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Throughout the Aisle by P Chidambaram: Comfortable With My Hinduism

Throughout the Aisle by P Chidambaram: Comfortable With My Hinduism

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Devotees mild candles at Guru Gobind Singh Gurudwara in Patna on the event of Deepawali (PTI Picture)

I used to be born in a village in what’s now Sivagangai district, then Ramanathapuram district, of Tamil Nadu. I’m proud that Kaniyan Poongunranar was born just a few kilometres away in a village referred to as Poongunram (now Mahibalanpatti) in the identical district. He was a poet who lived within the Sangam age between sixth century BCE and 1st century CE. He’s greatest identified for his 13-line poem beginning with the phrases ‘Yaadum oore yaavarum kelir’. A easy translation is ‘Each place is my village, each one is my relation’. There are different gems within the poem.

The primary line is inscribed on the partitions of the United Nations. The poem is believed to mirror the lifestyle of the Tamils 2,000 years in the past and earlier.

The phrase ‘Hindu’

Tamil literature information the religions of that age as Saivam and Vaishnavam. Samanam (Jainism) and Bouddham (Buddhism) had been later religions. The phrases Hindu and Hinduism are in not present in historical Tamil literature. In line with Mr Shashi Tharoor, “the phrase ‘Hindu’ didn’t exist in any Indian language until its use by foreigners gave Indians a time period for self-definition”.

Most Tamils are born in households that practise Hinduism. They worship many gods (together with village deities), rejoice festivals like Pongal and Deepavali, and observe rituals like pongal, pal kudam and kaavadi. The Tamil Hindus have lived for hundreds of years with individuals practising different religions, particularly Christianity, for over 2,000 years and Islam for over 800 years. Muslim and Christian students and writers have made exceptional contributions to Tamil literature and the event of the language. To my data, no Tamil Hindu king waged a battle to determine the supremacy of the Hindu faith over different religions.

What’s Hinduism other than the identify of a revered faith? Though I had learn books by Dr S Radhakrishnan and Swami Vivekananda, I by no means felt it was essential to undertake that inquiry. From what I’ve learn, heard, gathered and gleaned, it appears to me ‘What’s Hinduism?’ might be answered in just a few easy paragraphs:

Easy Truths

  • Hinduism doesn’t declare to be the one true faith. Swami Vivekananda mentioned, “I’m proud to belong to a faith which has taught the world each tolerance and common acceptance. We consider not solely in common toleration, however we settle for all religions as true.”
  • Hinduism doesn’t have One Church, One Pope, One Prophet, One Holy Guide or One Ritual. There are lots of of every, and a Hindu is free to decide on among the many many or reject all. Some students have argued that one is usually a Hindu in addition to a believer or an agnostic or an atheist!
  • In its secular points, Hinduism doesn’t prescribe one system of marriage or one system of succession/inheritance. The Hindu legislation reforms (1955-1956) tried to result in uniformity however there exist myriad variations even at the moment.
  • Hinduism permits a Hindu to worship different gods and saints. 1000’s of Hindus go to worship on the shrine in Velankanni or pray on the Golden Temple in Amritsar or supply obeisance on the Dargah Sharif in Ajmer. Historians are usually not agreed whether or not the Sai Baba of Shirdi was a Muslim or a Hindu; he was maybe each as a result of he didn’t see any distinction between the 2. Considered one of his well-known epigrams was Allah Malik (God is King).
  • Dr Wendy Doniger, Professor of Historical past of Religions, College of Chicago, who studied Sanskrit and historical Indian faith for over 50 years, has noticed: “Students have identified for hundreds of years that the traditional Indians ate beef.” She has quoted texts corresponding to Rig Veda and Brahmanas as properly Yajnavalkya and M N Srinivas. At present, most Hindus eat meat, fish and eggs, however not beef; many Hindus are vegetarian.
  • Dr Doniger additionally factors out that Gandhiji by no means referred to as for banning cow slaughter, and quotes him as having mentioned: “How can I power anybody to not slaughter cows until he’s himself so disposed? It’s not as if there have been solely Hindus within the Indian Union. There are Muslims, Parsis, Christians and different non secular teams right here.” Nonetheless, many Muslims and Christians don’t eat beef and lots of non-vegetarians don’t eat pink meat in any respect.

I Don’t Want Hindutva

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In his well-known undelivered speech (1936) ‘Annihilation of Caste’, Dr B R Ambedkar, after tracing the battle between the Indian Nationwide Congress (based in 1885) and the Indian Nationwide Social Convention (based in 1887), and noting with remorse that the ‘political reformers’ had vanquished the ‘social reformers’, posed a collection of inquiries to the “political minded Hindus”, that included the next: “Are you match for political energy despite the fact that you don’t enable them to put on what attire or ornaments they like? Are you match for political energy despite the fact that you don’t enable them to eat any meals they like?” These questions ring true even at the moment, however in a unique context.

Like Mr Tharoor, “I used to be born a Hindu, grew up as one, and have thought-about myself as one all my life.” I’m one amongst 81.6 per cent of the Hindus who mentioned in a Pew survey that they had been raised as Hindu and presently establish themselves as Hindu. I’m pleased with my Hinduism and with Kaniyan Poongunranar’s easy lesson ‘each one is my relation’. Why do I want Hindutva?

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