25 July, 2014
Just Imagine: It’s the year 1945. India is still being ruled by the British. Indians – which means all people of different religions living in the land at that point of time generally referred to as India- have been fighting for freedom. The British have decided that they have looted enough from here and have hence decided to wash their hands off India. But a problem arises. By that time Buddhists have become irrelevant in India. Their places of worship were destroyed by a resurgent Hindu movement led by Shankaracharya – who incidentally did not recognize Shudras or Dalits as Hindus, but that is a matter of another debate- and Buddhists have been more or less driven out of India. Moreover wherever they went, the Buddhists claim they have been persecuted. Infact, millions of Buddhists were gassed to death by an elected dictator of Indonesia. So, Buddhists submit a plea before the British government. They say, `India is the land where our religion was born, so we should all be rehabilitated here. We need to form our own country for protecting our religion, culture, tradition, etc.’
The British love making trouble in the lands they have occupied much more than they love their hot water bottles. So they announce that all Buddhists from across the world can come and settle in the land called India. No skin off the British noses! After all they were not offering sanctuary in their own homeland but in a land that they were forfeiting!! Then an exodus starts. Buddhists from across the world – China, Burma, Malaysia, Japan, etc – arrive in droves into India. With them they bring their own religion, culture, customs, etc. Not much of a problem. India- which has for centuries seen a conglomeration of religions and cultures – welcomed it.
But after the second world war ended, there were changes on a global level. Japan, which had won the war, was ambitious to expand its sphere of influence. It wanted to expand its `global footprint’. That was when India came into Japan’s attention. Japan decided to `help’ Buddhists in India and started ploughing billions of yens. We should remember than most of those Chinese, Burmese, Malaysian, Japanese, etc people WERE NOT REALLY original inhabitants of the land and had no connection with India except for their religion. Anyway, with Japan’s help the Buddhists in India started buying up estates and farms. First, they bought up Bihar and formed their own government. Poor Biharis had no option but to migrate to Mumbai as labourers. Then, they bought up vast tracts of land in Uttar Pradesh and built gated communities. With the economic and technological clout provided by Japan, the Buddhists continued occupying state after state. Ultimately, all Indians were forced to move to the sea shore of what we now call as Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. Unfortunately for Indians their government at that point of time – because of the machinations of the wily British - was not yet recognized by the United Nations.
So, ultimately what happened was that Indians- who were the original inhabitants of the land- were forced to live in cramped ghettos in the coastal areas while the Buddhists had occupied their land with the help of a foreign nation.
The Indian sea coast is a very important region to ensure sub-continental supremacy. So Japan wanted to capture that area too. But there was a problem: people who were the original inhabitants of the land called India were living in cramped conditions in these coastal regions. Some of the Indians were putting up a fight to save their people. Those fighters were called as Himas by the Indians. But Japan and other nations termed Himas as a terrorist organisation. Since Japan wanted control of the region the original inhabitants of the land had to be eliminated. So the Buddhists launched a war against them. Japan, of course, provided all ethical substantiations and war weapons to them.
The people of the world who believe in justice condemned the move of the Buddhists and the Japanese. But to no avail. Indians- who were the original inhabitants of the land- were exterminated from their own land.
The people who came from elsewhere prevailed over a land they called India.
Very Important P.S.: My apologies to my Buddhist friends for imagining a parallel here. I am sure they will realize that I have done it for the sake of `concocting’ a history. All those who support Israel please make these adjustments: Britain remains Britain, Japan is America, Buddhists are Jews, Indians are Palestinians, India’s coast is Gaza.
Gauri Lankesh is a bangalore based journalist, publisher and activist and an active member of Karnataka communal harmony forum.