Besides the little knowledge I gained from reading crime thrillers, I do not know much about crime, criminals and criminology.  Nevertheless, I am sure that any act of violence against innocent people is a crime. And one who instigates a crime is as much a criminal as the one who commits it.

Of late, I have seen some such criminals who go around in the disguise of religious leaders.

Religious leaders in the true sense are those who preach the tenets of a certain religion for a peaceful and harmonious living.

But some who call themselves religious leaders are actually fanatic leaders. They commit the crime of instigating fierce emotions in people through their speeches. They cause a disturbance, unrest and disharmony – just the opposite of what true religious leaders do.

“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” – Alexander, King of Macedonia

Today, in our country, I see an army of sheep led by scheming hyenas and jackals, the fanatic leaders.

Fanatic leaders propagate that they shall ‘protect’ or ‘save’ their religion and people believe them to be the saviors of their religion. My point is to remove their mask of religious leadership and show their true criminal face.

The fundamental practice of fanatic leaders is glorifying their religion, the God(s), saints, prophets, monks etc. and denouncing other religions and their practices. Some of these leaders go to the extent of declaring that followers of other religions are uncivilized, inhuman and perverse; and that their co-existence can be harmful.

Now, followers of these fanatic leaders take what these leaders say quite seriously.  On the other hand, those who belong to the religions this leader denounces take his criticism very personally. Why shouldn’t they? I completely understand.

I am a Hindu and I have felt quite offended when Vedic practices were denounced. Also, I always felt proud of the spiritual contribution Hindu saints made to the world. I grew up listening to the stories of these saints. I admit that I feel elated when someone glorifies my religion. And I feel humiliated if someone denounces it. I shall explain why?

My religion and the great saints who interpreted the scriptures shaped my thinking and character. Denouncing them is like deprecating my character and integrity. And this applies to everyone who has integrity irrespective of which religion he/she belongs to.

The tenets of my religion helped me develop a considerable sense of discrimination between right and wrong. My religion has taught me to respect other religions just as I respect my own.

It makes me extremely sad when several despicable things happen in the name of Hinduism. It saddens me, even more,  when Hinduism is blamed for it. It is the fanatic leaders who stimulate these acts that are at fault and not the religion.

I despise these Hindu fanatic leaders just as I despise the fanatic leaders of any other religion.

Fanatic leaders have criminal motives? This is their standard operating procedure.

  1. Firstly, the fanatic leaders thoroughly read religious texts of their own religion and their ‘rival’ religions too in order to establish their validity of being ‘well-read’.
  2. Secondly, they misinterpret these texts to suit what they want to preach and obtain an outcome they desire.
  3. Then, they overwhelm the audience with quotes from here, there and everywhere – not to mention how selectively they choose the extracts and misinterpret them to suit their cause of misleading the audience.
  4. Now, they assure the followers of their religion that they are the chosen ones and followers of other religions are ‘sinners’, thus sowing the seeds of prejudice.
  5. Then they successfully create fear in the followers that being tolerant is equal to disrespecting one’s religion.
  6. And then, these fanatic leaders cleverly  (mis)lead their followers to believe that their religion, its practices, their identity, life and faith are under a terrible threat.
  7. Finally, these leaders spread rumors against an order or religion, to make their believers feel vulnerable and insecure.
  8. Fanatic leaders become saviours and money pours in for saving their religion. They become successful in amassing wealth and gaining top political and social positions which is their true objective.

Distorting religious texts and scriptures may not be unlawful. But to distort scriptures with the objective to mastermind acts of prejudice and violence is certainly a crime.

It is time we made the innocent realize that these ‘fanatic leaders’ are NOT leaders in the first place and that they are ‘criminals’. It is time we broke our silence and removed their mask even if it is just a few of us.

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai, 


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