As the Modi government is running the last leg of its race, cry against minorities is getting shriller. With many foul-mouthing politicians indulging in no-holds-barred anti-minority bashing, some Sangh Parivar leaders are taking the pitch to higher levels. One got to see its bizarre manifestation when Sadhvi Deva Thakur recently sought compulsory sterilization of Muslims and Christians in the country to bring down their population. On equal measure, she urged her Hindu brethren to have more children to put their population on fast-track growth.
The Sadhvi is not the first to make such a weird comment. In the very first year of Narendra Modi government taking charge, a leader of Dharm Jagran Samiti (DJS), a Sangh Parivar outfit, had stated: “Our target is to make India a Hindu Rashtra by 2021. The Muslims and Christians don’t have any right to stay here. They would either be converted to Hinduism or forced to run away from here.” In the last few years, other leaders of such groups have also joined ‘India for Hindus only’ sloganeering.
The Sadhvi is wrong on many counts. She has chosen to hide the fact that the population of Christians in the last couple of decades or more is stagnant at 2.3 percent. Similarly, since 1991 the largest decline in fertility rates among all religious groups in India has occurred among Muslims. The Sachar Committee report showed that the Muslim population growth has slowed down and will be on par with national average.
Hence Sadhvi Thakur’s crude and rude suggestion of c ompulsory sterilization as a method to contain population growth of minorities smacks of a conspiracy to convert India into a Hindu Rashtra in line with the vision of Hindutva proponents like Savarkar and successive Sarsanghchalaks of the RSS. Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS chief, had in 2015 stated that “this was a favourable time” to bring back those who had left Hinduism. The Sadhvi’s preaching of making India a ‘minority-mukt’ nation is nothing but fulfilling the vision of the Sangh Parivar. Leaders like her are religiously taking forward the task apparently assigned to them.
India is witnessing a phenomenal growth in religion-induced hatred and violence. Preaching of violence against ‘the other’ religion goes against the secular ethos of the country. It is also counter to the message of peace and love all religions are supposed to propagate. The moot point is religions are deviating from the original teachings. They are distorting their own core values and straying away from spirituality. The all-embracing Hinduism of the yore is slowly giving way to fundamentalist Hindutva. The extremists believe that they have the whole truth and their religion is superior to all other religions.
Intoxicated by such beliefs, religious leaders begin to impose their faith on others using violent methods. They look down with contempt on other faiths. This approach gives birth to hardcore religious preachers in every religion, straying away from the original tenets and doctrines of faith. The religious scriptures too undergo biased interpretation. This leads to spread of ‘poison of communalism’. What is at stake is not merely a secular India, but the very soul of India.(Published on 06th May 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 19)