Our second article in this series was based on the proposition that:
- A regime that is seen, felt and recognized to be respectful and supportive of the majority religion tends in turn to be supported by the majority of the people.
In this article, we examine the related hypothesis:
- A regime that is seen, felt and recognized to be disrespectful and unsupportive of the majority religion tends to be opposed by the majority of the people.
Think back to America in 2008 and 2009. Remember the 2008 election and the now famous quote of Candidate Obama about people in small towns “clinging to their religion and guns”? Though denied and explained away, this quote lives on as one of the more visible symbols of disrespect of religion and belief systems of the American majority.
The early policies and the tone of the Obama Administration persuaded the American majority that its core belief systems were being trampled. The result was the rise of the Tea Party, a movement that sprung like a geyser from the core of the American majority. The American Elite derided the Tea Party as backward, uneducated, right wing, prejudiced and overtly religious. That did not work.
The emotional and loud protest of the Tea Party culminated in a sweeping victory in the 2010 mid term election. The 2010 victory cooled down the temperature of the country. Gone are the rallies, the placards and the hot emotion that bubbled in 2009 and 2010.
This is why America is a shining validation of our hypothesis. On the other hand, India represents a seemingly perfect counterexample.
Last month New Delhi, India’s capital, witnessed a vicious attack in the dead of night by hundreds of baton charging policemen on a crowd of 50,000 people sleeping peacefully. This crowd had gathered to support a fast until death by Baba Ramdev, an Indian Guru with a national and international following. His fast was a protest against the deep corruption that has reportedly engulfed parts of the Indian Government including Cabinet Ministers.
Unlike another protest by Anna Hazare, a secular “Gandhian” activist, the protest by Baba Ramdev, the Indian Government believed, could become a religious “Hindu” movement. And, based on the 60-year track record of the Congress Government, a “Hindu” nationwide protest was deemed intolerable by the Congress Regime. And so the Indian Government behaved exactly like the minority Bahraini Government and launched a vicious night attack on a large group of peaceful, non-violent sleeping protestors.
This brings to fore the decades long suppression of core Indian belief systems by the Indian Elite. Much like American Elite Liberals, the self-proclaimed “modern”, “secular”, “progressive” Indian Elite have waged a coercive battle against India’s “Hindu” majority. This suppression of India’s majority is organized and planned with the full resources of the Congress Regime. The list of other deliberate legislative, executive acts against India’s majority religion would fill several such articles.
This might surprise many but the American and Indian people are very similar in their belief systems. Both societies are deeply religious and spiritual. In contrast, European and Asian societies are not. Both American and Indian societies are multi-religious, multi-ethnic and tolerant at heart. But their belief systems run deep. This is why foreign films, books and culture do not make inroads into these societies. This is why global Hollywood has not been successful in making inroads into India and US TV Networks have to create purely Indian channels to become financially successful in India.
Then, unlike the American majority, why does the India’s majority tolerate the trampling of its religion and belief systems by its governing regime?
- One reason is that India’s majority has been under the rule of India’s minority religions for the past 1,000 years. So the behavior of the Congress regime is a continuation of the British and Mughal Regimes.
- Secondly, India’s majority is totally focused on raising its economic standards. That is today’s top priority for the Indian people. So all other issues are being put aside. But they are not ignored.
But the calm you see on India’s surface is covering up the deep anger within India’s majority. Jim Yardley of the New York Times used the term “visceral rage” to describe the sentiments of India’s Middle Class. This Middle Class is the new factor in Indian society, a factor that will come to dominate India’s Society, Government Policy and its relationship with America in years to come.
India’s middle class is becoming broader, richer and more secure in demanding its rights. It is also much more religious and conservative than the Indian Elite who run India’s Government, NGOs and Media. It is beginning to feel confident in expressing its views in the terms and framework of its religion, culture and belief systems. This will put it in direct conflict with the self-proclaimed mission of India’s Elite to suppress India’s majority religion at the altar of a “modern, secular, progressive” culture.
As we saw in its reaction to the attack on Baba Ramdev, the Indian-American community is beginning to participate in the struggle of the Indian Middle Class. And this community understands the lessons of America’s Tea Party.
Will the Indian-American community succeed in helping India’s Middle Class attain the confident fighting spirit of the American majority? Will India’s majority and its driver, the Indian Middle Class, succeed in changing the regime of India’s Ruling Elite? The answers will drive both India and its relationship with America.