Unwilling to fight discrimination against Hindus: Critique of a lacklustre leadership
by Ram Kumar Ohri on 03 Feb 2010 7 Comments

We have to elect brave leaders. Real leaders. We enjoy the privilege of living in a democracy. Let us use that privilege by replacing weak leaders with heroes

-   Geert Wilders, well known Dutch MP


An adverse fallout of votebank politics practiced by most politicians seeking Muslim votes to capture political power has led to a rapid decline in the quality of Hindu leadership. Lately many Hindu leaders have started chanting the hackneyed refrain that Hinduism is only a way of life, not a religion.


First they abandoned their commitment to vibrant Hindutva which was conceptualized by Veer Savarkar as the core strategy to wake up the somnolent Hindu society. That was bad enough. Now most Hindu leaders have totally abdicated their responsibility to seek redressal of innumerable Hindu grievances. They have neither the guts nor the will to oppose massive ‘reverse discrimination’ being practiced against the majority community, both at the Centre and in several States.  


The most worrisome question agitating the Hindu masses is what makes Hindu leaders shrink from seeking redressal of the rampant discrimination against the poor sections of the majority community vis-à-vis Muslims and other religious minorities, especially when according to a survey conducted in 2004 by the Centre for Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, there was hardly any difference in the level of economic prosperity among people belonging to the two communities. A paper based on the aforesaid CSDS survey, presented by Sanjay Kumar at the Indian Institute of Public Administration on Sept. 2, 2006, clearly showed that at the national level “the proportion of those who would fall in very poor class is more among the Hindus compared to the Muslims” [1] The study revealed there was hardly any difference in the overall prosperity level and educational attainments of the two communities [2]. 


The propaganda spearheaded by our partisan media that Muslims and other minorities are far behind the majority community in socio-economic parameters has been rebutted by another survey undertaken in 2006 by Rajesh Shukla, Senior Fellow, National Council of Applied Economic Research. This revealed there was hardly any difference in the economic conditions of Hindu and Muslims, while Sikhs and Christians were far better placed than Hindus [3]. The NCAER survey, published in the Economic Times, New Delhi, on April 5, 2007, comprehensively debunked the sob story propagated by the Sachar Committee that Muslims were far behind Hindus in economic prosperity and educational attainments. It showed that Sachar Committee had deliberately concealed the truth, apparently with the aim of promoting votebank politics.


The report in the Economic Times boldly proclaimed: “Forget all half-baked opinions you may have heard on the economic state of religious communities. Truth be told, at the national level, Hindus and Muslims are closer than you thought as far as average household income, expenditure, savings and even ownership of select consumer goods go” [4]. It reiterated that in terms of economic prosperity, Christians and Sikhs were way ahead of Hindus [5]. No wonder that the thousands of suicide-driven farmers are preponderantly Hindus!


In a clumsy bid to win Muslim votes in the general elections 2009, several unmerited and highly discriminatory schemes were launched by the government to favour the Muslim community, culminating in massive “reverse discrimination” against the 81% Hindus. Yet no Hindu leader raised his voice to oppose the high profile discrimination against poorer sections of Hindu society, nor did any leader attempt to mobilise public protests against blatant violation of their Right of Equality.


A highly objectionable instance of blatant discrimination practiced against the Hindus for decades is the Haj subsidy, totalling more than Rs. 300 crores per annum, and doled out of taxpayer money. No Hindu political leader dared muster the courage to challenge this as an act of religious discrimination, violative of the Indian Constitution. Ultimately the matter was taken to the Supreme Court by well known Hindu intellectual and activist, Prafull Goradia, through a Writ Petition. The issue should have been be used for unifying Hindus and mobilising public opinion against this kind of religion-based discrimination, but no Hindu leader worth his salt took it up.


Another instance of religion-based discrimination was the decision by then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YSR Reddy to bestow similar largesse on his co-religionists wishing to go to Jerusalem and Bethlehem for pilgrimage. No Hindu leader or political party stood up to challenge that patently discriminatory directive. Ultimately intellectual T. Hanuman Chowdry filed a Writ Petition in the Andhra Pradesh High Court and succeeded in getting it scrapped.    


