PART ONE: HINDU INDIFFERENCE TO SELF-SUFFERING
Wrote Will Durant: “The Islamic conquest of India was the bloodiest story in history…”
Despite being sufferers of invasions through the ages, with attempts by anti-Hindu religious invaders at wiping out entire stretches of our national (Hindu) population, Hindus haven’t recognised their own death and deculturation by genocide themselves, leave alone highlighting that before the world.
But what IS Genocide? What are its strategies? What are the criteria for conferring victim-hood status, and does getting that status earn the community some brownie points? Which communities get recognised as victims and which get blamed and chastised as perpetrators? If Israel can have Holocaust Museums shown to visiting tourists, why didn’t Hindus do that first?
We shall start by noting that the definition of genocide, through many snakey turns, didn’t even start with an acknowledgement Hindu suffering, when Hindus could themselves have led the agitation globally. Discussing genocide started in the Western context and it left Hindus out of its purview, as during the same time frame when genocide was being discussed in European-Colonial-American contexts, Hindus under the Gandhian Congress were too busy experimenting with unity with Muslims, the very community whose followers had perpetrated the genocide not just back in history but even then and thereafter.
Let us understand the rhetoric and polemic over the word ‘Genocide’ in its European and American context – in a follow-up blog, we shall emphasise that Hindus can indeed diagnose that they as a community group also suffered genocide, much before most other victim groups, and how that self-recognition can help India in charting out her own future.
PART TWO: THE WESTERN CONTEXT – THE COINING OF THE WORD ‘GENOCIDE’:
The first definition…
In the aftermath of the brutal killing of the Christian Armenian population by Muslim Turks in World War I, and when the rise of Hitler loomed large (and materialised as the Holocaust later), European social consciousness of the interbellum period of the 30’s stirred Raphael Lemkin, a politically conscious lawyer of Polonized-Jewish descent, to pay attention to targeted destruction of people groups.
In 1933 Lemkin made a proposal to the International Conference for Unification of Criminal Law convened in Madrid, requesting codification of what he called the connected crimes of ‘Barbarity’ and ‘Vandalism’ to prohibit the annihilation of racial, ethnic and religious groups, and to repress such gruesome acts universally wherever and whenever they were committed, disregarding state borders and under universal jurisdiction. By ‘Barbarity’, Lemkin meant ‘premeditated destruction of national, racial, religious and social collectivities’; by ‘Vandalism’, he meant “destruction of works of art and culture, being the expression of the particular genius of these collectivities’.
Lemkin himself later coined a new word – ‘GENOCIDE’ – in 1943 or 1944, from two root words: ‘Genos’ (Greek for family, tribe or race) and ‘-cide’ (Latin for killing). Lemkin initiated the Genocide Convention.
Genocide is thus the targeted destruction of a group of people based on their grouping – whether cultural / religious, economic, national or ethnic; it can be both Physical and Cultural.
Quotes from the 1948 convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide: what is covered and what is omitted… The matter quoted quod est from the website
“The international legal definition of the crime of genocide is found in Articles II and III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
Article II describes two elements of the crime of genocide:
1) the mental element, meaning the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”, and
2) the physical element which includes five acts described in sections a, b, c, d and e. A crime must include both elements to be called “genocide.”
Article III described five punishable forms of the crime of genocide: genocide; conspiracy, incitement, attempt and complicity.
Excerpt from the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide
“Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide. “
It is a crime to plan or incite genocide, even before killing starts, and to aid or abet genocide: Criminal acts include conspiracy, direct and public incitement, attempts to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide.
Punishable Acts The following are genocidal acts when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group’s existence:
Killing members of the group includes direct killing and actions causing death.
Causing serious bodily or mental harm includes inflicting trauma on members of the group through widespread torture, rape, sexual violence, forced or coerced use of drugs, and mutilation.
Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group includes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical services. Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation or expulsion into deserts.
