The growing communal clashes and the rise of Hinduphobia as well as islamophobia are the current trends in the global society. The two terms usually describe prejudice and discrimination against Hindus and Muslims, respectively. However, it is important to understand the fundamental difference between Hinduphobia and Islamophobia. These two ‘phobias’ are distinct phenomena with unique historical, cultural, and ideological contexts.
Origins of Hinduphobia and Islamophobia
There are two divergent thought processes on the origin of Hinduphobia. First belief is that Hinduphobia is rooted in colonialism. It stems from the propagation of derogatory stereotypes and misrepresentations of Hinduism by the British.
The other belief lays the origin of this phobia to ‘Ghazwa-e-hind’ ideology of Islamic looters of the Indic region.
The phobia is the religious zeal of conversion that the Islamist looters bore towards Sanatana native dwellers of the region. Consequently, both the theories lay Hinduphobia at the doors of outsiders’ assertion of their own cultural and fervent belief in their own religious superiority. The legacy of these foreign influences continues to prevail on the modern perceptions of Hinduism.
Globally, Islamophobia emerged in the aftermath of several geopolitical events; such as the September 11 attacks on the USA. However, the Indian Subcontinent has always been wary of Islamicists. The region has suffered under Islamic oppression leading to changes in native Sanatana rituals, Hindu prayers, and Indic religious identity. The tyranny of looters that later became conquerors has left a deep imprint of distrust and angst in the minds of Indians. Global terror attacks and zeal of Muslims to suppress all other religions has propagated Islamophobia in the world.
Belief Systems of the Hindus and Islamists
Hinduism takes root from the Sanatana Dharma. It is a branch of Sanatana Dharma that takes the wide range of beliefs, practices, and philosophies of the Indic region under its umbrella. Hinduphobia often stems from a lack of understanding and misinterpretation of Hindu traditions. The western stereotypes and generalizations based on the Britishers’ understanding of Hindu religion gives birth to Hinduism. The belief system of Hinduism is based on acceptance of personal freedom of worship. The Hindu belief system allows religious and spiritual curiosity. The system is guided by a set of rules that the follower may or may not follow on their path of enlightenment. Hindus seek God within themselves.
Islam is an Abrahamic religion. It is a monotheist religion that propagates religious violence and cultural suppression. The Islamists are fervently of the belief that they must succeed in converting the entire world to their one-true religion. They believe God is an external being that will grant them untold richness and pleasure in the afterlife. The Islamic preachers often misrepresent facts in front of a newly converted faithful. The true face of Islam is evident in the tolerance of their preachers in the actions of their radicalized sects.
Hinduphobia is often fueled by political motives. The politicians’ agendas seek to undermine Hindu traditions, rituals, and cultural practices. Political narratives that target Hindu symbols and customs contribute to the marginalization and discrimination of Hindus. Moreover, they prevent modern Hindus from understanding the faith of their birth. Additionally, they shame anyone that supports and celebrates their Hindu identity. The silence of Hindus on these strategies encourages Hinduphobia globally.
Islamophobia is also often exploited for political gain on a global platform. The West uses anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies to win votes and support for their various causes. Contrarily, Islamophobia is cunningly used by Islamists themselves in response to any action that raises questions against them. Islamophobia is a convenient victim card that radical elements of Islam use to suppress any voice of dissatisfaction.
While both Hinduphobia and Islamophobia involve prejudice and discrimination, it is crucial to acknowledge their distinct nature. Hinduphobia stems from historical biases, cultural misunderstandings, and political agendas targeting Hinduism; while Islamophobia arises from true geopolitical events, factual fear of the radical elements of Islam, and biased narratives in Islam about non-believers. Recognizing these differences will allow for a more nuanced understanding and informed discussions on the same. This recognition will address the specific challenges faced or posed by each community to the world.
The modern Indian must understand that Hinduphobia is not an opposite of Islamophobia; it is a west driven narrative that has been conveniently adopted by Islamicists. Hinduphobia is an attempt to deprive Hindus from understanding their religion, Islamophobia is the blindfold the Islamists want the world to wear. Islamophobia is a mask the radical elements of Islam wear to disguise their true agendas; while Hinduphobia is a camouflage that the West and Islamist wear to tear down the roots and belief of Sanatana Dharma.