Another instance of religion-based discrimination practiced by the late YS Rajshekhar Reddy was the grant of government funds to repair churches vide G.O. No. 42, December 19, 2001, which, too, was challenged by Hanuman Chowdry in the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Chief Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy upheld the petition of Hanuman Chowdry on September 7, 2009, and disallowed any financial grants from tax-payer money (mostly paid by Hindus) for repairing or constructing churches.


The most monumental discrimination against Hindus, however, was the Union Government’s decision to implement the findings of the Sachar Committee Report (a document full of suppressio veri, suggestio falsi) against which no Hindu leader or political party has raised a voice. The Committee deliberately ignored the fact that in four globally recognised human development indices - Infant Mortality, Child Mortality, Degree of Urbanisation, and Life Expectancy at Birth - Muslims are ahead of Hindus.  


More importantly, Sachar Committee deftly concealed the fact that as per Census 2001, on average every Muslim woman is giving birth to one child more than her Hindu counterpart, while the work participation of Muslim women was virtually 50% lower than that of Hindus. Instead of advising Muslims to accept the small family norm and allow their womenfolk to go out for work, the Sachar Committee recommended a slew of discriminatory and unmerited concessions to Muslims.


Disappointed by the indifference of Hindu leadership, a Delhi-based think tank decided to file a Writ Petition in the Delhi High Court against the gross religion-based discrimination promoted by the Sachar Committee.


In June 2007, the Centre announced two schemes awarding Rs. 25 lakh in scholarships exclusively to poor students of minority communities (Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others). The only group wickedly debarred from the scholarships was the poorest of poor Hindu families.


Similarly the much vaunted scheme for special development of 90 minority-dominated districts is another stark instance of ‘reverse discrimination’ against Hindus as several districts where Hindus are in majority, especially in tribal regions, are in much worse condition that the 90 minority-dominated districts selected for speedy development in terms of Justice Sachar’s recommendations. Moreover, quite a few of the specially selected districts in Assam, West Bengal and Bihar are those which have become Muslim majority areas after having been overrun by Bangladeshi infiltrators during the last three decades. In other words, even Bangladeshi infiltrators are getting preferential treatment over poorer Hindus.


Similarly, Muslim youth can get loans for setting up business at 3% interest from the National Minority Development & Finance Corporation and at two percent lower than the normal lending rate (for Hindus) from banks. But a Hindu youth wanting to set up a small business or industry has to pay interest at 15% on a loan from a bank or financial institution.  A Muslim or Christian will get the same loan at 13% interest, even if he is financially better off than his Hindu counterpart. Unfortunately no Hindu political or religious leader has ever questioned this naked discrimination which is violative of the Constitution, nor shown any concern for the fate of the poorest Hindus in the matter of scholarships and loans.


The competitive appeasement of minorities by Hindu leaders, including capitulation of some high-flyer self-styled gurus, has greatly disappointed the Hindus. The BJP got its just desserts when it tried to secure the votes of Muslims and Christians by ignoring the sufferings of Hindus in the general elections 2009, and more recently in the Maharashtra and Jharkhand Assembly polls, as reflected in the decline of Hindu vote share for the BJP.  


Yet no lessons appear to have been learnt. The remedy lies in standing up for the cause of Hindus, especially the poorest sections, by making it known that their constitutional rights will not be allowed to be trampled upon, that they will not be abandoned nor thrown to minority-centric political wolves. That alone can counter the menace of minority-centric politics. 


Prima facie, the traumatic history of one thousand years of slavery has taken a heavy toll of the Hindu psyche and diminished the self-confidence and pride of its leaders. Most Hindu leaders, both political and religious, continue to be psychologically overawed by the former Master-religions, an oppressive historical overhang that appears to have robbed them of vital attributes like dynamism, guts and vibrancy.



1.       Sanjay  Kumar, Fellow, Centre for Study of Developing Societies, Social and Economic Status and Popular Perception of Muslims in India, seminar paper presented on Sept. 2, 2006, at Indian Institute of  Public Administration, New Delhi.                                                                                                                              

2.      Ibid.

3.      Shailesh Dobhal and Bhanu Pande, TNN, The Economic Times, New Delhi, April 5, 2007, pp. 1 and 18. 

4.      Ibid.

5.      Ibid.


The author is a retd. Inspector General of Police, Arunachal Pradesh

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