Saturday, February 14, 2009

Extremist Hindus?!? WTF?

My apologies for this post, folks. I try to keep the Real World as far from my blog as possible, as I consider it a haven, both for you and me, from the madness we deal with every day. But every now and then, I gotta ask, WTF?

Understand, I grew up in suburban America. You meet all kinds of folks here. Our friends and neighbors include Christians of various stripes, Mormons, Muslims, atheists, and Unitarians. I've adjusted dinner plans to accommodate vegetarian Hindus, worn a yarmulke at a Bar Mitzvah, and one of my father's groomsmen was a Sikh. You get all kinds in suburban America. Except extremists. The most extreme I've ever dealt with on a regular basis were some Catholic nuns, but they were pretty much get-along-go-along folks for the most part. So, like most Americans, the idea of religious extremists is something I have a hard time wrapping my brain around. Especially when we start talking about Hindu extremists. I'm sorry, but that makes about as much sense to me as militant Amish.

So can someone explain to me what's up with Shri Ram Sena? I mean, how do you expect us to take claims that women at a bar are “violating traditional Indian values” when you've got this sort of thing (NSFW) decorating your temples? Seriously, the folks that told us that kama is one of the four goals of life are getting their knickers in a twist just because some gals decide to go out and enjoy a few drinks?

Ok, maybe there was more going on in this bar than I'm aware of, or maybe there's some cultural issues I'm just ignorant of. But near as I can tell, this would just be amusing if it didn't actually involve people physically assaulting folks. Can anyone enlighten me?

UPDATE: In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that I myself am Episcopalian, which is the American branch of the Church of England. Our extremists look like this.

11 comments:

Joseph said...

Oh, hell yeah. Those Hindu Fundamentalists have been killing Christians _and_ Muslims for years. They put out death threats for some poor scholar who dared to suggest that five thousand years ago, they used to eat cows. Infidel!

There are whack-jobs all round. Good thing we gamers are immune. ;-)

noisms said...

Extremist Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims have been killing each other ever since partition. Probably a million people died in communal killings in 1947, and there's been sporadic violence ever since, exacerbated by the whole Kashmir issue.

There are no Hindu Terrorist groups as such, but random attacks against Muslims are pretty common, especially in Gujarat.

trollsmyth said...

Yeah, I was familiar with the horrors of the partitioning of India. I just wasn't aware of Hindus attacking their own over stuff like this. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised since everyone else seems to flirt with this sort of stupidity from time to time. Even the Church of England whacked Thomas More.

John Stephens said...

It isn't about religion, that's just an excuse. The people who do this stuff are no better than serial killers, except they're kinky for politics and religion instead of sex.

S'mon said...

I think the experience of the Mughal Islamic invasions resulted in a militant strand in Hinduism, and the adoption of some values such as a puritanical streak that have more in common with Islam (or Islam's Jewish & Christian roots) than with traditional Hinduism.

Anyway, there are militants for most religions, though some are more aggressive than others, Islam notably. Episcopalians, for instance, conquered half the planet not so long ago. >:)

"Onward Christian soldiers
Forward as to war
With the cross of Jesus
Carried on before"

or

"I will not cease from mental fight
Nor will my sword sleep in my hand
Till I have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land"

or

"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword..."

I'm from Belfast, Northern Ireland, where there is a long history of strife between Protestants and Catholics. Many Americans assume that religion is something private, personal and basically harmless, which is all very well but becomes very dangerous when you apply that assumption to the rest of the world where it's not true at all.

Blotz said...

"I will not cease from mental fight
Nor will my sword sleep in my hand
Till I have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land"


Noooooo!!! Leave Jeruselem where it is!!!

trollsmyth said...

S'mon,

Yeah, but this is different. If this was Hindus beating up on Sikhs or Muslims, I could understand it. I wouldn't like it, but I'd at least have historical models to hang that sort of behavior on. But from what I'm reading, this is Hindus pounding on Hindus because they think hanging out at a bar isn't sufficiently Hindu. I mean, if they were trying to enforce the old caste system, I might even be able to wrap my brain around that, but this...

And then there's this response: We have heard that Mr. Muthalik has decided to send pink saris "with love" in response.

Um, so are we supposed to think that this is demure? A garment that seems designed to highlight a woman's curves, teases you with flashes of bare midriff, and always looks like it's about to fall off?

What's causing a train-wreck in my mind is that this appears to be an attempt to force Protestant-style (or, more likely, Buddhist-style) austerity on an ancient polytheism, and I just don't see how those two are supposed to fit together. Or maybe my understanding of Hinduism is horribly out of date?

Lea said...

This one is new for me! I've had many Hindu friends throughout my life and have never even heard of this side of their belief system.....

BTW.... love the Izzard Cake or Death! ;-D

trollsmyth said...

Yeah, it's got me totally bumfuzzled.

Not to completely change the topic, but I love the new webpage, Lea.

Red Cardinal said...

To be fair, I don't think this sort of thing is restricted to Hindus. There are probably plenty of people of every religous creed who think the same thing.

For instance, America (like most countries) has its own intolerant religous fanatics.If I were to mention Christian Fundamentalists and Gay people for instance? Or the famous dnd/devil worshipping furore (which sadly still isn't dead and buried)?

I'm not religious myself and whilst I think that people should be free to worship in a religon of their choice, I just wish that some people wouldn't keep trying to push their religous views on other people :(

trollsmyth said...

Yes, but I expect that sort of silliness from the faiths descended from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic faiths, as those preach a self-restraint based on notion that the physical world is fallen and self denial is a virtue. Ditto for the Buddhists who see life as a vale of tears that must be transcended through abstaining from attachment.

But this is the first I've heard of this sort of thing being espoused by Hindus.