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False propanda against Hinduism

From: susarla@great-gray.owlnet.rice.edu (H. Krishna Susarla)
Newsgroups: alt.india.progressive
Subject: Re: Cosmos is One Family & Carl Sagan is Invited (SANSKRITI -Vol:4
No: 2)
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 94 13:19:39 PDT
Sender: news+@pitt.edu
Organization: Rice University
:     "Cosmos is One Family and Carl Sagan is invited"
:                            or
:               The Sangh Parivar and Hindutva
:                      by Niraj Pant
:         Hinduism, all agreed, is a name for the mixed, heterogenous
: bag of religious beliefs and practices that a large number of
: Indians hold and perform. Within this umbrella term are included
: people who call themselves Vaishnavaites, Shaivaites, Shaktaites,
: etc., and a gazillion other terms. Since there is a great diversity
: among their beliefs and practices most suggested that I highlight
First of all, none of the above conflicts with the propaganda the VHP
: the fact that Hinduism is a term of convenience and as such it has
: no real existence; that people who identify as Hindus practice a
: polytheistic tradition of millions of deities and in the first
What do you mean no real existence??? Then who are all those people
in India? Christians and Muslims in disguise?
As for the remark about 'polytheism', this more than anything should
already suggest that the journalist who wrote this article knows little
about Hinduism and probably isn't very credible.
At the risk of sounding like a communalist, let me share with you
the reasons why this journalist's characterization of Hinduism is
both incorrect and insulting.
There are many different deities in Hinduism, it is true. The Advaitist
Hindus believe that all of these deities are different forms of the same
omnipresent Being, who cannot be described in its purest form by human
senses, which are limited. The Being takes different forms because of
the many different qualities it has, and because methods of worship
originate in different cultures with different influences.
The Dvaitist Hindus also believe in a single, Supreme Being (Vishnu).
All other deities are either forms of Vishnu (such as Rama, Jaganath, )
or devotees of Vishnu (i.e. - Shiva, who leads His devotees to Vishnu).
In either case, one can clearly see that the term 'polytheistic' is
wrong. Regardless of which school of Hinduism you follow, you ultimately
worship the same Supreme Being. To say that Hinduism is polytheistic
because of the presence of multiple immortal beings is like saying
that Christianity and Islam are polytheistic because of their multiple
names for God, and because of the presence of angels and other immortals
in their beliefs.
Now, why is the 'polytheistic' characterization insulting? Well, when
I think of polytheism, the first thing that comes to mind is the religion
of the ancient Greeks, which primarily consisted of the interactions
between various gods (Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, etc.) where no one god was
truly supreme in the sense of being the wisest, most worshipped, most
powerful, and so on. Thus, in polytheistic traditions, there might be one
god who rules over the others (Zeus in this case), but there is no one
Being from which all Truth and morality comes from. In polytheism, there
is therefore no ultimate Truth. But the ultimate Truth is the whole point
of Hinduism, thus calling it polythesitic is to deny this central fact
which all schools of Hindus agree on.
Also, realize that the "no real existence" argument is based on the
assumption that Hinduism is not derived from any central authority.
This is totally wrong! The scriptures of Hinduism (the Vedas, Upanishads,
Gita) contain the truths which Hinduism is based on. Possibly they arose
from a variety of religious traditions, but the truths they contain are
applicable to all. The reason Hinduism is so diverse now is because
most Hindus don't read scriptures today but instead pass their beliefs on
from parents to children; as a result there have been many misinterpretations
and misconceptions floating around as to what is okay and what is wrong.
:         Hinduism may be a vague, hard-to-pin-down term of convenience,
: Hindutva, however, has a concrete, real existence in the here and
: now. It is a thoroughly political ideology being deployed by our
: country's ruling classes to create a political movement that they
: hope will eventually place the BJP in the centre and allow for a
: radical restructuring of national economy for rampant market
: forces. Hindutva draws from a mixture of received tradition and
: transforms what it borrows. Stuff is incorporated piecemeal to
: stress the inimical traits of Hindu religious myth and imagery
: while completely ignoring both the Lokayat beliefs in Indian
: philosophical heritage and other religious systems like Buddhism,
: Islam, and Christianity in the Indian tradition. Certain absolutes
Here is yet another example of why the author of this article should
not be believed. If the Hindutva people ignored other religious
traditions, then why is it that their organizations like VHP and
Hindu Students Council constantly preach tolerance and acceptance of
other ways of worship?
