Ramachandra Guha is right when he says Hindus who care for their religion should valorise the work of reformers (“What Hindus can & should be proud of,” July 23). Hinduism is Sanatana Dharma, the ancient, universal way of life. This way of life recognises all creations as one, mankind as one entity. With the progress of time, this view has been distorted and undesirable accretions have sullied the otherwise pristine purity of the philosophy of Hinduism. Reformers like Rammohun Roy and religious savants like Adi Sankaracharya have shown that it is possible to resurrect Sanatana Dharma.
The proudest moment for Hindus came soon after Partition. Rather than being overwhelmed by triumphalism over the end of non-Hindu rule of almost eight centuries, visionaries like Gandhi, Nehru, Ambedkar, Rajaji, and many others remained level-headed and took up the task of producing a nation out of disparate principalities. They realised early enough that reference to the past in nation-building could be only in a civilisational sense, and any attempt at religious revival would jeopardise the future.
The self-proclaimed “champions” of Hindus we see today are vocal and aggressive, and assume leadership of ‘Hindus’ as elections draw nearer. Jyotiba Phule, Gandhiji, Dr. Ambedkar and Nehru are not acceptable to them because the ideologies of these leaders challenge the edifice over which their religious jingoism is carefully built.
Satya Veer Singh,
I agree with Mr. Guha that the 1971 victory was achieved by an Indian army consisting of people from various faiths. I also agree that the Babri Masjid demolition is not something which should fill Hindus with pride. It may be true that the Masjid was raised on the spot where a sacred Hindu temple stood. But that happened centuries ago. Given India’s very turbulent history since the Mughal invasion, a vengeful attitude can create horrific tension and bloodshed as we have already seen. In centuries-old matters, forgive and forget is what great Hindu saints would advise.
Ravi S. Iyer
Hinduism has produced many masters throughout the ages who have taught inclusiveness. There were the great 19th century Hindu masters Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, both of whose disciples went on to create monastic world orders which, to this day, are spreading the message of the ancient seers. In the 20th century, Ramana Maharshi and Anandamoyi Ma left a lasting legacy on inclusiveness. The beauty of Hinduism is, it is an all-inclusive religion. It is difficult to speak of secularism and religion in the same breath in the case of other religions, not so in the case of Hinduism.
According to David Day, “The history of most societies can be best understood when they are seen as part of a never-ending struggle, in a world of shifting boundaries, to make particular territories their own.”
History is all about how our ancestors made a claim to the proprietorship of the place and status we hold on to. A close scrutiny may unravel the conflict but it would be best to forget and move on.
Describing Nehru as a “lapsed Hindu” because he did not visit a temple is a fallacy. Hinduism is not just about idol worship. It is about ideologies and methods to achieve true happiness in life. Any person who is disciplined, has self-confidence and loves humanity is religious. Hindus should be proud of the tolerance and philosophical depth of their ancient religion.
V. Srinivasa Rohit,