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These posts are the culmination of years of study I had devoted to understand Hinduism. This is an ongoing learning process and I look forward to write more debate-provoking essays.

  • The Rediscovery of Hinduism : The beginning of my journey as a conscious Hindu. I lay a roadmap for my Hinduism-related essays and the contentious topics to be covered.
  • The Controversial Caste System of Hinduism : One of my most popular blogposts, where I attack the prevailing colonial understanding of Casteism. I explain the complexities involved and how the British system created the concept of caste as a water-tight compartment. 
  • Caste System and Conversions : Why did Ambedkar convert to Buddhism and not any foreign religion? Was Buddhism a revolt against Hinduism or a continuation of its tradition? Is there anything called Hindu fundamentalism?
  • The Politicization of Caste System : . Since caste is the stick to beat Hinduism, many well-intentioned Hindus often resort to total condemnation of this practise in its entirety without deliberating on its historically flexible nature and its subsequent distortion under two foreign regimes. I examine how caste is being used by various forces to malign Hinduism who themselves are guilty of more inhuman crimes.
  • The Myth Of Similarities Between Different Religions : I attack the sugar-coated myth that all religions are equally bad and argue that some religions are more conducive for harmony while others lend themselves to ideological fanatics. This has much to do with the foundational framework of the religions, which are different.
  • The Myth of Indian/Hindu Weakness ! : Historically, were Hindus weak people who suffered repeated invasions and were mere spectators to the periodic assaults from foreigners. Nothing can be farther to truth. I elaborate how Alexander barely "conquered" India and how the invincible armada of Islam met its watery grave in India.
  • Difference Between Dharma and Religion : I elaborate how dharma is not religion as the West understands it. Dharma is a universal standard and applies equally to both Hindu and non-Hindu without prejudice. Giving the examples of a good agnostic, I explain the differences.
  • How Secularism feeds Communalism in India : I argue that "secularism" as a concept rose in West due to its historical reasons and was blindly implanted in India in its Western baggage. Indic systems are based on traditions, not truth-claims and do not necessarily feel other traditions are "wrong". Conversions, thus, make no sense; likewise the differentiation between rationalism and religiosity is false dilemma. Due to this import, I explain how, paradoxically, secularism in India feeds communalism.
  • The Rise & Fall of British Empire in India : Why did India succumb to a much smaller British? Why did superior arms power of India (yes) not prevent it from collapsing before British might? What fueled the British supremacy, after all, and why that changed in 1946 because of which British promptly vacated India? One of my top blogposts in Indian history.
  • Schools of Indian Philosophy : Pre-Islamic India was one thriving with lively debates between [philosophical] experts of different persuasions in royal courts, temples and other places. I endeavor to briefly outline the major philosophies here. Read in detail about the classifications.
  • Reasons for Hinduphobia : What drives Hindu hatred ? : What do communists, evangelican Christians and Islamists have in common? They emerge from a similar foundational structure and thus have similar interests; Hindus are one group that are so radically different from them all, that they have come together to attack it. I explore the foundations of Christianity, Islam and Communism and relate how close they are to each other after all, and why Hinduism poses a challenge.
  • The concept of Dharma in Ramayana : Two controversial events in Ramayana where Rama’s steadfastness to dharma appear a bit on shaky grounds are the killing of Vaali and sending a pregnant Sita to exile. Examining these in detail will help us understand dharma as understood by Valmika and so many saints ever since.
  • Difference between Hindutva & Hinduism : In India any form of Hindu assertion or defence is quickly labelled as being pro-Hindutva. But with little realization as to what Hindutva is, from its original sources, and how its different from Hinduism. Hinduism isn't Hindutva and media should be better-informed when they assign the label "Hindutva" to anyone pro-Hindu.
  • Yoga sects and their Hindu connection : Few people try to dislocate yoga from Hinduism, pointing that nowhere is the word ‘Hindu’ mentioned while discussing them in ancient texts. I argue that yoga is an integral part of Hinduism and cannot be uprooted from it.
  • Bhyrappa’s AAVARANA : Book Review : Can the flame of faith sustain the storm of helplessly witnessing one’s God’s idol smashed to pieces? Will an ideologue who witnesses the entire edifice of her perspective crumble under the weight of truth revert or revolt? AAVARANA as Bhyrappa explains in the preface is an act of concealing truth. And our intensely ideological, middle-aged protagonist experiences a catharsis of sorts when confronted with truth, a truth that shines through the pervasive deception if only one looks for it.
  • How family planning myths affect economy : How lopsided family planning propaganda to have lesser number of children to ease the burden on earth is fraught with dangers, and whose consequences we are beginning to face already. And why the Indian way, so far, has been able to ignore the "western" wisdom and is reaping the demographic dividend today. A long-form essay with comprehensive treatment of various factors and argumentation. 
  • Rohan Murthy, Sheldon Pollock and the battle for Classics :Rohan Murthy, son of ‘Infosys’ Narayan Murthy, spearheading Murty Classical Library, has refused to consider removal of Sheldon Pollock as the mentor and chief editor of the project. I argue how intellectual colonialism is still prevalent when outsiders define Hinduism, but practising Hindus are denied the agency to define Hinduism : a nonpareil in academic study of religions.
  • Is Hinduism misogynistic? : If one were to follow news of Sabarimala and Shani Shingnapur, he might be forgiven for presuming that Hinduism alone needs to be singled out for apparent misogynistic traditions while other religions have long transformed into egalitarian societies. Here, we will take up the common charges levelled against Hinduism and scrutinize them.
  • The origin of Vijayanagara Empire : While medieval history is detail-rich on the exploits of Delhi Sultanate and Moghul Empire, many southern empires are reduced to a footnote. But nothing explains the shoddy portrayal of the one the most important empires of South India whose legacy is a living force even today in parts of South India – the Vijayanagara Empire. I write about how the Empire was born and the surrounding myths. 
  • The unity in diversity of Hinduism : The problem with the false equivalence prevalent in contemporary Hindu discourse; where the bloodless intra-HIndu conflict involving only ferocious exchange of words is likened to the blood-soaked Hindu-Islam encounters that involved mass-massacres, violent conversions, temple-breaking, city-destruction, slave-taking among others. What did Al-Biruni, 11th century chronicler, say about Indians and Mehmood of Ghaznavi? What was the nature of conversions in pre-Islamic era?


