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Posts tagged ‘hinduism’

Nyanthara & Hinduism!


Nyanthara, quite popular in the Thamizh filmdom, has got herself reconverted to Hinduism. “RECONVERTED”? Yes, reconverted. That is what the Law presumes regarding persons of other Faiths who get converted to Hinduism.

I ain’t bothered about Nyanthara’s conversion or reconversion to this FAITH or that FAITH. I am bothered about how the LAW would treat her upon her embracing (!) Hinduism.

When a Scheduled Caste person gets converted to any other religion, he loses his status as a Scheduled Caste person. He is treated as a BACKWARD CASTE person. He would not be eligible to avail of the “quota benefits”, which he was availing of as a Hindu. The reason forwarded has been that as a Hindu, there is space for CASTE in its institutionalized form in Hinduism, and therefore as a member of the SC, he was SOCIALLY DISCRIMINATED. But once he leaves the fold of Hinduism, he goes into a FAITH which does not RECOGNIZE caste, therefore he is not under the BURDEN of SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION.

Well, well well….. that is the OSTENSIBLE LOGIC.

 But political consideration, goes deeper into the unborn future. C P RAMASAMY IYER, the then Dewan of Travancore state under Sri Chithirai Thirunal REALIZED that Hindus in the Travancore state during the early part of the last century got themselves converted to Buddhism, Christianity and Islam to AVOID SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION. So he is supposed to have convinced Sri Chithirai Thirunal with the help of the Census statistics and promulgated the TEMPLE ENTRY PROCLAMATION.

Be that as it may. When i was taking my School leaving certificate, each student was asked to provide proof of his COMMUNITY. I did not understand what COMMUNITY meant. I was not particularly a bright student, not that there  has been much change for the better after i stopped being a student. ANY ways, dutifully i reported to my parents that i was asked to present proof of my COMMUNITY. My dad pulled out a dog eared certificate and gave it to me to present it before the school authorities the next day, with the strict instructions that i  bring it back  the next day straight back from school without going for my evening round of cricket. Done, i go under the head CSI formerly SIUC of Kaniyakumari District, with an addition NADAR CHRISTIAN.

I did not get the hang of it then. Neither do i now. I can understand CSI formerly SIUC of KK District, but i cannot understand why this “NADAR” was added to my caste. Nadars were attending to palmyra climbing and eking out their livelihood, out of the produce of palmyra palm.

By hindsight, i have understood that i was BORN a NADAR, but that my forebears who were  HINDU NADARS somewhere down the line got converted to Christianity and therefore I remain a NADAR. There was logic. My forebears who got converted could not have been in any position to change their profession, so for the sake of convenience, born of their ILLITERACY, had to call themselves as CHRISTIAN NADARS. So here i stand befor you, the reader of my blog, as a CHRISTIAN NADAR. I carry the vestiges of the HINDU CASTE system tagged along with the FAITH i practice. NADARS, both Hindu and Christian are classed together in the social hierarchy, so there is no special treatment meted out to a HINDU NADAR unlike Scheduled Caste Christians.

Now, to return to our main theme- Nyanthara, “was” a Syrian Christian. Myth has it that Syrian Christians of Kerala were originally converted to Christianity from a few Brahmin families. So, if Nyanthara has been RECONVERTED to Hinduism, she should become a Brahmin Hindu!

There was this Syrian Christian colleague who used to pride himself on the fact that he comes from the BRAHMIN stock. It became a joke in the office- behind his back- that he was called a BRAHMIN CHRISTIAN. Now that Nyanthara has got herself RECONVERTED to Hinduism, she has become pure BRAHMIN!

By the way, Nyanthara has a tattoo in her body which is PRABHU DEVA. Translation of Prabhu Deva is LORD GOD! Hope she makes him her LORD and MASTER. Good luck to the Brahmin girl.

Now i understand why one has to carry one’s caste tag even after conversion- just in case someone gets RECONVERTED to HINDUISM, he wouldn’t be left CASTELESS! Good for India.

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TOLERANCE


An anecdote to bring out the meaning of religious tolerance.

Not so long ago, but long enough for me to view the happenings objectively, once we as friends had been to Churu in the state of Rajasthan in INDIA. While on our way, it was told that a very famous temple was not very far away and that we shud pay a visit to the Hindu temple.

We reached the temple precincts by about lunch-time. It was not a very hot day, as it was sometime during the winter months. We got out of our car and my Hindu friends started removing their shoes and socks to leave those behind in the car.They were surprised that i had not stirred to remove my shoes or my socks off my feet.

The smartest ( i prefer to keep names out) of my friends, said HEY DUDE U CAN’T ENTER THE TEMPLE WITH ALL THOSE LEATHER OR YOUR SMELLY SOCKS ON, LIKE U DO IN YR CHURCHES.

