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Why am I afraid to be a Hindu

Why am I afraid to be a Hindu

Author: Gayatri Chauhan
Date: February 14, 2008

In school we had to fill the first page of the school calendar which had a slot for religion. I wonder why I would hesitate to fill it in and say Hindu.

The Catholics would go for catechism classes with no problems of being identified with their religion. The Muslims girls would come to college with their burkha. So why is it that I would take so much care as to not specify that I was Hindu.

In college all the girls would enthusiastically go to practices carol singing. You won't be caught dead going for a Satsang. Saaatsang are you nuts!!!!

We were brought up to believe that all Sadhus were Godmen out to trick people. Nobody told me otherwise. Certainly not my books in school.

The Pope disembarks from the plane carrying a Staff and a red carpet is rolled out for him. But when one of the Hindu sages carries his Dharma Danda, it is sent into the cargo hold. Everyone argues that we have too many sages and do we bend rules for them all etc.

The loudest Hindu bashers are English medium Hindus. Look at the ones in the media, writing big columns or anchoring popular talk shows. Christians or Muslims never bash their own religion so vehemently.

One day I said I am proud to be a Hindu. The group retorts how can you be!!!. We burn our brides we have a horrid caste system, we have child marriages etc. You are turning. Saffron. Too many sadhus and all of them fakes.

Yes we do have our defects yet we have the freedom to discuss the same. We have the freedom to voice our opinion argue take out a rally, debate and run down our own religion.

But why are we shy of even learning about the priceless aspects of Hinduism.

How much has our education taught us about the vast treasure house of knowledge. Why isn't it a part of the school curriculum. Surely it would be fabulous to have a subject called the science of living. The great treasures of The Bhagavad Geeta, Ashtavakra Geeta, Yogasara Upanishads, Narad Bhakti Sutras, Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Yog Vashist , the Shiv Sutra's and so many more. I would be definitely better equipped to live with this knowledge taught so effortlessly by our sages.

Instead of cramming latitudes and longitude of Russia and America. Or learning by rote the dates of treaties signed ages ago in Europe. So irrelevant to my daily experience and existence. The system is surely due for an overhaul. This time hopefully relevant in the Indian context.

There seems to be a deep conditioning to deride our own religion. We will see pictures of the Kumbh mela of a Sadhu wearing dark glasses and speaking on the cell phone with a caption saying catching up with modern times. Instead why don't we show a large picture of the ageless gentle Swami Yogananda Yogacharya conducting the priceless Sukshma Vyaam classes for all at the Kumbh Mela.

The Kashmiri Pandits have been driven out of their ancestral lands. A close friend warned me to stay away from that touchy Hindu topic. Political hot potato, nobody wants to touch it etc.

The most vocal fiery female lawyer, secular activists an icon for minority human rights was invited for a talk on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits. But she did not turn up. Is it because Hindus living like refugees in their own country does that not come within her purview of Human rights.

In places, the exhibition has been halted by police authorities saying it would disturb the peace. Who's peace is it disturbing. A whole generation of Kashmiri Pandit children live in frightening conditions.

When Hindukush range sounds like an exotic location in Afganistan till one learns that 'Kush' means slaughtered. Why has that never been told in the history books in school. That thousands of Hindus have been slaughtered.

To live upto my secular credentials. I went to attend a session of a certain church, at a friends house. This friend was a member of a very prominent secular human rights group. The session starts with hymns followed by a talk with a message. The message of the day is to take the counsel of the sages before taking any big decision. The preacher defines who are the sages? The sages are only those who are Christians. Yet the friend has not be branded a Christian crusader by anyone least of the Secular group she belongs too. Her credentials are still intact. So why do I shy away from being a practicing Hindu.

Yoga was fake till the west reintroduced it to us. One of the Communist comrades made it her mission to run down Ayurvedic medicines saying that there were bones mixed in it. Why doesn't she make it her mission to spread this priceless knowledge instead.

M F can paint nudes of my Godesses and I am not supposed to be hurt because it is Art . M F, paint your nudes just name them differently how about Razia or Mumtaz .

We need a stamp of approval from the west even when it comes to our Hindi films. The yardstick we measure a films greatness is by a western award. It makes big news in the papers if one of our films gets nominated in some minor category. Its strange even our actors receive their Hindi film awards with a Hollywood cloned English speech.

Where knowing Shakespeare's Ophelia is see as being more 'with it' than knowing Kalidasa's Shakuntala.

A great sage passes away and the largest circulating daily reports it as Beatles Guru is dead. The Greatest Sage of this century has attained Maha Samadhi. And our media is busy telling us about some rock group and hollywood actress who have been captured on camera with him. Obviously we hardly know anything about our religion and the manner of departure of a great soul. I don't blame the reporter or the media because we rather be ignorant than be Hindu.

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