KIS Opinion: Discrimination Against Dharma

DISCLAIMER: this is an opinion piece. KIS Today, or KIS International School does not endorse or disapprove the messages or opinions that is presented in this article.

Dharma: Dhar·ma/ˈdärmə/

An aspect of truth or reality.

(in Indian religion) the eternal and inherent nature of reality, regarded in Hinduism as a cosmic law underlying right behaviour and social order.

OR

Hinduism

Buddhism

Jainism

Sikhism

Being teenagers who have daily access to social media, we often hear about situations happening worldwide, and try to advocate on it on a daily basis. Almost everyday, we hear about something new, something out of the ordinary, something that triggers most of us regarding our culture, heritage, or what we believe in. The power social media holds in todays generation gives us, teenagers, an easy access to gaining a large audience to advocate something important on.

The issue of dharmic injustice. Knowing now what “dharma” means, it is obvious that by reading this phrase we find out about the injustice being placed upon people who have dharmic beliefs.

To get into a deeper explanation on this, it is the discrimination that happens to Hindu, Sikh, Jains and Buddhists in commonly known countries, but is still not a commonly known fact.

This has been occurring for centuries and decades, especially the Hindu-Muslim situations in India, and Muslim countries.

When we take a look at oppression, we know about the minority groups of people of colour living in the West, and the white majority groups being the oppressors of these minority groups. People often slap the same theory on Hindus and Muslims. Hindus are the majority, Muslims are the minority. Hindus, like the white majority groups in the West are the oppressors and the privileged class treating the Muslims badly. Though this may be true, this Hindu-Muslim situation is not identical to the West’s white-people of colour issue.

The reason for this is because the scenario in the West, has a clear history of only one-sided oppression, these people of colour were brought in as slaves, ill-treated by the whites and has still not been wiped out, as these people still deal with the same oppression today.

The Hindu-Muslim situation on the other hand is different:

  • Muslim conquerers oppressed Hindu subjects for centuries. Even now, thousands of mosques in India are built on Hindu temples that were destroyed.
  • When India became an independent country, dividing Pakistan and Bangladesh, it was for the sole purpose for creating a safe haven for Muslims. Pakistan did not agree with having Hindus living there in large numbers, meanwhile India still and now has millions of Muslims continuing to live there, progressing over generations.

There is of course, discrimination present towards Muslims living in India, who are also a minority in India, making up for 15% of the religious population in India. Ever since Modi’s election and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), they have pursued a Hindu nationalist agenda in India. Their government explicitly ignore the rights of these Muslims.

Modi passed an administration of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act, which, for the first time in India, claims that religion is a basis for granting citizenship. This act grants non-muslim immigrants Indian citizenship from neighbouring Muslim-majority countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Any religion, Christianity, Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhists are eligible for citizenship from these countries, except Islam, or Muslim.

Regardless of anti-Muslim laws only being present in India, Europe also brings up a huge anti-Muslim act where some countries like France and Netherlands have a full ban on wearing hijabs, burqas or veils covering their faces.

This led to fears present in millions of Muslims that are Indian, who have lived in India for generations, who fear that their own citizenship rights may be stripped away and disenfranchised. Muslims living in European countries too live in fear and commute carefully, who often hear people scream at them, telling them to go back to their country.

Though this is present and there are protests, and people aiming to create a change for Muslims being poorly treated in India, there is no light shining on how Hindus are still treated in present day Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Taking a look at numbers only:

  • In 2010, Pakistan Human Rights said that on average, every month 25 Hindu girls are raped
    • “There is no official record to support this statement, but according to estimates, in Karachi alone, a large number of Hindu girls are being kidnapped on a routine basis,” says Amarnath Motumal, an advocate and council member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
  • At least 107 people of the Hindu community were killed and 31 fell victims to enforced disappearance in 2017
  • In Bangladesh alone, from 2016 to 2017, there were 17809 atrocities against Hindus, says Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Mohajote
  • 235 temples and statues vandalized during 2017 in Bangladesh.

These are just a few of what numbers have been found regarding this issue.

To know more, I will be posting soon on Instagram, at @dharmic_injustice

India is about the only nation on Earth housing a large number of Hindus, that slowly declines everyday. If we understand that Hinduism needs to be protected, and projected as inferior, that is the baseline for creating a change. Hinduism is not just a religion for most Indians, it is a part of the culture for all Indians, as most festivals have a religious Hindu history like no other.

But, accepting that wrong has been done on both sides is a key to understanding secularism in india. Realizing that Hindus have suffered just as much as Muslims also being a minority is a small step forward into creating a change in todays cruel world.

Regardless of believing in Hinduism, or any other religions, we still need to understand that the Hindus or people that believe in Dharma are humans too, they do not deserve to be treated, tortured the way they do currently. If you believe in making a change, advocating on this shadowed issue is a big step forward.

Thank you,

Sanya Wadhwan

Sources:

Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Mohajote. “BJHM: 107 Hindus Killed, 31 Forcibly Disappeared in 2017.” Dhaka Tribune, 6 Jan. 2018, http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2018/01/06/bjhm-107-hindus-killed-31-forcibly-disappeared-2017.

Bhagat, Chetan. “It’s Not Black and White: If You Really Care about Secularism in India, Understand Both Hindus and Muslims.” Times of India Blog, 23 Nov. 2019, timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/The-underage-optimist/its-not-black-and-white-if-you-really-care-about-secularism-in-india-understand-both-hindus-and-muslims/.

“25 Hindu Girls Abducted Every Month, Claims HRCP Official.” Thenews, The News International, 29 Mar. 2010, http://www.thenews.com.pk/archive/print/229347-25-hindu-girls-abducted-every-month–claims-hrcp-official.

Human Rights Watch. “‘Shoot the Traitors.’” Human Rights Watch, 9 Apr. 2020, http://www.hrw.org/report/2020/04/09/shoot-traitors/discrimination-against-muslims-under-indias-new-citizenship-policy.

Maizland, Lindsay. “India’s Muslims: An Increasingly Marginalized Population.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, 20 Aug. 2020, http://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/india-muslims-marginalized-population-bjp-modi#:~:text=India%20is%20a%20country%20of,make%20up%20about%2080%20percent.

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