Dr. Charles Dias
Who is a Hindu ? What was the situation of the so called Hindus through ages?
The word Hindu is derived from the Indo-Aryan Sanskrit root Sindhu, the Indo-Aryan name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent (modern day Pakistan and Northern India). According to Gavin Flood, “The actual term ‘Hindu’ first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus (Sanskrit: Sindhu)”, more specifically in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I (550–486 BCE). The term Hindu in these ancient records is a geographical term and did not refer to a religion. Among the earliest known records of ‘Hindu’ with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by Xuanzang, and 14th-century Persian text Futuhu’s-salatin by ‘Abd al-Malik Isami.
Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhu, while hndstn (pronounced Hindustan) is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia. The Arabic term al-Hind referred to the people who live across the River Indus. This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the “land of Hindus”.
Hinduvata: In the 20th century, Hinduism also gained prominence as a political force and a source for national identity in India. With origins traced back to the establishment of the Hindu Mahasabha in the 1910s, the movement grew with the formulation and development of the Hindutva ideology in the following decades; the establishment of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925; and the entry, and later success, of RSS offshoots Jana Sangha and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in electoral politics in post-independence India. Hindu religiosity plays an important role in the nationalist movement.
Varnas: Hindu society has been categorised into four classes, called varnas. They are the Brahmins: Vedic teachers and priests; the Kshatriyas: warriors and kings; the Vaishyas: farmers and merchants; and the Shudras: servants and labourers.
To its adherents, Hinduism is a traditional way of life. Many practitioners refer to the “orthodox” form of Hinduism as Sanātana Dharma, “the eternal law” or the “eternal way”.
Hinduism has been described as a tradition having a “complex, organic, multileveled and sometimes internally inconsistent nature.” Hinduism does not have a “unified system of belief encoded in a declaration of faith or a creed“, but is rather an umbrella term comprising the plurality of religious phenomena of India. According to the Supreme Court of India,
“ Unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet; it does not worship any one God; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion of creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more”.
(Para 29 of the judgment of 2nd July 1995)
So, then who created Varnas? Who divided Hindus? Were it Muslims or Christians divided people of ‘Hindustan’?. For centuries 90% of the people of the Hindustan were denied basic human facilities , leave alone dignity. Discarding Buddhism Brahmanism found its way among the people of Hindustan. Brahmins who form less than 2% of the population controlled everything. The ruling class Ksatriyas were to obey the priest class Brahmins. The Vysyas or merchant class dealt with business; and the Shudras who formed 80% of the population served the other classes. The right for education was only for Brahmins. The condition of Shudras before India became independent from the British in 1947, were deplorable. They had no right to free passage with other Hindus; they were denied admission in Hindu temples; they used to work like donkeys in the fields of others as they had no right to own land; they had no right to even ask wages for their labour; they had no right for education ! Who was responsible for this?
The Moguls could capture a sizable portion of the so called Hindustan and the Britishers defeated them and started their administration during eighteenth century. The real colour of a sizable number of Brahmins can be seen towards their attitude to British. The British definitely exploited India. But, the education they initiated , especially English education was a major factor for spreading nationalism. It was a silver lining that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was entrusted the task of Chairman of the drafting Committee for the new Constitution of India. The Congress Party saw that it was a vital necessity and historic duty to empower the Backward Classes and the Shudras whom were termed Dalits. . The new Constitution provided several clauses for social upliftment and reservation for education and jobs of disadvantageous communities. The implementation of Mandal Commission Report in 1993 was a landmark in the history of Backward Class empowerment. A separate Ministry for Minority Affairs was established by Central Government in 2006. In 2012 the Central Government formed a separate Parliamentary Committee for the welfare of Backward Classes. Several schemes were introduced for the social, educational and economic advancement of Backward Classes, Dalilts and Minorities. By these acts and reforms Congress governments could bring the disadvantageous groups to improve their situation substantially.
While by the progressive legislations by the Congress party a sizable portion could achieve social advancement and majority of them are Hindus, what is the logic of BJP in asking the Hindu interests are affected? Who makes the complaints that Hindus are neglected? In what way Hindu interests are not considered?
The relevant question now is, who kept the Hindus away and branded them untouchables? who burnt the schools established in Hindu backward areas? Who killed Hindus when they want to start cultivation on their own? Who chased Hindus from the areas of the so called Upper Class people? Who killed Hindus when they want to drink water from the well near to Upper Class people? Who killed Hindus when they wore footwears ? Who cut the finger of Hindus when they wear ring on their fingers ? Who killed Hindus when they married upper class boy or girl? What made Dr. Ambedkar quit Hinduism and embraced Budhisam !
RSS and BJP still want to implement Chathurvarnya. They want the support of Hindus only to capture power and after that it is misuse of power for their vested interests , schemes to restore upper-class supremacy and amass wealth by few of their favourite industrialists. Poor Hindus are used by RSS to capture power and after that they keep them away. The BJP Government has torpedoed majority of the schemes for education, health sector and social justice. For all the misdeeds of BJP Government the poor people are fed with a story of imaginory Bharat Matha . Hate speeches by ministers , M.Ps, M.LAs and other leaders have become common. What action so far the Government has taken against these responsible persons? Who are instigating discriminating, harassing and killing Muslims , Christians and other minorities in the name of religion? Are they not our brethren who believe in God?
The economy is shattered; demonetization and implementation of GST without proper arrangements has brought calamity to the commercial sector; petroleum prices and prices of essential commodities are sky-rocketed; Modi has gone back on his attitude towards FDI and black money!
BJP accused Congress for corruption. What is the situation now? Are they prepared to conduct an enquiry on the acquiring of party funds , party offices and land prior to demonetarization? What about unlawful and unjust enrichment of Modi’s favourite industrialists? From where they got funds to silence and buy media in the country? Whether BJP is prepared to conduct an enquiry on the misuse of banks by BJP favourites and banks have been pushed to financial crisis? Whether BJP can explain how Amit Shaw’s son could amass unimaginable wealth within a short period of BJP rule?
Lastly, what was the role of RSS or its so called leaders in Indian freedom struggle? Since when the Indian National Flag started hoisting in RSS headquarters? It is a pity that our ordinary Hindu brethren don’t know that Golvalker established RSS with an intention to maintain Brahmin supremacy! Since when RSS and BJP started considering OBCs and Dalits as human beings and that they too have basic human dignity? RSS and BJP now sought the help and support of different castes of people of India; branded them ‘Hindu’; forced upon them Gods of their choice and by their time-serving policy have now doing the ‘Drthrastra embracement’ of these poor people of India to capture political power. How long Narendra Modi , RSS and BJP will play with Hindu card to fool Indians?
Dr. Charles Dias, Former Member of Parliament
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors.