Given the mistranslation of dharma as religion, the Western idea of no religion in the public square has been interpreted by many Indians as no dharma in the public square. Secularized Indians have failed to appreciate that a dharma-nirapeksha society – or a society lacking dharma (as secularism has often been translated) – would be dangerously ambivalent toward ethical conduct. Nirad Chaudhuri warned against India’s adopting secularism of even the highest European type, because without dharma’s moral and spiritual qualities, society would become immoral and culturally debased. Being irreligious still allows for ethical behaviour, but being un-dharmic equates with things like corruption and abuse. The result of importing secularism into a dharmic society has thus been disastrous in many ways. (extract from the book Being Different)
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Saturday, 12 November 2016
The desperate attempts to declare Hinduism as a religion and not “a way of life”, as the Supreme Court had observed twenty years back in 1995, has obvious political motives. It is basically to prevent Hindus to unite under one banner and weaken the BJP’s hold on the electoral politics of India. But the impression given by those who raise the bogey of Hinduism is that it is the biggest threat to the nation since the Partition of India. I have often asked myself what exactly are the dangers of Hinduism to the nation, and in this regard a clear presentation of this perceived threat is long overdue. Secular scholars do make a lot of noise about unimportant issues such as beef-eating and the compulsory singing of Vande Mataram, but when it comes to going beyond these trifles and getting into the nitty-gritty of their accusation, they simply vanish from the public domain. But before I speculate further on the underlying reason for feeling threatened by such a harmless religion as Hinduism, let me repeat an old argument in its favour.