Fifth column: A new India rises

What I found both fascinating and very scary was the extent of their hatred for those who subscribe to faiths that are not Indian in their origin.

Written by Tavleen Singh | Updated: June 18, 2017 2:14 am
gau rakshaks, Tamil Nadu officials attacked by cow vigilantes, Rajasthan cow vigilantes attack The Centre recently banned the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter. (Representational Image)

This week I begin with an apology for hurting the religious sentiments of millions of pious Hindus. I did this by posting a picture of Yogi Adityanath on Twitter that showed him drinking cow’s urine straight from a cow. I did not know that the picture was fake and withdrew it as soon as I found out, but by then I was under virulent attack from Hindus who believed I had deliberately insulted Hinduism.

Their hate tweets charged me with having insulted the Hindu religion out of ‘hatred’ for Yogi Adityanath. It is true that I have expressed publicly my unhappiness with the Yogi being chosen to lead our most populous state, but this is because I disapprove generally of priests in politics. I also disapprove of some of the things that the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has said but having never met him cannot be charged with hating him. In any case to all those Hindus who have taken offence I offer my sincerest apologies.

What explanation do I have for causing the inadvertent offence? Only that I was under the mistaken impression that cow’s urine was considered so sacred by believing Hindus that I saw the picture as intriguing rather than offensive. I know that cow’s urine (gomutra) is used in religious ceremonies and drunk as a tonic. I know people who market it in bottles for commercial gain and its medicinal properties. So I found the picture credible. While visiting Yogi Adityanath’s gaushala in Gorakhpur recently I saw people reverently lining up to collect cow dung from the Yogi’s cows. When I asked what they were taking it for they explained that it was used for making idols of Gauri and Ganesh for worship. So I assumed that there was something extra holy about the Yogi’s cows. Once more I apologise to those who took offence.

Now I would like to express my gratitude to those of you who took enough umbrage to send me those hate-filled tweets. Your tweets have taught me more about the current mood in India than any research I could have conducted on my own. For some time now I have been pondering over why so many angry Hindus have suddenly manifested themselves on social media, television and on our highways, without being able to understand the reasons why. Now I understand them a bit better.

In the vanguard of those who abused and threatened me were people who described themselves in their Twitter handles as Hindu nationalists and supporters of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. What intrigued me was that their support seems to be more for religious rather than political reasons. Many of the handles from which the hate tweets originated had Hindu gods and religious symbols in them and although some listed secular interests in cricket, golf and travel, most said they were ‘proud Hindus’ interested only in nationalism.
Many admitted that they had nothing but contempt and hatred for Muslims.

Some posted a picture of a man in Arab robes collecting camel urine in a glass and taunted me for being the sort of person who objected to cow’s urine as a holy beverage but approved of camel urine. Their hatred was not just for Muslims but for Christians as well, so I was taunted for being too scared to criticise Christians for using wine in their religious ceremonies as symbolic of the ‘blood of God’.

More than Muslims and Christians, they admitted to a hatred of Pakistan and ‘presstitutes’ like me who have grown ‘senile’ in the ‘ivory tower’ of Lutyens’ Delhi. Their hatred for journalists who may or may not reside in this despised quarter of India’s capital city knows no bounds. It is based entirely on the impression that every political journalist who lives in ‘Lootyens’ is a supporter of the detested Dynasty and the Congress party.

What I found both fascinating and very scary was the extent of their hatred for those who subscribe to faiths that are not Indian in their origin. It was as if they believed that Muslims and Christians have less right to live in India than they do. Both their heroes — the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh — have repeated their belief in ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’. This is not understood.

This should worry them even more than it worries me. As someone who has often in this column denounced the fake secularism of the Congress party, I now find myself in a very peculiar position. I have said before that I understand Hindu rage created by decades of that fake secularism and support totally an Indian renaissance founded on a truly Indian idea. But, never has there been a renaissance founded on hatred. Our neo-nationalists need a more inclusive approach or there is no hope.

Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @ tavleen_singh

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  1. A
    Sep 9, 2017 at 10:30 am
    Even if the posts were fake, why drinking a cow an insult to hinduism... are not all hindus by default should drink cow as the symbol of faith to their religion.. and should it not be the matter of pride... so why is it not a matter of pride but the matter of insult... Ten days of Ganesh puja was cons uted by Tilak to bypass the law of "unlawful gathering of people for political purpose" which the British govt had imposed upon the indians.. so looking to the past, does all hindu traditions and religious beliefs are based on some political intent or economical intent and has no real value to it... just create one if it benefits politically or economically.. or else why not follow it if cow is your god and her is a "amrit"... I think all hindus should gather every morning at the "gau shalas" in a queue for the morning "soup" daily.. it will not only have religious values but also health benefits and also environmental benefits as well.. the gaushalas will be clean.
    1. Naiyer Razzaqui
      Jul 4, 2017 at 4:55 pm
      I don't understand what the writer means when she says that she understands the Hindu rage caused the fake secularism.. If any body should be outraged by fake secularism,it should be the minorities It was at their expense. The state was visibly a Hindu state at any rate in terms ceremonies and customs.The nationalism as expressed did not highlight any non Indian , visibly Islamic facet. If the reference is some western , English practices, they could not be placed at the doors Muslim and Christian etc.Understanding the Hindu rage justifies the present Hindutva and makes the whole article limp.To hold the past Muslim rule against today s Muslims,or the British against Christian s is an absurd grudge, especially since neither is despite imagined hurts not in majority.
      1. J
        Jun 23, 2017 at 8:46 pm
        people forget that you have slept with Muslims and hindus how can you insult either. you have actually insulted all religions by this activity. But you did this by being Sikh I remember a Sikh drinking of cow by advice of Rajvaid of Patiala. I was disgusted but he wanted to do anything to get better. Later I learnt that he was sleeping with his step mother who was married to his old father. So different folks have different stoacks. His wife was ugly and he needed like his step mother.
        1. V
          Jun 20, 2017 at 10:21 am
          Mrs Tavleen singh, If you are so much riled about social media hatred by Hindus, imagine the group to be muslims, they don't even wait for you in the social media. The Country is actually reforming and curing itself of a disease called secularism where you are unfortunately are caught in a pincer. We know you are not the kind of SICKULAR journalist, it surely is a misdirected hatred against you. By the way, please be thankful to God that you live in a Hindu majority country, that is atleast as long as India reamains a Hindu majority country, the moment it is done with that (being a hindu majority to muslim, even in some regions..) you sadly will not even have the right to write your feelings. Till then happy hunting
          1. A
            Sep 9, 2017 at 10:44 am
            I definitely agree that hindus are better than muslims when it comes to tolerance... but I would love to see hindus not become intolerant like the muslims (sharia courntries) in the provocation of for tat... christians and hindus have always been accommodative when it came to personal beliefs no matter who is right or who is wrong every one to his own.... that's why USA and India are natural allies... we do not force down to the throat of anybody over a personal choice... we may disagree but disagree does not mean enmity or "we will kill you if you do not agree me".. with regards to the hatredness against christians, it is mostly due to the british raj and misinformation and lie spread by the congress in the last few decades about how bad the british were and consequently their religion became bad... but its was just any political power that ruled india, like many others in last 4000 years... some good, some bad and some ugly...
          2. Vidya
            Jun 19, 2017 at 8:38 pm
            There are even holier cows in the Abrahamic religions and but the difference is that those questioning them are derided as cuters and haters. For instance Tavleen thinks that wine is 'symbolic' of blood. However, the catholics believe they are literally drinking the blood of Jesus and eating the flesh of Jesus, and you don't dare laugh at that. Even the concept of a symbolic human sacrifice is repugnant to me, but I cannot dare to say this openly, for fear of being b ed a rabid hindutvavadi. Muslim girl questioning character of i in a college magazine is kosher but questioning the character of Mary is spewing of hate. Irrational theory of resurrection of Jesus is not to be questioned, but the trunk of the Ganesha is not only ridiculed it is also given a spin repugnant to Hindu insiders. The hate online is just the letting off of steam that has ac ulated over the centuries in the hearts of Hindus who are sick of two faced narratives.
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