Ever since the RSS/BJP combine came into power, there has been unending talk about “reform” required in Hinduism. One of the main reasons quoted while stressing for reforms, is that Casteism & Jaativaad is the main reason why people convert to other religions. On one side, we have Hindus themselves beating themselves up over Casteism and on the other we have Leftists, Abrahamics and the Elite blaming Brahminical Patriarchy for every ill in this country.
Fine, let us assume that Hinduism needs Reforms (not that I agree to it). But before the Reformation begins, it is imperative to declare who is a Hindu and what is Hinduism. Isn’t it? Recently we had some people from the film industry declare that Saivism is different from Hinduism and that when the Cholas ruled, there was no Hinduism. Even otherwise we have a political party in Tamil Nadu who has its leaders constantly giving speeches about some imaginary Dravidian cult being different from Hinduism. Then we have the RSS chief Shri Mohan Bhagwat claiming that everyone who is born in this country (he even states undivided India for good measure) is a Hindu and because we are all Hindus there is no need for anyone to convert. The most confusing factor is that our Courts have declared that “Hinduism is a way of life” which translates to something so abstract that even Pundits (I mean experts!) would be confused as to who is a Hindu.
For all practical purposes it is assumed that Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism are part of Hinduism, especially when it comes to Reservations and certain Laws. So it is another matter for confusion when Hindus mass convert into another religion within Hinduism, as it happened recently in Delhi when many people reportedly converted to Buddhism. So were they Hindus before or are they Hindus now?
While it would be easy to quotes various Shastras, historians and experts on who is actually a Hindu, I would like to present before the reader a common man’s viewpoint. When we come into this world, we are born into a family, some traditions, a religion, a jaati and into some beliefs. While whether we respect and follow all of these or not depends largely on us, we cannot brush these factors aside nonchalantly. As per what most Hindus are taught, if one is a Hindu, one would have respect and would worship:
GouMata – the divine Indian breed of Cows & her progeny
Ganga – our Rivers which are considered divine & life giving
Gayatri – our divine Scriptures ie. Shruti, Smriti, Puranas, Mantra, Tantra & Yantra
Gita – our divine Philosophy which values both, rewards & renunciation
Bhagwan – our Tridevs and Tridevis & Their various Swaroops & Avatars
Any person speaking ill or destroying any of the above CANNOT be considered a Hindu.
Unfortunately the years after our Independence from the British steered us on a path to deracination and confusion over our own identity. This was mainly because of the perversions in our education system and our entertainment industry. The result of this was that Hindus started believing that:
- We had a lot to be ashamed of and our most ancient systems needed reforms.
- Eating beef was acceptable.
- Speaking ill of our Bhagwans was acceptable and cool.
- We have to compromise on the erstwhile destruction of our places of worship and/or monuments in order to maintain peace.
- Vernacular languages were not as important as English.
- Most importantly, people converted to Abrahamic faiths because there was a problem in Hinduism.
While there may be a lot of problems in Hinduism when we see it from the prism of the present times, it would be foolishness to close our eyes to the inherent problems in the other religions. If the other religions did not have a problem and everything was hunky-dory with them, Bharat would have been the only country with problems and all other countries would have been friendly and peaceful. We all know that this is not the truth. In fact, despite so much diversity our country has been by and large peaceful and due credit must be given to the Hindus for this.
It is time politicians and those desirous of controlling any form of governance in the country stop treating Hinduism as the wastepaper basket of all religions where all religions are thrown into its basket. Religions which spew violence on non-believers, religions which speak ill of our Bhagwans, religions which want our country divided again and again, and their followers cannot and should not be considered as Hindus. This unnecessary clubbing and call for reformation is being done today to mislead Hindus on the actual demographics of the Nation and to lull Hindus into a sense of stupor so that they do not stand up for their rights and for protecting Hinduism. It is time we call it out and ask for EQUAL RIGHTS FOR REAL HINDUS.
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