A list of what’s bothered the VHP this year8 min read . Updated: 09 May 2015, 11:33 AM IST
It certainly had nothing to do with Hinduism, or Hindus and their welfare
What keeps the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) up at night? I have known someone in the organization, Ashok Chowgule, who is its working president, for about 20 years. He’s a good man who means well and is soft-spoken. For many years, his email forwards have filled me in on what is agitating the fine minds of the VHP. I thought I would share with you the headlines of the links I have got from him this year. The content is self-explanatory and the headlines of the articles are as he has sent them. The comment in brackets is mine unless otherwise specified.
2 January: Islamization of Pakistani social studies textbooks.
5 January: Anatomy of an apologist—a double-act play (Parody on an Islamist suicide bomber).
5 January: Can Modi avoid a cultural agenda? (No).
5 January: Funding outbound conversions (Christians are evangelizing in a college).
5 January: Yes, Pakistanis are united against terrorism. But not on terrorists (“Good" Taliban are bad for Pakistan).
7 January: Where adventure and martyrdom beckon (On the lure of jihad. Chowgule’s comment: “Can there be an inquiry into why the same has not happened to the Hindu community, which is so well assimilated wherever they go, even as they keep their own culture and religion alive?").
9 January: Terror in the Name of Christ in Northeast.
12 January: Global jihad will find little appeal in India (Chowgule’s comment: “Denial reeks strongly in this article").
16 January: Why can’t these Quranic verses be used to tell the whole world that QURAN/ISLAM encourage Muslims to KILL Non-Muslims, promotes hate, violence, terror? (Chowgule’s comment: “When those who rationalize the Koran, they may wish to keep the enclosed verses in mind").
16 January: Facing Intolerance, Many Sikhs and Hindus Leave Afghanistan.
16 January: J&K—PDP refuses NC’s ‘unconditional support’, says people voted for change.
17 January: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Muslims (Part I).
17 January: ‘Charlie Hebdo cartoons are bigoted’.
20 January: Islamic India: The biggest holocaust in World History... Whitewashed from history books.
22 January: The Mirage of Hindu-Muslim Unity.
23 January: How Sufism could balance Salafism (Chowgule’s comment: “Here is a suggestion that I have. Let us create an army of the Sufis—I think not more than 10,000 would be required. Airdrop some of them in the areas controlled by the ISIS, and let them preach Sufism to those who have been converted to Salafism.")
24 January: The Muslim in liberal Europe (Chowgule’s comment: “The tone of the article clearly shows that the responsibility to deal with the Islamic terrorism lies entirely with the non-Muslim victims of Islamic terrorists").
26 January: Meet the honor brigade, an organized campaign to silence debate on Islam.
30 January: Miss Lebanon’s selfie with Miss Israel stirs row.
31 January: Separatist leader Geelani says Colonel Rai’s killers are martyrs.
2 February: Some quotes on Islam (‘Sardar Ballavbhai Patel: A nationalist Muslim is only a contradiction in terms’).
4 February: Scared of ISIS, Iraqi brothers seek refuge in India (Chowgule’s comment: “There is something wrong here. How are Muslims safe in India?").
5 February: India must not condone sedition (“No other country in the world would allow a man like Syed Ali Geelani to sing praises of terrorists who killed a senior Indian army officer and a police constable.").
8 February: Bangladeshi Hindus are mice for cats.
8 February: American faith in Hindu Gods stirs curiosity in US.
9 February: Obama—“People committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ".
10 February: The radical cleric building a militia in the heart of Islamabad.
10 February: Indian Urdu Daily Advocates Murdering Apostates After Extremist Hindu Groups Convert Muslims: ‘The First Interpreter Of The Koran, Prophet Muhammad, Has Clearly Ordered The Killing Of A Person Becoming Apostate’.
12 February: The Silence of the Liberal Muslim.
14 February: Progressive Muslims in a World of ISIS and Islamophobes. (Chowgule’s comment: “There are so many Muslim organizations that have the ear of the American administration. Some of them have had members who were active supporters of terrorist organizations in different parts of the world.").
14 February: Code of conduct issued for mosques, seminaries.
16 February: Musharraf—Pakistan and India’s backing for ‘proxies’ in Afghanistan must stop (Chowgule’s comment: In the article, the good general says: “‘India is the greatest democracy, promoter of human rights and democratic culture’? All bullshit," he said. “There is no human rights. The religion itself is anti-human rights. In the rural areas, if even the shadow of an untouchable goes on a pandit, that man can be killed." I think many of the secularists in India, of all religious faith, including that of communism, will agree with this assessment.).
21 February: U.S. Intensifies Effort to Blunt ISIS’ Message (Chowgule’s comment: “Will those who like to think themselves as moderate Muslims support this programme?").
21 February: On Nalanda University (Chowgule’s comment: “Good English is sufficient substitute for truth and logic for mainstream English media.").
