While defining religion is a theological exercise, many a times the
tribunals and judges are pontificating on the nature of Hindusim on the
basis of common sense and their own perceptions of it. Many of these
perceptions are dictated by the contemporary politics, which wants to
present Hinduism in a different light. It was a great surprise that a
recent Income Tax Tribunal held that Hinduism is not a religion and stated
that Shiva, Hanuman or Goddess Durga are "superpowers of the universe" and
do not represent a particular religion. (March 2013) The Income Tax
Appellate Tribunal, Nagpur, in a recent order, said the expenses on
worshipping Hindu deities and maintenance of temple could not be considered
as religious activity.
They went on to declare that "Technically, Hinduism is neither a religion
nor Hindus form a religious community." Shiv Mandir Devsthan Panch
Committee Sanstan' had argued that the temple run by it was open to
everyone, irrespective of caste and creed and so "the temple does not
belong to a particular religion and that installing idols is not a
This is fairly hilarious. Idol worship is a major part of Hinduism, while
religions like Islam and Christianity don't resort to worship of idols. It
is a Hindu religious activity, that's how the whole Ram Temple issue could
be built up and Babri mosque was demolished on the pretext of fulfilling a
religious obligation of restoring Ram Temple, where the idols of Ram Lalla
could be installed. Then, what is this new definition of '*superpowers*' in
the form of Shiva, Hanuman and Durga? Contemporary times mired in the world
of politics regards the United States of America as the global superpower.
In tribunal's verdict we are being told about the Universal superpowers,
Durga, Hanuman and Shiva amongst others. The learned tribunal needed to
know that in Hinduism the concept of supernatural power goes through
different stages. It begins with polytheism with Gods and Goddesses looking
after one faction of the power. So you have Gods and Goddesses taking care
of rains (Indra), air (Marut), power (Durga), knowledge (Sarswati), and
even sex (Kam Devata) and wine (Som Devata). From here one goes to
trithiesm where one God creates (Brahma), one maintains (Vishnu) and one
destroys (Shiva). From here, one goes to the concept of monotheism
(Ishwar). As such Hanuman is a mythological character, servant of Lord Ram
and also referred to as God.
All this is a part of Hindu religion, to think that this is universal, applicable to all
religious beliefs is a travesty of truth. Different sects of Hinduism worship
different of these Gods. Some of these Gods are a reincarnation of Lord
Vishnu like Ram and Krishna. In Greek mythology one does see a parallel to
polytheism. In Christian tradition tri-thiesm of Father, Son and the Holy
Spirit is very much there. These are religion specific beliefs and don't
apply to other religions. In contrast to the verdict of the tribunal one
knows that some religions like Jainism and Budhhidm don't have faith in
supernatural power. Some traditions, which developed in this part of the
globe like Charvak also did not have faith in supernatural power.
Coming to the conclusion of the tribunal that Hinduism is not a religion
because there are diverse trends, this can be rejected right away. True,
Hinduism has diverse trends but that is because this religion is not based
on the teachings of a single Prophet. It has evolved-been constructed over
a period of time. So the diversity is very much there, still all this does
fit into the criterion laid down for understanding a religion.
Defining Hinduism in such is a difficult task for sure. The reasons for
this are multiple. One, Hinduism is not a prophet based religion, it has no
single founder and two, religions developing in this part of the world have
been lumped together as Hinduism and three; there are so many diversities
in the practices of Hinduism that all streams cannot be painted with a
single brush. To this one may add the the practices and beliefs originating
at different times continue to exist side by side. Lord Satyanarayn and
Santoshi Maa do exist along with the concept of Ishwar (God) and a Nirankar
Nirguna Ishwar (God beyond the attributes of qualities and form at the same
The major point of departure for Hinduism is the imprint of caste system on
the major aspects of Hinduism, the religious sanctity for social
inequality, caste system being the soul of its scriptures and practices.
The conditions under which the terms came into being also tell a lot about
the real meaning of those terms. Aryans who came in a series of migrations
were pastorals and were polytheists. During the early period we see the
coming into being of Vedas, which give the glimpse of value system of that
period and also the number of gods with diverse portfolios, the prevalence
of polytheism. Laws of Manu were the guiding principles of society. This
Vedic phase merged into Brahminic phase. During this phase elite of the
society remained insulated from the all and sundry. At this point of time
caste system provided a perfect mechanism for this insulation of elite.
