WHAT IS HINDUTVA FOR YOU?

What is Hindutva for you? Does the word Hindu signify a religion or is it symbolic of a way of life?

For me, Hindutva or Hinduism or being Hindu is a way of life. And the origin of the word Hindu confirms it. In ancient times, Persian and Greek people would use the word Hindu for the people of the Indian Subcontinent living on this side of the river Indus. So it basically connoted a geographical and cultural identity. Though there are differences on when the word Hindu became synonymous with a religious identity – in medieval or British colonial India – but it did happen so. And if we talk of the last or this Century – it is now an established fact that Hinduism or the Hindu religion is the largest religion of India in terms of number of followers.

It is said that Savarkar explained the term Hindutva in his essay to explain Indian national identity. But if the word could not gain universal or wide acceptance in India, there were inherent reasons behind it and the main was that Hindutva was still seen in the context of Hinduism or Hindu religion. After the independence, some rightwing political outfits made politics based on Hindutva their ideology and agenda. With time their sphere of influence increased and with it increased the allegations that these parties were using religion to gain political mileage – be it the day-to-day politics or electoral politics.

To continue..

TOMORROW IS A BIG DAY FOR ‘HINDUTVA’

A seven judge bench of the Supreme Court is going to deliberate on its 1995 verdict that defined ‘Hindutva and Hinduism’ as a ‘way of life’.

While reinstating Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi and the BJP’s Ramchandra Kapse assembly election victories, Justice JS Verma had observed, “It is a fallacy and an error of law to proceed on the assumption that any reference to Hindutva or Hinduism in a speech makes it automatically a speech based on Hindu religion as opposed to other religions.”

His bench, in fact, further said that ‘Hindutva and Hinduism’ represented India’s people and its cultural ethos – “It may well be that these words are used in the speech to promote secularism and to emphasise the way of life of the Indian people and the Indian culture or ethos, or to criticise the policy of any political party as discriminatory or intolerant.”

It was an epoch-defining judgment which cleared the path of the BJP and the like-minded parties who weaved their politics on Hinduism and Hindutva as it removed the legal hurdle due to the interpretation of ‘Hindutva and Hinduism’ as under religion and thus as corrupt practices under the Representation of People (RPA) Act.

Its Section 123 (3-A) says, “The promotion of, or attempt to promote, feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or language, by a candidate or his agent or any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate.”

And that defines one of the many corrupt practices it lays norms for.

Now, according to this landmark judgment, any electoral practice aimed at influencing voters in the name of ‘Hindutva and Hinduism’ doesn’t constitute the case for corruption because Hindutva is not a religion but an all-encompassing term that defines the Indian way of life.

But the verdict has not been beyond questions, even from different judges of the Supreme Court. So anything can happen tomorrow.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

RAMLILA – INTERESTING BHOJPURI FLIP

This one is a Ramlila clip shot randomly.

The annual ‘Ramayana’ event, organized across India through plays, is being staged here at the Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi – on November 17, i.e., on the day of Chhath Puja in 2015.

Ramlila is played over an extended period of time at different places in Varanasi and it goes well beyond the Dussehra festivities – that fall usually in the months of September-October.

Here, in the Ramlila at the Manikarnika Ghat, the informal conversation interspersed with dialogues between the characters is quite interesting.

The part of Ramayana (or Ramcharit Manas, the most loved Hindu scripture written on Ramayana by Goswami Tulsidas in 15th-16th Century) being staged here is about ‘Vibhishan leaving his brother Ravan and joining Lord Ram’s side in the epic battle between bad and good’.

After Vibhishan has left Lanka, Ravan’s place, Ravan commands his spies to go clandestinely after Vibhishan and to report the developments from Lord Ram’s camp.

The brief conversation/dialogue here is in Hindi-Bhojpuri mix that also includes informal conversation between the characters about changing their appearances for the next scene and it can be heard well on the speaker. Bhojpuri is a dialect of Hindi and is spoken mainly in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

That is the way most of the Ramlilas are staged these days – just to fulfil the basic minimum of a tradition that is centuries old – without aesthetics of stage performances – but the flip here brings natural smile if you know the context.

It tells what has happened to this serious art form – that is weaved around something without which the Indian society cannot think of its holistic existence – and that – that still why it is so imperative – that you stop by to think about its serious revival – given that Ramlilas are an inseparable part of Indian cultural milieu.

So, you don’t appreciate the way it is done here, still you enjoy the show – not looking for professional finesse – that you cannot expect from poorly paid and makeshift actors – but for the sustenance of this Centuries old tradition.