  One of my friends recently attended a conference
at which Uma Bharati, a BJP leader, was to speak. At the conference
she answered many questions about the BJP and Hinduism. Finally one
Hindu mother told Uma Bharati that her daughter was converting to
Christianity, and asked what she could do to stop it. The response
was truly surprising: Uma Bharati told the grieving mother that she
should not be concerned for what god her daughter worships, only that
she makes certain her daughter remained a virtuous person. It's
interesting how the BJP in reality contrasts so starkley to the BJP
of the biased media.
:         The nontextual and practical-political aspects of Hindutva are
: explicit in slogans like "Jo Hindu hit ki bat karega, vahi desh par
: raj karega." We are told that any one can be an Indian, even a
: Muslim, provided they accept Rama as the omnipotent and denounce
: Babar and his santan as traitorous foreigners. Mythological figures
: like Rama and Krishna are now "our own" indigenous heroes newly
: counterpoised against historical figures like Christ and the
: Prophet Muhammad. Christians and Muslims are identified with
I can't believe how such insensitive articles can get posted to AIP!
So, Hindu avatars are "mythological", while other, more progressive
religions, have "historical" prophets????
I'm not going to spend any more time debunking this journalists ideas.
It should be clear now that he has a very anti-Hindu bias, based
on his egotistical assumptions that despite his lack of knowledge
of Indian history and Hindu scriptures, he can somehow pronounce
the authoritative commentary on what Hinduism is and what Hindutva
Personally, it saddens me that such insulting propaganda gets posted
under the auspices of "progressive" politics. But then, I guess bigotry here
is bad in all cases except when it's directed at Hindus. That's probably
why the article I posted about Hindu defamation was denounced by the
moderator as "hindutva propaganda"
: demolition of the mosque.
:         Although Hindutva has no central textual focus, it certainly
: has those absolutes I mentioned above. And this shows a certain
: move in the direction of consolidating a more or less coherent set
: of symbols and metaphors at its centre. This centralizing
: consolidation indicates what others have called the semiticisation
: of amorphous Hinduism. Hinduism, which is a pre-semitic tradition
: and to that extent is pagan (within a Christian or Islamic
: understanding) is now being semiticised using the absolutes of a
: few deities: Rama, Hanuman and Krishna; a few dhams: Ayodhya, Kashi
: Parivar's authority.economic conflicts within the Hindu community.
: This model borrows a little from the notion of Ram Rajya, a version
: of which was used by Gandhi. However, in some contrast to Gandhi's
: vision, the project of Hindutva is hell-bent on completing the
: historical project of brahmanical Hinduism. All caste hierarchies
: remain intact within it. All privilege is restored. The precepts of
Not true if you follow the propaganda of HSC and VHP. Oh, but then
this article is ever so short on specifics.
: build a strong nation without first getting rid of the garbage.
:         The original shape of genocidal Hindutva was delineated by the
: RSS guru, Golwalkar years ago when he defined the Indian "nation"
: as "Hindu race united together by common traditions, Hindu culture
: and Hindu language -- based on Sanskrit" and advised the minorities
: "either to merge themselves in the national race and adopt its
: culture, or to live at its mercy so long as the national race may
: allow them to do so and to quit the country at the sweet will of
: the national race..." (Endnote 2).
Taken out of context I'm sure.
:         Reading the World Vision 2000 conference "Proceedings,"
: Krishna was wondering if "Cosmos is one family" then how come
: Muslims weren't a part of it. Janice told him to wake up and smell
: the Hindutva tea.
Maybe because no Muslim accepted the WV2000 invitations? Of course,
our objective journalist forgets to find out whether Muslims were
invited in the first place or not, implying that they were excluded
simply because they were not present. Never mind that they might not
have come to WV2000 because of their own prejudices.
- Hari Krishna Susarla  -                                                     -
- Rice University       -  Conservatives want government to be your Daddy.    -
- Class of 1995         -  Liberals want government to be your Mommy.         -
- Biochemistry          -  Libertarians want it to treat you like an adult.   -

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