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THE MYTH OF ISLAMIC CONTRIBUTION TO INDIA

THE MYTH OF ISLAMIC CONTRIBUTION TO INDIA

Is it ignorance or agenda that drives Indian history narrative? The myth about Islamic contribution to India

Actor Girish Karnad’s attack against V.S Naipaul,a Nobel laureate and celebrated author, at the Tata Literature Live festival was totally undeserving and in bad taste. It smacked of deep-seated prejudice and ignorance. Girish Karnad has showcased his vile agenda when he misinterprets Naipaul’s books India: A wounded civilization as anti-Indian Muslim. In his book Naipaul is only highlighting the wounds inflicted by the foreign invaders.

Karnad’s criticism of Naipaul stems from a historical narrative that is an apologist version of Indian history. A version which trivializes the real impact of Islamic invasion on Hindu society and which tries to weave a story of denial; ascribing positive aspects of the Islamic invasion of India like the Indo-Islamic cultural syncretism, while sweeping away the mass destruction and holocaust that ensued as mere generalization, isolated incidents, figment of Hindu imagination or plainly inevitable. People like Girish Karnad, William Dalrymple, Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib and few others have taken up the burden of projecting a benign image of Muslim rule in India, while the atrocities are ignored as isolated incidents. Dalrymple is one of the foremost proponents of the positive effect of Islamic invasion of India and how India ‘supposedly’ benefited from a bloody invasion.An apt analogy for such apology theorists would be deeming the rape of India as a fusion of two bodies and the resultant child a happy reminder of such a rape. The child is then brainwashed into accepting the rape of his mother as a good thing.

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Can a Hindu be an atheist? – Devdutt Pattanaik

Can a Hindu be

When Hindus use the word God, it is not the God of Abraham. God in Hinduism can be masculine or feminine, singular or plural, and limitless or limited by space and time. … The Hindu idea of God does not speak so much about rejecting false gods as it does about understanding infinite forms of God. – Dr Devdutt Pattanaik

Since no one can actually define Hinduism, the simple answer is: yes. Politicians and supremacists who try to define, and homogenise, Hinduism, may disagree and insist Hinduism is theist. The problem is with how we define God.

When people around the world use words like religion, they refer mostly to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. When they use the word God (singular, capitalised, masculine), they are in all probability referring to the God of Abraham, that informs Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This is God who is outside humanity, and outside creation, who creates the world and humanity, loves humanity, and gives instructions through prophets on how humans should live. This God has cast down humanity to the world because they broke his rule in the perfect Eden. He gives humans one chance to live, to prove their love for him. In Judaic mythology, he punishes those who do not listen to him. In Christian mythology, he sacrifices his own son Jesus for the sins of humanity. In Islamic mythology, he appoints Prophet Muhammad as the last of his prophets. The most important aspect of these dominant religions is the idea of “covenant” or contract with God, expressed through the rite of baptism in Christianity, and circumcision in Judaism and Islam. These Abrahamic mythologies are strongly influenced by Zoroastrian mythology of ancient Persia, from where came ideas such as Devil, Heaven and Hell, and Archangels. In Abrahamic mythology, there is one God. So the concept of many gods is false.

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Beyond Belief: We Are Not All the Same

Beyond Belief We Are

Believer, the recent documentary by Reza Aslan, succeeded in creating quite a buzz among Hindus all over the world. Most people took umbrage over the fact that Aslan zeroed in on a fringe community of ‘believers’ as if they were representative of Hinduism. Aslan was sly enough to acknowledge that theAghoriare a fringe group but that’s as good as saying nothing at all because in the ‘religion’ called Hinduism being a fringe group is quite the norm.

How justified are Hindus, intellectually speaking, in our objections to Aslan’s representation of our so-called religion? Not very, I’m afraid. This is because the problem we are contending with is a conceptual one first and foremost. It has little to do with the facts that one drums up in support of this framework. If Hindus are willing to swallow the conceptual framework thrust upon us by Aslan, then we have no solid ground to stand upon when disputing the facts.

How do we look at the world and who taught us to look at it this way? TheVedicseers did not cram a set of beliefs down our throats. Instead they made unparalleled discoveries with respect to what is Real and developed ways to access the Real, which they labeled as ‘Sat’. The key to lasting happiness lay in self-inquiry that provides access to the Real. Everyone can strive to be happy by following different paths to happiness based on their individual capacities and differences.

Meanwhile in the deserts of the Middle East there was another group of people that saw the world very differently. They claimed – as a factual truth – that there is an entity called God, who is the Creator of the world and who governs the world by his will. This God is the true God and if you don’t want to face dire consequences, you had better represent God’s truth the right way.

