धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः। Dharmo Raksati Raksitah.

Dharma protects those who protect it.

– Veda Vyas, Mahabharat

Sabarimala: Understanding Hinduism

Since ancient times it is actually a geographical description of the land, that this is Hindu land, the people who reside over here are Hindus and that essentially was I mean, I would say that just like you look at people who reside in China’s Chinese, people who live in Iran as Iranians, who live in Greece as Greeks, those who lived in India, India is an English term, but were called Hindus, even today some of the languages in the Middle East and in China tend to use the term Hindu, for anybody that comes out of India regardless of their religion. So, the term is religious and agnostic, it is geographical in description.

Now what the Europeans did, is that they continued to use the nomenclature Hindu, except they gave it a religious connotation. So they defined it order they tried to explain it in terms of segregation. So they said all the native religions are Hindu and then they are the foreign religion. So you actually view it differently and therefore they define it in law as follows, is that everybody that lives in India excluding Muslim, Parsi, Jew, Christian, and those are the sort of exclusions, but the definition of an Hindu law is by exclusion, it’s not so, it actually follows the logical pattern of how traditionally you viewed the term Hindu, how it got embedded into law and once it got embedded into law, the same construct is followed in the Constitution.

Now it then includes there for Hindus everybody in India including Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, etc excluding Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jews. So therefore when you, when you view it in that sense, you get pushed into over the years, we have gotten pushed into thinking of Hinduism as a monolithic religion, it is one faith, they should be one central text, essentially you’re trying to view the people that live in India in the manner in which you view yourselves. This is the sort of the European approach, to India and we very happily since we were sort of modernizing away from a medieval practices, we happily following and Europeanizingourselves. So we sort of went down that path and so therefore it doesn’t actually figure into the debate, it certainly did not figure into the Sabarimala debate, in the Supreme Court that, when you look to find essential features of Hinduism, what are the features that you are looking for and I would like to ask anybody in this crowd or anywhere else please give me five points or three things that I actually essential features of Hinduism, that if you do not follow, that the religion would stand destroyed or altered significantly they do not exist, it is because there is no central, there is no essential feature and a fundamental basis for the Supreme Court’s ruling is and this is the majority judgment saying that if you take away this tradition it does not distort the essential feature and so therefore the whole Supreme Court ruling is on a misplaced premised, on a misplace fundamental notion of what is Hinduism.