Buddhism's challenge to caste system forced Brahmanism to come up with a
phase, which can be called Hinduism. During this the cultic practices were
broadened and public ceremonies and rituals were devised to influence the
broad masses to wean them away from Buddhism.
It is interesting to note that till 8th century the so called Hindu texts
do not have the word Hindu itself. This word came into being with the Arabs
and Middle East Muslims coming to this side. They called the people living
on this side of Sindhu as Hindus. The word Hindu began as a geographical
category. It was later that religions developing in this part started being
called as Hindu religions. Due to caste system there was no question of
prosetylization. On the contrary the victims of caste system made all the
efforts to convert to other religions, Buddhism, Islam and partly
Christianity and later to Sikhism.
Within Hindu religion two streams ran parallel, Brahmanism and Shramanism.
Shramans defied the brahminical control and rejected caste system. While
Brahminism remained dominant, other streams of Hinduism also prevailed,
Tantra, Bhakti, Shaiva, Siddhanta etc. Shramans did not conform to the
Vedic norms and values. Brahminism categorized religious practices by caste
while Shramanism rejected caste distinctions. Brahminical Hinduism was the
most dominant tendency as it was associated with rulers. Sidetracking the
Hindu traditions of lower castes, Brahminism came to be recognised as
Hinduism in due course of time. This phenomenon began with Magadh-Mauryan
Empire after subjugating Budhhism and Jainism in particular. Later with
coming of British who were trying to understand Indian society, Hindu
identity, based on Brahminical norms was constructed for all non Muslims
and non Christians. Vedas and other Brahminical texts were projected as the
Hindu texts. Thus the diversity of Hinduism was put under the carpet and
Brahminism came to be recognised as Hinduism. So Hinduism as understood as
a religion is based on Brahminical rituals, texts and authority of Brahmins.
Hinduism as prevails today is a religion in all sense of the sociological
characteristics. It is dominated by Brahminism is another matter. To say
that Hindus are not a religious community is a wrong formulation to say the
Saturday, March 30, 2013
- ► 2017 (250)
- ► 2016 (990)
- ► 2015 (5363)
- ► 2014 (1962)
- प्रवीरचन्द्र भंजदेव – बस्तर के आदिवासियो का शापित ...
- Invitation to the Independent People’s Tribunal on...
- पश्चिम बंगाल में बेरोजगारों की नुमाईश बनी प्राइमरी...
- एंटीलिया का भारतः वित्तमंत्री भारत बेचने के लिए दु...
- Chidambaram heads Japan to sell India as budget pr...
- मजदूरों के दो दुश्मन है , ब्राह्मणशाही (Brahmanism...
- Fwd: Appeal to PM supporting Shahabag movement
- मार्क्सवादी' धूर्तता की पराकाष्ठा ,डॉ आंबेडकर की स...
- समग्र वर्ग की चेतना से कंगाल:हिन्दू
- Fwd: Rihai Manch report on Kosi Kala, Mathura riot...
- The Neoliberal Revolution Anand Teltumbde
- Babasaheb Ambedkar and the Neoliberal Economic Ref...
- Criminalising People's Protests Anand Teltumbde
- माओवादियों ने मांगी माफ़ी
- Justice plea for rape victim in Meghalaya
- Why Is Matrilineal Meghalaya Indifferent Towards R...
- Tea union on 50-hour fast
- Project cloud on core course
- Sops to revive SEZs on the anvil
- Govt bares claws as legal battle looms
- दमन का वाद नहीं होता
- भारतीय इतिहास का साम्राज्यवादी दमन
- दफ्न होती बेटियां
- राजनाथ सिंह की नयी टीम में मोदी को मिली जगह
- Tribal affairs ministry against MoEF move to dilut...
- ஸ்பைஸ் ஜெட் ஏர்லைன்ஸ் பயணியிடம் சிக்கிய 600 ஏர்-இந...
- The Tagore Mania: Identity Crisis and Anti-Banglad...
- सोशल मीडिया से भयभीत अधिनायक
- Condolence meeting in memory of Shalini on 31 Marc...
- முழு பூசணிக்காயை சோற்றில் மறைப்பது என்பது இதுதானோ!
- Total anarchy in TET Cadre exams in Bengal! প্রাথ...
- कारपोरेट प्रायोजित जनांदोलन का छलावा है एकतरफ तो द...
- क्रान्ति के शत्रु को ही लाभ पहुँचाती है क्रान्तिका...
- পঁয়ত্রিশ হাজার শূন্যপদের জন্য পরীক্ষার্থীর সংখ্যা ...