All-time Hits

The Controversial Caste System of Hinduism

Imagine concepts like feudal system, slavery, capitalistic exploitation and anti-Semitism being used to define the core of Christianity! Christians will be outraged at this inappropriate mixing of the core universal values of Christians and societal & historical aspects which merely existed in a Christian world.
Now this raises the question – why is caste system defined as the core of Hinduism? Especially as “caste” itself is a western construct. Sounds irrelevant?
Okay. Now imagine concepts like slave-trade, war on infidels, brutal subjugation of masses, temple destruction, and forceful conversions marking the core of Islam.
It is considered sensible to first understand what the core scriptures speak about the religion and its universal values. The ills of the community & its societal aspects are differentiated from its core philosophy.
Now, this brings us to the most interesting question – why is Caste System (caste based on birth) propagated to be the defining feature of Hindu…

Chetan Bhagat : His Literary Style and Criticism

Chetan Bhagat’s (CB) recent column created a furore, chiefly because of his audacity to speak for Muslim community and what many people conflate with his support for Narendra Modi’s Prime Ministerial ambitions.  
But what interested me most - and what this post would focus on - is questioning of his literary merit (or lack of it). Many journalists ridicule CB’s style of writing and his oversimplistic portrayals of characters sans nuance or sophistication. But I suspect this has more to do with the fact that his readers alone far outnumber the combined readers of many journalists - a point that many don’t appear capable of digesting.
No takers for layman’s language!
When Tulsidas rewrote Ramayana in Avadhi (a local contemporary dialect then), many conservative sections of society came down heavily upon him for defiling the sanctity of a much revered epic (originally written in Sanskrit). When Quran was first translated in Urdu (by Shah Abdul Qadir in 1798), it faced intense opposition by …

The concept of Dharma in Ramayana

The concept of Dharma is not adequately understood by Hindus themselves, not to mention others. Dharma is not a set of do’s and don’t’s or a simplistic evaluation of good and bad. It requires considerable intellectual exertion to even begin understanding Dharma, let alone mastering its use.

Is Dharma Translatable?
Few words of a language cannot be faithfully translated into another without injuring its meaning, context & spirit. English translations of Dharma are blurred and yield words like religion, sense of righteousness, discrimination between good and bad, morals and ethics or that which is lawful. All these fall short of fully grasping the essence of Dharma.
Every language has an ecosystem of words, categories and grammar which allow a user to stitch words together to maximum effect such that meaning permeates the text without necessarily being explicitly explained at each point. Sanskrit words such dharma, karma, sloka, mantra, guru etc., now incorporated in English, lose thei…

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