My answer in Quora to the question “What message do you have for BJP Bhakts?”:
BJP as a party is nothing but a collection of people; that applies to any party. Parties are like human societies on their own with human beings with a variety of personalities.
Since good and bad people and stupid and intelligent people are randomly distributed among a group of people, it would be unwise to categorize an entire group as good or bad. It would be unwise to also categorize all members of any party with a specific label, like ‘bhakts’.
But still, there is a distinct group of BJP supporters whom you can identify as bhakts. They can be identified by specific traits, thought patterns, way of responding to criticisms etc.
The most important characteristic feature that sets them apart is that they do not know how to argue anything with logic; they are logically handicapped! This handicap varies by degrees from person to person.
In fact, such bhakts exists in every party, but BJP seems to have a large number of them, at least as far as I have observed. And, I do have a lot of things to say to them; in order to help them to get more healthy attitude towards reality and the world. So, here are my messages to them:
1. You don’t have to save Hinduism
It is typical for many BJP bhakts to act as the saviours of Hinduism. I would like to quote from my recent answer, to the question “How can Hinduism be saved in India?”
There are two kinds of people who follow any religion:
People who consider their religion as a path to walk.
People who consider their religion as an identity.
People who consider their religion as a path do not worry about saving their religion. They are happy about the fact that they have a path to walk on and they teach that path to their children. They try to understand the true essence of the scriptures. They consider love towards humanity and God as more important than anything else.
But people who take religions as an identity are the self-proclaimed saviours of those religions. For them, religion is not a matter of love, but a matter of pride. They are concerned about nourishing their ego with religion. Most of the self- proclaimed saviours of Hinduism haven’t read even Bhagavad Gita or Upanishads and have no idea about the essence of their religion. In the name of saving their religion, all they do is breed hatred. As far as I have seen, they seem to be dangerous because their attitude is anti-Hindu.
But anyway, saying that Hinduism needs to be saved is like the biggest insult to Hinduism. Come on? You really think that a library of thousands of books can be destroyed by just two books, the Bible and the Quran?
Whatever that makes sense will continue to grow and make sense to people. Whatever gives importance to love and humanity will flourish. Anything that is anti-humanity will eventually be destroyed in the world. So saving Hinduism is not your responsibility! You following the religion and understanding the essence of it is the greatest service you can do to Hinduism.
If you are still worried about saving Hinduism, I suggest you read Gita 4.7:
yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamyaham.
Meaning: whenever there is decline in righteousness and an increase in unrighteousness, I will manifest myself on earth!
Then why do you worry? Lack of faith, may be?
Criticisms cannot destroy Hinduism; because, Hinduism itself is a culture which has enormous literature filled with criticisms of various schools of thought.
Even if all the temples are destroyed, it will only be a loss of property ( a huge loss, of course) and not a loss for Hinduism as a religion. Because we have the agama literature, the science which deals with creating temples. The sad part is, any attempt to understand agamas is totally ignored among these Hindu saviors. I recommend reading Rami Sivan ‘s answers to know more about agamas and other scriptures. He is a walking encyclopedia of agamas.
2) Vedic scriptures do not have modern science or technology
It is true that ancient Indians had a lot of scientific temper and made some significant contributions to science. But, even those contributions get overlooked or ignored when bhakts claim that Vedas talk about atomic structure, particle physics, quantum mechanics and nuclear weapons.
By claiming these things, you are not only making the real contributions to fade away but you are also insulting the scriptures themselves. Because scriptures such as Upanishads and Gita are filled with tons of spiritual wisdom, which can transform your life if understood properly. They show a path to supreme bliss! Ignoring all that wisdom, when you talk as if Vedas are science journals, you begin to look like a joker.
I have gone through major Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and some Gitas that most of the bhakts haven’t even heard of, like Ashtavakra Gita, Ribhu Gita, Avadhuta Gita, Bhoothanatha Gita etc. I see the transformative quality of these texts and that remains unnoticed because people are already creating aversion towards our scriptures by claiming extra-ordinary and baseless things.
You need to really stop doing that! Because, when I try to convince some hardcore atheists about the importance of these scriptures, I see a lack of open-mindedness, which is nothing but a direct consequence of such an illogical behaviour. Please refer Raziman T.V. (റസിമാൻ ടി.വി.) answers in which he has debunked such claims.
