Let Us Shape,
Mona Menon and I share more than a name. As
moderate, progressive Hindus we share disgust and sorrow, as she has so
eloquently expressed (I-W, Jan. 24), over the anti-IDRF campaign, which
we patiently endured over the past few months. One can only laugh at
this tragic mindset of a community that has, not for the first time,
axed its own feet with its foggy sense of justice. The Panchatantra
story rings true in a pattern that repeats itself. Every time some
Hindus try to do good, other Hindu crabs will inevitably pull them
down! Once again, by opposing the IDRF, we all stand to lose from the
blind self-abusive actions of a few misguided people, who fan the
flames of ignorance.
Take the issue which drew unnecessary debate over the correction of
Indian history in school text books. As a product of some of the "best"
schools in India, I look in retrospect at the lopsided education that
we received. There is no doubt that a euro-centric education has done
enormous harm to our nation and its morale. India's history has been
hijacked by western historians who successfully undermined the
self-esteem of generations of Indians by suppressing information about
India's true contribution to modern civilization. Western historians,
with their obvious agenda of unabashed Christian indoctrination and
domination, successfully managed to suppress Hindu pride by stuffing
our heads with lies of European greatness.
Whether it is through language, literature, medicine, history,
architecture, art or even music, the West aggressively hyped its glory
while the truth about a superior Hindu civilization remains unknown to
the world. If young Americans draw inspiration from their heroes and
America's previous achievements, Indians have been denied the
opportunity to know their past and gain similar confidence. This in
turn has nurtured a culture of hopelessness. It is critical that India
embarks on a mission of educating and breaking off the shackles of its
colonial past and aspires towards taking its rightful place as one of
the top 10 developed countries of the world by 2050,at least a century
after its independence. The IDRF aims to do just that.
Take the "noble" Christian missionaries, churned out of America and
Europe, who penetrate Indian society and abuse our democratic
hospitality by using every possible method to achieve their audacious
goal of world conversion. Who says the Crusade is history? Similarly,
the Muslims with their dogmatic vision of global Islamization spread
fear and hatred towards Hindus.
That these religions originate from a shared patriarch is irony enough,
but their deliberate misinterpretation of Hindu ideas aims to
destabilize a peaceful Hindu society through their illiterate victims.
This threat can only be rebuffed by increasing awareness through
education. The IDRF aims to do just that.
Take the case of a parent in Saratoga who spearheaded a campaign to
disallow a presentation on Hinduism at her children's school. Driven by
a misplaced sense of righteousness she denied the children exposure to
basic general knowledge about the Hindu religion while the students
received healthy exposure to other major religions at the school.
Today, the school is finally poised to introduce the subject after
recognizing her misguided objectives.
The tragedy is that, over the years, the Mughals and the British along
with weakened Hindus, such as those who criticize the IDRF, managed to
snuff out structured Hindu education. Therefore, an understanding of
Hindu philosophy has become painfully blurred to generations of Hindus.
Stripped of their pride, closet Hindus, like this parent, lack the
self-assurance of their western peers and are easily swayed by
distorted facts. It is imperative that we trust and understand the
value of supporting the Hindu cause, not with the intention of
promoting, but educating and awakening the world to reality. The
reality is that in 50 short years, the demoralized Hindu spirit has
revived as we now find the strength to reciprocate against those who
provoke us. With renewed confidence and wherewithal, Hindus can now
assert their significance in the world by infusing our children with
pride and use that pride to propel us from success to greater success.
Only then will Indians finally discover their potential to shape rather
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