Hinduism's ability to evolve
#1
Photo 
When compared to the monotheist cults, Hinduism still retains the badge of being extremely 'out'-tolerant, i.e. towards non Hindus. This may be because there's no conversion rite (or that it's so old there was nothing to convert from). There was no Hindu equivalent of the Crusades or jihad, and no Hindu ruler went out to conquer and convert. Compare that to the bloody legacy of colonialism, where whole tribes of indigenous peoples were wiped out and converted across the Americas and Africa - to say nothing of Islamic wars of conquest over the last thousand years.

The worst indictment of Hinduism can be said to be the caste system, as in, an active system of oppression sanctified by the Manusmriti.
The strength of Hinduism lies in its ability to evolve, and the fact that it has no central controlling authority. In my experience, most urban Hindus believe in a personal abstract 'God', mostly for wish fulfilment rather than anything else. People can worship as they please, whether they choose to go to the temple and perform puja daily, or spend a few minutes in silent prayer before leaving for work.

Now, consider the abhorrent practice of Sati - thanks to Rammohun Roy's efforts, it was outlawed 2 centuries ago, and barring the Roop Kanwar case of 1987, today it has completely faded from mainstream Hinduism. It is possible to call oneself a Hindu and yet despise this practice.
In a sense, Hinduism has evolved past sati.

The same goes for caste. Caste is a form of economic slavery, in the sense of forcing one to follow one's ancestral profession. Urbanization is steadily making caste matters irrelevant. Middle class Indians in the big cities at least only consider caste when it comes to arranged marriages, in one's daily life, nobody bothers about the caste of their driver or shopkeeper or restaurant waiter or any other service profession.
Villagers migrate to the big cities and wind up as construction labourers, living in slums - but even then nobody cares about their caste when it comes to finding work. While communal riots do happen in cities, I'm yet to come across caste based riots in urban settings.

Villages on the other hand are backward, stagnant and steeped in prejudice, with separate living areas for lower caste people,and if you live in such a place, you will be identified by your caste from cradle to grave.

By following liberal economic policies, developing small cities as economic hubs, more people will migrate to cities where they have a better chance of making a livelihood through hard work than be discriminated against on the basis of caste.

And yes, this sounds utopian - but it is entirely possible to make caste irrelevant within a generation or two. We may yet have a future society where caste is as outdated as sati, and yet people can still call themselves Hindus and practice their faith as they see fit.

To the best of my knowledge, this is not possible with the Abrahamic religions. In the case of Christianity, the power of the church was broken during the Renaissance, and active separation of church & state led to the waning influence of the Church. In other words, it was this forcible loss of power that reduced the relevance of the Church and not some conscious decision to discard repressive Christian ideology. Even today, the Catholic Church rails against abortion, contraceptives and homosexuality (while ignoring its own child abuse scandals).
With Islam, the less said the better, since a religion whose adherents consider it to be utterly perfect doesn't open itself to any sort of reform.
[+] 1 user Likes deusex's post
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Why is eating beef prohibited in Hinduism? Shantanu 38 63,640 06-Nov-2016, 08:37 PM
Last Post: praggy1973
  Hinduism and atheists praggy1973 0 1,420 17-Sep-2016, 10:55 AM
Last Post: praggy1973
  Marathas and Hinduism praggy1973 0 1,205 17-Jul-2016, 07:19 PM
Last Post: praggy1973
  Is the earth flat according to hinduism? satheeshpaul 0 2,333 13-Mar-2016, 10:25 PM
Last Post: satheeshpaul
  Hinduism - is it a religion in the truest sense of word? arpanahuja 1 3,311 19-Aug-2013, 11:51 PM
Last Post: Captain Mandrake
  Who are the official or lead spokespersons for Hinduism? astrokid.nj 4 4,726 26-Jun-2012, 11:10 PM
Last Post: KalBhairav
  Hinduism as a modern religion - Academic references and analysis Ajita Kamal 3 8,078 30-Jul-2011, 12:39 PM
Last Post: arvindiyer
Sad some frustrating experiences with Hinduism... tarun 5 4,841 19-Feb-2011, 09:48 PM
Last Post: unsorted
  Hinduism Summit in Chicago, USA on June 5 2010 (Saturday) dharmaseva 9 6,035 05-Sep-2010, 09:43 AM
Last Post: Swati



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)