Hinduism is a lot in news now a days. I wanted to share some views often on the much discussed news topics but waited until I could sit down and articulate it properly.
I see certain trends within society which lead to an onslaught on the age old Indian culture and religious environment,
- No deep knowledge about the culture or religion – roots of our rituals and processes often forgotten from parents generation and then NO MEANINGFUL RESEARCH DONE
- Western (usually just US & UK) Influence is heavy due to media dominance – but only some convenient aspects are taken up. Not the DIY culture, work expertise, English language skills!, individualism, politeness and so on… none of that is taken. The only aspects adopted are the convenient ones which allows an individual to “be free to do what they please” not withstanding problems caused to others in a close knit society like India.
- The urge and the arrogance that urban folks (all ages) without much in-depth study can just decree how Hinduism needs to change – a culture and religion that has been around for thousands of years!
These three I find are the main causes for some very random and bizarre onslaught onto Indian culture. Earlier there was the Shani Shingnapur controversy where women demanded to be allowed into the Shani temples which only allowed men into certain sections.
Who Will Judge the Religion?
What is bizarre about this controversy was that the Court of Law was expected to sit in judgement on these matters. What does the court know of religion? Is the constitution a guide book of Hindu Dharma? Is the judge aware of all nitty gritties of the religion and reasons behind the same?
If there is an active violation of basic human rights then yes, the court of rule can do a ruling on that. But when it comes to other religious processes thrusting the Judicial Court into it to decide is the worst thing that can happen. It is exactly what happened in colonialism. The Western Courts would decide about the ethnic traditions and lifestyle they had very little knowledge about! The tragedies and complete annihilation of culture that followed has been documented in many books and if you are interested, travelogues I suggest are,
Out of Africa by Karen Blixen & The World, The World by Normal Lewis
Equal or Identical?
This whole clamour about making religious places equal for men and women – the assumption is that religious processes must be identical for both the sexes. But this is massively erroneous because both the genders are clearly very different not just in reproductive organs but also in their very innate working. Very generically putting it women tend to be better at communications, intricacy, emotion, beauty while men tend towards the logical, strength and simple. No I don’t mean these aspects rigidly, I am just trying to highlight the innate differences in men and women.
It is not just coincidence that tonnes of books are written around Mars v/s Venus, debates are had at all ages about boys v/s girls and so on…
In life should only the toilets be different for the two? Everything else must BY COURT OF LAW, be identical for the two genders?! WHY!!
It is only common sense that suggests that for SOME of the spiritual processes there will be some difference in the process for Man & Woman! Not because one is less than the other but because both are different.
There is reason why we say Equality & not Identical. Equality also means equal in value … not necessarily Identical.
Today in the age of customization and personalization – don’t we want our religious aspects to be personalized at least as per our gender if not more? So when there are Shani temples for men and Devi temples for women – then why the Forced entering?
With the use of really dumb level of western rationality and logic it is really sad to see that Women who are very much a suppressed sex across the World are rising strong… but in process diminishing her womanhood because she wants to be “equal” to man. When the fact is that she isn’t. She is different.
So does Religion Rehaul at all?
Here is how I propose that changes in the religious fabric needs to happen,
(Again repeating the earlier point that, if there is active violation of human rights for eg: The Sati system or torture of Widows then Yes do bring in the law and get that sorted. As I mentioned earlier Active human rights violation cannot be tolerated in any guise. But for a passive one where certain aspects are only for a certain sect need to be touched with caution, )
- Create a bench for Religious Rehaul – where legal representatives sit with religious representatives and middle ground is sought. This can hopefully ensure that core religious elements are kept while obsolete processes can be removed. There is always the chance the religious representatives might not be very good – but then that is a risk always. Even the judge can be corrupt but we still go through the process and hope for best.
- Let the ancient processes BE. As heritage, as history, as something ancient. Anyway new paths are coming up so often that a lot of them will give Women the freedom and ‘equality’ that they are looking for, so opt for those. And once women start taking up other paths, you will find that the religion will voluntarily rehaul itself because they want numbers.
The reason I am against wanton change of ancient rituals is because despite a lot of junk on top there is still Gold underneath. A point I have made earlier as well – who can gauge the impact of these religions? So many people in India I have seen – old and young alike who have so much religion embedded in their life. Their life goes on through many tough times with this support of religion and culture. This same culture and religion which has led to so many saints and enlightened folks.
And this process of changing ALL rules and regulations just for the sake of making things CLINICALLY EQUAL for men and women will only lead to destruction of some real truth and sense that is alive in our culture. And what will we replace it with? Some Western Convenience??
Don’t forget that West – i.e US & UK have ample problems of their own.
Leaving you with the thought,
Should only the Toilets be different for Men & Women?! Are the two sexes the same apart from the reproductive organs? If Not, then what is the implication of religious practices & spirituality?