Sunday, August 7, 2016

Brahminism - distortions imposed on Hinduism

When it is stated that Indian history is a struggle between Buddhism and Brahminism, there is a problem of objectivity.  That is because, of the word 'Brahminism' and questions associated with it.  A series of definitions, explanations, implications, disclaimers and interpretations become necessary  before going forward in the study of Indian history, society and politics.  

1.     Definitions: The word Brahminism is indiscreetly used along with another word Brahmanism.  Some times they are used interchangeably consciously / unconsciously.  The words may be invented in English and applied to portray Hinduism mainly by scholars not trained through traditional methods / not aligned to the tradition / not sympathetic towards the tradition.  Broadly speaking Brahminism refers to AchAra / rituals and lifestyle of brAhmaNa.  Some even qualify that Brahminism is negative aspects of brAhmaNas in the past and present times. In both cases, Brahminism is used in negative connotation.  The word Brahmanism refers to the ism around brahman. This word may include some wider aspects of Hinduism, especially of vEdas and is used relatively positive sense. Still, the word is being used to generate a theory / a presentation of Hinduism / Hindus in modern academic context.  The words Brahmanism and Brahminism are to be related to Hindu, Vaideeka, Sanatana etc for clarity. 

2.     An explanation is required for the necessity of inventing newer words. Why Brahminism is used instead of Hinduism requires explanation.  Similarly, the appropriateness of usage of words such as vaidIka to represent only to brAhmaNa engaged in yajana and not to a shUdra who is knowledgable in purANa, requires a fair explanation. The words brahminism and brahmanims are similar to other such words such as Hindutva, panchama, untouchability, casteism etc used in recent times for discussing / describing Hinduism. Because of this one could have a premonition of enlarging the scope of dynamics of present day confusing discussion with the introduction of Brahminism / Brahmanism. 

3.     Those who are inventing new words to characterize Hinduism must be aware that there is at least an implicit undertaking by them that they have no other intent than seeking truth (what ever good it means) and that they not working towards wrecking Hindu society.   Non traditional scholars need express their commitment not to distort traditional concepts and unbiasedness towards any particular technical term. 

4.  The implication of not explaining definitions of newer words, not providing explanation to usage of specific words, not providing disclaimers preempting ascribing motivations to academic pursuit, is to be understood in clear terms in terms of objectivity and rationality.  

If these precautions are not taken, counter-revolutionaries and irrationalists will become revolutionaries and rationalists.  Whether we need to use the framework of rationalism and revolution to discuss Hinduism is another question.  But, when we are determined to use this terminology, the deadlock situation in freedom-fighter v/s terrorist need not be replicated in discussion on rationalism. 

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