Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Hinduism or Multi Culturalism?

A story I read in school The Judgement-Seat of Vikramaditya by sister Nivedita. King of Ujjain accidentally discovers the throne of Vikramaditya when he hears a shepherd boy sitting on a stone slab giving judgement with a great skill. When king decides to ascend the throne, one of the twenty five angels (carved to support the throne) asked him about one of the quality he need to have to ascend the throne. When king replies in negative, it asks him to fast for three days and come back. Every time, king is asked for one such good quality and king goes back to learn. On the final day, last angel asks him whether his heart is now as pure as a child. The king finally backs off from ascending the throne, which had allowed the shepherd boy to sit on it.

When we think of the Hindu society, it consisted of communities ranging from totally vegetarians to people who offered animal blood to their goddess (and who ate beef) with no one having objections to others way of life. The meeting of Acharya Shankara with Chandala in Kashi defines the essence of Hinduism. At the end, there is no force on Chandala to change his manners. Nor Shankara wants to change himself. But still he sees the same divinity in Chandala which is inside him. It is the earliest example of achieving diversity without hierarchy. What do you call this? Hinduism or multiculturalism? Is there a difference between the two?
 
Our society came with no guiding book of "to do and not to do rules", though western scholars told us we have one. We accepted, but never read. Actually, we never required one. "To live and let other live (the way they want to live)" was the only unwritten rule which brought all of us this far, which would guide us in future too. We were a society where acceptance dominated over enforcement. Ours was a society which cared a hoot about an emperor who ruled the biggest empire in India, but still had a heart to remember and respect a prostitute for her philanthropy. Profession/position did not matter, it was their intent which won people.

There have been oppressors and oppressed in this society. But it is not a systematic oppression; instead, it is a dynamic society where oppressed class can change. 

Left considers Hinduism as an oppressing religion. Right considers it as a weak religion, (Hence it fears, it can get overshadowed by Abrahamic religious propaganda). 
Yes, there are oppressors and oppressed in this society. But it has been a dynamic society. Hierarchy dynamics between classes/communities have kept changing.
The silence of majority Hindus over issues like conversion is not a symbol of weakness as feared by right group. It is the confidence and secured feel, that these small nuisances cannot make a dent in our culture. If something has lasted these many years, it has something inherent. So must be Hinduism. It does not need anyone's protection. 
It can remain calm even under provocation. But when it erupts, it can bring any powerful religion/dynasties to dust. It knows its strength very well. Just that, it does not show off its power too often.
 
We have leftists who criticise castes as evil, who consider Gyanavapi Mosque is as important as (or more important than) the Vishveshwara Temple. Then the rightists, who oppose cow slaughter, who puts a precondition of singing Vande Mataram to prove one's Indianness. We also have guardians of our culture, who manhandle the girls who make a living by dancing in bar. Who amongst these understand Hinduism?

No comments:

Post a Comment