Is There a Hindu Fundamentalism?
Fundamentalists are merely more vehement in their practices. What missionary activities are Hindu fundamentalists promoting throughout the world? What missions in other countries have Hindu fundamentalists set up to convert Christians, Muslims, or those of other beliefs to the only true religion called Hinduism? What Hindus are motivated by a missionary spirit to discredit people of other religious beliefs in order to convert and save them?
Fundamentalist groups not only condemn those of other beliefs to an eternal hell, they may even make death threats against those who criticize their beliefs. The fatwa of the Ayatollah Khomeni against Salman Rushdie and of some others against Anwar Shaikh (a name not so well known but not untypical) are examples of this, which many Muslim groups throughout the world, perhaps the majority, have accepted.
What Hindu has ever condemned non-Hindus to an eternal hell, or issued declarations asking for the death of anyone for merely criticizing Hindu belief? Where have Hindus ever stated that it is punishable by death to criticize Krishna, Rama, or any other great Hindu leader? There are certainly plenty of books, including many by Christians and Muslims, which portray Hinduism in a negative light. How many of such books are Hindu fundamentalists trying to ban, and how many of their authors are they threatening?
Fundamentalists are usually seeking to return to the social order and customers of some ideal religious era of a previous age. Fundamentalists often insist upon returning to some traditional law code like the Islamic Shariah or Biblical model of justice and humanitarianism. What law code are Hindu fundamentalists seeking to reestablish? Which Hindu groups are agitating for the return of the law code of the Manu Samhita, for example (which incidentally has a far more liberal and spiritual law code than the Shariah or the Bible)?
Fundamentalists are usually opposed to modern science. Many Christian and Islamic fundamentalists reject the theory of evolution and insist that the world was created by God some 6000 years ago. Even in America Christian fundamentalists are trying to have the evolution theory taken out of schools. What scientific theories are Hindu fundamentalists opposed to and trying to prevent being taught in schools today?
Fundamentalism creates various political parties limited to members of that religion only, which aim at setting up religious dictatorships. What exclusively Hindu religious party exists in India or elsewhere in the world, and what is its common Hindu fundamentalist platform? Who is asking for a Hindu state that forbids the practice of other religions, allows only Hindu religious centers to be built, and requires a Hindu religious figure as the head of the country? This is what other fundamentalist groups are asking for in terms of their religions and what they have instituted in a number of countries that they have taken power, like Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Fundamentalism is often involved with militancy and sometimes with terrorism. What Hindu minorities in the world are violently agitating for their separate state? What planes have Hindu fundamentalists hijacked, what hostages have they taken, what bombs have they planted? What terrorist activities are Hindu fundamentalists promoting throughout the world? What countries are stalking down Hindu fundamentalist terrorists who are plotting against them?
The Ayatollah Khomeini is regarded in the Western World as a typical example of an Islamic fundamentalist militant leader. Many Western people consider him to be a terrorist as well. What Hindu fundamentalist leader has a similar record? Saudi Arabia is usually regarded as a pious or orthodox Islamic country, and is usually not called fundamentalist even by the news media of India. No non-Islamic places of worship are allowed to be built there. No non-Islamic worship is allowed in public. American troops in the Gulf War had to hide their religious practices so as not to offend the Saudis. Traditional Islamic law, including mutilation for various offences, is strictly enforced by a special religious police force. If we apply any standard definition of fundamentalism, Saudi Arabia is a super-fundamentalist country.