5. Hindu Response to the Demographic Challenge
5.1. Some panicky solutions
������ This leaves enough time to do something, assuming that "doing something" is in principle possible and desira�ble.� So, what are the options?� It hardly makes sense to react to this demograp�hic aggres�sion with a Hindu demograp�hic counter-offensive, as sug�gested by the Puri Shankarach�arya, if at all it were pos�sible to sur�pass the Muslim com�munity in this respect.� A similar idea is that birth control should be made compul�sory for all, e.g. by enforcing vasectomy on every father of two child�ren.�
������ A sinister alternative routinely imputed to the RSS is the expulsion of all Indian Muslims to Pakis�tan, "the state which was, after all, crea�ted for them".� This kind of statement can be heard in speeches by the more extreme wing of the Hindut�va or�ganization, e.g. in the popular audio-taped speeches by Sadhvi Ritambhara propagat�ing this posi�tion, including the slogan: "Muss�alman ke do hi sthan, Pakistan ya qabrastan", "There are only two places for Muslims, Pakistan or the graveyard".�
������ This slogan ap�parently dates back to the Partition and its mas�sacr�es, as related to me by eyewitness�es.� At that time, the evacuation of Mus�lims from India was, coup�led with an or�dered evacuation of Hindus from Pakis�tan, an entirely serious proposal: all Hindus would vacate Pakistan, and all Muslims would go to Pakistan, leaving only their buried ancestors behind in graveyards in India.� The proposal was formulated by Dr. Bhimrao Ambed�kar in his Thoug�hts on Pakistan (1940), and meant to save mil�lions of lives (incl�uding those yet to be lost in future clas�hes resul�ting from Hindu-Muslim co-exis�tence in the respective countries of the subconti�nent, esp. India).� Today, howev�er, it could only be done by means of extreme violen�ce, com�parable in inten�sity to (but a hundred times larger than) the full-scale civil war which led to the expulsion of the French in�habitants of Algeria in 1962.
������ A few years ago, Anwar Shaikh, a convert from Islam, offered a polit�ical solution (which he later retracted): "There is only one solution to this hor�rendous problem, that is, disenfra�nchise all Muslims of India.� A vote is the right of a patriotic citizen who thinks good of his country and acts accordingly.� These people lost their Indian citizenship by divid�ing their own mot�herland to create Paki�stan."� Apart from the ques�tionable desirability of such a disenfranc�h�i�se�ment, it is obviously a recipe for civil war, for how long would an ever-larger Muslim community tolerate it?
������ Perhaps Baljit Rai is thinking along the same lines when he offers the undefi�ned concept Hindu Rashtra as a solution: "Hindus, Sikhs, Chri�stians, Parsis, Buddhists and others (Muslims excluded) living in India have no option but to live either in a Hindu Rashtra or Muslim India, i.e. India as Dar-ul-Islam.� That is the stark reality."� Unfortunately, he fails to explicitate how the declaration of India as a Hindu state would stop the Muslim increase leading to a Muslim majority.� Nepal is formally a Hindu Kingdom, yet it fails completely to put up any kind of effective defence against Islamic immigration and Christian proselytizati�on, which are fast destroying the Hindu character of the country.
������ Some desperate Hindus have advocated the reintr�oduction of polyg�amy, e.g. one Ashok Vashisht in Britain pleads for adop�tion of polygamy to counter the effects of Muslim polygam�y.�� His argument is that Mus�lim polyg�amy, even if it does not yield a higher birth rate by itself, is nevertheless a decis�ive trump card in the Muslim demog�raphic offen�sive, because it limits the availa�bility of women for other Muslim men and thereby forces them to scout around for non-Muslim women.� There is somet�hing demea�ning about this kind of competition, and it overes�tima�tes the demogra�phic use of polygamy vastly (polygamous househ�olds are rather few and tend to have a lower number of children per woman).� But its main con�ceptual weakness, as also of the other options men�tion�ed, is that it is predi�cated on the accep�tance of the con�tinued Is�lamic iden�tity of the Mus�lims.�����
������ Within the above schemes, the choice seems to be one of simply let�ting the Muslims take over India as soon as they become numero�us enou�gh; or implementing one of the said scenarios of demographic com�petition or ethnic clean�sing.� One cannot blame anti-Hindu auth�ors for high�light�ing such ideas as all too similar to certain forms of xenoph�obia and racism elsewhere.� But rather than shrieking about the horrible plans being concocted in Hindutva backrooms, we should take a look at an established Hindu alternative for these extreme "solutions".
