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A DEBATE EXCHANGE WITH AN AMEDKARITE History of Hindu Religion

1 points | Post submitted by suyash95164 days ago |1 comments | viewed86 times

Discussion over Amebdkar views on Caste


  • suyash95164 days ago | +0 points

    C-Claim

    R-Response


     Claim - Hinduism is a collection of Castes

    If he did say that then he should know - being an extremely intelligent and learned man.

    Hindu SOCIETY in India is indeed a collection of

    castes but also much more complex with intricate kinship relations, cultural

    and language differences, regional differences as well as encompassing hundreds

    of different sects and religions. Punjabi farmer from north and a Tamil farmer from south would only have “farming” as their common denominator and that too - wheat and rice - different

    products and different cultivation methods and needs. They would need an

    interpreter to help them converse and could not even share the same cuisine!

    ON  t he other hand Hindu philosophy and metaphysics is the same all over the world

    among all Hindu populations wherever they may live.

    I think it is imperative to separate Hindu SOCIETY and SOCIAL issues from Hindu

    PHILOSOPHY and spiritual strategies.


    C -

    But isn’t the social expression of religion a major part of it? If we separate

    society and social issues, would the number of Hindus (in extension Christians,

    Muslims, Buddhists) all be reduced to a small negligible fraction?


    R- Not necessarily. Hinduism in Indonesia is imbedded in a very different sociological

    setting to India - in fact completely different.

    Hindus who migrate to Western countries quickly adopt the social mores, frameworks and social paradigms of their adopted country while retaining their philosophy.

    The same happened to Christianity when it left its Jewish social context and

    adapted to Greco-Roman world. The theology remained the same but was served in

    a completely different social setting.

    Ambedkar was of the view that the sociology of Hinduism was inseparable from its

    philosophy - he was wrong.


    C-

    agree that sociological settings vary from one region to another. However, the

    religious expression is still the sum total of it. For ex: Indonesian Islam is

    very different from Pakistani Islam. But I would not separate the sociological

    setting. To be a Muslim may be to follow the 5 pillars of Islam but to be an

    Indonesian Muslim is an ethnoreligious identity.

    Likewise, Bali Hindus are an ethnoreligious group whereas Indian Hindus are by themselves a massive collection of ethnoreligious groups. You can separate their social

    setting from beliefs. They go hand in hand.

    I am not sure Ambedkar said that the sociology of Hinduism was inseparable from its

    philosophy.


    R -

    read that in one of Ambedkar’s papers on caste. That was written a time when

    Hinduism had not spread to the west and he obviously knew little about those

    expatriate Hindu communities living in South Africa, Mauritius, Indonesia,

    Trinidad, Fiji etc. .Philosophy or theology is about ideas and so can be fitted into any sociological setting,

    and if it can’t adapt to varying climatic, geographically or social

    environments then it is not worthy of being considered in my view.

    But you are right - the only two “world” religions are Christianity, Islam and

    Buddhism - and their transportability is the key to their success and

    expansion. Hinduism, like Judaism, Yazidism, Sikhism, Druze-ism etc. are indeed

    ethno-religious ideologies and hence much harder to separate from “culture”.

    But the regressive cultural elements like caste and gender discrimination can be

    extirpated. And the ritual watered down to acceptable levels of integration

    into the host societies.


    C -


    Based on my reading of Ambedkar ( i may have to read again) is that Hindu concepts of

    karma supported caste oppression. In that, the upper castes used it to justify

    their oppression of lower castes and lower castes accepted it lying face down.

    In a general sense, philosophy of any sort - Hindu or otherwise is not popular

    practise but rather academic and esoteric in nature. The popular practice is a

    communal celebration of festivals, symbolism, social set up etc. Much of this

    is derived from Puranic Hinduism. Perhaps Ambedkar was aware of this. Besides

    during his time as Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj was already around. Perhaps he did

    not see them as effective in eradicating the caste system.

    understand that for a Hindu society it is not necessary to have a caste system.

    But such as it is, the caste system that exists in India is due to Hinduism.


    R -

    Actually in all my reading I have never read anywhere that persecution or oppression is

    justified by the “caste” status of the victim.

    The law of Karma states that all harm caused to another rebounds on oneself. So a

    subscriber to the doctrine of Karma would accept that it is a two way

    transaction. Its like me as nurse. Many of my patients are suffering health

    condition that are due to their own actions and they are solely responsible for

    their current condition. But what is my duty as a nurse? to judge them and

    excoriate them or to care less for them or to fulfil my duty to the best of my

    ability? This is the message of the Gita.

