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Is ‘Hindu’ a Fanatic?


It would be restricting the spectrum of the word ‘Hindu’ by referring it merely as a religion. The word Hindu needs to regain its pride and that can be done only if history is correctly written again

Hindu or Hindutava, a word enough to raise the eyebrows of so-called liberals, a word often criticised by people suffering with a zeal to be termed as modern liberal or secular. Is the word Hindu or Hindutava really such a taboo? Do Hindus follow the religion to the extent of being fanatic? I often used to think over such questions and once again they occupied my cerebral space when I came across the change in uniform of RSS. If Hindus are to be labelled as fanatics, then how come a Right wing Hindu organisation brings about such a change in uniform? So I started a bit of research over transformation of RSS uniform and discovered that the RSS dress symbolised by shorts was adopted in 1925. The organisation gave up its 91 year old attire to cope up with requirements of the era in which it is at present and also, to suit the requirement of new joining youth. So we are not fanatics and yes, we are tolerant, the inference I could draw from the fact that the leather belt was given up way back in 2011 when Jain Muni Tarun Sagar was not in favour of leather belt. Overnight it became a canvas belt. This shows we take criticism with a positive attitude.

I thought that it would be appropriate to give background of an important modern day change to stress the old fact that we, the Hindus, take criticism with a positive attitude and embrace changes with changing circumstances. If we go into past with this kind of background in mind we would find a history of being tolerant and adaptive to change. And, when I talk to going back to past, it can be as old as the days of Ramayana. While we are criticised for Manusmriti, untouchability and all, if we look at the example of Sri Ram being fed by Shabri during vanvaas, we observe that the untouchability never had a place in our system. Yes, we may have observed cleanliness but not untouchability. Our society was always tolerant and it was so tolerant that a powerful king Sri Ram gave up the comforts of his family life and abandoned his beloved wife on comments of an ordinary citizen. So we were tolerant ALWAYS.

Hindus have always been open to change and probably that is the reason why we have been able to accept reforms whenever they were considered necessary by the society. We always accepted changes whenever they were required, be it abolition of Sati system or widow re-marriage or whatever. We always hear the voices of reformers and adapt ourselves to demands of changing society. We have never been fanatic to follow the practices just for the sake of it. Gender equality, is apparent from the fact that Goddesses are as much predominantly important as the Gods. Rather the religion appears to be more biased in favour of fairer sex as it preaches to worship girls as Devis.

We are thankful to the givers to the extent that we worship them. The Sun will keep providing us services whether we give respect to the Sun or not but we are thankful to the extent that we start our day by worshipping the Sun and offering ark as a mark of respect. We refer to land as Matrabhoomi, the mother earth and rightfully so. She gives us whatever we need and we have been able to not just feed or cover ourselves but build crazy things from materials we get by digging the mother earth. We respect our country for all we get from her and proudly say Bharat Mata ki Jai but we are criticised for that too. We worship the cow who gives us milk and protect her but we are criticised for that too and we are labeled as kattarwadi for doing so. So, why this word Hindu became such a taboo that if one talks about Hindu or Hindutava, he is labelled Right wing hardliner, a kattarwadi. And what are we criticised for. Is it for worshiping Sun, protecting cow and so on? This has a lot do with the way history has been written and not the actual history. Hindus have been labelled as the people with narrow minded approach,unprogressive and backward. I have read history in school time and if I go down the memory lane, I can recall that by reading the history of those days we used to get the feeling that we were like that only and in fact, we were reformed by the Mughals and the British. The history was written to suit a particular community with vote bank politics in mind. It was written by Communist dominated intellectual society. History needs to be re-written. I used to think of Akbar as great only to realise later on that Maharana Pratap was greater after I read modern day critics of the history that I read in schools.

In fact the Supreme Court bench led by Justice J S Verma  in 1995 had  held that “Hinduism” and “Hindutva” were not necessarily to be understood and construed narrowly, confined only to strict Hindu religious practices. The SC had ruled that seeking votes in the name of Hinduism or Hindutva was not illegal under the Representation of the People Act, which outlaws poll campaigning on religious grounds.Again  on October 25, 2016 a seven judge constitution bench of the Supreme court of India made it clear that it will not revisit the 1995 SC judgment that laid down the proposition that Hindusism/Hindutva — is a way of life and state of mind — thereby clarifying that seeking votes in name of Hindutva is not a corrupt practice under the election laws. The Supreme Court made it clear that this seven judge SC bench has come together to primarily determine and interpret the question if seeking votes in the name of religion, God or religious denomination amounted to corrupt practice under election law.

I always feel that Hindu is the most progressive way of life, ever changing and dynamic to make it suitable to modern needs. It would be restricting the spectrum of the word ‘Hindu’ by referring it merely as a religion. The word Hindu needs to regain its pride and that can be done only if history is correctly written again.

By Sanjay Goyal

Courtesy: Organiser