Published: 09th February 2023
Author J Sai Deepak addresses false narratives and the hijab controversy
The author called for the majority population in India to be aware of the rights of the minority community and for the minority to align with public morality
The existence of the Hindu community as a majority doesn’t mean that they have a greater responsibility to preserve peace, said J Sai Deepak, advocate, Supreme Court.
Deepak, a noted Indian author and commentator, spoke about the false narrative surrounding the Indian minority community, the hijab controversy in educational institutions, and the ongoing revision of history at the 11th edition of The New Indian Express' ThinkEdu Conclave 2023 in Chennai on Thursday, February 9. He called for the majority population to be cognizant of the rights of the minority and for the minority to conduct itself in a way that aligns with public morality.
In a discussion with senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai, on the topic, "India and Bharat: Evolution or Revolution?” Deepak said, “There is a false narrative and particularly as a community, which has suffered in the hands of colonisers and invaders. I am sorry, but the burden cannot be on us anymore. We have done away with one-third of our land in the form of Pakistan and Bangladesh. What more is expected of this community?” asked Deepak
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He further said that while the majority population will be cognizant of the rights of the minority so that they are treated at par with them when it comes to constitutional rights, this treatment at this particular extension of goodwill cannot be a one-way street. “It is up to the minority to also ensure that it conducts itself in a way that public morality is largely dictated by the majority in every jurisdiction,” said Deepak.
Deepak also commented on the hijab controversy in educational institutions in Karnataka. He asked what the consequences would be for Hindus' ability to wear their religious symbols in a secular institution if he took an anti-hijab stance. He characterised Hinduism as a way of life and not a religion and discussed the ongoing revision of history. Deepak stated that a proper revision should present a clear picture of facts and that he considered the National Education Policy to be only a small step towards that goal.
He also mentioned that his books are misunderstood. “When people read my book they feel it is a stick to beat Congress or the Left, which is not correct. Both the Left and Right and the very existence of these words point to the problem that we seem to lack originality and the confidence to draw from our civilisation," said Deepak.
Deepak urged young people to strive to understand their faith. He emphasised that they should not feel the need to be more Hindu merely because others are more Muslim, and encouraged them to be true to their roots. He emphasised the importance of putting faith in facts, cultivating a love of reading, and educating oneself on these issues. He stressed the need for platforms where these conversations can take place and suggested that the temple is an institution that has been widely misunderstood and misrepresented. He encouraged people to explore this aspect further.