    The birth circumstances of people are determined by Karma but how we treat them

    informs and determines our future Karma. So Ambedkar was wrong on this.

    But I agree that the caste-system as practiced today is due to outdated and

    obsolete rules in books which are best kept in locked cabinets.


    C -

    Hindus who migrate to Western countries quickly adopt the social mores, frameworks and social paradigms of their adopted country while retaining their philosophy.

    While this is true, its important to keep in mind that for some of them, the

    ‘philosophy’ they carry is pretty bad. Caste based discrimination seems to

    happen in the US as well


    R -

    Individuals are not representative of the whole.

    Discrimination of some sort whether it be linguistic, racial, gender, class et. will always be there - it is simply a fact of life.

    What one must ask is:– “does the whole Hindu community by common consensus support and engage in caste discrimination in host countries?



    AMBEDKAR -

     

    His fight with Gandhi was his own emotional n psychological drama

    He did not forsaw the great advances in science ,technology n education n migration of Indians to other parts of World

     

    Ambedkar saheb says Hindu society is merely a collection of castes. What is Rami Sivan ji’s view on this?

    If he did say that then he should know - being an extremely intelligent and learned man.

    Hindu SOCIETY in India is indeed a collection of castes but also much more complex with intricate kinship relations, cultural and language differences, regional differences as well as encompassing hundreds of different sects and religions.

    A Punjabi farmer from north and a Tamil farmer from south would only have “farming” as their common denominator and that too - wheat and rice - different products and different cultivation methods and needs. They would need an interpreter to help them converse and could not even share the same cuisine!

    ON the other hand Hindu philosophy and metaphysics is the same all over the world among all Hindu populations wherever they may live.

    I think it is imperative to separate Hindu SOCIETY and SOCIAL issues from Hindu PHILOSOPHY and spiritual strategies.

    claim -

     

    But isn’t the social expression of religion a major part of it? If we separate society and social issues, would the number of Hindus (in extension Christians, Muslims, Buddhists) all be reduced to a small negligible fraction?

    response -

    Not necessarily. Hinduism in Indonesia is imbedded in a very different sociological setting to India - in fact completely different.

    Hindus who migrate to Western countries quickly adopt the social mores, frameworks and social paradigms of their adopted country while retaining their philosophy.

    The same happened to Christianity when it left its Jewish social context and adapted to Greco-Roman world. The theology remained the same but was served in a completely different social setting.

    Ambedkar was of the view that the sociology of Hinduism was inseparable from its philosophy - he was wrong.

     

    Claim -

    I agree that sociological settings vary from one region to another. However, the religious expression is still the sum total of it. For ex: Indonesian Islam is very different from Pakistani Islam. But I would not separate the sociological setting. To be a Muslim may be to follow the 5 pillars of Islam but to be an Indonesian Muslim is an ethnoreligious identity.

    Likewise, Bali Hindus are an ethnoreligious group whereas Indian Hindus are by themselves a massive collection of ethnoreligious groups. You can separate their social setting from beliefs. They go hand in hand.

    I am not sure Ambedkar said that the sociology of Hinduism was inseparable from its philosophy.

     

    Response -

    I read that in one of Ambedkar’s papers on caste. That was written a time when Hinduism had not spread to the west and he obviously knew little about those expatriate Hindu communities living in South Africa, Mauritius, Indonesia, Trinidad, Fiji etc.

    Philosophy or theology is about ideas and so can be fitted into any sociological setting, and if it can’t adapt to varying climatic, geographically or social environments then it is not worthy of being considered in my view.

    But you are right - the only two “world” religions are Christianity, Islam and Buddhism - and their transportability is the key to their success and expansion. Hinduism, like Judaism, Yazidism, Sikhism, Druze-ism etc. are indeed ethno-religious ideologies and hence much harder to separate from “culture”.

    But the regressive cultural elements like caste and gender discrimination can be extirpated. And the ritual watered down to acceptable levels of integration into the host societies.

     

    Claim -

    Based on my reading of Ambedkar ( i may have to read again) is that Hindu concepts of karma supported caste oppression. In that, the upper castes used it to justify their oppression of lower castes and lower castes accepted it lying face down. In a general sense, philosophy of any sort - Hindu or otherwise is not popular practise but rather academic and esoteric in nature. The popular practice is a communal celebration of festivals, symbolism, social set up etc. Much of this is derived from Puranic Hinduism. Perhaps Ambedkar was aware of this. Besides during his time as Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj was already around. Perhaps he did not see them as effective in eradicating the caste system.

