Ostrich attitude of our leaders

Itís a shame that some of our great leaders have ostrich like attitude.

Seeing Khandamal in Orrisa, Manglore in Kerala and many more places all over India, they still do not understand the terrible danger of conversion our community faces.  Itís not just the dalits that are being converted.  These may grab the headlines as they convert en-mass, but, itís the quiet conversion of educated masses that happens in dribs and drabs that's a greater danger.  Students in convent schools are fed christian ideals and with clear lack of "religious education", these students often fall prey to the missionaries.  Some convert, others simply abandon Hinduism.  In both cases we loose.
Even Gandhiji was thinking of changing his religion at one point.  Constant barrage of request from muslims and christians made him question his commitment to Hinduism.  He wrote to 6 leaders / gurus.  We know Shrimaad Rajchandra replied and gave answers that encouraged him to stay in Hinduism.  If someone as head strong and focused as Gandhiji could be shaken enough to contemplate this, think of the ordinary student ?  Even in those days, only one out of six gurus asked the question bothered to reply !! 

Itís a shame that some of our great leaders have ostrich like attitude.
We are happy to spend time, effort and energy to educate our children in English, French and German but see no advantage in teaching them Gujarati or Sanskrit.  We accept that in schools they will be taught about religion as dictated by the national curriculum, but spend no time in seeing how we can give them detailed knowledge about our religion.  No leader bothers to teach the core philosophy.  They are all happy to teach the fluffy nonsense about who can touch, where, when, how and how to do the pranam in the right way, but what of the core ?  Everyone comes to eat and appreciate the prasad, but no one understands the principle behind the prasad.  The masses and the leaders are equally responsible for this.  Masses donít demand and leaders donít offer this as an option.

It's a shame that some of our great leaders have ostrich like attitude.
There is no central authority / board / federation that is overseeing the welfare of the community.  No one cares that quality books are not being produced or promoted or distributed to spread our culture and religion. Authenticity of information can't be verified in any way, as there is no central place to go and check facts.  Anyone can publish anything they want about our culture and religion and can easily get away with it.  We accept that education and information are key if we are stop conversion away from our religion.  Yet, no one is acting to promote this.  No quality schools are set up by our leaders.  No information drive is promoted to make sure our children and outsiders have the correct info about religion and culture.

It's a shame that some of our great leaders have ostrich like attitude.
Even after a hundred years, we are still battling the problems of untouchability.  Not just the dalit vs upper caste, but also the untouchability amongst various religious groups and within the groups !!  We are so insular, we are afraid to "reach out" and help or get to know each other.  We are happy to shake hands in the business world, co-operate in the corporate world, but, woe betide anyone who asks us to help out a co-religionist from different part of India.  One of the reasons why Ram Janmabhumi or Mathura or Kashi fail to energise Hindus masses is, the Southern Hindus consider these to be Northern Hindu problem.  Why the northern Hindus don't care about the ills in Udupi or Guruvayor is, its a South Indian issue.  Tamil brahmins and Kashmiri Pandits have both been evicted from their homes.  Yet, neither cared / cares for the problems of the other.  Vaishnavs don't care for the Shivaits and no one cares if the tribal temples are uprooted.  If this is the problem of untouchability in the upper echelons of Hindus, what hope do we have for the daits ?

It's a shame that some of our great leaders have ostrich like attitude.
While they fight to maintain total influence on their group of followers, they ignore the chronic needs of their followers.  No one cares that there is no infrastructure to help or support their supporters.  Pilgrims are expected to suffer to get to the shrines.  Its all part of the experience !  Dirty, unhygienic roads ; unsanitary living conditions ; rats and vermin in the sacred precinct are all facts of life.  No one cares to note that this is not mandated in the scriptures.  Indeed, scriptures expect people to live in clean, hygienic, healthy environments.  We have reduced our circle of hygiene to our own home (if that) and have not extended it to the community at large.  Countless followers of gurus who travel in 1st class luxury live in squalid conditions, yet, no one cares to improve their lot.  Followers are expected to sacrifice their earnings to fund the "solid gold" life styles of the gurus, but the gurus are unwilling to spend a single pence on the needs of their followers.  When the (convent / english) educated sons and daughters of the followers see this, their faith in Hinduism is severely dented.

It's a shame that some of our great leaders have ostrich like attitude.
Its a greater shame that the educated laity also has ostrich like attitude.
Gandhiji said the apathy and indifference of the educated mass was his greatest sorrow.

We need to wake up and do something, even if its small, it should be done least posterity judges us badly for our inaction. 
It will be a shame if history judges us to have had an ostrich like attitude.


© Bhagwat Shah    [email protected]


Return to Index

Return to Bhagwat's main page

Return to ShriNathji's Haveli