Sunday, November 2, 2008

Religious fundamentalism - 1

I have been reading various blog posts on the Orissa riots for sometime now. I am not sure what for. For one, I don't see any of the blogger or blog-reader actually hurting someone in the name of religion for the major part. Two, the people who might do so I am pretty sure don't read blogs. So, i am not really sure why me or someone else is arguing about this. Quite a few of us know how to keep our differences to ourselves and not translate into violence on others, physically or verbally. So..

But I guess these posts do help us become more aware of our own prejudices or may be not. That is if you are one of those types that do live and learn and I do.

At first as I read these posts, I just wanted to repeat my usual rant against the raise of violent intolerant behavior in India. I mean we have been a country for 60 years now and lived relatively with less fight for the first 40 years and suddenly for the past 20 years, we have this huge riots over everything including the colour of ribbon on my hair?

But I think I might be able to add more on to it. As a person who once was more prejudiced.

I am a Hindu, today conversions absolutely don't matter to me. On the other hand, why would it matter to any Hindu? Are they afraid that they will lose their place of worship because god forbid, all the 700 million decide to convert leaving you all alone. 700 million is a large number, its going to take a long time to convert all of them. So, What exactly is their problem? And what exactly gives them a right to attack somebody else over their problem. More importantly, human beings are not going to be perfect. Their thinking/rationalization is going to change over period of time and it is going to be different from some one else. For each of these differences, should we take a gun in hand.

On the other hand, looking back at history, I have often wondered, how hinduism didn't die. World over religion started with worshiping nature, evolved into polytheism and then monotheism and then shunned idol worship. If you look through the different philosophies that existed or originated in India which eventually got clubbed as hinduism, you would find the very same strands(

Also, I also see a wave of conversions to Abrahamic religions across the world in history. Most of the earlier idol/nature worshipping religion seems to have vanished when organized religion was introduced. Hinduism which in its practiced form is very much still an idol worshipping religion has survived. Under aggressive Islamic rulers who destroyed temples, christian missionaires and with an inherent flaw that 70%-80% of its followers ill-treated. I don’t know what is the cause, may be these group of people are simply reluctant to change.

Before I go further, Hindusim as I see it is a term for all the godly pracitces and beliefs that existed before the advent of any other religion. With the advent of other religions(could have been buddhism/Islam), there was a need to coin a term for existing religion, so hinduism. The practices of this religion also seemed to have changed with every influence it faced. So, you see monotheism and monism. This is also probably why it survived. Changing with times is the only way for any religion/language/culture to survive.

None of this is the way my hinduism is. To me, it is simply following the poojas/festivals my mom did, repeating the shlokas I got introduced to. They are my way of approaches to my god. My faith in this might come from probably being introduced at a young age i,e nostlagia.

Also, I am not spiritual. but religious. (I have always wanted to say it from the time I read the opposite of those lines).

So, philosphies of advaita are going to hardly matter to me.

So anyway, when people in the orissa or karnataka are killing/burning in the name of religion, they are obviously not aware of any of the former. They are probably practising hinduism exactly the same way I do.

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