[Marxism] Am I a Jew?

Marla Vijaya kumar marlavk at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 10 04:17:55 MDT 2012


Danji,
         Good to see someone outside India exhibiting such profound knowledge of Hinduism.
Let me start with an analogy. If you have seen a bazaar in India, with all that noise, confusion and disorder, you will understand that the same applies to Hinduism. But at the end of the day, a lot business would have been transacted in the bazaar.
You have miss-spelt the Charvakaas. Charvakas' atheism is as old as the Vedic religion. In fact, they were parallel streams in Hinduism. Some of their arguments might seem crudely materialistic by today's Marxist standards, but they did indeed raise very critical questions about the vedic practices.
In fact, Hinduism was an agglomeration various beliefs, sects and tribal practices. Many Hindu Gods were assimilated from tribal totems. For example, Ganesha, the elephant god is a totem of a gana (tribe). He is called Gan-esha (tribal head).
When Buddhism was at its peak 2000 years ago, Vedic religion was relegated to some corners of India. After Buddhism (and Jainism) waned, both these streams were assimilated in to modern Hindism which had a fresh lease of life under Sankara's Advita Saivism.
Though Charvaka school is suppressed by orthodox Hindus, it still persists in the Indian mind. As you mentioned, I can be a non believer and still call my self a Hindu. I need not visit a temple or pray God or even perform any ritual according to Hindu rites (be it daughter's marriage, mother's funeral or a simple act of participating in a village religious procession) but the society largely considers me a Hindu. People tolerate criticism of religious practices and beliefs and conclude that 'it is my belief and you are free to criticise it'. I agree that there are some hardcore zealots, but they can not amount to much.

As far as the suggestion that Hinduism was influenced by British imperialism, there certainly were some reform movements initiated by social reformers like Rammohan Roy, but at the end of the day, I feel that such reforms efforts were  the result of exposure of European Modernism. But I feel that the British imperialism was just not capable of changing Hinduism. It is like pouring a bucket of water in to the Indian Ocean.
As I was mentioning in my earlier post, there is a mind boggling diversity of sects, castes, languages and beliefs, but in the end, there is something that binds all Indians (Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists etc). That is what we call Indianness. There were many separatist movements like the Khalistan movement but in the end, it the feeling of being an India that persists and binds us.
As far as Brahminism goes, let me make it clear that in this vast continental scale nation, no identity is specific. My father was born in to an orthodox Vedic Brahmin family, but he renounced religion and joined the CP. Our whole family, that is my brothers and sisters are atheists, but we are readily accepted into any family meet of our relatives. The Brahmins of south India have different practices as compared to those in the North and East.
In the end, I suggest Com. Debiprasad Chatopadhyay's eminent book, "What is Living and What is Dead in Indian Philosophy".
Vijaya Kumar Marla



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