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Hinduism without caste

Tags: hinduism caste

It’s a just another day in twitter when you come across tweets disparaging Hinduism.

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The Left ecosystem in India usually quote B. R. Ambedkar on Hinduism but is silent on his views on other religion.

For Instance in the Introduction to Buddha and His Dhamma1, Ambedkar said

The four Aryan Truths are a great stumbling block in the way of non-Buddhists accepting the gospel of Buddhism. For the four Aryan Truths deny hope to man. The four Aryan Truths make the gospel of the Buddha a gospel of pessimism


On Islam, B. R Ambedkar said in his book, Pakistan or Partition of India2

Islam is said to bind people together, but this is only a half-truth. For Islam divides as inexorably as it binds. Islam is a close corporation and the distinction that it makes between Muslims and non-Muslims is a very real, very positive and very alienating distinction. The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is the brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. There is a fraternity, but its benefit is confined to those within that corporation. For those who are outside the corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity. The second defeat of Islam is that it is a system of social self-government and is incompatible with local self-government because the allegiance of a Muslim does not rest on his domicile in the country which is his but on the faith to which he belongs. To the Muslim ibi bene ibi patria is unthinkable. Wherever there is the rule of Islam, there is his own country. In other words, Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin. That is probably the reason why Maulana Mahomed Ali, a great Indian but a true Muslim, preferred to be buried in Jerusalem rather than in India.


Is caste intrinsic to hinduism?

What about caste? Can you be a Hindu without caste? The left ecosystem deliberately equates hinduism with caste.

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Religion is all about interpretation

Why are computers not programmed in the English language even though it was invented in the English dominant part of the world? It’s because human languages are ambiguous. That’s why most programming languages have unambiguous syntax.

Religous books can be interpreted in myriad ways. Bible was quoted to justify slavery, like Ephesians 6:5: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”.

Martin Luther King JR’s favourite Bible quote against slavery was “In Christ, there is neither Jew, nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:28)”.

In Hinduism, Nehru found inspiration in Nitisara against caste that says that caste division should not be by birth, but by capacity.

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Nehru also believed Hinduism became more rigid and caste had developed after Muslim invasions in India.

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To buttress Nehru’s views, Hindus living in Fiji are casteless. Muslims and Christian also have caste in India. So isn’t caste a geographical social pratice?

In his book, the Hindu View of Life, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan has its own interpretation of hinduism

At the onset, one is confronted by the difficulty of defining what Hinduism is. To many it seems to be a name without any content. Is it a museum of beliefs, a medley of rites, or a mere map, a geographical expression?


The facade of Secularism in India

It’s not my expertise to dwell into theology of religion. I believe religion should be a personal matter between believers and God. Secularism should entail the separtion of religion and State like French’s laicite.

In India, every party claim they are secular fighting against fascism, nazism, etc yet eschew secular liberal ideas. Self proclaimed secular parties have banned movies, books, curbed free speech, used blasphemy laws, used archaic sedition law, etc indiscriminately. Secularism in India has no definitive definition except feel-good notion of Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava.

Reform not Annihilate

Every religion needs reforms. Christian Humanism was a product of the Northern Renaissance. Women are no longer burned for witchcraft in Europe.

Sati, an ancient Hindu tradition of wife being burned along with husband’s pyres, is legally banned in India. Polygamy became illegal for Hindus in India in 1956.

Supreme Court of India in the case titled Sunita Singh Versus State of Uttar Pradesh and Others said that Caste is determined by birth and cannot be changed by marriage with a person of scheduled caste. I believe that Supreme Court is indeed supreme but not infallible. This judgement is obstacle in creating fluid caste system. How can you annihilate caste system if you cant change it? There’s an internal debate amoung Hindus about validity of varna, caste, jaati, etc in Hinduism. Some Hindus believe varna is just a divison of labor without caste rigidity. However there’s a sad reality that people are still discriminated based on caste in India.

I am not an expert to dwell upon a complex subject on a polytheistic religion like Hinduism. However as a cultural Hindu, I believe Hindus must not fall into trap by pseudo left in denigrating Hinduism. Hinduism most not shy itself from reforms and embracing scientific temperament while preserving its cultural heritage.

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