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Venkaiah Naidu, the historically and factually challenged
The way 33 top writers have retruned their Sahitya Akademi and other awards to lodge their protest saying there is atmosphere of intolerance is extraordinary. Love jihad and gharwapsi episodes have been topped by the lynching of a Muslim person in Dadri over beef consumption rumours. Film makers returning their awards and Arun Shorie's 'Manmohan Singh + Cow' comment are the latest fire works.

Union minister Venkaiah Naidu at a function a few days ago said, "We see a new trend in the country nowadays. They say tolerance in this country is coming down. However, India is the only country in this world where tolerance is observed, if not 100% at least 99%."

Naidu further told, "If you go back to history, India was invaded by many foreign countries but there was not a single instance where invaded any country. Indians do not have that kind of attitude also. We respect all religions. That is the greatness of India. Tolerance is genetically ingrained in Indians' blood."

There are two strong beliefs and an unadulterated bluff in Naidu's utterances. First belief: That Indians, meaning in this instance Hindus, are unique because we have tolerance. We are 'the only' people to tolerate the conqueror living among us. Second belief: That India was only ever invaded and Indians never invaded another country. And the bluff: Tolerance is genetically ingrained in Indians' blood.

The two beliefs listed above were dismantled by senior journalist Aakar Patel in his editorial article 'Demystifying beliefs' published in the newspaper Orissa Post dated Oct 27, 2015. The demystification by Aakar Patel is reproduced in brief hereunder.

First Belief - We are 'the only' people to tolerate the conqueror living among us

India is not unique here. Something similar has happened in many nations. England was conquered by the French in 1066. Even today, unlike India, the majority of English landed nobility and aristocracy are of foreign extraction. Queen Elizabeth herself is from the royal house of Saxe-Coburg Gotha of Germany. England's aristocracy still holds its foreign origins with great pride and is not resented by the British.

Two centuries later China was captured by the Mangols under Kublai Khan. The Mangol dynasty of Yuan is celebrated in China. North Africa is made up of a mix of races that have mingled at least since 450 BC. Turkey was conquered by the Central Asian Turks and was occupied by a mix of people including Greeks. Cyprus is half Turkish and half Greek.

The name Hungary comes from Huns, a tribe from Central Asia, who conquered and assimilated with Europeans. Hungarian is not a language of Europe. The Greeks ruled and assimilated with Egyptians for centuries. Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt, was actually Greek speaking. Many countries in American continent are ruled by invaders and the brightest example being the USA. Are the conquerors not ruling Australia and New Zealand?

These are just a few examples. There are many others. So Venkaiah's (and many others' too) belief that we, the Hindus, are in some way extraordinary or unique because we have managed to 'tolerate', or live next to those who have conquered us, is wrong.

Second belief: That India was only ever invaded and Indians never invaded another country

No need to go very far to puncture this myth. Indian king Ranjit Singh's generals captured Kabul at the end of his reign. Of course Ranjit Singh would see himself as being Punjabi rather than an Indian because this was a time before India became a nation state.

Samrat Ashoka had one of his famous pillars in Kandahar. Was it put up out of respect? He probably raided or threatened to raid if the Afghans did not submit. Some may say that Afghanistan is also a part of India. Afghans from Mohammed Ghazni to Ibrahim Lodi to Sherkhan Suri also conquered northern India. Can we say India is a part of Afghanistan? Then how can we term the Afghan conquerors as aliens?

The idea that Hindus are peace loving and reticent is a modern one. We have never had any problem spilling our own blood. The Marathas conquered Gujarat. This was not a peaceful or democratic takeover. Ashoka flattened Kalinga and massacred thousands of Odias. It was not tolerance or lack of visa that stopped him from attempting the same in China or Burma or Australia. It was the natural borders. North Indian dynasties had little geographic space in which to conquer 'foreign', meaning non-sub continental territory.

In the same period that north India was invaded by Mohamedans and England invaded by France, the Tamils under the Chola dynasty invaded Southeast Asia because they were the few Indian dynasties with a competent navy. But Saffron brigade and many others who chest thump that India never invaded any nation don't find any incongruity in eulogizing this achievement of Chola dynasty as a triumph of India.

And the bluff: Tolerance is genetically ingrained in Indians' blood.

Namdeo Dhasal, poet of the underworld: "Upstream, the water is all for you 'to take'. Downstream, the water is for us 'to get'. How even water is taught the caste system!"

Swamy Vivekananda: "India's doom was sealed the day it coined the word 'Mlechha'. No religion on earth preaches dignity of humanity in such a lofty frame and no religion sits on the neck of the poor and the low in such a fashion as Hinduism."

Osho: "Brahmins have been repeating this beautiful statement for thousands of years: 'Aham Brahmasmi'. Still untouchability exists. Still there are people who are not even worthy of being called human beings".

The injustice and cruelty inflicted on the toiling base-borns from time immemorial have been matchless. Yet the classes will try to defend this indefensible by inventing some half-truths and alibis viz that Varna is different from caste, this was not prevalent in ancient India, these things started only after the invasion of Mohamedans and so on. Absolutely unparalleled hypocrisy. Even admitting the naked lies as some lame excuses for the past sins, why should it continue till today even after we became a free country?

When 27 per cent quota for OBCs in IITs, IIMs and other Central educational institutions Bill 2006 was passed by Parliament, the upper caste students went on an agitation protesting against the Act. A few upper caste girl students were asked why they were opposing OBC quota. Their reply: "If OBCs are allowed in such institutions, how will we get married?"

With such magnanimous upper caste people are available in this Dharmic land, Naidu's certificates that "India is the only country in this world where tolerance is observed, if not 100% at least 99%" and "Tolerance is genetically ingrained in Indians' blood" are nothing but cruel jokes.

Forgetting all the religious, vedic and puranic scriptures which poured venom against the base-born and the atrocities committed by the twice-born, let us check how the state had ditched the majority people even after 1947. Newspaper headlines and briefs of the past one decade on the plight of the dominated caste clearly tell 'the percentage of observed tolerance'. It also reveals how genetically ingrained is the tolerance in Indians' blood.

Back to Venkaiah Naidu. All of this is known to him. Nothing new is revealed. But it is remarkable that despite this, most Indians and even ministers of the Union Cabinet, believe myths of such childish simplicity and continue to utter outrageous lies on tolerance.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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