Saturday, June 07, 2008

Why there are no Raja Ram Mohun Rais in Islam:

Hinduism is riddled with several ills. One which has been most often held against is casteism. We have had Sati Pratha as a bane and several such other blots.
The invigorating thing is that there have been several saints or thinkers who have revolted against centuries of sacred beliefs, challenged them and got the same eradicated or at substantially curbed. Best thing is nearly all such saints were venerated and held in high esteem.
Obviously they did have to face resistance from the established system, yet they were seldom persecuted or hounded by established system such as church in the case of Galileo or Darwin.
Most of them became famous and honourable in their life time alone. When in 8th Century Adi Shankaracharya spoke against blind faith and professed questioning Brahma himself, no one tried to hound him into silence. He was as much a revolutionary as Jesus Christ yet he was held sacred and not crucified. For his questioning of Brahma’s existence he could had been declared a heretic and hanged. No, he was able to establish FOUR Peeths or four centres of excellence where people could go and study his concept of Vedantic Hinduism.
Yet Hinduism is portrayed as an obscurantist religion and Islam and Christianity egalitarian and youthful or modern religion.
Islam was founded about Fourteen Centuries back. It is certainly the latest version of an inspiration, which is the principal objective of a religion. Yet the society has changed a lot in last fifty years let aside Fourteen Hundred Years. Any dead institution or book should not be allowed to remain an authority upon human behavior for such a long period, unless open to reinterpretation, continuous subjected to intensive questioning, and suitable amendment. A stagnant society/Religion can not claim MODERNHOOD.
I have been wondering as to why there have been no Raja Ram Mohan Rais in Islam. Why no Dayanand Saraswati.
The answer is that Hinduism is a progressive religion which has no qualms about admitting its mistakes and making amends. Sati pratha was wrong, society accepted law that no one can even worship any diety as Sati. The concept was declared Impious and the person who was responsible for obtaining such declaration was a Hindu alone.
While Gandhi was fighting against Casteism, he became a very respected figure. No Hindu saints or thinkers issued any FATWA against him.
A person like Charvak who refused to cognize God was accepted as a RISHI.
A Religion is nothing but a process of thought to inspire oneself to manifest his best self. An individual’s intellect is the only valid prism to refract the inspiration and define one’s Dharma. No dead institution can have privy over his consciousness.
Sadly Islam is a religion which has a central edict “Not to question”. No research’s permissible. Any fresh interpretation or diagnosis is beyond the permitted liberties. An unquestionable doctrine is nothing but a blindfold. No one ever has become a Reformer with blindfolded eyes.
The Reformers or the people who tried to bring about change became Pariahs. The founder of Sufi sect was butchered mercilessly. Ahmediyas have been declared heretics and are subject to regular large scale assassination in Pakistan. Wahabis the so called reformers are speaking the language of terrorism.
Church hounded Galileo for his heliocentric theory. Charles Darwin was a persecuted man. The only incident of stoning of a saint in Hinduism was that of Charvak for his Godlessness. And he said not respecting opposite views would cause decline of ones religion. Ultimately he was declared a Rishi.
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13 comments:

अनुनाद सिंह said...

हिन्दू धर्म मूलत: एक अन्वेषी धर्म है। गलती के चिपके रहना इसकी जीन में है ही नहीं। यह तो सदा सत्य की खोज करने का दूसरा नाम है। इसीलिये इसके सिद्धान्त शाश्वत हैं। इसी लिये इसका असली नाम "सनातन धर्म" है। विज्ञान से इसका कोई विरोध हो ही नहीं सकता क्योंकि यह विज्ञान भी सत्य की खोज है और हिन्दू धर्म नही।

यह लेख हिन्दी में होता तो और अच्छा होता।

kuldip said...

श्री अनुनाद सिंह जी
भाषा कभी भाव की अभिव्यक्ति में बाधा नहीं होती। अक्सर हिन्दी में लिखता हूं। कभी कभी अंग्रेजी में भी लिखता हूं ताकि दोनो भाषाओं का अभ्यास बना रहे।

Aman Kumar said...

Whenever you write about religion, Islam or Pakistan you essentially end up doing the same thing - presenting overtly one sided tunnel view of the issue and either totally ignoring the other side or worse, just presenting the dark aspects selectively. This, time you did even worse. This is the probably the most unstructured post on your blog lacking any flow or cohesiveness what so ever.

Hinduism and Reforms: There is no particular religious doctrine in Hinduism that is widely accepted as the supreme guiding principle or is followed unanimously. There isn’t even a widely accepted definition of a hindu for that matter. And the reforms that you have mentioned (e.g. Sati etc.) are more related to the social practices of Hindus rather than the religious text. Gita is same as it was centuries before and so are Vedas. Neither any reformers have changed them nor did they ever have any authority to do so. You start of by mentioning caste system. Caste system is well in place for thousands of years and none of the reformers that you talked about could eradicate it. So many reformers have rightly opposed idol worship, but it’s still omnipresent. Hinduism itself is just a way of life and has room of any ideology. That’s the reason that even Vedas are just a collection of different religious/philosophical thoughts of different saints. These thought are not only quite different from each other but most of times contradict each other.

Islam, Muslims and Reforms: Every Muslim in the world considers Koran and Hadith as the final guiding source and no one has the authority to change Koran coz it is believed to be the word of god. Having said that, not only the Koran and Hadith are interpreted differently by different sects but the interpretations of Islamic text have been quite different in different times and places. e.g. Most Muslim countries are not implementing sharia laws literally. Shia Imams can give edicts that can even change the well accepted Islamic laws and traditions. Muslims have largely incorporated new technological changes. We can now have marriages on internet or by phone e.g. Also, Koran it self says very clearly that you don’t need any third person/mullah as a broker between you and god and very Muslim should apply his own mind in interpreting what Koran says.

