Melbourne: Hindu “festival of colors” Holi, which was planned to be celebrated in Brussels on March 27, had been cancelled in view of recent Brussels tragedy, out of respect for the victims.
Brussels Mandir and Indian Cultural Center in Evere (Brussels), which was organizing this festival, in an email announcement, said: “This is to inform you that due to the dreadful terror attack in Brussels and as a mark of respect Brussels Mandir will not be celebrating Holi Festival”.
It held prayers during the same time when the Holi celebrations were earlier planned to be held, said Parkash Gurnani, President who heads the Mandir committee, which opened in 2012.
There are around 6,500 Hindus in Belgium which includes 1,500 Hare Krishnas and 5,000 other Hindus. There are several hundreds of ethnic Balinese people living in Belgium.
Yet there is a vocal group of Indians – named YugaParivartan who believe that Indians need not shed any tears for the terror attacks in Brussels.
On their website www.yugaparivartan.com they point out that “the Paris attacks on Charlie Hedbo brought together the whole world and laid bare the menace of Islamic terror which is usually ignored by the champagne sipping elites of the west”.
They believe that Indians have paid with their blood and freedom to face this monster, recognized the human tragedy and showed their solidarity by messaging “Je suis Charlie” and changing their profile picture to French flag on facebook to show their solidarity with France.
But as more terror attacks including Brussels bombings chart European territory and more attacks expected, the group raises this question: “do these westerners deserve Indian sympathy?”
They say the simple answer is – “NO”.
India has been facing the menace of religious barbarism “from at least 1000 years and terrorism is just a new manifestation of this old disease.
“It has raised its ugly head in independent India from time to time from Kashmir to Mumbai.
“Sadly, the western nations for most of this time have maintained a calculated silence or condoned these terrorist activities against the Indian nation state”.
YugaParivartan believes that the West had either turned a ‘blind-eye’ to terrorism at best, or worse, used terrorism as a state policy against India for quite some time now.
They believe that terrorism can be understood by looking at two dimensions- physical and ideological.
The Physical Dimension consists of outright support to terrorist organizations.
“Under the guidance of US, the western nations have cunningly outlined the concept of good terrorist vs. bad terrorist.
“Without any surprise, any terrorist group which helps western hegemony gets bracketed into first while those who attack their interests get labelled as the second i.e. bad terrorists”.
The Ideological Dimension and more hypocritical stand of the West has been to provide ideological ammunition and whitewash the crimes of terrorists.
The groups believe that terms like “terrorism has no religion” and “Islamophobia” have been mass popularized using the media.
“Their ideological factories have churned out various victimhood theories to pin the blame on one or other local event and give cover to religious atrocities.
“So while Gujarat riots are blamed for all subsequent terrorist strikes in India, the burning down of more than fifty Karsevaks at Godhra is completely forgotten and often labelled as an accident, by foreign as well as local Indian media”.
The group believes that while it was nations like India that have historically paid for this battle with their blood, the West had no reason to “not use” religion to destroy India.
But now, they believe, as that same monster turns its gaze “back on its European masters… now they need to pay with their blood for all the intellectual dishonesty they have displayed during all these years”.
India has worked hard to control terrorism and still finds it difficult to wipe it out completely.
The group’s suggestion to the western world is – “be ready to pay with your blood and freedom. There is no short cut…
“Also remember to install X-Ray machines on each of your metro exits in Paris and Brussels – the free (safety) lunch is over”.
So coming back to the question again – should Indians shed tears for the increasing number of terrorist attacks in Europe?
YugaParivartan believes ‘NO’.
“There is no reason for Indians to stand in solidarity with hypocrites who ignored our pain and supported barbaric ideology both physically and ideologically.
“Since (their) past follies have now come home to roost, there is little that India can do in this regard when its past pleas were unheard by the west”.
YugaParivartan is a collective of diverse backgrounds and their website describes the group as united by a “passion to dissect policy decisions without falling for any intellectual fads”.
Subscribers to their view point can and will successfully argue their case.
But the big question facing our civilization is not whether to shed tears for “victims” (wherever they happen to be – Mumbai, Brussels or Lahore) but to revive humanity by exposing the vested interests in the business of modern international politics.
It is as paramount that we should flinch the moment someone is killed, White, Black or Yellow, as it is to vociferously object to the nexus of any political family’s oil interests with the Bin Ladens and its overflow onto the ordinary lives of millions of innocent civilians the world over.
And with utmost resistance stop this trail of tit-for-tat disasters.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), commended the decision of Brussels’ Hindus to cancel the Holi celebrations.
As a cultured civilization demands a stable approach, Zed urged all Hindu temples worldwide to hold prayers for the victims of this tragedy and their families.
We should applaud for the 7,000 strong Indian community in Belgium; for showing restraint in celebrating Holi immediately after the Brussels’ tragedy.
By Dinesh Malhotra
(Dinesh Malhotra is the managing editor at Bharat Times, Melbourne)