One reason why Self-proclaimed Liberals and Secularists are alarmed at BJP’s meteoric rise is that they fear this will eventually result in the rise of ‘Hindu Taliban’. Paid Media too, very often, uses this phrase to summarize their litany of charges against the government.
One presumes that ‘Hindu Taliban’ refers to a group of bigoted people who perhaps will force their version of Hinduism on the country, probably force the minorities to become Hindu and unleash genocide on those who resist it.
For starters, the term ‘Hindu Taliban’ is self-contradictory. One can either be a Hindu or be an Islamic Taliban. A better phrase would be ‘Hindu Chhatra’ or ‘Hindu Vidyarthi’, but understandably, these phrases don’t provoke as much fear as would be desirable and hence, we continue to use a half-Hindu, half-Islamic appellation for Hindu extremists- the so-called Hindu Taliban.
Half a century ago, the term Talib or Taliban was innocently used to refer to students or seekers of knowledge. It was only after the Taliban laid waste to Afghanistan, that the term generates fear and trepidation. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to study the history of ‘Hindu-Taliban’ to see the devastation they can wreak.
Ancient India is widely believed to have stretched from Southern Afghanistan to Kanyakumari to Brahmaputra to Dwarka. With the advent of Medieval ages, Indians, or specifically the Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other Indigenous religions) were expelled from Afghanistan, which came to be dominated by Islamized tribes.
A couple of centuries later, these Indians were reduced to a minority in parts of Punjab, which had been the core of Vedic civilization and Bengal. By the time the Britishers left, traces of Indians in Punjab, Sindh and Bengal were being systematically being eliminated. Which brings us to the present, where Pakistan hardly has any non-Muslims left and Bangladesh is unperturbed as its last Hindus make an exodus and nobody even talks of Hindus in Afghanistan.
In short, the history of Indian civilization has been that of constant retreat. A civilization that once spread from Afghanistan to Indonesia, is now struggling to survive in the land where it originated.
It might be worthwhile to study the response of ‘Hindu Taliban’ to invasions which threatened their very existence.
In most cases, these ‘Hindu Taliban’ simply fled and resettled farther away from the invader. In some cases, where they fought, they consigned their women to flames and fought to their end. In very few cases where they won, they co-opted the invaders to rule alongside them.
In the entire history of Indian civilization, the number of instances wherein the invader was treated as barbarously as he intended to treat Indians can be counted on fingertips. There are hardly any instances of Indian reprisals to Islamic invasions that defiled their temples, abducted their women and massacred the menfolk.
As against a thriving slave trade of Indian slaves from India in the Bazaars of Central Asia, ‘Hindu Taliban’ busied themselves with learning Persian and Arabic which would get them a job.
Many ‘Hindu Taliban’, in fact converted to Islam to rise up the Social ladder. Most ‘Hindu-Taliban’ chose to believe that God is one, many be the names he is called by. And as the invaders sacked the Universities and Libraries, almost all ‘Hindu Taliban’ chose to abandon their scriptures, ignored their rituals and chose to accept a new life as God willed it.
Even when the Europeans arrived, the typical ‘Taliban’ bent down to welcome the fair-skinned Sahibs and offer them his services. Such is the power of ‘Hindu Taliban’ that when one of their members, Sadhvi Pragya was being tortured behind the bars, fellow ‘Hindu Taliban’ were busy appealing to courts! More than 2 decades after ‘Hindu Taliban’ had demolished the Babri Masjid, they are still praying on a makeshift venue!
That is not to say that the history of ‘Hindu Taliban’ is one of endless passivity. While the ‘Hindu-Taliban’ accepted the invader’s cultural mores as his own, he also sought to gently influence the invader with his culture. In Music and arts, the ‘Hindu Taliban’ engineered a fusion that resulted in a radically new style. In architecture, the ‘Hindu Taliban’ incorporated the invader’s style to create monuments that never cease to amaze the eye.
In court etiquettes, the ‘Hindu Taliban’ elevated the Emperor cum Invader to a level of glory matched perhaps only by the Gods. From Food, to monuments to Music to art to dancing, the ‘Hindu Taliban’ tried to tenderly sway the invader to become less ruthless. The ‘Hindu Taliban’, tried with all his strength to make the invader hate him a little less, to accept him as an equal human being.
This, in short, is the history of ‘Hindu Taliban’. In spite of Vedic disapproval of the Mlecchas, no ‘Hindu Taliban’ ever stepped forth to rid the country of the invaders. In spite of the adage ‘Dharmo rakshati rakshitah’, no ‘Hindu Taliban’ ever fought for the Dharma. Sometimes, he did fight, for his rights, for his family, for his community, but seldom for the Dharma. This in short is the ignominious history of ‘Hindu Taliban’, who at the present are allegedly plotting and conniving to make Bharat a Hindu Rashtra.
Have no fear of the ‘Hindu Taliban, my dear Secularists and Liberals. At the most it is a snake without the fangs, at the least it is a rubber pipe pretending to be a snake. But be very afraid of the real Taliban. God forbid, if they ever arrive, you would be the first to be hunted!
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