Friday, August 19, 2005

Hinduism and Hindutva

If we try to understand this issue in terms of ppl and organizations, it will continue to puzzle us. Instead if we try understanding it from the ideas and concepts that are working behind, it will be helpful. Different organizations do not come without any basis. If some are able to withstand and increase their influence, it is necessary for us to look at the reasons behind this.

If you look at the Hindu history, from the last 1000 years, it has been a history of suffering, defeat, persecution, foreign rule etc. After such a long time, the Hindus are free now, free to rule themselves. But the old injuries have been too deep to heal so soon. Actually I am amazed at the tolerance they have shown, as compared to how any other would have reacted. But this freedom has also not brought the expected Hindu reassertion, and stand hijacked by the Leftist

If we look at History, there are three major factors in my view which has influenced the present form of Hinduism. All these factors have good/bad aspects in them. I am NOT trying to say that these developments are bad. They have been necessary.

First is the Bhakti Movement. No doubt it is singly responsible for helping the Hinduism overcome the Islamic challenge, and making Hinduism more approachable and near to the masses. But this also resulted in the undermining of the importance of philosophy and reasoning attitude. God has become more a matter of belief than a matter of understanding.

The second, which very few admit is that the whole of the Hindu leadership has been replaced by 'lower' castes in the recent times. In old times if it has been the lower castes who converted to escape caste oppression, in recent times it has been the turn of the upper castes to turn to Marxism. This is not surprising also. The upper castes have been repeatedly told that they have oppressed the other. This brought guilt feeling in them, and most ppl started moving away from their identity, which they felt was not something great to be associated with.

But the unfortunate reality has been that most of the philosophical basis of Hinduism has been preserved exclusively with Brahmins. Once this started fading away, the prominence of belief in Hinduism increased.

The third factor is the recognition of importance of organized effort by Hindus. This was the most important and wanted improvement for the good of Hindus, as it is said that no two Hindus cannot live together. Even in the whole of the History, most defeats of Hindus has been due to the treachery of some Hindus to the enemies. So the coming together of the Hindu religion, of the idea of being a Hindu overwriting the idea of being a Shiva, Viashnava, Advaitic, Dualistic. But the problem is that there is also the danger of becoming more centralized, more uniform.

What we are seeing in the present Hindu society is a combination of these factors. Add to this the semantic influences of a monotheistic God on one side, and the European ideas of liberty, reason on other.

The Hindu society struggling to gain freedom again, and assert itself. The more it is stopped, the more the piled up anger of hundred of years will seek expression. Each act of aggression a reason more for it to feel the need to protect itself. And unfortunately these sentiments are ignored by the policy makers, and the more they are ignored, the more their anger grows. It can be noted that all 'intellectuals' talk about growth of fundamentalism, but none cares to look into the specific Hindu grievances. Such acts of total negligence add fuel to fire. Being a fundamentalist is not the hobby of people.

Such things should not start in the first place. But once they start, they have peculiar dynamics. If their demands are not met, their anger increases. If they are agreed, their ego increases, wanting more.

But still inspite of all this, these ppl have too much of Hindu blood in them. You can note that the strongest of criticism that comes about other religions only restricts itself to how others have suppressed them, and how they need to be thaught a lesson. The tone is more of revenge, and of continued suppression, but it never religious. Even the poster boys of media for Hindutva like togadia etc dont dare to call other religions as false, and their alone as true religion(a word which Hindus are very used to hear from others)

In the midst of all this chaos I feel that the future India is slowly emerging, which will be more stronger that it ever was. They have been in the state of tamas, sleep for many years. Now they are slowly awakening. The first step is from Tamas to Rajas, which is happening now. The second phase will be transformation from Rajas to Sattva. There is likely to be a great change in her outer body, but the essential spirit will remain. It is in the midst of a transition phase. The challenge before her is to bridge the gap between her ancient wisdom and the newly acquired prominence of ideas of liberty, reason, science, democracy. The work has already been started my many ppl like Swami Vivekananda, Sri Auribondo, Swami Dayananda etc.


Blogger rahul08 said...

hi surya,
very nice blog,
have u written anything about the history of hindu or vedic religion - like how it started, what were the main beliefs at the start, how it changed etc.
though u have written on hinduism vs buddhism, i was really wondering whether the advaita school came as a reform movement, when hinduism was attacked by buddhism ? or were these teachings already there, but not being followed much (thus being hidden/lost), as the society had become too ritualistic?

12:52 AM  

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