������ The alternative we mean is not to just shrug it all off and say: but why should anyone object if Muslims become the majority?� That is a valid option in theory, but one which is unacceptable to every single Hindu worth his salt.� After the treatment which Hindus have received in Muslim-majority states and regions, from legal discrimination in Mala�ysia to ethnic cleansing in Kashmir and genocide in East Pakistan, abor�ting any evolut�ion which would turn India into a Muslim-majority state is an agreed policy goal.�
������ The other alternative, the one advocated by a string of ac�tiv�ists from Dayanan�da Saras�wati to Abhas Chatterjee, is that Hindus challenge the Mus�lims' adherence to Islam.� In Chatterjee's words: "We consider these alien ideologies to be enemies of our nati�on.� The goal is to bring our minori�ties back into our nation after destroying the deadly in�toxica�tion of these ideologies."� This was also the soluti�on offered by Swami Shraddhananda to "save the dying race". ��������
������ This reconversion may take the form of reawakening some periph�eral, super�ficia�lly is�lami�zed com�munit�ies to their pre-conver�sion Hindu iden�tity, an approach which has worked in the case of the recon�verted Malk�ana and Meherat Rajputs.� But today these semi-Hindu Muslim com�munities are becoming scarce due to Tabligh campaigns and the spread of Madras�sa education, making the Muslims more Muslim.� In the larger picture, even the suc�cesses which have been achieved by the reconver�sion movement may not amount to much, for there have also been con�versions of Hindus to Islam.�
������ This leads to considerations of a second ap�proach: educ�ati�ng Mus�lims about the less than divine basis of Islam to shake well-groun�ded belie�vers in Islam out of their belie�fs.� The whole idea strikes modern Hindus as quite foreign to Hinduism, which has come to be seen as an en�tirely spineless jellyfish, tolerating everything, ap�prov�ing everything.� In reality, Hinduism has quite a tradition of debate, including wagers in which the loser agrees to convert to the winner's school of thought; an unusually energetic Hindu may try to revive this tradition. �
������ This polemical approach is much more dif�ficult, not least beca�use it necessita�tes a profound refor�mulat�ion of Hin�duism in modern term�s and the shedding of a lot of supers�titi�ous dead�wood which Hinduism has accumulated over the centuries.� Hindu society is not in a shape to teach others lessons and tell them what is wrong with them; or so Hin�dus feel.� That is exac�tly how Swami Dayananda unders�tood the sit�uat�ion when he conceived the Shuddhi programme together with a reform of Hin�duism: reconversion of Muslims is only pos�sible if it is combined with thorough internal reform, both in the social and the intellectual domains.
������ Demanding as the project of reconversion may be, it is the only civilized solution to the looming threat of a Muslim demographic take-over of India a few decades from now.� Of course, Hindus may be lucky and wake up one day to find that Islam has imploded from within, that the Ayatollahs and the Ulema of Al-Azhar and Deoband are suddenly telling their flock that the whole thing was a mistake.� The Hindus were that lucky in the case of Communism, which surprised them with its implosion, so it is really possible; nonethel�ess, luck rarely comes to those who count and depend on it for their sur�vival.� Time has not run out yet, and if Hindus make a start today, they can comfortably organize the salvation of their country from the rising tide of Islam.
5.3. A secular afterthought
������ To a modernist outsider, there is something quaint and unreal about this alter�native: either islamizing or hinduizing India.� Perhaps this is na�ve Enlightenment optimism, but I wonder if the present worldwide revival of religi�ous identities can at all persist once the information revolut�ion has had its full civilizational effect.� As late as the 1960s, Protes�tants in the Netherlands used to warn each other against the Catholics, who were allegedly planning to take over the country with their high birth rate.�� The suspicious Protestants were right, for tod�a�y�, Catholics are very sligh�tly more numerous than Protes�tants in the Neth�er�lands, a state created by a Protestant freedom struggle; only, the two communities together hardly command the loyalty of half the popula�tion anymore, for both have lost their adherents at a dramatic rate.� Moreover, with the mental secul�arization of even the remaining Catholics, the idea of a Popish Plot to seize power has become surrealistic.�
������ Like the Dutch Catholics, Indian Muslims should be en�couraged to outgrow their religious conditioning, and to explore the spiritual sphere afresh.� This will automatically bring them in closer touch with their Hindu surroundings, and help them reintegrate into the society from which they were estranged by Islam.