February 15, 2008

Hindu Radicals Demonstrate that the Opposite of Fundamentalism is Love

Since I've mentioned both Christian and Islamic fundamentalists this morning, it seems only fair to throw in something about Hindu fundies as well. Valentine's Day, one of the least religious holidays in the world, one which celebrates human beings' capacity to love one another in real, nonabstract, healthy ways — despite sappy greeting cards and fattening chocolate — has become quite popular in many countries. It has gone over like gangbusters in India, much to the chagrin of Hindu zealots there. Thus, these fundamentalists choose to mark the holiday with protests and beatings. Incapable of love, and perhaps jealous of that capacity in others, they react with the only things fundamentalists have left in its place — hatred, violence, and disdain for the free will of others.

"We are deadly against Valentine's Day," said Sapan Dutta, a regional leader of the hard-line Shiv Sena group. "We are for civilized love and affection..."

"Our volunteers will check parks, hotels and restaurants and swoop upon young lovers found walking hand-in-hand," said Vijay Tiwari, a Shiv Sena activist in Lucknow...

In recent years, there have been several cases of couples being attacked while seeking privacy in local parks...


Yes, "swooping upon young lovers" certainly sounds civilized to me. Let's see what the Hindu fundamentalist notion of "civilized" looks like:
Right-wing Hindu activists Thursday were beating young couples in India's northern Uttar Pradesh during Valentine's Day protests across the country, news reports said. Police told the IANS news agency that activists from the Hindu hardline Shiv Sena group beat up couples in a public park in Bareilly town and made girls hold their ears and apologize for celebrating Valentine's Day.

Young men were forced to do sit-ups and crawl on the ground...

Fifty activists of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party's student wing attacked a shop selling Valentine's Day gifts in Hyderabad and set fire to the greeting cards.

They carried saffron flags and chanted slogans such as "Save Culture" and "Death to Valentine's Day..."


Doesn't that all sound rather civilized? Nothing says respect like intimidation, beatings and arson. Nice swooping there.

No matter what religion they might be part of, no matter what country they're from, fundamentalists are fundamentalists. They're the self-styled morality police, deciding what is proper and what is not for everyone, even those who disagree with their fairytales. Nothing is more hateful, nothing is closer at all times to committing acts of violence, and nothing is more pathetically deluded about what it means to be human than a fundamentalist. Unable to save themselves from their own psychological dissonance in their dealings with reality, they unleash their madness upon any who would dare demonstrate that the world is not like what their respective religious writs say it should be. To their minds, it is better to beat others into submission rather than adjust their view of the world to include the possibility that maybe the way we are — the way we love, the way we think, the way we learn, the way we experience life and this marvelous collection of tissues called a body through which we experience it — is the way it should be. No, their books and the natterings of their holy men say otherwise... and death to whomever dares to violate those worthless edicts.

The opposite of fundamentalism is love.

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