- CBI showcases teeth at last as CBI tells Supreme C...
- रेशमा की आत्महत्या से उठे सवाल
- The Delhi Historical Materialism Conference - "New...
- *Re-Redefining Hinduism* Ram Puniyani
- Four posing as cops gang-rape Dalit girl
- राज्य सरकार बिरुद्ध गोजमुमोद्वारा उच्च न्यायालयमा ...
- When Girls Go Missing
- Neso stir for AFSPA repeal
- We’ve been advocating AFSPA revocation: JK Govt
- Mizoram and Not Delhi the Most Unsafe City for Women?
- Move to clear doubts on foreign investment
- DIDI VS DIDIS
- ढांचागत क्षेत्र की कुछ बड़ी परियोजनाओं को जल्द मंजू...
- सामूहिकता बनाम वैयक्तिकता
- मोदी की प्रशंसा के लिए किया गया था भुगतान: रिपोर्ट
- जेल से भेजी मारुती मजदूरों ने अपील
- कैंसर से जूझ रही शालिनी की मौत
- आदिवासियों का पुनर्वास
- बस्तर में आदिवासियों ने अपनी असली दौलत ज़मीन को आप...
- तृणमूल ने दहाड़ लगायी और मुलायम ने आपबीती सुनायी, ...
- ब्राह्मणों की गिरफ्त में मार्क्सवाद
- আমাদের প্রিয় বন্ধু সুকৃতি রন্জন বিশ্বাস ফেসবুকে জব...
- दलित ईसाईयों को मुआवजा दे वेटिकन
- मोदी मैकडोनॉल्ड
- माओवादियों के खाने में मिलाया जहर, फिर मारी गोली
- Fact finding Team raises issue of Police Complicit...
- Appeal from Jail Stand in Solidarity with us for J...
- Why do we STILL not know about the killer of Naren...
- THE REALITY BEHIND GUJARAT MODEL Did you know ?
- Interview on Dalit politics published in South Asi...
- Caste discrimination, apathy leading to suicides o...
- INTERVIEW ‘The UN Resolution Is A Misplaced Initia...
- Centre’s deficit worry deepens
- RBI freedom under threat
- SOUND AND FURY - The belief that the UPA’s positio...
- पुलिस का मानवाधिकार
- किस ओर जा रहे हैं हम
- শাহবাগে সাইবার যুদ্ধ
- Riddles in Hinduism
- Persecution of Shrilankan Tamil Refugees in India
- लियाकत की गिरफ्तारी का सच
- पांच दिवसीय चंडीगढ़ संगोष्ठी में जाति के उद्भव और...
- अमेरिकामां जरूर आवजो!
- पानी किसी के बाप का नहीं है! आसाराम बापू सही फरमात...
- .बाबा साहेब ने 6743 टुकडो को तीन जगह इकठ्ठा किया. ...
- हमारे लोगों ने अंबेडकर को चुनकर संविधानसभा में भेज...
- अभी लड़ाई जारी है….आप किसके साथ..?
- खौफ आंबेडकरवाद का एच एल दुसाध
- জামাত শিবিরের ধংসযজ্ঞের অতি সামান্য কিছু ছবি।
- ब्राह्मण/द्विज वर्ण है ,जाति नहीं ,सचमुच जातियां श...
- सर्वस्वहाराओं के मसीहा:डॉ.आंबेडकर
- Forcible deportation of indigenous Muslims
- False Arya-Brahminist Propaganda Against Bengali D...
- Bengali Dalits labeled As Alien Intruders for Pers...
- Arya-Brahmin Fake Communist Leaders Used Dalit Ref...
- Persecution of Bengali Dalits In East Pakistan
- Various Obstacles in United Front between the Bahu...
- Fraud of Indirect Activities !
- Aryans Were Slaves of Indigenous Nag-Dravids
- Countercurrents.org has done a distinguished to th...
- Reservation Status
- NEPAL: DIVIDED LIKE WHEN THEY WERE NEVER BEFORE
- सम्पत्ति सम्बन्धों सहित सभी जातीय और धार्मिक पह...
- अब अंबेडकर विरोधियों, बहुजनों को खंडित करने वालों ...
- कौन कह रहा है कि सच को माने बग़ैर हवा में क्रान्ति...
- खून मुस्लिमों का कभी महंगा न होगा
- ▼ March (401)
- ► 2012 (6784)
- ► 2011 (8499)