3) We all came from the outside
Hindu nationalists want to believe that everything originated from India. This is not a positive trait to have but it is the result of intoxicated pride.
These people would often confuse between Aryan invasion theory and Aryan migration theory. It is true that Aryans never invaded and that Aryan invasion theory was proved to be false. But it is so true that Aryans migrated from Steppes; the Aryan migration theory is true.
We not only have strong evidence for it, but it is obvious even if you read our scriptures. Migration was the nature of Aryans. For six months they would migrate, and for six months covering the winter season, they would settle down. It was called yoga and kshema respectively. When we look at the history, we can see that first the Vedic civilization thrived in the West of India, then it slowly occupied Kuru kingdom near Punjab, then moved to Ganges valley and flourished with urban culture and spiritual wisdom when it finally covered the North eastern part of India. The whole movement has a direction, from North West to South East. But apart from this, there are tons of archaeological, genetic and linguistic evidence.
But BJP and other Hindutva-inclined parties have some talented speakers who speak skillfully in trying to prove that Indians actually migrated from India and moved to different parts of the world. For someone who is naive, it may sound extraordinary. But if you get more awareness on how historical method and research works, you will start seeing the truth.
This is not to say that Dravidians were initial inhabitants of Indian subcontinent. Australoids and Negritos were here before them. Dravidians moved from mediterranean, and interbred with the earlier inhabitants to form the ancestral South Indian population. But now we all have mixed genes. No one is Dravidian or Aryan, everyone are just Indians.
Every one of us can trace their home back to Africa anyway; all divisions of language and culture came much later!
4) Sanskrit is not the oldest language in the world.
I love Sanskrit and I have been learning it for the past three years. Now I can speak and express almost anything in Sanskrit (not fluent though), read simple Sanskrit stories, write Sanskrit poems and more. But neither Sanskrit nor Tamil is the oldest language in the world; they can’t be! (My mother tongue is Tamil, by the way).
Languages evolved 150,000 years ago. No language can exist for 150,000 years without becoming extinct or transforming into a different language. So none of the languages spoken today is the oldest; they all descended from a parent language. We don’t even know what people spoke some 12,000 years ago. That was when people first started to settle down and do farming and that was when a major part of anything close to a modern language could have evolved. Because, that is when people started trading and communicating extensively.
Sanskrit descended from proto-Indo-Aryan language and Tamil descended from Pro-Dravidian language. It is true that they are hypothetical, but it is a fact that both must have descended in some parent language anyway. There is no way that such a highly advanced language like Tamil or Sanskrit can be the same as the language that humans spoke before they settled down in one place. If you understand the basics of linguistics, you will know how dumb the ‘oldest language’ claims are.
5) Historical research is not biased
There may be biased historians anywhere, but the general consensus among historians all over the world that is achieved by rigorous teamwork and peer review is not biased.
I am saying this because I recently noticed a meme shared by bhakts. It also received a lot of ‘lol’ reactions, implying how stupid those historians were. The meme said something like , “Jesus and Muhammad are historical persons, but Durga, Ganesh and Ram are not historical”.
These people simply do not understand how historical research works. The historians who say this also agree that Abraham and Moses were not historical. The only two incidents which have been agreed to be true widely by historians in Jesus’s life are his baptism by John and his crucifixion. Durga and Ganesh are forms of God intended for meditations and worship, and their stories are intended to convey spiritual wisdom symbolically. They cannot be considered as historical figures. There is no reference to Rama outside the various versions of Ramayana in ancient literature (which doesn’t reduce the significance of Ramayana in anyway or undermine its essential message). And obviously, no historian would dare to say that Muhammad really ascended to heaven, even though the fact that a person called Muhammad existed is completely and undeniably true.
Every conclusion has reasons. They are promptly explained by historians in historical journals and publications. You can argue with logic, but don’t argue simply driven by emotions.
So, bhakts! you neither understand how historical research works nor understand the purpose of mythology or epics in Hinduism. Just cool down, people who know stuff in India will take care of raising India’s pride. Keep quiet and let them speak.
6) Gandhi is not a demon and Godse is not a hero
The disastrous opinion that Gandhi was bad and deserved to be killed has poisoned a lot of these bhakts.
