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What we believe in…

09 Oct 15

Of the entire range of ancient world Epics in the oral tradition, I enjoy the Mahabharata the most. It tells many great tales, is sophisticated, perfect in structure and formatting and is, in my opinion a living breathing story that grows each day. In the towns and villages of India, storytellers still render portions of this Epic and add their own dramatic bit. I have not made a detailed study of the Mahabharata retold by among others, Ashok Banker and Shashi Tharoor; however some literary license must have crept in.

Would the violent and barbaric acts of India today enter the oral tradition, I wonder. Would those who believe they are Hindutvas create new threads of narration? What on earth is this Hindutva? Is it like the repugnant Aghora sect who believes in necrophilia? If believing in Hindutva means bullying, killing then all I can say is – I don’t know if Hinduism sanctions killing. I speak as a Hindu. My being a Hindu stands shamed today.

Fascists do not have any spiritual stirrings. They are blinded by dogma. During the Crusades in Medieval Europe – if the Christians or the Muslims were to be asked why they kill each other – would they have justified themselves by quoting from their religious texts? If the Gestapo were to be asked why they wish to destroy and kill, they would probably quote from their dogma, in justification. Today when the Islamic Nation bends religion to suit their fervour and their fevered killings, they would probably quote chapter and verse from the holy Quran to justify themselves and their acts. So too those among persons who call themselves practitioners of Hindutva, those who beat up and kill not only a poor man from a village in the badlands of North India, or those who kill celebrated thinkers, writers, pursued artists or who bully and target women who wish to live on their own terms – they too will swear this is what Hinduism wants.

Hinduism, as I know it is not this chest thumping fundamentalism. Hinduism is an exacting philosophy and very hard to follow, hence the 33 million portrayals of human emotions/ wish fulfillments in the images of gods, goddesses. In the Sunderbans area I remember there is a Hunter god who looks like a Sahib with some firearm who is a neighbour to the Bon bibi – the goddess of the forests but with some sort of Muslim coloration. Hinduism is the all encompassing, all embracing system that demands that each of us fulfill our individual destinies to reach our own ultimate realization. It is a joyous and generous belief system, as we have known it for centuries.

I have read the Gita, Bible, Quran and Dhammapada and believe that every religion says much the same thing. As the great Sage and Swami Vivekananda’s guru Sri Ramakrsna said ‘Jotho math totho path’ or that there are as many faiths as there are paths to realization. The Bible too says ‘My Father’s home has many rooms’. The richness of religions comes from diversity. But I wish there were no religions if that be the cause of aggression, death and destruction.

I end by apologizing for being so emotional or being all grave and grim. Here’s to joy!


  1. Avijit October 9, 2015 at 1:37 pm Reply

    No we were never guilty of practising a religion; Hinduism has always been a way of life.

    To quote a famous actress- “Religion is bait like your p—-; don’t flash it or bang it on the table it’ll hurt.”

    Unfortunately certain votaries of fascist politics have experimented at Babri, Ayodhya, Gujarat, Muzzafar Nagar and discovered the results could be twisted to their advantage. After all 38% of the votes could give them a majority but it’s not something the groundswell believes. So necessary for them to fan the hatred and build the numbers.

  2. Avalokita October 9, 2015 at 4:34 pm Reply

    A few random thoughts you provoked –

    Faith instils several rituals, moulds, songs, desires, aspirations.
    To function as a money making corporation almost, as truth be told, the temples of ‘Hindu way of Life’ are. Which is how our prime minister is flown in for RSS meets.

    My question remains at not defending my religion, but the manner in which Hinduism has become the chauvinistic bully of a dominant culture. The way heteronormativity is no? In a way?

    Anyone not straight, is – ‘NOT straight’.
    Is the deviant.

    Economical propogandas, which are a top down approach at Society… eg – looking at 2G scam as a good thing because as many air waves the better the GDP growth. More directly, Modi may be an asshole, but he’s done great ‘eco’ devt. of Gujarat!
    Such eco propaganda is enmeshed with Feudalism. Where reservations given in higher education are met with ridiculously offensive and casteist poses, of students protesting wearing stethoscopes, labcoats and posing with a jhadu sweeping the roads for the camera. Saying this is what shall become of the Doctors, if those – quite literally saying – the sweepers, the cleaners, the manual scavengers… are given any affirmative action…

    Both Congress and the BJP have communalised and played identity politics. The present govt. is because of its veering of the conversation towards ‘the religion’ – and thus a – ‘HINDUISM’ tangibly exists and is made up. By banning an essay on 300 Ramayanas and the likes…
    The faith instilled in a religion then pulls you through on personal revenges, at being the people who can make decisions on behalf of a population…

    My point is. I shall not feel ashamed for an identity that has been a part of a polarised manufactured identity. Though I don’t much identify with that identity much. Unless Im in the presence of those who are not Hindus.
    But then again. We are constantly betraying our identities, several times when your faith propels one spiritually no?
    Hindu(-ism) has nothing to do with the BJP. We have lived in a Brahmanical Hindu Hegemony, who’s new 21st century has a regime with a panoptican view… digitised and gradually entering into our private spaces… Education and art still had to be the first to fall..
    Unfortunately I see dark times ahead. But we will fight on Pia!

  3. SANJAY MISHRA October 9, 2015 at 10:22 pm Reply

    the extreme factions of any religion, christianity, islam, hinduism etc tend to be crazy and dangerous believers.

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