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  Seer Arrest: Silent Hurt of the Hindus  


By: Naagesh Padmanaban
December 02, 2004
(The author is a US based Banker and the views expressed are his own and not of the organization he works for)

Millions of Hindus across the globe watched in disbelief the drama of the Kanchi Sankaracharya being arrested and sent to jail on alleged murder charges. However, the media, in India, has vaxed eloquent on "no one being above the law". Most political parties in Tamil Nadu, save, the BJP have maintained strange positions - vociferous in talking about the "honest" work by the Tamil Nadu police. The public Prosecutor in Tamil Nadu called the Sankaracharya an "undeserving criminal`. The DMK, comically, has contradicted itself - in a supposedly clever articulation of its position. But the reaction of the people at large was one of shocked disbelief. However, this time around, I think the media-secularist cartel have gone overboard and have made some serious miscalculations.

Many writers have already pointed out how specious the prosecution`s case is. I am not arguing the case for the Seer. But like most educated Indians, I am disgusted with the double standards the country is used to witnessing. From the Nehruvian-Stalinist who masquerade as secularists to the communist & regional parties who survive only on caste politics, they have committed innumerable acts to destroy our collective heritage - the Hindu civilization. With no developmental achievements to show, these carpetbaggers and free boarders have been the root cause of "fissiparous tendencies" in the country. There seems to be no "honest" policemen and women or the cliché "no one is above the law" is not applicable when it come to this brand of politicians. If a politician of this species is arrested, he / she immediately gets admitted in a hospital and gets royal treatment. But it is perfectly legitimate to put a Hindu divine figure, worshipped by millions, in prison on mere suspicion. That is their brand of "secularism". It is the considered view of millions of Indians that if we apply the law on them, their breed would be extinct in quick time.

In post independence India, Hindu bashing is a favorite past time for almost every one in public life - including some Hindus themselves. There are too many instances to even recount. These pseudosecular politicians base their moves on the following logic. Hindu society is extremely selfish. Its innumerable subdivisions only make it easier to play the old "divide and rule" game. Secondly, Hindu bashing pays handsome rewards - from vote bank politics to media coverage and even "international respectability".

The politicians may have brilliantly schemed a theatrical event to divide Hindus. But they certainly did not foresee the response to the arrest. Conspicuously absent, however, were burning of public transport and closing down of business establishments. Millions of Hindus all over the world grieved in silence, praying for the ordeal to end. The arrest rallied people from all walks of life. Former president R Venkataraman who broke tradition, former prime Ministers Vajpayee and Chandrashekar, were seen voicing their protest against the arrest. People who were not directly associated with the Kanchi Mutt, former civil servants, students, professionals in every walk of life, young and old, men and women, high caste and low castes have expressed their disgust. Never before have the Hindus risen silently to grieve a violation of their heritage. Unwittingly, the arrest has catalysed the coming together of this disparate and often incoherent body.

There is also another miscalculation. A very large portion of the electorate is young - post 1970 generation. These youngsters have grown up being influenced more by economics than "anti-Brahmin" rhetoric. With easy access to the Internet there has been a high blogging of Kanchi Seer`s arrest. Significantly, these bloggers have succeeded in setting up worldwide prayers for the release of the Seer. This generation will have their say at the elections.

In hindsight, the arrest of the Seer has made a very important contribution to redefining Hindu identity. Never before has the silent hurt of the Hindus found such unified expression.

Naagesh Padmanaban

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