Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Footnote On Hinduism As A Religion And As Not A Religion

In the post I did yesterday about the use which atheists have put the murder of Asifa Bano, that she was held and raped in a Hindu shrine by the attendant of his shrine, a member of his family and others, including police, then murdered to slam religion., I noted that Hinduism is possibly the most complex "thing" which we call a religion. 

The Western atheists I criticized for trying to do what was the claimed motive of her rapists and murderers, to foment resentment on the basis of religion, and who whined about my calling them out, might be rather shocked to find that Hinduism is such a large and varied "thing" to include the fact that about the foremost figure that led to the current ultra-Hindu political movement of which the presently ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the BJP, is a result and part was the creation of Veer Savarkar, an atheist who, nevertheless, was such an ultra-Hinduist that he once advocated Hindus raping  Muslim women and forcibly converting them to Hinduism, which he regarded in ways not that dissimilar to the way that Nazis regarded German identity. 

He was a huge fan of Hitler..  Veer -Vinayak Damodar - Savarkar is such a  part of that that Narendra Modi the present proto-fascist prime minister  has installed a shrine to Savarkar (who is widely suspected as having been behind the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi) in the Indian Parliament, which he publicly venerates.

I haven't been able to find out much about the religious identity of Modi except that people note he uses Hinduism as a political tool, including whipping up resentment against Muslims.  It is notable that Savarkar's adoration of Hitler as a "national purifier" of his country, explicitly didn't prevent him from also being in favor of the establishment of a fastly ambitious Jewish nation in Palestine, his overriding hatred of Muslims led him to think that was a great idea and he blasted the Indian government for opposing it in 1948. 

I would say that a lot of the most ardent Hindu nationalists have been and are atheists whose Hinduism is about as religious as atheists who claim they are Jews, though they despise the Jewish religion and the Hebrew Scriptures. 

I don't know how the man who incited the rape, torture and murder of Asifa Bano would fall on that odd continuum of Hinduism or what the holdings of the particular sect of Hinduism the shrine was associated with but I doubt that the gang rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl is approved of by any religion that deserves to be considered as such.  I know only the slightest amount about the huge and varied phenomenon of Hinduism as it has and continues to exist but nothing like that would seem to belong there.  I'm fairly certain that Savarkar's rival, the very religious Mahatma Gandhi would have condemned it as have hundreds of thousands of people in India who have mounted demonstrations against the wave of child rapes that have swept the country and the BJP's role in encouraging and failing to stop them.   Many of whom, probably most of whom, consider themselves Hindus.  And like "Evangelicals" in the United States, I would imagine that sometimes their Christianity is religious but a lot of the time it is more a matter of cultural identification even when that leads them to things that contradict the Scriptures, as in voting for the pagan Mammonist, self-deifying Donald Trump.

When Westerners are presented with a complex issue in a country with a long and complex culture they know little more of than they'll get from watching movies, they aren't likely to really understand enough of it to get the nuances.   I doubt Savarkar really got what was going on in Germany and Europe, though I doubt he'd really have cared much, considering the violent forces he was willing to provoke in his own country.   The least we can do is try to understand what's going on but to do that you have to take into account that there are hundreds of millions, even billions of people who live lives in places we know little to nothing about.  Relying on stereotypes and images from movies, even high end ones, will probably do more to lead away from that than closer to reality.   Using their lives in our own, domestic ideological warfare is disgusting and irresponsible.

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