I wonder how little some critics of Hinduism know of it.  Like all other famous religions, Hinduism is essentially a philosophy for humanity. There is no single school of thought within it. Hinduism represents both orthodox and heterodox schools. It sees no difference between any two living beings and preaches peace, harmony and happiness for all. Hinduism is not to blame for any of its distortions such as ultra-nationalism, communalism and casteism. Like in the  cases of other religious communities , such distortions seem to have been invented by some politically and economically self-centred elements within the Hindu segment to serve their own interests. 

Long time back, Swami Vivekanand rightly warned , “ No religion on earth preaches the dignity of humanity in such a lofty strain as Hinduism, and no religion on earth treads upon the necks of the poor and the low in such a fashion as Hinduism .. Religion is not in fault, but it is the Pharisees and Sadducees in Hinduism, hypocrites, who invent all sorts of engines of tyranny in the shape of doctrines of Paramarthika and Vyavharika.” The Saint’s simple commandment goes: “The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified and God will be in them.”   

Given this quintessence of Hinduism , our Supreme Court has done well to decline reviewing its previous opinion on the subject. Our former Chief Justice of India J S Verma had concluded in 1995 that Hindutva or Hinduism is a “way of life” and has nothing to do with “narrow fundamentalist Hindu religious bigotry”. Justice Verma said that “no precise meaning can be ascribed to the terms ‘Hindu’, ‘Hindutva’ and ‘Hinduism’; and no meaning in the abstract can confine it to the narrow limits of religion alone, excluding the content of Indian culture and heritage”. He dismissed the idea of equating the abstract terms Hindutva or Hinduism with any “narrow fundamentalist Hindu religious bigotry”.

Pertinently, a seven-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, is currently hearing the arguments on whether it amounts to a corrupt electoral practice if a candidate ropes in the services of religious leaders to use their mass appeal to swing votes in his or her favour. I must say I am looking forward very optimistically to the Court’s decision in the matter.

One of the cruelest ironies of our Secular , Democratic Republic is that the quality of our leaders in almost all political parties has gone down over the years. Most of our politicians today hesitate little in resorting to misusing the social clout of certain sectarian heads to advance their own interests.  Such elements must be stopped from playing their evil game . The spirit of our Constitution demands the emergence of the political command committed to the values of humanism, liberalism, secularism and all- inclusive development.  

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