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The Union Home Ministry in its reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query about the legal definition of the term ‘Hindu’ has claimed that it is unaware of the definition. The query was filed by Chandrashekhar Gaur, a resident of Neemuch district in Madhya Pradesh.
The response of the Union government is quite amusing because, if the government is really unaware of any definition of the term ‘Hindu’ with reference to law and constitution, then it means, that the entire range of personal laws that govern various religious communities have no basis.
Gaur rightly asks: “If the government doesn’t know the meaning and definition of the word Hindu, on what basis did it enact the Hindu Marriage Act?”
But thankfully there is indeed a well-defined legal explanation of the term ‘Hindu’. While speaking about how the Article 25 which comes under Right to Freedom of Religions does not prevent the State from providing for social welfare or reforms of the Hindus (See Article 25 (2) (b)), the said article adds an explanation that the reference to “Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jain, or Buddhist religion.”
Therefore, the constitution itself makes it clear that for all legal purposes, the definition of the term Hindu refers to not only various denominations that is collectively referred as Hindu religion but also faiths like Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism.
This definition is further elaborated in The Hindu Marriage Act, 1965 wherein we see two definitions for the term Hindu. It first defines Hindu Religion as constituting all those people who adhere to any forms or developments of Hinduism including Virashaivas, Lingayats, Brahmo Samaj followers, and adherents of Prarthana and Arya Samaj. It further says that legally, the tenets of Hindu Marriage Act not only applies to those who are Hindu by religion, but also to who follow Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, or any other religion excluding Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism.
These two definitions are very significant. The Legal definition of the term ‘Hindu’ as including Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and as excluding Christians, etc. is in sync with the historical definition of the term. The consensus among various scholars is that, the term ‘Hindu’ basically is derived from the term ‘Sindhu’. The Persians used the term ‘Hindu’ to refer to people east of River Sindhu. The term ‘Hindu’ was also used by the Islamic invaders who established their empires in India. They considered all Indians whom they subjugated as Hindus irrespective of their faiths Therefore, historically, the term Hindu not only referred to the geographical area of India, but also to the culture and traditions of the population of India that existed prior to the occupation of India by Islamic invaders.
Therefore, the legal definition of the term as referring to people adhering to Indigenous religion and culture is very well in sync with history. This definition fits well, even with the notion of Dharma that is prevalent in India from ancient times. Hindus themselves never referred to their culture and practices using the term Hindu or Hinduism until the arrival of Islamic invaders. Instead, the discourse regarding philosophy, culture, and practices was surrounding the concepts of Dharma.
Historically, Buddhism or Jainism was never perceived as separate religions. They were perceived only as ‘Nastika’ world-views (Darshana) as against Ashtika Darshanas of Yoga, Vedanta, Samkhya, etc. Astika is one who accepts Vedas as a Pramana (means/valid authority) for attaining liberation. By corollary, they accept the tenets of rituals, of re-incarnation, heaven, etc. that are propounded in the Vedas. ‘Nastikas’ are those whose world-view rejects the authority of Vedas, and hence many tenets propounded in them.
Hence, even Jaina, Buddhist, or Sikh philosophy is strongly rooted in the concept of Dharma, Karma, and Moksha that are also central to Astika schools.
Further, the founders of the faiths of Buddhism, etc. never actually founded any religion, but only taught a different path to emancipation. Dr Ambedkar had reiterated this in reply to a question about Hindu Code Bill being applicable to Buddhists, etc. in 1951. He had said: “The application of the Hindu Code to Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains was a historical development and it would be too late, sociologically, to object to it. When the Buddha differed from the Vedic Brahmins, he did so only in matters of creed, but left the Hindu legal framework intact. He did not propound a separate law for his followers. The same was the case with Mahavir and the ten Sikh gurus.”
Therefore, it is but proper that the legal definition of the term Hindu applies to all Dharma-based religions that have their roots in India. Another interesting aspect is that, this definition is in sync with the definition given by renowned but controversial freedom fighter Veer Savarkar. He defines ‘Hindu’ as any person who considers India as his fatherland, as well as his holy land. In other words, a person must be geographically and culturally rooted in India. This again is how the term Hindu was originally used by Persians and Islamic invaders.
Now coming to the other definition of Hindus by religion, though the Supreme Court in its Judgment in 1995 in the matter of Ramakrishna Mission’s petition to be declared a non-Hindu, minority religion, under the Indian constitution, had conceded that: “When we think of the Hindu religion, we find it difficult, if not impossible, to define Hindu religion or even adequately describe it. Unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet; it does not worship any one God; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion of creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more,” it did not stop at that.