I said, Boss! I am not entering the Temple.

He was concerned as he thought that i did not like the parallel he drew between the Temples and Churches. I was as liberated then, as much as I am now. But there was hardly any scope for discussing religious matters as we were at an age, when our mental space was filled with fine restaurants, nice ambiance, elegant women and girls- who were breaking into womanhood and were donning traits and skimpy micros to assess their attraction quotient from the response from the type of men they mentally held in awe!

I allayed his anxiety and said that it had nothing to do with what he said about entering the Churches with smelly socks and dirty shoes. I told him firmly that i was not coming for reasons which i told him i’d explain while having lunch. He agreed and left for his Darshan. He came back probably in 45 mins. I’d had a peaceful smoke and taken my rounds in the market which was exclusively catering to the devotees who wanted certain puja material.

We went to a nearby restaurant which was serving authentic Rajasthani food. As we sat, my pal said I DIDN’T IMAGINE THAT U WERE A FANATIC! I had not entirely unanticipated that response from him. I said that my personal experience and my religious conviction made me believe that i’d be first of all a misfit to enter a temple and secondly, i may be forced by circumstances to do things which are explicitly forbidden in my religion.

He was flabbergasted that an Indian could be not only liberal enough to visit the Temple but was also adducing reasons for his staying back. I told him that when i, was a kid of seven and, wanted to gain access to the Tanjore BRAHADEESWARAR temple i was thwarted by the person standing at the entrance, after he ascertained if i was a Hindu and negatively answered by me, he held my hand restrainingly and told me that i can’t enter. When i went back home, i was wondering if i was wrongly stopped.

With none to turn to, i asked the Driver Rajendran, who was my dad’s driver if it was a mistake for a christian to enter the temple. He said in chaste Tamil, saar from your mannerism and the body language he had made out that u were just a curious visitor and not a devotee, that made him single u out. So don’t take it to your heart. Rajendran was a witness to the scene in front of the THANJAI BRAHADEESWARAR temple. Rajendran had been a lorry owner and had fallen in bad times and thus had taken up employment. He was a person with tremendous self respect and conducted himself with dignity which was way beyond the function he was performing, at that time.

That night I had to take a serious decision- whether i cud enter a temple merely as a visitor and not as a devotee? The inner voice’ answer was a resounding NO.

My friend after hearing the episode thought that that had happened so far back in the past that it shud not be allowed to interfere with the present.

I said i was not thru. I told him that my religion was monotheistic and the name of my God was JESUS. I neither know about other Gods nor am i obliged to know about other Gods, therefore i was merely following the prescription of my religious creed. I am too small a fry to talk about others’ beliefs but for the integrity of my existence, i have to focus on one God and the name is JESUS.

So where is the prohibition to enter Temples, even if u do not recognize our Gods? – he asked. I told him AS AN INDIAN I HAVE THE LIBERTY TO ENTER A TEMPLE OR NOT TO, SO DO I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ENTER A CHURCH OR NOT TO, WHY DO U HAVE TO INSIST ON MY ENTERING THE TEMPLE?

FURTHER IF I WERE TO ENTER, AND A PLATTER WITH A BURNING CAMPHOR WERE TO BE EXTENDED BEFORE ME, I WOULD NOT WORSHIPFULLY FOLD MY PALMS TO THE FIRE EXTENDED TO ME, AS IT WOULD AGAINST MY BELIEF. THEREFORE WHY GET INTO A SITUATION THAT MIGHT MAKE ME STAND OUT AND CAUSE CONSTERNATION TO THE OTHER DEVOTEES?

THEREFORE i as a matter of principle and practice do not enter Temples.

IN future i also will not enter your churches, my friend said.

I told him, I FOLLOW MY RULES AND YOU SHUD YOURS ! I am prohibited from doing certain things and the commandments are NEGATIVELY WORDED for me such as, YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME; but if such restrictions are placed in your religion you shud also follow that.

This is a great country which has given rights to individuals NOT TO SING EVEN THE NATIONAL ANTHEM, IF IT WERE TO BE AGAINST THEIR CREED AND PRACTICE- but they have to show respect for the singing of the anthem by standing up etc. (Supreme court’s decision on JEHOVAH’S WITNESS Vs. STATE OF KERALA)

Once the Mahatma said, I AM A HINDU, A CHRISTIAN, A JEW, A MUSLIM and a PARSI.

Jinnah who was in the vicinity said ONLY A HINDU COULD SAY THAT.

Knowing the sarcasm of Jinnah one can undersatand the sense in which he must have made that statement, but in its essence a HINDU IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN WORSHIP ANY GOD IN ANY PLACE WITHOUT ATTRACTING THE FEELING OF GUILT- BASED ON HIS RELIGION.

Let us preserve it.

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