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HVK Archives: Understanding Hinduism - a letter

Understanding Hinduism - a letter - INDIAN EXPRESS

3 July 1996


Author : V.K. BHATTAR
Publication : INDIAN EXPRESS
Date : July 3, 1996

Sir: This refers to the article "Middle class lumpeni-
sation of Hinduism" (June 13) in which Parsa Venka-
teshwar Rao Jr. has concluded that when people who
think do not care to talk about religion and review
its articles of faith, it is charlatans and pretenders
who take over the religious heritage. Hinduism,
unlike other religions, is not a religion with a
centralised institution to control and regulate the life
of its followers. It contains superstition, obscuran-
tist practices and the worst form of social intolerance
like caste prejudice.

Withdrawal of the British and self-rule were expected
to bring some radical changes in the social structure
which could result in a better life for the downtrod-
den. But those who gained political power and con-
trolled the destiny of the society failed miserably in
eradicating these evils. Political compulsions to gain
the votes of minorities prompted the leaders to behave as
if they were not part of this society.

In their attempt to continue in power they began
talking disparagingly about those who claim to be Hindus,
forgetting the fact that they were also equally, if not
mainly, responsible for the sad condition of the socie-
ty. Those who championed the cause of the Hindus were
subjected to ridicule and at times verbal and physical
assault. A typical case is the conduct of Marxists
towards the Rama Krishna Mission, which prompted the mis-
sionaries to approach the Calcutta High Court to declare
them a religious minority outside the Hindu faith.

A well organised Hindu society will pose a serious chal-
lenge to politicians who are taking the people for a
ride - while they are enjoying all benefits of self-rule
by dubious means - and making false promises. The fear
which organisations like the RSS and the VHP, which
are attracting the educated lower middle class, poses
to the political leaders prompt them to indulge
in disinformation.

The author should realise it is only Hindu society which
permits criticism and use of harsh epithets against
religious leaders, which in any other society would
bring violent reaction calling for retribution.

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