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Are We Hindus If We Live in India? The Answer to Contentious Question is Here

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Hinduism. Pixabay

Oct 06, 2017: Have you ever wondered what being a Hindu means? Or who is actually fit to be called a Hindu? Over centuries, Hindus and Indians alike have asked this question to themselves or their elders at least once in their lifetime.

In the 1995 ruling of the case, “Bramchari Sidheswar Shai and others Versus State of West Bengal” the court identified seven defining characteristics of Hinduism but people are still confused to what exactly defines being a Hindu in the 21st century. It’s staggering how uninformed individuals can be about their own religion; according to a speech by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya there are various common notions we carry about who a Hindu is:

  • Anyone born in India is automatically a Hindu
  • If your parents are Hindu, you’re are also inevitably a Hindu
  • If you believe in reincarnation, you’re a Hindu
  • If you follow any religion practiced in India, you’re a Hindu
  • And lastly, if you are born in a certain caste, you’re a Hindu

After answering these statements some fail to remove their doubts on who a Hindu is. The question arises when someone is unsure on how to portray themselves in the society, many people follow a set of notions which might/might not be the essence of Hinduism and upon asked why they perform a particular ritual they are clueless. The problem is that the teachings are passed on for generations and the source has been long forgotten, for the source is exactly where the answer lies.

Religion corresponds to scriptural texts

The world is home to many religions and each religion has its own uniqueness portrayed out of the scriptures and teachings which are universally accepted. So to simplify the dilemma one can say that determining whether someone belongs to a particular religion is directly related to whether he/she follows the religious scriptures of the particular religion, and also whether they abide to live by the authority of the scriptural texts.

Christianity emerges from the guidance of the Gospels and Islam from the Quran where Christians believe Jesus died for their sins and Muslims believe there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet. Similarly, Hinduism emerges from a set of scriptures known as the Vedas and a Hindu is one who lives according to Dharma which is implicated in the divine laws in the Vedic scriptures.By default, the person who follows these set of religious texts is a Hindu.

Also Read: Christianity and Islam don’t have room for a discourse. Hindus must Stop Pleasing their former Christian or Muslim masters, says Maria Wirth 

Vedas distinguishes Hindu from a Non-Hindu

Keeping this definition in mind, all the Hindu thinkers of the traditional schools of Hindu philosophy accept and also insist on accepting the Vedas as a scriptural authority for distinguishing Hindus from Non-Hindus. Further implying the acceptance of the following of Bhagwat Gita, Ramayana, Puranas etc as a determining factor by extension principle as well.

Bottom Line

So, concluding the debate on who is a Hindu we can say that a person who believes in the authority of the Vedas and lives by the Dharmic principles of the Vedas is a Hindu. Also implying that anyone regardless of their nationality i.e. American, French or even Indian can be called a Hindu if they accept the Vedas.

– Prepared by Tanya Kathuria of Newsgram                                                                

(the article was originally written by Shubhamoy Das and published by thoughtco)

  • Shaasa

    Hindu is a historical name for people living “behind the river Indus”. So, everyone living in India is a Hindu, eventhough he might have a different faith.

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Survey Says More Than Half of The Indians Talk to People With Opposing Views

The fieldwork was conducted from November 26-December 7, 2018

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Multiple apps are displayed on an iPhone in New York.. VOA

Amid allegations of “intolerance” of diverse opinions in the country, a new survey for the BBC’s Crossing Divides season has found that 56 per cent Indians profess to have conversations with people with opposing views on issues like politics, climate change, immigration and feminism at least once a week.

Further, 42 per cent urban Indians polled said that they felt comfortable sharing their political opinion with others even if they have a contrary view to theirs, showed the results on Tuesday, making India the fourth country with such a large proportion of population that feels at ease with political viewpoints.

The other three markets endorsing this view were Turkey (61 per cent), Mexico (45 per cent) and South Africa (43 per cent), according to the survey conducted by market research firm Ipsos.

At the bottom of the heap were Japan (seven per cent), South Korea (27 per cent) and Italy (28 per cent).

“The study shows that Indians are taking the opposing views in their stride and have figured out a mature way of dealing with them by avoiding direct confrontation,” Parijat Chakraborty, Head of Ipsos Public Affairs, Ipsos India, said in a statement.

The study, however, also showed that 43 per cent self-righteous urban Indians believe that those who oppose their views care less about India’s future.

But only two in 10 Indians (22 per cent) feel that people’s divisive views on politics are dangerous for the society.

Just as social media companies have come up with transparency rules for political ads, they should have similar features for influencers so that people can distinguish between commercial space and personal space. Pixabay

Nearly 70 per cent of urban Indians believe that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are giving a voice to people who would not normally take part in debates and social issues.

Further, 63 per cent Indians credit social platforms like Facebook and Twitter for breaking down barriers between the public and those wielding power.

“Also, majority of Indians exhort the merits of social platforms as interactive mediums. Downside being, social platforms are denounced for being divisive though,” Chakraborty added.

Also Read- Air Pollution Kills Around 6 Lakh Children Every Year, Claims UN

While 43 per cent Indians hail the positive impact of immigration on India, 20 per cent hold the contrary view, the results showed.

The findings were part of a global study carried out online among adults under 65 across 27 countries. Nearly 20,000 adults participated in the survey.

The fieldwork was conducted from November 26-December 7, 2018. (IANS)