Is Hindu Cremation The Next Target For Environment NGOs and Secular Politics?
Imran Hussain, the Delhi Environment Minister and AAP leader, has written a letter to the Centre asking for a standardised policy on green crematoria as “cremation alone accounts considerably to air pollution“.
In his letter, Hussain said that banning the use of wood in crematoria and switching to electric or CNG mode does not appear to be a tenable solution because of religious beliefs, and mentioned that his Government has tasked CSIR National Environment Engineering Research Institute with the work of creating engineering designs for creating non-polluting crematoria.
While steps for controlling environmental pollution are generally laudable, what is interesting is the Minister’s assertion that Hindu cremation using wood pyres contributes ‘considerably’ to air pollution. Most studies on Delhi’s air pollution problem conducted in recent years paint a different picture –
- A 2011 study commissioned by Union Government found road dust (particulate matter from paved and unpaved roads) and industrial emissions as the prominent causes of air pollution in metros. CSE however countered the findings alleging that the study was underplaying the role of polluting diesel vehicles.
- This independent site urbanemissions.info says that vehicle exhaust, industries, road dust, waste burning, biomass burning (open seasonal fires, cooking and heating) and diesel generators as main causes of pollution.
The same Imran Hussain was at forefront in asking Delhi residents to “celebrate a cracker-free Diwali” last year. Earlier, two CPM ministers in Kerala had raised their voice against Hindu practices – Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran said that it was inappropriate to do lamp lighting ceremony to inaugurate public or school functions, while Health minister KK Shailaja had objected to Sanskrit shlokas chanted during the International Yoga Day on 21 June.
Silent Assault of the Secular State on Hindus
It is evident that there are far bigger challenges to overcome on the pollution front – Hindu crematoriums are no where near a major factor. Then why is the Delhi Government and even a statutory body like NGT (National Green Tribunal) so obsessed with cremations? Last year, an NGT bench headed by justice UD Salvi said alternatives like electricity, compressed natural gas and petroleum natural gas to perform the final rites should be considered. NGT had also imposed a fine of Rs 5 crore on Art of Living for allegedly damaging Yamuna floodplains by hosting the World Culture Festival – NGT’s relative silence on much graver damage caused by dumping of toxic waste and land grabbing, exposing the campaign against AOL as nothing short of a witchhunt against a Hindu organization.
NGT is a parallel court that was created by Sonia Gandhi’s UPA regime in 2010 – it was another brainchild of the super-cabinet NAC headed by Sonia that ensured civil society pressure groups/NGO lobby had the final say on most policy decisions of the UPA 1 & 2 Governments. The inside story of how this shadowy NAC cabal dominated by Hinduphobic left-liberals like Harsh Mander, Aruna Roy, Farah Naqvi etc. actually worked is only now coming out.
This is the lasting legacy of Sonia Gandhi – introduction of sectarian anti-Hindu laws like RTE, creating an entitlement-based debilitating work culture through schemes like MNREGA, and setting up parallel courts like NGT, NCMEI etc modelled as tribunals with opaque rules and dominated by civil society activists connected to FCRA – NGOs.
This is not what the framers of our Constitution envisioned when they created the balance of power between the three arms of executive, legislature and judiciary. As this cogent criticism of this tribunalisation phenomenon explains –
“Away from the real or perceived friction between the executive and the judiciary, it is widespread tribunalisation which is slowly eating away core judicial functions, thereby denuding real courts and imperiling actual independence of the judiciary. Even the Prime Minister’s very valid and introspective question last year on the desirability of tribunalisation has failed to dent our complacent thought process. And it seems that many in the judiciary and government also are not keen to rock the boat for the concept provides comfortable post retirement sinecure.”
Repealing unnecessary institutions like NGT, NCMEI etc which were introduced by distorting the original nature of the Constitution, should be high on the agenda of any nationalist Government. That should also be part of the “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance” goal.
Motivated Parties Conduct ‘Studies’ To Target Hindu Traditions
In 2013, the UK newspaper Telegraph had published an article based on ‘research’ by one Shamsh Pervez to claim ‘Indian funeral pyres and incense ‘melting glaciers’. No one in MSM questioned the validity of this ‘research’ – it was left unchallenged until social media picked it up and revealed the biases of the said ‘researcher’ Shamsh Pervez.
This is not to say that Hindu rituals cannot change with time – there are practising Hindus who have no problem with electric cremation indoors, just as there are many Hindus who prefer group firework displays on Diwali. But what is non-negotiable is that Hindu beliefs matter – if some Hindu prefer a traditional wood pyre funeral in the open like Shri Davender Ghai who fought a 4-year battle in UK to win exactly that right in 2010, then those sentiments must be respected…at least in Bharat. Hindus are open to debate, but denigration of our beliefs or applying Abrahamic standards to judge our traditions will be resisted fiercely.
As YugaParivartan says in this article –
“The death of Hindu rituals will only mean death of the civilization as we all know. This is very well known by the leftists and hence they carry out such hit-jobs to kill the rituals to soften Hindus and de-racinate them thus making them easy targets for western propaganda and evangelists. If you analyse carefully it is the same underlying agenda which runs from Jallikattu ban to current controversy.”