Satanic verses  
 

RAJENDRA SENCHUREY

Discriminatory scriptures

Religion sets social rules and such rules are manifest in religious epics. Based on those holy theologies unholy deeds of prejudice and discrimination still prevail in the new secular republic. Some profane verses in those books cannot be justified. An egalitarian society can exist only when its members are groomed right. Since time immemorial Hindus have been taught discriminatory stuff. Hindu extremists, crying for Hinduism in Nepal, should ask themselves if they, at any point in history, attempted to address this thorny issue of scriptures.

Several struggles have been made by Nepali Dalits just to enter temples. Pashupati temple entrance (in 1954), Siddhakali temple entrance in Bhojpur (in 1964), Nawalparasi temple entrance (in 1990), Dudh Kand (Milk Movement) of Chitwan and Syangja (in 1993) and last year’s Bramhasthan temple entrance movement by Pipariya hamlet Dalits in Rautahat are some emblematic cases. In the backlash, Dalits were tortured, intimidated, ostracized, restricted, thrashed, and sometimes even killed.
 
Why are temple doors still slammed in Dalits’ face? It is simply due to the bigotry born of unfounded teachings. The proponents of such bigotry quote from their granthas in defense. The first time they are introduced to religion during their Bratabandha, they are taught not to chant Gayatrimantra in front of so-called untouchables. In fact, the fear imposed by such biased teachings has helped promote their faith over critical thinking.

Either in direct language or by insinuation, naive Shudras have been portrayed as despicable and untouchable in different Hindu precepts. The Indian Sub-continent was without varna system in the primitive age, as Shantiparva 107/30 of the Mahabharata says that the primeval people were all equal in caste and clan. Caste-based discrimination started from the Vedic period around 1,500 BC. Evidence suggests that this inhuman practice was introduced in Nepal around the eighth century and it became prominent in the 12th century.

The idea of discrimination was conceived by the Vedas. Rig-Veda X/90/12 (Purushashukta) talks about classification of birth and occupation of people through Varna system. It says that Shudras are created from the feet of Purusha and are destined to serve Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas just as the feet support other parts of the body.

Vishnupuran 5/11 mentions that grains or food touched by only those Shudras whose wives have served Brahmins can be taken. The verse seems to be basis for exploitation of Shudras. The Shudras are forced to deify the Brahmins. Time and again, the divisions of society as a result of those holy books were imposed by the rulers in the guise of societal change, labor division, development and so on. Shudras were the main agents of feudalistic production. It can be visualized in Dalits who inherit the legacy of labor works, arts and low-skill jobs.



Manu, the so-called Hindu lawgiver, promoted the feudal system in his Manusmriti. Different verses of this book (8/416, 10/96, and 10/129) say that Shudras can’t be owners of property. Their property belongs to those whom they serve. Manusmriti also says that if a Shudra listens to or pronounces even a single word of the Veda, the king has to cut off his tongue and pour ground glass into his ears.

Ban Parva and Anusasan Parva of Mahabharata, Bramhapuran, Atismriti and Maharshi Harit are among a few instances of exploitation of the Shudras. More surprisingly, Gita also says that Shudras are born from Paapyoni, ‘womb of sin’.

Chanakyaneeti Darpan has a number of disturbing hymns where women and Shudras have been defiled or dehumanized as errant and impure. It conveys that Brahmins who eat from Shudras are useless. All these troublesome verses are contrary to Human Rights and are cause for extreme marginalization and deprivation of Shudras who are newly named as Dalits.

Hindu pundits who think of themselves as sole explainers of Hinduism should be worried about disgruntled Shudras converting to Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. Educated new generations will find no reason for adhering to the discriminatory Hinduism. It was the reason why the greatest anti-caste messiah Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar said in a public speech in 1935, “I was born a Hindu which was out of my control, but I will not end up a Hindu.” True, defection is not a solution but still there is a saying, “When everything comes your way, you are in the wrong lane”. Now in Nepal, religion conversion is the best solution for hapless Dalits.
The new constitution should consider either erasing or revising all those bigoted verses in our scriptures and legally ban publications with discriminatory contents. This, I believe, will be a landmark for annihilation of caste-based discrimination.

The author is a Fredskorpset Fellow at Kislay India from Samata Foundation Nepal
[email protected]

 
    Published on 2014-09-02 00:46:16
# #
 
 

PLEASE DESIST FROM ATTACKING THE WRITER PERSONALLY AND BE RESPECTFUL TO OTHER READERS.
Please give your full name while posting your comments. This is not to stifle the free flow of comments but your full name will enable us to print the comments in our newspaper.

 

LATEST COMMENTS
What Hinduism has in the scriptures regarding Dalits coming from the feet of God/god, is an insult to intelligence. Dalits in India are "forced" to remain Hindus by not being given job quotas to Christian Dalits and they falsely complain that Dalits are forced to become Christians which is not the case. To show that castesim is completely non-existent in Hinduism is, as you say, to remove the discriminatory scriptures. It is an insult to intelligence and the Brahmins pride themselves in being [more]
  - Kalpana Sharma

Satanic Verses
Comment on this news #
Name
Email
Comments
   
351
 
   
 
 

RECOMMENDED


 

End of government


 

Bhattarai floats three different models of federalism


 

Proposed CJ to face parliamentary hearing tomorrow


 

Veep Jha returns home from Lhasa visit


 

Five die in bus collision in Dhading

POPULAR

 

Dropping 'fail' category in SLC being mulled

 

Falling oil prices shake up global economies

 

Qatar Airways bags 'Best Business Class Airline' for 2nd year in a row

 

NEA flayed on social media over Tihar lights warning

 

Tsho Rolpa: A fusion of nature and culture (photo feature)

Weather

KATHMANDU
Low 12oC
High 24oC
Sunrise 6:08 am
Sunset 5:28 pm

Archives

  Daily News
  Photo Gallery