In recent times, there has been a lot of heartburn among people that the elite (or rich and educated) among Hindus, have been taking a ‘strongly irreligious’ or even anti-Hindu line. Some derisively call them ‘anti-nationals’, ‘sickulars’, ‘libtards’ or ‘just liberals’. They are accused of making it a habit to show their secular and liberal credentials by trashing all things Hindu.
So how true is this? How does does one arrive at a judgement on this one? Who is the appropriate authority to give an opinion on this? My view is that every one and his aunt can.
I shall begin by giving my views on this. The average Indian (note, not just Hindu) elite is essentially enlightened, of liberal leaning and welcoming of all thoughts and ideas. He is one who takes pride in his ability to assimilate the best that the world can offer. He cites with pride what his culture has given to the world. He is the first to shout with joy when an Indian wins at the Asian Games or for that matter at any other contest. He is delighted when an Indian-origin child wins the Spelling Bee in the US. He points with pride at the Indian origin Miss USA/ Miss Japan. He is equally happy for Tagore’s and Mother Teresa’s Nobel Prizes. Not for a moment, does it occur to him that the Mother was born in a foreign land or that she professed a faith different from his.
This person is sensitive. He is sensitive about his position in society as well as that of others he deals with, day in and day out. He reads his newspaper and watches his favourite news and entertainment channels. He takes pride in his ability to judge events around him. However, he is also acutely conscious that he is often swayed by the various views that he is daily bombarded with in the media.
He will normally not lend a ready ear to political or religious dogma but, to borrow a phrase from the ‘good’ old days of socialism and communism, he is also reactionary.
He cringes at what he sees as extremism of any kind. It could be religious intolerance or even burning of a bus, after a favourite football team has lost a match. It puts his back up against such acts and those perpetrating such acts.
He will participate in candle-lit vigils for ‘Nirbhaya’ but will also laugh at the opposition for questioning the veracity of the ‘surgical strikes’ of the army. Funnily enough, he differentiates between ‘Gau-Raksha’ and ‘Gau-Rakshaks’. He might be violently against the ‘Rakshaks’ as he often sees them as hooligans taking advantage of the prevailing environment whereas he might or might not still be for Gau-Raksha. Surely, that’s his right under the document whose preamble starts with ‘We The People of India’.
As he is acutely conscious of his ‘minority’ status when it comes to public display of dissent against acts of ‘populist’ extremism, he has to resort to social media and such other means of registering his view.