Saturday, March 4, 2017

I like Hinduism but not Hinduvta

I need to explain why I do not like Hinduvta or Hindu nationalists despite, I am follower of Indian philosophy in my own life. In fact, it is precisely because I follow or try to follow life/wisdom suggested by Upanishad, I would be distancing myself from any kind of Hinduvta element.

Ancient India had wonderful understanding of life. They realized a life and society can't be led without a proper foundation of philosophy that should guide them. In Ancient India, everyone was free to select his own way of salvation-his own journey of realization. India never stressed on religious identity and religion-it was all about everyone of us should find our own place in the universe and live in harmony.

A summary of what Indian wisdom stands for, can be found in the story of Astavakra debating with scholar Bandi in the court of King Janaka.  We have defined "Bidya" or true learning as  knowledge of self recognition. Abidya or ill fated learning for us -is the knowledge that makes us parochial, that instigates a division that I am different than others-I am not part of this cosmos. Avidya is what instigates us to hate others.

Now when you read fathers of Hindu nationalist movement, either it is Savarkar or Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, it is clear they were not guided by core Hindu Philosophy.  Hindu philosophy has no place for identity politics-as for us, we are all but one. Their writing is full of hatred towards Muslims and danger they pose to India. I am not debating the fact, Islam is bad for India- clearly Islam is an ideology that is a clear cut political fascism for most of the practiced version ( again Islam is not monolithic and Sufism is certainly very close to Vaishanvite cult of Hinduism ) and I get that. But to stop Islam or its spread in India, Hindu Gurus have shown the way. Didn't we hear the story of Javan Haridas? He was a Muslim who embraced Sri Chaitanya for which he was beheaded by local Kazi for his apostasy which is condemned by death in Islam.  On his death sentence, he commented to Kazi, he has no regret of leaving Islam because in reality division created by religion only deters the people from way to salvation.

Chitayna was born in a time, when almost whole Bengal was being converted to Islam being influenced by Sufi Guru. Bengal was Buddhist for a long time during Palas and then during Sen dynasty, Brahmnical Hinduism was imposed on Bengali population. They didn't like exactly that Vedic religion and revolted.  So when Muslim rulers came to Bengal with Sufi Gurus, they embraced them as liberator. By beginning of 14th century, Bengal was almost on verge of being converted fully into Islam. And then Shri Chaitanya launched his movement of love and passion-many converted Muslims embraced back Hinduism. Mass conversion of Hindus into Islam stopped forever as lower caste Hindus embraced his casteless version of Hinduism that promotes love and devotion.

Even when British and European came with their pastors, they couldn't succeed with their Christianity in INDIA- but they have baptized everywhere in Africa and America. Why? Because Ram Mohan Roy, Vivekanda reformed Hinduism and made it attractive for most of the people. They didn't need to fight politically like Savarkar.

Hinduvta movement alienated the Muslims in India because it is spreading parochialism which Hinduism is not- it is the most liberal humanist form of ideology. Hinduism is criticized for its caste system but if you read Mahabharata, castism has been totally condemned. Chaitanya condemned and abolished it. Castism is the worst form of misinterpretation of Hinduism.

My point is- it was possible to win the heart of the Muslims by love and humanism of Hinduism -most of them would have converted back to dharma of the soil by its strength of love and compassion. Instead, Savarkar and SP Mukherjee created a movement which alienated Muslims of India.  And the communalism in India is only getting worse.