Posts Tagged “mumbai”

Dalit demonstrators shout slogans and protest in the Indian capital New Delhi, on January 3, 2018. / CNNTo a large extent, the occidental world views India through the lenses of Mahatma Gandhi, the man who used civil disobedience to lead his land to independence, and inspired many others to use that same tactic elsewhere. Also, India is home to a number of movements and sects which are famous for being pacifists; Buddhism, for example, originated there, as did Jainism, whose adherents sometimes go as far as to brush the ground as they walk so as to ensure they don’t step even on the tiniest insect.

The West has an often-idealistic view of India which, unfortunately, doesn’t coincide with reality — which is that India is more or less as violent as any other nation on earth. It’d be wonderful if it weren’t so; if India were in fact a grandly sacred land full of deeply spiritual people who’d never harm a fly; but that’s just not how it is. I don’t mean to say this as a specific condemnation of India: Human nature being what it is, it can’t really be any other way. India’s people have the same human nature as the folk of every other country.

As an example of this, as CNN reports, recently India has been rocked by protests and assorted violence, over its ancient caste system (Archive.Is cached version):

Security forces were out in full force in India’s financial capital Mumbai this week, as members of the country’s low-caste Dalit community demonstrated against alleged violence by right-wing Hindus.

The unrest was concentrated in suburban areas on the outskirts of India’s largest city, which also saw transport disruptions.

There were also sporadic protests across the state of Maharashtra, which Mumbai is located in.

These Right-wing Hindus were responding to protests by the Dalits, aka “the Untouchables”:

It all began when tens of thousands of Dalits, who rank at the bottom of India’s ancient Hindu caste hierarchy, gathered in the village of Bhima Koregaon, 170 kilometers (105 miles) outside of Mumbai, on New Year’s day to celebrate the 200th anniversary of a battle in which British colonial forces staffed with local Dalit fighters defeated a numerically superior army belonging to upper caste rulers of the region.

In the years since, many Dalits have come to regard the battle as an important historical moment when their community stood up against oppressive higher caste Hindus.

This year, Dalit activists claim that the annual commemoration was interrupted by right wing Hindu nationalists, who they say threw rocks at the gathering.

The situation deteriorated as riots broke out and two men died in the chaos, according to local media [cached].

CNN goes on to provide background for the Dalits’ protests and an oh-so-very-brief overview of the caste system itself. In the process, CNN mentions that the caste system is explicitly outlawed in India’s Constitution, but the article does not explain how deeply ingrained it is within India’s chief religion, Hinduism. In that religion, people reincarnate, via karma, into particular stations in life, i.e. their dharma, and hence into their castes. In Hindu tradition, and in the minds of some modern-day Hindus, the Dalits are “untouchables” — fit only for the lowliest jobs and the objects of societal oppression — because of this. To treat the Dalits any other way violates dharma. Thus, Right-wing Hindus view treating “the untouchables” as their equals in a democratic system as profane or even blasphemous.

It’s time for everyone to realize the very-real harm that religion inflicts on people … not just the Abrahamic faiths, which which most in the West are familiar, but the Dharmic faiths as well.

Photo credit: CNN.

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Ah, the “religion of peace” has struck again. The Indian city of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is under attack by militants who are part of a group called the Deccan Mujahideen. CNN has a bit to say about them:

The Indian Mujahideen is a Muslim militant group which emerged about a year ago but has the organizational capability to carry out attacks such as those in Mumbai, said Paul Cruickshank, a fellow at the Center on Law and Security at New York University’s School of Law.

The group has declared “open war” against India in retaliation for what it said were 60 years of Muslim persecution and the country’s support of U.S. policies.

This is not the Deccan Mujahideen’s first attack on India:

In September, the group said it was behind a series of explosions which ripped through busy marketplaces in New Delhi, killing 24 people and wounding about 100.

The group also claimed responsibility in May for near-simultaneous bomb attacks that killed 63 people in the northwest city of Jaipur.

Also, the Deccan Mujahideen is not the only Islamist terror group now operating in India:

Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (Army of the Pure) is an Islamic extremist group that has claimed responsibility for several attacks on Indian troops and civilians in recent years. They are suspected of being behind the string of bombs that ripped through packed Mumbai commuter trains and platforms during rush hour in July 2006. More than 200 people were killed in that attack.

It’s interesting that so many groups are engaged in terror and/or violence as an expression of their faith in Islam, a religion which bills itself as the “religion of peace,” a point famously reiterated by President George W. Bush shortly after the al-Qaeda terror attacks in September of 2001:

The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.

When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world.

I keep thinking about the open warfare now being waged in the hotels of Mumbai — and the many other similar actions of the Deccan Mujahideen and other Islamist groups — but somehow I can’t see how they can be said to represent, or be acting in the name of, a “religion of peace.” Killing people and taking over hotels is not typically what one thinks of as an expression of “peace.” I wonder if, perhaps, I missed something … ? After all, how can this vile godless infidel be expected to understand the wishes of almighty al-Lah?

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