Prevention of births includes involuntary sterilization, forced abortion, prohibition of marriage, and long-term separation of men and women intended to prevent procreation.
Forcible transfer of children may be imposed by direct force or by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or other methods of coercion. The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as persons under the age of 18 years.
Genocidal acts need not kill or cause the death of members of a group. Causing serious bodily or mental harm, prevention of births and transfer of children are acts of genocide when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group’s existence.
The law protects four groups – national, ethnical, racial or religious groups.
A national group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by a common country of nationality or national origin.
An ethnical group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common cultural traditions, language or heritage.
A racial group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by physical characteristics.
A religious group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common religious creeds, beliefs, doctrines, practices, or rituals.
Usually people are born into these four groups. These four groups share the common characteristic that individuals are most often born into the group. While some individuals may change nationality or religion – or even adopt a new cultural, ethnic or racial identity – usually people do not choose their group identity. In genocide people are targeted for destruction not because anything they have done, but because of who they are.
Group identity is often imposed by the perpetrators. Perpetrators of genocide frequently make group categories more rigid or create new definitions which impose group identity on individuals, without regard to peoples individual choices.
The crime of genocide has two elements: intent and action. “Intentional” means purposeful. Intent can be proven directly from statements or orders. But more often, it must be inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts.
Intent is different from motive. Whatever may be the motive for the crime (land expropriation, national security, territorial integrity, etc.), if the perpetrators commit acts intended to destroy a group, even part of a group, it is genocide.
The phrase “in whole or in part” is important. Perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group. Destruction of only part of a group (such as its educated members, or members living in one region) is also genocide. Most authorities require intent to destroy a substantial number of group members – mass murder. But an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group.”
PART THREE: INITIATING A ROBUST HINDU PARTICIPATION IN THE GENOCIDE DEBATE:
An upright Hindu rejoinder to this Western debate: Opening a discussion over the incompleteness of the definitions given above:
Vide Articles II and III of the ‘1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide’, it is clear that the definition of a genocide includes even the mental intent, incitement, propagation and partial elimination of ethnic (cultural, linguistic and religious), political, economic and national groupings of humans; thus, both mental and physical elements of physical harm or elimination, total or partial, are required for qualification for invoking the definition of ‘genocide’. This deepens the characterization of physical genocide.
Yet, no matter how elaborately stated or cleverly articulated, the definition still leaves out cultural genocide, and fails to satisfy the definition of genocide as initially propagated by Lemkin, explains David Nersessian in “Rethinking Cultural Genocide under International Law: Human Rights Dialogue: ‘Cultural Rights’: Spring 2005”. The research of Dr. David Nersessian (Babson University, Massachusetts) is on public international law and human rights.
It is obvious that Hindus (India / outside India) have been victims of mental intent of genocide and actual physical execution of the act of genocide; they have been hurt both physically and culturally; they have been hurt in part and in entire expanses; they have been hurt by rape, arson and massacres; they have been hurt by incitement and propaganda; and they survive despite this rampant apparatus of genocide.
Back home, this point, of omitting the cultural aspect of genocide from definition of genocide in any international body or convention, has been highlighted in recent times by noted contemporary author Rajiv Malhotra ji.
Some Western biases at work while defining genocide: Enumerated objections of the upright Hindu:
All too often, the typical left-liberal talks only about physical genocide when he / she mentions genocide in human rights contexts, while refusing to acknowledge that cultural destruction and wiping away of faith identity in a subjugated people group, is also genocide. Acknowledging that can trigger a congregational de-Christianisation in Christianised people, and de-Islamisation of Islamised people. Accepting cultural destruction as also a version of genocide, awaits more traction.
So, the killing away, en masse, of American Indians, of Australasian aboriginals, of Maoris of New Zealand or of other Polynesians, of African natives or of any other peoples, upon European arrival and colonisation, is accepted as genocide today by the left-liberals. But when a subjugated people weren’t completely killed away but left alive (either exogamously as themselves, or misceganated with other human groups), yet converted, and their indigenous cultural expression subverted or obliterated, THAT, to a modern left-liberal, was not genocide. Reason: what was destroyed was not the physical existence of life but only the cultural identity of the life of the subjugated group.
