The pinnacle of unabashed corruption, lawlessness and suffocation of the Hindu idealism in particular that swept the country with a nationalistic fervor a few years back was largely because of the organic efforts at diminishing the Hindu identity that has now rebounded and hit back with a metamorphosed Hindutva narrative that only seems to be growing. But the ingredients it takes for an unshakable robust Hindu identity to establish a strong and well-knit Hindu society is still far from missing!
What really is a Hindu identity today? What is it that we feared and still fear so much about our traditions and ideals getting evaporated slowly? And more importantly what really are we doing to exhume the fading glory of our religious values? And are we doing enough?
One can define a Hindu identity as a ruminant reflection of our way of living where our way of living is largely influenced by a Dharmic bent of mind that is nurtured by the guiding lights of our scriptures leading us towards the path of righteousness and truth. The moment this Dharmic aspect is removed from our everyday actions, the society begins to deteriorate gradually into an unsophisticated maze filled with paths of greed, hate, vengeance, ego, immorality, lies and brazenness consumed by selfishness with no meaningful goal in life. Essentially the Hindu identity cannot be separated from the spirituality embedded in our social and religious lives where cultivating the habit of thinking and seeking the truth, to be conscious to oneself is primal to its existence.
Although we boast of our spiritual spirits and cultural values it is not at all uncommon to see Hindus let down fellow Hindus. So are we leaving our foundational idealism back home just before we step out into this materialistic world? Or is there is a foundational flaw in grasping and practicing this idealism? Or have we simply learnt to be schizophrenic, shedding the bag of moral ethos when it comes to money and ego and donning it back when we choose to appear philosophical and prudent? Or is it simply because we have disconnected ourselves from our roots of spirituality and forgotten to be fully aware of the world and its relation to the self!
But then it’s a brutal world out there and cultivating honest ethical practices or expecting the reciprocation of the same is the biggest challenge one encounters in an ever expanding and expensive market dynamics! If you do not overtake somebody else will, and your honesty and adherence to ethical principles will only prove to be the biggest hindrance in your growth. And the crux of the matter is and has always been about a few extra bucks!
A few bucks of bribe to the municipal officer, a few bucks of tip that your cylinder boy demands, a few extra bucks the rikshawala rips you off, a few bucks of bribe in the name of CSR, a few bucks to deviate your housing plan, a few bucks to the cop , the local politician, , many more bucks to the donation funds of education institutions and the list goes on! Tapping in or letting go of that few bucks is what it boils down to because it is all about money and less about being human enough. And interestingly these few bucks decide whether you are a pro-active, practical and a positive persona or a miserly, right path taking, always complaining wronged negative loser! The filthy rich will pay their religious obeisance to all their money grabbing sins via a VIP visit to Thirumala and redeem their Hindu identities while even a poor thief will do so by shaving his head off, mocking that very symbolism that is meant to make him reach the awareness of the symbolic reality!
It is just a matter of a few bucks, isn’t it? But remember, those few bucks define the few values left within you!
It is true that the run for fame, money and material has corrupted our minds and snatched away our real identities as a society. But the Hindu identity is not just about becoming austere and relinquishing wealth or worldly life but to cultivate a conscious mind that is not altered by time and place, to cultivate that transcending vision that can see and sustain and uphold truth along a good life. Good life may mean to be doing good deeds but then good deeds are more about upholding the truth and less about only being nice. Today, our resilience to corrupted minds is so much that we are unable to distinguish the filth from the finesse or so we pretend, because we lack the courage to be conscious. That consciousness that we have never sought!
The state of socio-political affairs is directly proportional to the level of spirituality left in a society!
Today there is an unofficial dual economy that runs parallel to the main stream one that we all know of – one is the Hindu economy and the other a minority /Muslim economy! One may deem this as a crass communal narrative and wonder as to what this dual economy or market dynamics has got to do with Hindu idealism or spirituality but the fact on ground remains that these separate markets out there for the Muslims and the Hindus although politically instituted indicate the reality of how conscious we are of our filthy attitudes.
While the Hindu vendors/ businessmen leave no stone unturned to cheat and let down their fellow Hindus, the Muslims are extra cautious not to let down their own! Their own – and this is what makes the difference! You will not see many Hindus think like this in their day to day transactions or dealings! This is not data driven but just my observation of ground realities that is shriller than one can imagine. Often times vegetables, fruits, consumables, commodities in Muslim dominated markets or markets near Mosques are much cheaper than any other markets. One may argue that there are many instituted privileges granted to them along with much constitutional support but one cannot deny the strange camaraderie or it could be their assumed feeling of separateness that perhaps binds them better and closer, which makes the poor Muslims become extra subservient to their rich Muslim clients and in turn the rich Muslims are more considerate towards their poor.
While the innate ideals of Hinduism are based on practicing good deeds, doing our duties and adherence of Dharma, a united atmosphere is unlikely to come across casually amongst Hindu groups or communities as they are constantly and craftily competitive, lesser compassionate and show no morality or respect towards fellow Hindus who may or may not be subservient to each other. They don’t seem to be interested in reasoning or reflection of their words or actions nor care much for building healthy relationships as they bear no more value in a world full of blind egotism and the run up to the mounds of money and manipulative powers or the sacrosanct supreme feeling of having had the last word! Fortunately there is a growing trend among educated and middle class Hindus to be more empathetic towards the lesser privileged Hindus but unfortunately the reverse is not true as most of the times they have been fed with the victimhood theory of oppression by the rich and reminded about their rights with no obligation of duties or respect for hard work.
If that was not enough, even an educated/rich Hindu dealing with another wealthy/educated Hindu succumbs to the vices of greed, hatred, treachery, disrespect and ego wherein he lets down his own people on ground but will cry for unity in the virtual world, he will not shun his own ego but will call others as egoistic! Even the most intelligent and educated are spiritually bankrupt where yesmanship is deemed more intelligible than knowledge itself. It has become almost as if we can be respectable or professional only in our paid job environments lest we let our mind and tongue loose in all our everyday interactions with our own people.
Take for example the Make in India initiative, it has sprouted a series of indigenous companies and most of them who started these as I have seen are people from the corporate world who have experienced the MNC culture but sadly they do not extend the same culture that they enjoyed to their hires locally although they go out of their ways to accommodate when it comes to hiring a white! It is this self loathe or underestimation/ under-valuing of fellow Indians that has to change.
If at all there is anything binding the Hindus more vigorously today, it is the shared distress or atrocity than the shared progress or prosperity! It is a dangerous syndrome that needs to be uprooted. Perhaps the Hindus must be explicitly taught in religious discourses to respect fellow Hindus if at all this Sanathana Dharma has to prosper and thrive. And this can be achieved only when every single Hindu makes an effort at not just reading but also inculcating the essence of our scriptural values and be in sync with our real spiritual idealism which is the foundation for a prosperous civilization or a vibrant community to stand robustly against all odds or invasions.
A Hindu is freer to make his spiritual choice for all his deeds unlike the Muslims where there is a messiah who dictates through the Mullah and the Masjid but when we Hindus forget the value of this freedom and its intrinsic responsibilities and doomed in materialistic fears there will be no freedom but only be fiefdom!