According to United Nations, the outside world may never know how many Tamils were killed in the recently concluded military action against the LTTE in Sri Lanka. Some estimates put the death toll into millions including innocent civilians. And the world, especially India, hardly seems to be bothered.
Contrast it with Israeli military actions. Even if one Palestinian civilian, in fact even a militant, is killed, the whole world, especially the Islamic world, is up in arms. Violent protests by Muslims have taken place even inside India over small Israeli military actions against Palestinians.
Recently there was news that Taliban was expelling Sikh civilians out of Swat Valley in Pakistan. And those Sikhs, who were unable to leave the area, were levied jaziya tax in lieu of their basic survival. Protests took place inside India and Indian government took the matter with Pakistani officials. Same happened when a shootout at a Vienna Gurudwara took place last week.
See the link? Followers of a religion taking up cudgels on behalf of their co-religionists in other parts of the world. So why don’t Hindus speak up for their co-religionists? Historically, there have been two reasons – we have been apologetic of calling ourselves Hindus and we have been divided along caste and regional lines.
But of late, both of these vices of Hindu society are on wane. If politicians and pseudo-intellectuals drop their agenda, the caste system may well be a thing of past, and slowly Hindus are proudly proclaiming their religious identity just like Swami Vivekananda did a century ago.
That’s why we now see Hindus speaking up when their beliefs are mocked or their rights trampled upon. Even Indian government has taken up issues with foreign nations on religious rights of Hindus.
So what went wrong with the Tamil Crisis in Sri Lanka?
Because it was always promoted as a ‘Tamil’ crisis instead of a ‘Hindu’ crisis even by the sympathizers of Tamils. That’s where the battle was lost.
In fact they have always erred on this front. Under the influence of an imaginary Aryan Invasion Theory, they have created a philosophy and ideology that has alienated them from the rest of Indians. Their leaders have ridiculously abused Hindu Gods and Goddesses in name of Tamil pride (the most recent example was the comments by Karunanidhi on Lord Rama over the issue of Sethu Samudram project). A section of Tamils have wrongly placed their self-respect on hatred for Hinduism.
A more pragmatic approach would have been to shed this hatred for Hinduism in favor of a united Hindu society of India that included self-respecting Tamils. This would have linked every Hindus’ emotions to the ‘Tamil’ crisis of Sri Lanka and it would have been seen as a ‘War on Hindus’. All the Hindu groups, including Sangh Parivar, would have lobbied to save the Hindus (Tamils) in Sri Lanka.
It seems that the master strategist and founder of LTTE Prabhakaran had such an idea in mind – in his interviews he had spoken up about how he was inspired by the heroes of Mahabharata and other Hindu characters. He even praised Swami Vivekananda for the original self-respect movement. Clearly he wanted every Hindu to emotionally connect to the Tamil’s plight in Sri Lanka, and gather pan-Indian support for Tamils.
But his sympathizers and supporters in Tamilnadu were still leaving in fool’s paradise, where they thought that hatred for Hindus was the only way to preserve Tamil identity. The Hindus of rest of India heard abuses for Lord Rama from Karunanidhi. Prabhakaran was killed by Karunanidhi then and there.
It’s a warning for all Hindus in each part of the world. It’s time we shed imaginary ideologies that were propagated to demoralize and divide Hindus. It’s also the time we shed caste and regional bias and unite, otherwise we’d keep on getting killed and eliminated just like millions were wiped out from Sri Lanka.