    I understand that for a Hindu society it is not necessary to have a caste system. But such as it is, the caste system that exists in India is due to Hinduism.

     

    Response -

    Actually in all my reading I have never read anywhere that persecution or oppression is justified by the “caste” status of the victim.

    The law of Karma states that all harm caused to another rebounds on oneself. So a subscriber to the doctrine of Karma would accept that it is a two way transaction. Its like me as nurse. Many of my patients are suffering health condition that are due to their own actions and they are solely responsible for their current condition. But what is my duty as a nurse? to judge them and excoriate them or to care less for them or to fulfil my duty to the best of my ability? This is the message of the Gita.

    The birth circumstances of people are determined by Karma but how we treat them informs and determines our future Karma. So Ambedkar was wrong on this.

    But I agree that the caste-system as practiced today is due to outdated and obsolete rules in books which are best kept in locked cabinets.

     

    Claim - Hindus who migrate to Western countries quickly adopt the social mores, frameworks and social paradigms of their adopted country while retaining their philosophy.

    While this is true, its important to keep in mind that for some of them, the ‘philosophy’ they carry is pretty bad. Caste based discrimination seems to happen in the US as well. California sues Cisco for alleged discrimination against employee because of caste

     

    Response - Individuals are not representative of the whole.

    Discrimination of some sort whether it be linguistic, racial, gender, class et. will always be there - it is simply a fact of life.

    What one must ask is:–

    “does the whole Hindu community by common consensus support and engage in caste discrimination in host countries?”

     

     

    Why did Dr. Ambedkar say,"As long as you are in the Hindu religion you cannot have freedom of thought"?

      Because he was egregiously mistaken - but perhaps the context of his statement would be more intelligible.

    In the Hindu social structure, even at it’s most rigid state, one had complete freedom of thought. It was one’s action which was curtailed and limited.

    People were obligated by caste rules and social arrangements to conform to certain types of behaviour, diet, work, marriage, association etc.

    There was absolutely no limitations based on “thought” - no one cared what you thought or believed as long as you observed social customs.

    It is also important to note the the severest restrictions were placed on brahmins and the restrictions decreased as you descended the hierarchy. Sudras are completely free of all restrictions and can eat, drink, and travel about as they please. There are no rules of purity/impurity to ceaselessly and pedantically observe.

     

    Dr. Ambedkar did not study Upanishads where philosophical discussions are beyond the boundary of Cast, Religion, Race, Gender etc. Upanishads provokes freedom of thought.

     

    Cl;aim - whats the point of freedom of thought if you cannot act it out. I agree not all of us practice it. However where it exists, to down play it is a disservice to hinduism and cruel to the victims.

    Response - Where is the restriction today to act or not to act?

    People are self-bound to custom and tradition and trapped within the web of family and community. If you are strong-willed you can do exactly as you please. Living one’s life according to the expectations and in order to please others (family and community) is a major source of suffering.

    The biggest issue facing young people in India is the problem of career and marriage and the objections of family members to the choice of partner. In every other respect people are already following their own wishes.

     

    Claim - what you said is true. Unfortunately people are also being killed for behaving in a manner above their station in life. To deny this would be adharmam.

    Response - No we cannot deny whatever is evident but we also need to put it into perspective - ratios, rates, comparisons, contributing factors like poverty, lack of education, criminal activity, etc.

    Every murder is one too many, but how many “honour killings” are there in a nation of 1.3 billion, and who are the perpetrators?

    There are 70 million Hindus living outside of India and there have also been a few “dowry deaths” among Hindus in America, Europe and Australia - but these are not religious crimes but rather common murders - which are severely and relentlessly prosecuted.

    I’m not sure that blame for these sorts of criminal activities can be blamed on Hinduism, there is not a single guru, acharya or sanyāsi that would condone these types of activities and certainly no justification can be found in the Gita or Upanishads.

     

     

    Claim - Dr Ambedkar also said that untouchability will remain as long as hindu religion remains in world.

    Response - Well he was wrong because EVERYBODY is now untouchable as long as Covid 19 lasts in the world.

    The majority of Hindus no longer practice “untouchability” and there are over 70 million Hindus outside of India who no longer practice any kind of caste restrictions or taboos and certainly not “untouchability”.

    [reply]

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