Following my article on Hinduism for The Pioneer-Saturday Op-ed column, I got a chance to discuss this soul-searching subject with so many of you! Thanks for your views and encouragement. Here is the link to my article:
And here are some of your comments:
Rajeswari--Well , I do think hindu practices and symbols defines me the way I am
.... and it does contribute in a great way to give me identity and anchor..
Sudeshna--I think I know what you mean - so many of the next generation of Indian Americans seem so apathetic - this is perhaps less pervasive in the Bay Area where they are steeped in their colorful vernacular cultures ... but in places where the need for assimilation is more I'm sure they find it difficult to acknowledge their roots ... I don't know whether the fault lies with the parents, the community, or the religion... don't get me wrong I love the sense of space it gives me but sometimes I wonder whether being part of an organized religion would have been easier for me ... this is not a sublime argument on the pros and cons of monotheism versus polytheism but a very basic need for a tangible embrace from my supposed brethren based on religous solidarity ... Although the west considers Hinduism to be a pagan, older religion that sort of dumbs down the message for its followers by giving a carnate image to God ... the concept of realization of God through one's life philosophy and not merely by visiting Sunday church makes things all the more difficult for me ... Sometimes when I question God's exhistence I wonder whether it would have been easier if Sunday church or Friday masjid brainwashed me into believing ... [Check out her blog:overacuppatea-rini.blogspot.com]
Jitendra--I liked the fact that you think Hinduism has never demanded exclusivity and that it adheres to simple acts of everyday living. The only thing that I like about Hinduism is the concept of Karma - as you sow so you reap.There are lot of things that I do not like about Hindu way of life such as (though I am not a Hindu) :
1. the fact that if you are elder (parents, elder brother, etc.) you 'need' to be respected. I don't buy this. I mean if you want to be respected you need to 'earn' and 'deserve' respect first. Period. Doesn't matter who you are.
2. the noise creating festivals : I mean every damn Hindu festival is about noise (diwali, dusshera, bhajans, kirtans, etc.), dirt (post diwali), adding more to garbage (throwing deities in river), getting an opportunity to molest girls (Holi)
The list is endless !! [Check out his blog: iammeagain.blogspot.com ]
Aniruddha--Bigger problem is the distorted version of it by tilak wala's to run babaji / mataji factory / offer solution for all ills of the life, move it to the political space. Then we have the bigotry of secularism too, which is all day involved in carving out everything by handicap based on voters at the margin plus pleasing babus lining their pockets day long. ......
I can complain about things day long but problem is that do not have any clue how to solve the mess ..... feel terrible about the dysfunctional, extreme poor governance in desh. One solution is to participate in it - democracy is all about it. I am not sure I am ready for it plus does it fit my goals at this stage ....
All I know is that the moment religion leaves privacy of home to public square - it is retrograde for the society at large.