The Supreme Court, after analyzing the issue from various angles, successfully outlined certain tenets as being very fundamental to Hindu religion. These basic tenets include: acceptance of the Vedas as the highest authority in religious and philosophic matters; acceptance of great world rhythm, vast period of creation, maintenance and dissolution follow each other in endless succession; acceptance of the belief in re-birth and preexistence, and acceptance of worship of multiple Gods as well as those who do not worship idols.
The Supreme Court sums up its observation by quoting the definition of Hindu given by BG Tilak, which it calls as a ‘working formula’ that is ‘adequate and satisfactory’: “Acceptance of the Vedas with reverence; recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation are diverse; and the realization of the truth that the number of gods to be worshiped is large, that indeed is the distinguishing feature of Hindu religion.”
The court further notes that: “unlike other religions and religious creeds, Hindu religion is not tied to any definite set of philosophic concepts as such” upholding the fact that, a person need not adhere to all the salient features mentioned above compulsorily to be regarded as Hindu. He may adhere to only a few of them, or may even adhere to some other basic feature that has not been outlined in the judgment. The Court adds: “If we study the teachings of these saints and religious reformers, we would notice an amount of divergence in their respective views; but underneath that divergence, there is a kind of subtle indescribable unity which keeps them within the sweep of the broad and progressive Hindu religion,” thus recognizing the true spirit of Unity in Diversity that is inherent in Hindu religion.
Therefore, the Indian law, not only recognizes a working legal definition of the term ‘Hindu’ that is in perfect sync with the historical usage of the term, but the law also outlines the salient features of the term Hindu in its religious usage.
Hence, it is both baffling and amusing at the same time that the Home Ministry has made such a huge slip up in its response to the RTI query. It would do well for the union government to sort the issue soon without giving a reason for its detractors to create another controversy.
Eve Yvonne Maday de Maros, the woman who designed the Param Vir Chakra, was born in 1913 in Neuchatel, Switzerland. It was believed that she came to India to understand the country's culture and tradition.
She got to know about India's spiritual and cultural wealth at a very early age through holistic education which she received. Soon, Eve Yvonne fell in love with a Maharashtrian named Vikram Khanolkar, who was a young army officer, and was undergoing training at the Royal Military Academy in the United Kingdom.
Soon, both the persons married, and Eve Yvonne acquired the name Savitribai Khanolkar and shifted to Maharashtra with her husband who by the time became Major General.
Savitribai Khanolkar with husband Major General Vikram Khanolkar.Photo found on Google Images
As Savitribai Khanolkar was already amazed by the rich culture of India, she immersed herself in the study of mythology, traditions, and religious scriptures. Along with this, Savitribai also started indulging herself in the art, music, dance, and linguistics of India.
Parallel to this, India was celebrating its independence from the British rule, and was on its way to remove British legacies and re-establish the country's identity.
This was the time when When Adjutant General Hira Lal Atal was assigned with the task of creating the Indian equivalent of the British Victoria Cross. For this, he took Savitribai in confidence as she had an in-depth knowledge of the nation. Thus, from here began the journey of making the Param Vir Chakra.
The design of Param Vir Chakra was to denote power and sacrifice demonstrated by the soldiers that protected people at the cost of their lives. So, according to Savitribai, nothing could represent in a better way than the great warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji himself. According to the history, the ruler was known for his courage and strategic defence. Hence, his sword 'Bhavani' found a place on the disc, enclosed within the Indian mythical weapon 'Vajra', from both sides. This mythical weapon is believed to be made of a sage's bone in order to kill evil enemies in the name of goodness.
Moreover, the first Param Vir Chakra was awarded on India's first Republic Day celebrated, which was celebrated in 1950, and its recipient was Savitribai's son-in-law's brother, Major Somnath Sharma.
In this world full of technological advancement where everything is now home-delivered, even the most essential beauty services are now available at your doorstep? Let the pampering sessions begin. The whole salon environment at home believes that services at home are undoubtedly the best option during the unusual crisis.
IANSlife brings you the co-founder of YES MADAM, Mayank Arya who speaks of the benefits of at-home salon services.
We all prefer comfort over anything and everything. Nothing is more comfortable than getting everything under your own roof. One of the most amazing perks of subscribing to an at-home salon service provider is that you can watch your favourite TV show or OTT series while having your hair treated or nails done. Amidst, Covid-19 and working from home some of the beauty services can be taken simultaneously. Getting beauty services at your home keeps you relaxed and calm. During festivals when you are already busy the on-demand salon services can do wonders for your mind, body and soul.