In seventh standard, we had a lesson about Gandhi in English. My English teacher gave me a nickname ‘Gandhi’ because I also had bad handwriting like him, was very shy like him, and left school as soon as the school closed just like he did. But later I got a lot of interest in him and read his autobiography. He is the real inspiration to every Hindu!
Gandhi was not a perfect person; no one is! Every human being is fallible, but tries his best to reach his highest potential in all dimensions. Did Gandhi strive to achieve the highest dimension in his life? Was he a seeker of truth, peace and harmony? He most certainly was! Please set your biased and preconceived notions about Gandhi and learn true history of him from people like Balaji Viswanathan (பாலாஜி விஸ்வநாதன்) and Awdhesh Singh (Quora user) .
7) Logic matters
If you really like this culture, you must stand true to the values of this culture. Logic and reasoning is one of the core values of this land. Nyaya shastra, one of the six orthodox schools of Hinduism deals extensively with logic. All Acharyas including Adhi Shankara followed the logical of Nyaya shastras in their commentaries, criticisms and debates. Adhi Shankara criticized even Pancharatra agama and yoga, without a single logical fallacy that went against Nyaya shastra. (Now we have modern informal logical which will teach you how to speak with logic.)
But it is sad to see that the comments of these Bhakts are filled with logical fallacies like ad hominem, whataboutism etc. Just google ‘informal logical fallacies and you will discover a lot of mistakes that you make when you are engaged in any heated argument. I won’t be surprised if someone asks ‘what about Congress’ in the comment section or call me anti-Hindu. This simply means that you don’t have anything valid to say, logically, to refute whatever that I have said.
8) Being devoted to a political party is not democracy
This applies to everyone, no matter what party they support. But there is too much attachment to BJP for all these BJP bhakts. For them, the only crime there is in the world is to criticize BJP or the ideas spread by the party members.
If you become committed to vote for one party for your entire life, you have forgotten the true meaning of democracy. If you want to be unbiased in your voting, you must drop your attachments and devotion to political parties and deriving your identity or self-image from them. It is not good for the country.
Bhakts have gone one step further by creating a cult of personality around Modi. There are some bhakts who even built a temple for Modi. I listened to Modi once and I liked his speech. He explained the difference between criticism and allegation and how criticism is healthy for democracy. But why are bhakts too intolerant to any healthy criticism? Because of their devotion and attachment.
9) You are misinformed about Muslims and Christians
Because of the ways of divide and rule by politicians, we are slowly forgetting what being an Indian means. The beauty and significance of India is in the unity in diversity; India is the opportunity to prove to the world that people of major religions of the world can live together without conflict. But because of our huge trust in politicians, we are slowly building up aversion towards other religions and its people. From some Facebook groups and their posts, it is very clear that this aversion is growing day by day.
First, it is a misconception to believe that Islam was brought by Mughal rulers and Christianity was brought here by British. Christianity entered South India almost a century after Jesus and Islam entered South India almost a century or two after Muhammad, Their descendants are still living in Kerala.
Second, both Christianity and Islam have mystic schools which share the same essence as Hinduism. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa went through the spiritual practices of both of those traditions independently and concluded that they all lead to the same goal, moksha! We have numerous saints like Kabir, Shirdi Sai baba etc and wonderful personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Abdul kalam, Poet Bharathiyar etc who understood that the true essence of Islam and Christianity is the same as the essence of Hinduism. (98% of Christians and Muslims do not know this. So do not ask me whether they would accept what I say). Anyway, I have written more about this in my book “Discovering God: Bridging Christianity, Hinduism and Islam”.
If you think that people of other religions are wrong about something, engage in a healthy, logical debate with them. To do that, you must be strong in logic and scriptural knowledge yourself. A Christian reads the Bible everyday, a Muslim reads the Quran everyday; how many of you read the Gita everyday? How many of you are capable of handling any criticism with logic, instead of resorting to name calling and logical fallacies?
We are living in a world in which things that make sense will survive the test of time and things which are nonsensical will get discarded eventually. If your arguments are logically strong, there is no need to be concerned about any criticism.
10) I am not an anti-Indian or anti-Hindu.
A typical behaviour of bhakts is to label anyone who criticizes BJP as anti-Hindu or anti-Indian. I hope you understand why that is dumb, based on what we have discussed so far. So, let us be mature, shall we?