I just thought to post it here…but it is quite ‘audible’ – Bhojpuri and Hindi the Banarasi way..

Enjoy it raw from the YouTube link here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpCnZHrPIkY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpCnZHrPIkY

Ramlila-1

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

DIVISIVE RHETORIC ON SAI BABA AND HINDU DEITIES: UNFORTUNATE, DEPLORABLE

Well, it’s sad, it’s unfortunate, and it’s deplorable.
We all haven’t heard or seen Gods.

And we have more than enough and valid reasons to believe that no one, including those who claim, has heard or seen any God – ‘any’ God because we are routinely told there are many Gods – because we are also told that all Gods lead to the One – everyone, in fact, most, cannot and never reach to that spiritual high to realize the ‘oneness’ of this ‘many identities’.

Anyway, that is not the concern here. The concern is – we all haven’t seen or heard Gods and yet, we, so shamelessly, keep on claiming Him (or Her) or claim in His name (or Her name).

It is saddening and maddening to hear the divisive rhetoric on ‘Sai Baba with Hindu Deities in temples’ these days that has gone well beyond the words to mobilize the religious factions, followers and fanatics on the ground – and the line between a follower and a fanatic is in imminent danger of losing its relevance.

On one side is a godman, claiming to represent the religious tradition of Shankaracharya, central to the Hinduism of the day in many aspects – who, in spite of his advancing age, has not been able to collect the spiritual essence of Hinduism (or of Vedas or of Shankaracharya’s teachings, who was just 12, when he did it all) and is targeting a saint, who has come to be treated as a God by his followers – a saint who never claimed he was a God – an ascetic who spent his life for others – a Messenger who never wanted to be worshipped as a God, as the literature says – and all the big temples and the growing religious infrastructure in his name are not serving his cause, are not spreading the message of his life – his Godliness was in his simplicity and access to all.

It is sad that Swaroopanand Saraswati’s rants on ‘unGodliness’ and religion of Sai Baba have found takers from both the spectrums – the believers of the Sai Baba tradition speaking against and mounting their protests – and the people ready to take Swaroopanand Saraswati’s agenda ahead.

Being religious and following a God is a private affair but the fear psychosis on God’s ways to control or run the lives of His followers, as proposed and spread by the men (the cults of godmen, the tradition of religious opinion leaders) has distorted and is distorting the real purpose of religion and God – making man a better man – making society a social amalgamation – making humanity more humane – making civilization more civilized.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RELIGION: IT IS THE SYSTEM THAT SUCKS

We are made to drink vials and vials of religion from the very first day we arrive here.

It doesn’t matter whether we are passive receptors or we actively participate in the process.

At the end, the end of which never comes, we are made to assimilate a lot, without given a chance to realise what we needed to assimilate and what we needed to be aware of to keep us away from.

It is a cycle that begins with birth and goes on and on. Even the death doesn’t put a lid on its spillover effects.

And we cannot be blamed for it. It is the System that sucks.

But if we are the System or a part of it, we are to share the blame. So, even if we cannot be blamed, we are to be blamed, in a way, by the feeling of a transferred burden, continued unabated, the beginning of which no one knows.

And neither ‘they’ are to be blamed directly, who, unknowingly or unwittingly, become part of this elaborate trap of indoctrination of religious elements, manipulated and wrongly interpreted for ages to the extent that religion, in reality, has lost its essence for the commoners who form the majority of the followers of any religion.

The spiritual quotient has been killed effectively and the fear quotient of religion reigns supreme.

Religion, being dominated by its different contractors today, has become a well-oiled machinery of the System for its opportunist diversions.

Whether ‘they’ are our immediate family members, our friends, our neighbours or our teachers, they themselves are the victims of this mentally tortuous cycle of domination of few over the waves of the multitudes by implanting in masses the fear of religion and the subsequent religious hatred, that it so easily inculcates then.

And like us, ‘they’, too, are to be blamed for being part of this System, carrying the feeling of the transferred burden, knowingly or unknowingly.

The heterogeneity of religious hierarchy has this homogenous characteristic – the followers largely bear the similar traits – ignorant, fearful, threatened, burdened and confused – that make the thousands of millions of them ruled by a numbered few.

The prevalent forms of almost of the practicing religions have been manipulated into the worst forms of indoctrination practices and the exercise begins right at birth.

Had it not been the case, we would not have the likes of Asaram Bapus or the likes of millions of their followers.

And Hinduism is not singular to this rot. Christianity, Islam and every other big or small religion (in terms of number of followers) have their Asaram Bapus.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/