If you are talking about Ram Mohun Rais in Islam then let me tell you there have been many. Bulle shah e.g. was a sufi saint from Punjab. He is revered by Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims equally. He was a direct descendent of Prophet Mohammad and spoke openly against the narrow interpretation of Islam by the Mullahs at that time. In one of his poems he even says that barking dogs are better than these Mullahs. He is probably one of the most respected saint in Pakistani Punjab (the so called center of world terrorism and Islamic extremism).

And as we discussed already Turkey is in the process of almost rewriting the Islamic text and most Muslims are pretty happy about it.

In the nutshell, I would say that Hinduism as a ‘religion’ is very-very open ended and that’s the main reason that reformers have got such acceptability. Islam on the other hand is more structured and is so widespread that, it takes time to adapt to changes and in some cases refuses to do so. Interestingly, despite these differences, the main reason of the decline of Muslims as well as Hindus has been our refusal reform and change with times.

kuldip said...

no one can change a book. one can only reinterpret.Gita has been interpreted by different ppl in diff forms. Tilak made it mostly "karm Yog" specific. Swami Ranganathananand has given a 21st Century relevance to it by moderninsing it.
It is being continuously subjected to analysis and interpretation. Its not allowed in Koran.
Casreism was also a social evil but was given a religious connotation.
Today you have had schedule cast person as president of India. Its because of the persons who fought against casteism.
Veda is moree ritualistic then philosophical. Philosophy is present in Vedant.All philosophies would contradict each other superficially.They merge when analysed and understood properly.
Idol worship has not been contested by any hindu reformer.People have said it is not important.No hindu saint implored people to desist from it.
having no supreme guiding principaql is its strength. it allows ppl to explore and find there own datum.
BTW your comment this time lacked depth .

kuldip said...

if you want to know how much Bulle shah was venerated pl read http://hamariweb.com/article.aspx?id=135

Aman Kumar said...

{no one can change a book. one can only reinterpret.Gita has been interpreted by different ppl in diff forms. Tilak made it mostly "karm Yog" specific. Swami Ranganathananand has given a 21st Century relevance to it by moderninsing it.
It is being continuously subjected to analysis and interpretation. Its not allowed in Koran.}

Absolutely wrong! Every Muslim has the right to interpret it differently and Muslims have always done it. As I mentioned in my last comments, just look at the way Shia’s and Sunni’s interpret it differently. And the way al-qaida and darool-uloom have interpreted the same verse about jihad.


{Casreism was also a social evil but was given a religious connotation.}

True. In the same way most Muslim countries don’t stone ppl for adultery or cut their hand for theft.


{Today you have had schedule cast person as president of India. Its because of the persons who fought against casteism.}

Today we have had Benazir as PM of Pakistan e.g. Its because a Muslim society has evolved its perception about the role of women in the society.


{Veda is moree ritualistic then philosophical.}

Probably true. But my understanding is different.


{Philosophy is present in Vedant.All philosophies would contradict each other superficially.They merge when analysed and understood properly.}

You mean all philosophical thoughts in the world can be merged with each other when understood properly. Well, that argument is beyond me. According to me, you are eliminating the need for philosophy by saying so.


{Idol worship has not been contested by any hindu reformer. People have said it is not important.No hindu saint implored people to desist from it.}

Really? Brahmo Samaj (Ram Mohun Rai was a Brahmo Samaji) and Arya Samaj are just a few examples. Even if we don’t talk about Mahavir Jain, Budhha, Kabir or Guru Nanak. I really didn’t expect it from you.


{having no supreme guiding principaql is its strength. it allows ppl to explore and find there own datum.}

That’s just your opinion. I disagree. I wonder how many people from religions other than Hinduism would agree to the weird definition that you provided for religion.


{BTW your comment this time lacked depth .}

That’s probably because I vaguely understood what you wanted to convey and in principle, somewhat agree with that. But I disagree with the way you analyzed the whole issue and the conclusions that you drew. I summarized my opinion about it in the last paragraph of my comments that I put last time.

Also, I think I understand Bulle Shah well enough. Thanx for the link though.

kuldip said...

Well raja ram mohan rai did oppose or reject idol worship. Jains do have their temples with the jain muni temples.even buddhists do have budha statues.
kabir was hardly a HINDU refornmer.

kuldip said...

koran has been interpreted by Hadith. One has to go by it.

Aman Kumar said...

{Well raja ram mohan rai did oppose or reject idol worship.}

Check this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmo_Samaj#Doctrine


{Jains do have their temples with the jain muni temples.even buddhists do have budha statues.}

I am not telling you wat jains or Budhists do. I am talking about wat Mahavir and Buddha said.


{kabir was hardly a HINDU refornmer.}

That’s just wat you think. Most people think Bhakti movement was reformist.


{koran has been interpreted by Hadith. One has to go by it.}

If you just keep repeating something without any argument, it won’t become the truth.

kuldip said...

kabir was a hindi sufi poet of Bhakti kal. He was not known to be a hindu.
i said hardly any muslim reformer was venerated in his life time. Nor was Bulle shah.

Aman Kumar said...

{kabir was a hindi sufi poet of Bhakti kal. He was not known to be a hindu.}

Well different ppl have different opinion about his religious affiliation, but no doubt he tried to reform Hinduism as well as Islam. And he is more close to Sikhism and Hinduism than Islam according to me.

{i said hardly any muslim reformer was venerated in his life time. Nor was Bulle shah.}

Almost all sufi saints in India, including Bulle Shah, had considerable following and acceptability during their life times.

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