22 February: Your article in TOI—‘It’s time we shed a tear for Pakistan’s other minority’ (Chowgule’s comment: “Dear Aakarji, Pranam, Can you please define who the ‘we’ is?").
25 February: Becoming what we hate (Chowgule’s comment: “The good author [Khaled Ahmed] should worry about what is happening in his own country and finally get down to do something about it.").
26 February: Islamic Intolerance Hits Debate With Muslim Author.
26 February: Mother Teresa: A Communist View.
27 February: Pakistani Hindus are a resilient minority too (Chowgule’s comment: “The author has set out many criteria to determine that the Hindus are actually a contented lot. Now, let us use the same criteria to determine the situation of the Muslims in India to determine their status in the country.").
28 February: Barack Obama cites good work by Muslims in India; says image distorted (Chowgule’s comment: “Considering the statements that Obama made in New Delhi and in Washington, it seems that he has a very poor opinion of the Hindus in India.").
1 March: In China, Civic Groups’ Freedom, and Followers, Are Vanishing.
3 March: Outspoken Indian preacher wins Saudi prize for service to Islam.
6 March: Who are the foreign fighters taking on the Islamic State?
7 March: The Enigma Behind the Smile (Chowgule’s comment: “This is an article published 5 years ago. It shows how clueless the author [Rajdeep Sardesai] is on a subject [Rahul Gandhi] he projects to the whole world that he knows a lot about. This has been the standard projection by the English media in India. The foreign media has often followed the footsteps of the English media in India, and informed their readers what the English media wants the foreign media to inform.").
7 March: Muslim chamber welcomes cow slaughter ban.
9 March: Deception, Lies Behind Making of India’s Daughter.
9 March: Muslim Women Are the Most Deprived Lot, Thanks To Silence of Community: Noorjehan Safia Niaz.
18 March: West Bengal—Mamata’s officials stop women’s football match after maulvis object to players’ clothes.
21 March: Almost all mosques destroyed in Central African Republic unrest.
25 March: How Saudi Arabia turned Sweden’s human rights criticisms into an attack on Islam.
1 April: Indians being brainwashed into believing Pakistan is the enemy: Naseeruddin Shah (Chowgule’s comment: “I think it is the actor who has been brainwashed into believing Pakistan has good intentions towards India.").
2 April: Secular martyrs (Chowgule’s comment: “The ‘I am Avijit’ movement has written zero recognition amongst the Indian secularists [blogger Avijit Roy was killed in Bangladesh in February]. While the ‘Je suis Charlie’ movement, in a land a few thousand kilometres away, got a lot of traction in the secular print and electronic media, the secular martyrs next door have received only a passing mention. This is what goes for secularism amongst the secularists in India.").
3 April: Madras HC says anti-child marriage act prevails over Muslim Personal Law (Chowgule’s comment: “Where were the ‘moderate’ Muslims when the PIL was filed? And where will they be after this judgement? Most probably still in hiding.").
5 April: Australian ISIS Widow Tells Girls ‘Lifestyle’ in Caliphate is ‘Amazing’.
9 April: Austria’s Islamic Reforms.
9 April: Tom Holland—We must not deny the religious roots of Islamic State.
11 April: An Islamic Reformation Is the World’s Best Chance for Peace (Chowgule’s comment: “And until the reform takes place, what does the world do?").
12 April: CCFI (Crop Care Federation of India) files defamation case against Greenpeace over tea report (Chowgule’s comment: “I just do not know how the members of Greenpeace look at themselves in a mirror. Is making money so very important?").
13 April: Pakistan—Victim or exporter of terrorism? (Chowgule’s comment: “The enclosed is an announcement of a programme. I do not know the content, not having seen it or read any transcript." However, my comment on the title is: Pakistan has been an exporter of terrorism for a long time, and still continues to export it. It has also become a victim recently. This has happened because the terrorists have expanded their field of operation to include Pakistan. So, for Pakistan to stop being a victim, it has to stop exporting terrorism.).
18 April: ‘Maoists are not Hindus’: Responses to Aakar Patel (Chowgule’s comment: “It just seems to me that there are so many in the anti-Hindutva camp who are still not aware that there is a category called Internet Hindus. They have been so used to having their lies going without a visible response in the mainstream media, that they just do not know how to handle the new situation.").
28 April: Nepal Tragedy and Soul Maggots (“Evangelicals are salivating at the prospect of harvesting souls of those who are suffering").
2 May: Will Gwadar Mean More Misery For Balochistan?
It is good we have bodies like the VHP. There is nothing wrong with furthering the interests of your group. How many of the articles above are actually concerned with a group of people who are a billion in number? I will leave that for the reader to judge.
Personally I don’t think being close-minded is a crime. Who among us can claim to be truly liberal? Not I. My concern is with the name. They should consider renaming themselves Vishwa What’s-wrong-with-non-Hindus Parishad.
To read Aakar’s previous Lounge columns, click here