Fifth Column: Summer in crazy town

Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma gave several interviews last week on the day that he was retiring from the Rajasthan High Court. Not about the failure of our justice system to speed up the delivery of justice, but about his faith.

Written by Tavleen Singh | Updated: June 4, 2017 8:51 am
mahendra sharma, rajasthan high court, peacock sex, peacock tears, hindutva, pehlu khan, india news To return though to the craziness that currently spreads in the cause of Hindutva, I was stunned to see a pious Hindu defend Justice Sharma’s celibate peacock theory on national television in these words.

When the economy slows enough to seem stuck at a speed-breaker and the Finance Minister has to explain new rules about trading in cattle, you know something is very wrong. To be completely truthful I am sick of writing about cows, but every time I try to change the subject, and speak, for instance, about more important things like the terrible bombing last week in Afghanistan, I am forced to return to the craziness that has spread across the land in the name of cows and other non-human beings like peacocks. When a high court judge declares that peacocks breed without copulation and that cows were sent to Earth by Lord Krishna as an advance guard for his own arrival, then it is really not possible to ignore the craziness that is going around these days in the name of Hindutva.

Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma gave several interviews last week on the day that he was retiring from the Rajasthan High Court. Not about the failure of our justice system to speed up the delivery of justice, but about his faith. So he declared that, “There is a reference in Bhagwat Purana about peacocks not having sex… the main characteristic of the peacock is his celibacy. The peahen gets pregnant by swallowing the tears of the peacock.” And, “Cow is revered as a mother in the country, so it should be given the status of national mother. Cow killers should be given capital punishment instead of life imprisonment.”

So if the killers of Pehlu Khan had been brought before Justice Sharma, they may have been rewarded rather than punished. Is it any wonder that the Finance Minister needed to explain the latest rules of cattle-trading at his press conference? He would have done better to announce an amendment, because if the rules remain as they are and killing buffaloes becomes as dangerous as killing cows, then the rural economy could soon collapse. Most farmers breed buffaloes for their milk and when they are too old they send them for slaughter. They do this because they cannot afford to keep them any longer. Under the new rules, they would be forced to release old buffaloes into the streets to fend for themselves as already happens with old cows.

To return though to the craziness that currently spreads in the cause of Hindutva, I was stunned to see a pious Hindu defend Justice Sharma’s celibate peacock theory on national television in these words. “Do you not believe in the Bhagwat Gita?” he asked two CNN-News 18 anchors menacingly. “If you do, then you know that it is part of the Mahabharata, so please tell me how the Pandavas were born?” I mention this bizarre comment only because on my Twitter timeline daily I find similar comments from pious Hindus who accuse people like me of being too Westernised and too ‘elitist’ to understand the new India.

By ‘elitist’ they mean anyone who speaks English, eats meat, drinks wine or dares to write their columns in air-conditioned rooms. Air-conditioning really makes their blood boil and they have a special hatred for those who may have rubbed shoulders with political leaders who live in ‘Lootyens’ Delhi. They describe themselves as ‘nationalist Hindus’ and as ardent supporters of the Modi government. I have been heavily targeted in recent weeks for daring to post on Twitter a picture I took of a cow sitting in a field of garbage within the premises of the Gorakhnath temple. Yogi Aditynath is their new hero and they saw my picture as an attempt to defame him.

In India, myth, history, gods, kings and religion have long been so woven into each other that ordinary, pious Hindus are unable to distinguish where boundaries end and new ones begin. This is partly due to the failure of religious teachers and partly due to an education system that has treated the study of Indian religions and pre-Islamic Indian history with disdain. So one solution to the current craziness would be to introduce into school and college syllabuses, Indian studies.

It is possible that the blurred lines between myth and reality might become clearer. We must at least hope they will, or what seems just craziness now could soon transmute into fanaticism and violence. Already there are many denizens of the ‘new’ India who believe that if they work hard enough to get rid of all Muslims, this will one day come to pass. They make no effort to conceal their hatred of Islam and pin on this religion all of India’s problems. Since rational analysis and fanaticism do not go together, it is impossible for them to understand that it is wrong to blame the sins of dead Muslim rulers on Muslims who live in India today. And, futile to explain that Indian Muslims are as Indian as Hindus.

Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @ tavleen_singh

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    Hanna
    Jul 7, 2017 at 5:34 pm
    Around the time of the modi election I recall Tavleen stridently criticising the "Abrahamic religions" as "intolerant". The recent events seem to have shaken her out of the fantasy of Hinduism as "tolerant", but as usual Ms Singh has stuck to her bigoted narrative and correlates Hindutva terror with extremist terrorism in "other countries". The truth is that hate against Muslims existed long before there was terrorism. She appears to be blaming "Islamists" in other countries for hate crimes against muslims. The majority of victims of terrorism are infact muslims.
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      Hanna
      Jul 7, 2017 at 4:06 pm
      I recall the time when modi was elected, Tavleen stridently and actively criticised the Abrahamic religions for their "Intolerance". The recent events have now shaken her out of the fantasy that Hinduism is the "most tolerant" religion. But I still didn't like the tone of the article. She mentions in her usual bigoted way how the lynchings are a reaction to extremists, as if somehow Muslims somewhere are still responsible for what happens to other Muslims. The truth, Ms Singh, is that Hindutva ideologues and gaurakshaks existed even before ISIS. It is only after Modi being elected have such crimes taken place in broad daylight. I don't see how hate crimes in India have anything to do with ISIS which so far has NOT committed crimes against a single Hindu. Infact the majority of its victims are MUSLIMS.
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        Prem Silhi
        Jun 7, 2017 at 5:58 pm
        This piece of writing could have been taken, if not in but the spirit of the lessons the Raj used for training natives, princes and those others with the English education, at the Mayo College in Ajmer to look down upon fellow natives with disdain for their lifestyle and moral values!
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          Prem Silhi
          Jun 7, 2017 at 7:27 pm
          The automatic computer editor has deleted part of the phrase, in- . Again, as in in-T-O-T-O, in my comment above. Now that you showed interest in my comment, I invite you to visit the official of the Mayo College in Ajmer and learn about its historical origin.
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            Prem Silhi
            Jun 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm
            w-e-b-s-i-t-e as in "official ."
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          Sudheer Thaakur
          Jun 6, 2017 at 12:43 am
          do muslims living in india recognise an accept pre islamic history, culture and civilisation of india? do they honour their ancestors who were part of that era. answer is by and large-no. for them indian history and civilsation starts with advent of islam in india.
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            indian
            Jun 5, 2017 at 8:32 pm
            THOSE THAT CORRUPT THE PUBLIC MIND ARE AS CORRUPT AS THOSE THAT STEAL FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE. Such vicious criticism of Hindus and Hinduism the name of free speech,no one must be allowed to divide and incite sectaian and religious hatred,We want harmony to prevail,and that is why Hindus have over the centuries allowed freedoms to immigrants to setlle and practise their religions as they wanted.And now a few Hinglis ispeaking prima donnas cannot preach their bankrupt lifestyle principles and ethics to the gentle,tolerant and egalitarian creed of Hindus.
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              Prem Silhi
              Jun 7, 2017 at 6:00 pm
              This piece of writing could have been taken, if not in but the spirit of the lessons the Raj used for training natives, princes and those others with the English education, at the Mayo College in Ajmer to look down upon fellow natives with disdain for their lifestyle and moral values!
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                Prem Silhi
                Jun 7, 2017 at 7:19 pm
                The automatic computer editor has deleted part of the phrase, in- .
                1. P
                  Prem Silhi
                  Jun 7, 2017 at 7:21 pm
                  Again, as in In-T-O-T-O.
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                Prem Silhi
                Jun 5, 2017 at 6:15 pm
                Justice Sharma did a job for a living, doing what he was asked to do and now that he is done with it, he wants to live a life of his own. I can't wait to see a retired Tavleen Singh sitting in a place of worship all by herself gazing into the void without any trace of "sickness or the craze" she now sees in anything and everything about the nationalist government led by PM Narendra Modi!
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                  Capt Rajiv Ranjan
                  Jun 5, 2017 at 10:06 am
                  Do we really think that this craziness will not be seen if our economy starts doing well? What that judge had to do with the economy? He had a khushi time as a judge and now wants it to continue even after retirement. He knows what makes the establishment happy.
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                    Prem Silhi
                    Jun 5, 2017 at 5:56 pm
                    She just used the judge as the stone, brewing her usual negative sense against the nationalist government as the ingredients in writing her stone soup story. I wonder how she would have behaved differently if she were writing at the time the 1885-born Indian National Congress took charge of the government as the proxy ruler for the Raj after the so-called indepence!
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                    Night Fury233
                    Jun 5, 2017 at 6:05 am
                    I have always enjo Tavleen Singh's pieces, for she is the best journalist India has today. Her present piece is good and real. However, she has been overly unkind to Hindus. She forgets that Hindus are humans too and can make mistakes. Their mistakes, such the ones, she has mentioned are no where as bad as those done by the Muslim umrah. So, if some Hindus would wish the Indian Muslims to somehow disappear, it is definitely wrong and crazy, but understandable considering what their co-religionists are doing over the entire planet. My half cent worth for you Ms. Tavleen
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