things. Ivory Towers and wells tend to restrict ground level reality 🙂

  3. a. Where is “imposition” here? And why do you have to be prodded like this to speak against missionaries ( and in a highly qualified fashion )?

    b. Just because someone may be an atheist it doesn’t mean he/she believes rituals are empty. It is your highly personal opinion that they are promoting empty rituals. They do invest a lot of their money and energy into social service. And whether spiritual or economic development is more important to a region is a subjective issue; so it doesn’t make sense to expect everyone to work only for building hospitals schools etc. ( which also they do ).

    RSS is extremely well organised – i have said so in my post.

    What is the point of stating this here?

    c. That two people differ on an issue doesn’t immediately make it just a “point of view”, unless you subscribe to extreme relativism. For instance, the controversial statements from RSS side written in indirect speech – what can be the motivation if not to tamper with the sentence constructions? Now :

    for some ritual that has no relevance to anything – either devotion, or survival, or love.

    Why do you assume the ritual has no relevance to any of these? This shows your blind hatred.

    d. why do you assume that the Advisi belief is non hindu or uncultured.

    Where did I say this? So who is making
    flawed interpretations?

    Finally, maybe if the frog came out of the well it may have a

    That is none of your business. If you have any sense of you should judge my comments purely on the basis of my arguments.

  4. RSS is not going to convert Adivasis to Hinduism. They are already Hindus only. (As per Bharath Constitution those not Muslims, not Christians all are Hindus.) The problem is christianism( so called christianity should not be called as christianity it should be christianism) makes the innocent Hindu vanvasi people converts to one god principle. that is against our culture.

    to stop the conversion to one god principle, sabhari kumbhmela is going to be held. no one can’t stop the kumbhmela.

Leave a Reply