The medieval butchering of Muslim Crescentaders by Christian Crusaders, the Christian Armenian Genocide by Muslim Turks in World War I, and the Jewish Holocaust at the hands of Christian Nazis – all a product of inter-Abrahamic conflict – duly get listed as genocide.
Yet, the public discourse that seeks to define genocide, is excessively conditioned by forces (both non-Indian and Sepoy-Indian) that are too partisan…
1. The pagan-marginalising Abrahamic mindset of the Western establishments… Failing to recognize a massive and ongoing genocide, as in the Hindu Holocaust: The slow, long-drawn and continuous killing away of Hindu Bhaarateeyas by Islamic and Christian-European invaders is still not academically endorsed by Western academia and governments (leave alone Islamic country spokespersons) as a genocide, even as the Pope apologised to American Indians… and taking cue from the West, West-aping Indian leftists duly do not recognize the Hindu Holocaust as a genocide or Holocaust; neither is it a narrative of the official Indian establishment.
2. Western religious anxiety against apostasy: This stems from Abrahamic or specifically Christianity’s fear of losing flocks of ‘well-Christianised sheep’ back to Paganism after awareness of cultural genocide against one’s people reaches some critical threshold. It is part of Abrahamism’s apparatus of vigilance against apostasy, mirrored in Islamic countries with Sharia. Any destruction on the destruction of the cultural identity and indigenous faith of the subjugated peoples by their Christianisation is almost considered taboo whenever genocide is discussed in human rights circles; this amply proves that ‘Western Universalism’ still permeates the thought categories of the Western media, academia and polity. As an example, what Hawaiians faced after American-Christian conquest is a dastardly chapter of both cultural and physical genocide, with history suppressed. Of these two forms of genocide, namely, the ‘cultural’ and the ‘physical’, the ‘cultural’ is quietly and deliberately omitted.
3. Genocide and physical violence caused by the Jews: So conditioned is the discourse against genocide by what happened to Jews in WW-II at the hands of the Nazis, that Jewish excesses across history are themselves overlooked.
As exiled Jews sought to reach to a Promised Land under the leadership of Moses, they had assembled at the base of Mount Sinai. While Moses was taking instructions on iconoclasm from Jehovah atop Mount Sinai, anxious Jewish clans downhill sought spiritual succor by first melting gold to make an idol of a golden calf and then praying to the idol. This was disapproved by a haranguing Moses who returned downhill with prohibitive commandments. What ensued was a physical battle, a civil war, between the idol-worship-endorsing and idol-worship-repudiating camps of Jews, won by the latter. This physical extermination of the calf-worshipping faction of one’s own fellow Jews, without accommodating their view-point in the spirit of religious plurality, was not just a case of genocide, but also got set as a historical precedent of religious intolerance and Holy War against all idol-worshippers and moorti-poojaaks, by the iconoclastic faction of the neo-Mosaic Jews at the base of Mount Sinai, for all of Abrahamic religion that unfolded over centuries; it consolidated the Jews into an only-iconoclastic God’s Chosen People. (Since then, till today, in Jewish religious practice, there is no Jewish group alive that worships idols.)
These iconoclastic Jews proceeded further under the leadership of Yehoshua (Joshua) towards the forcible occupation of the Promised Land of Canaan, village by village, through irreversible physical extermination of Canaanites and their cultural buildings. This too was genocide, and is not acknowledged as such.
Thus, both, the killing of fellow-Jews for their idol-worship and the killing of Canaanites for being not just idol-worshippers but for being residents of their own land, are stark examples of genocide conducted by Jews, who later faced discrimination and genocide themselves at the hands of others.