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Four women icons from India’s Dharmic tradition

Women’s day is a day of celebration of womanhood and of showing respect, love and appreciation towards all women. Western feminism has had its own trajectory, in its efforts to be free for Christian misogyny, along with the Biblical exhortation that “woman shall not have authority over man.” Even the feminism arising from Western modernity struggles with privileging traditional masculine roles and measuring success of women by that sole yardstick and by their commercial objectification. On the other hand, in the Indian context, women were always honored for who they were, for their wisdom, courage, beauty, and sacrifice. There have always been women exemplars and role models. From Sita, Draupadi, Kunti or Mandodari in the Itihasas and Vedic Rishikas like Gargi and Maitreyi to Kshatriya women like Lakshmibai and Rudhramadevi or saints like Meera and Andal. They all represent various facets of womanhood and can serve as inspiration for generations of women to follow their inner calling towards self-actualization.

Towards this end, in the present article, we would look into life accounts of four women, who are less known, but whose lives are nevertheless as inspiring and instructive as those listed above. All the four women whose accounts are included were fiercely independent, freely pursued their own paths to self-actualization, and they never swayed away from their swadharma. While the two of them were renunciates, the other two were householders.

Let us now look briefly into the life accounts of these four women and what we may learn from it.

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10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Hinduism

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Hinduism

1. Hinduism’s core principle is pluralism.

Hindus acknowledge the potential existence of multiple, legitimate religious and spiritual paths, and the idea that the path best suited for one person may not be the same for another. The Rig Veda, one of Hinduism’s sacred texts, states Ekam sat vipraha bahudha vadanti, or “The Truth is one, the wise call It by many names.”

As a result of this pluralistic outlook, Hinduism has never sanctioned proselytization and asserts that it is harmful to society’s well being to insist one’s own path to God is the only true way. Hindus consider the whole world as one extended family, and Hindu prayers often end with the repetition of shanti – or peace for all of existence.

2. Caste-based discrimination is not intrinsic to Hinduism.

Caste-based discrimination and “untouchability” are purely social evils not accepted or recognized anywhere in the Hindu scriptural tradition. The word “caste” is derived from the Portuguese “casta” — meaning lineage, breed, or race. As such, there is no exact equivalent for “caste” in Indian society, but what exists is the dual concept of varna and jāti.

Sacred texts describe varna not as four rigid, societal classes, but as a metaphysical framework detailing four distinctive qualities which are manifest, in varying degrees, in all individuals. Jātirefers to the occupation-based, social units with which people actually identified.

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Varna v/s Caste – The Hidden Truth

Varna vs Caste

“India was the motherland of our race and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages. She was the mother of our philosophy, mother through the Arabs, much of our mathematics, mother through Buddha, of the ideals embodies in Christianity, mother through the village communities of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.”

– William James Durant (1885-1981), American writer, historian, and philosopher.

The debate about caste system in Hinduism has been raging for over a century now. Every layman who has even a little knowledge about Hinduism, talks about only two things-‘Caste system and the Aryan Theory’. The whole narrative about Hinduism today, even among Hindus, is only about these 2 things. ‘Manusmriti’ is quoted as proof of how the Brahmins had subjugated the lower castes through the millennia and kept them down at a level where they could never rise from. The Britishers thus portrayed themselves as the ‘New Aryans‘ who came to rescuethe ‘Dalits’ form the tyranny of the Brahmins and the upper classes. The ignorant, poverty stricken masses now had a scapegoat– the Brahmins and a stick– ‘the rigid, evil caste system  and the Aryan Theory‘ to beat them with. This was manna from the heavens for the radicalized muslims who were in full Jihad gear after the fall of the Caliphate in Turkey. They too latched on to the same agitprop to justify their brutal, genocidal invasions as just another crusade to civilize the local barbarians, like the Aryans did before them. The fact that, lack of any evidence, archaeological or historical made no difference. Propaganda became the new history of India and what was taught by the British was left untouched by the well-trained anglicized ‘British Sepoys’ even after Independence.

When the 1st Prime Minister of India Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru made this remark ,

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Varnas – A journey to its roots

Varnas  A journey

We see divisions all around us – in nature, in society, within government, within our own body. Even an ant or honeybee colony seems to have division of labor. Interestingly even in socio-economically evolved west we see such patterns are strong and even run in families. We see doctors marrying doctors, engineers run in families, needless to say software consultants marrying another one. A simple insight into William Sears family of doctors is sufficient to prove that human beings build their success based on their family roots. Even in US, though there may be not many recognizable patterns, serving armed forces usually runs in the family for many. 

So if it is natural for humans to gravitate to comfortable patterns, then why casteism in Bharat has become a monster? In fact, casteism is not Varnashrama. We saw in Fourfold Hindu Dharma, that four Varnas exist: Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. In this article, we will definitely stay away from the socio-econo-political aspects of Varnas, in their current form of casteism. We are going to challenge the traditional thought of Varna as a birth-right.

Our gaze is going to be centred more on the spiritual angle. This will enable us to get rid of some of the common misconceptions, some deliberately mischievously propagated by West. Many well-funded proselytizing agencies from West are deepening the fractures invented by the British legacy we have inherited. 

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