4. Marxist disdain for human right to culture and ethnic identity: In stark Marxist circles, all faith is opium of the masses. Marxists arrogantly refuse to acknowledge the need for identity and faith in humans as a species. So a forcible substitution of one faith by another matters little in their world-view. When Marxism influences the public discourse on genocide, the narrative sought to be propagated or ‘unearthed’ is of the fight of the scattered people of the world against organised capitalist subjugation and imperialism where power would vest in the hands of the oligarchy. Herein, the Marxist only decries violence against a colonised society but not violence itself. Marxism does not shy against employment of violence at all.
To Marxists, any श्रद्धा-मत shradhdaa-mata or faith – whether holistic Dharma or a “do’s-and-don’ts model” like Abrahamic Religion – is equally opium, and both Dharma and Religion must be wiped out by the ‘progressive’ zeal of science and atheism.
Also, to Marxists, ethnic borders or the political borders between countries matter little.
The Marxist zeal of imposing Marxism may be Faith-less but still quite Biblical-Quranic in method and intent – a clarion call for a worldwide and bloody armed revolution cutting across country borders, militarily wiping away or forcibly converting the pre-Marxist system of governance / world-view / centre of power. Once a country has Marxism in power, it too invades another country to impose Marxism, just like a neo-Christian country invaded another non-Christian country or a neo-Islamised nation waged a new Jihad against the next Kafir nation in line. So, Soviet Russia swallowed up Baltic and Central Asian / Caucasian States. Where war is not employed, democracy is applied only to wrest power vide an electoral party called the Communist Party; once in power, democracy is eliminated to disallow dissenting views and power then again vests in the hands of a different select few, who aren’t corporate or royals of the pre-Marxist bourgeoisie but the chosen Proletariat of the Communist Party. In imposing this system, force and extermination are routinely applied tools. Concentration camps are also constructed to dump dissenters, akin to Inquisition Courts. Students are mowed down for dissent like in China’s Tiananmen Square. Dynasties – of Communist despots, not of actual monarchs – are kept in power like in North Korea. One dictator can rule for decades, as in Cuba.
But as the Communist USSR finally imploded, the worldwide Communists sought rehab, and entered universities, media and other circles like environmentalism, rights activism and secularism. But they have maintained a grip on public discourse, in not allowing a global acknowledgment of Communist excesses to figure as genocide. When they decide that the system of the Bourgeoisie that is to be destroyed in India is Hinduism, they will block any rightful assertion of Hindu uprightness and unity, such as in getting Hindus listed as one of the global victim peoples in the phenomenon of Genocide.
But cultural identity is what differentiates human groupings from animal groupings; so human social biology should include culture while animal biology cannot. The Marxist method remains modeled on the “us-versus-them” teachings of the Bible, even while Marxism’s Proposition, that Religion is opium, is based on the European historical experience of science and pluralism having to struggle against an entrenched system of despotic Christian papacy and papacy-subservient lords and rulers. Marxism never updated its inputs, which were based only on European medieval historical inputs; Marxism never outgrew these previous Euro-centric and Biblical inputs when they faced so many other Eastern civilisations in the world where faith and science co-existed (even before Europeans arrived), but force-fitted the anti-science, pro-exploitation and anti-freedom labels onto the elite class of any Eastern country the doctrine of Marx reached, like in India.
A true and ongoing genocide awaiting recognition: the Hindu genocide:
In the Hindu-Indian context, and posited globally in the overall pagan non-Abrahamic context, the plight of Hindus at the hands of religious invasions since 1700+ years (the first Abrahamic attack on a Hindu shrine took place circa 304 CE on the Euphrates by Christians, and Islamic and Christian attacks continue till today) and cultural digestion attempts from the colonial period to the present, requires self-acknowledgment, as practically all the definitions of ‘Genocide’ fit the fate of the Hindus who suffered as a targeted group of people: Hindus as a cultural, civilisational, religious, political, economic, social, cultural, national and traditional group.
This blog will soon be followed up by another blog specifically on why the Hindu community qualifies for victim-hood status based on the above criteria…
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