Nothing is more comfortable than getting everything under your own roof. | Photo by Inside Weather on Unsplash
Usually many customers have problems related to hygienic surroundings. Of course, they do not know if the place is properly sanitized or not. For such kinds of customers "At home Beauty services" is nothing but the most appropriate option. There is something about being in a familiar environment that makes you feel at total comfort instantly and allows you to enjoy the treatment in a much better way. Create your own bubble with the most appropriate hygienic conditions according to your requirements and take the at-home salon services.
Create your own bubble with the most appropriate hygienic conditions according to your requirements and take the at-home salon services. | Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
The biggest and the major concern during the times of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the duration of time where the whole world is fighting a virus, we all need to be extra careful about exposure to any kind of infection. With at-home salon services, you do not have to expose yourself to dozens of people on your way but you can allow yourself to enjoy excellent services within the safety of your home. With vaccinated beauticians, it becomes much safer to get the treatments done. In at-home salon services, the beauticians wear a PPE kit that includes a mask, gloves, bodysuit, and a face shield. They utilize only monodose (single-use) products. Moreover, they also sanitize the area where the set-up is done to deliver the services.
With at-home salon services, you can allow yourself to enjoy excellent services within the safety of your home. | Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
Sometimes, even if you book an appointment, you have to travel a lot far and still the beautician keeps you waiting. The in-house beauty treatment services are much more flexible. It's all up to you, one can book the date and time whenever they need the service, and the beautician will be there at your doorstep. If it is a busy week or an impromptu decision, one can always rely on the on-demand salon services.
. The in-house beauty treatment services are much more flexible. | Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
The session with family and friends
Who doesn't love to gossip around and chill with friends and family while getting their manicure and pedicure done? There are so many nosy customers while you visit the salon that just kills your buzz. But a salon at home with your friends and family especially during the times of festivals provide you with the most relaxing and happy vibes.
A salon at home with your friends and family especially during the times of festivals provide you with the most relaxing and happy vibes. | Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash
With the up-gradation in technology, the on-demand salon services do not let you pile up the house chores. While you are working from home and want to get your house festive ready with services like pest control, sanitization, sofa cleaning, carpet cleaning, kitchen cleaning, bathroom cleaning at-home services like Yes Madam always keep you sorted.
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: salon, pandemic, safety, hygiene, family, friends, comfort
By Aishwarya Jain
According to the World Happiness Report 2021 which was released by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Finland was once again crowned as the world's happiest country. India has been ranked 139 out of 149 countries in the list of UN World Happiness Report 2021. To make society happy, firstly it is really important to spread awareness on how it is okay to relax, chill and take a break. People tend to normalise overworking, which is so wrong. Of Course, we need a job to live and sustain ourselves but you shouldn't be working yourself to death, and the fact that this is seen as normal is really worrying. You spend more hours at work than you do awake at home, so if those hours are drenched in misery then sadness basically becomes the norm. A study from Gallup (2017) found that happier employees were more engaged, which resulted in improved customer relationships, and a 20 percent increase in sales.
Also, lowering down the crime level would act as a major factor towards a happy society. People who witness crimes, or come across evidence of a crime in their local area, can suffer anxiety and may feel demoralised or powerless. We should also teach them to stop judging people by materialistic things and accept everyone with all their flaws. Media plays an important role in making society happy because they have the power of reaching out to billions of people and helping them out through a solution-based approach.
Media plays an important role in making society happy because they have the power of reaching out to billions of people and helping them out through a solution-based approach. | Photo by Dave Goudreau on Unsplash
As per Aishwarya Jain, the Founder of IM Happiness, a social community that works to increase awareness of mental well-being, "Every great leader always talks about building a happier society from Chanakya to J.R.D. Tata. As J.R.D Tata said, "I do not want India to be an economic superpower. I want India to be a happy country". Happiness makes good things happen. It actually promotes positive outcomes. It's high time corporates start taking importance of mental well-being like it's happening around the world. Last week, Nike became the latest company to close its offices for a week to give employees a mental health break. That's after LinkedIn, Bumble, and Hootsuite have all shut down their offices for a week this year to address mental health. I think the global revolution of happiness has started."
Our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive. Yet in today's world, we ironically sacrifice happiness for success only to lower our brain's success rate . When we are happy -- when our mindset and mood are positive -- we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the centre, and success revolves around it. IM Happiness is a community that believes happiness is a skill to be enhanced by training and practice. The team works day and night to help the sufferers get rid of their mental chaos and teach them the skill of being optimistic and happy in every situation, either favourable or adverse. They work on the aim of the United Nations Goals of promoting good health and well-being and have worked closely with the organisation. The team is utilizing the power of Science and Spirituality in achieving this aim.
IM Happiness is initiating a new campaign, 'Hello Happiness'. | Photo by Dylan Sauerwein on Unsplash
IM Happiness is initiating a new campaign, 'Hello Happiness'. The campaign unites 30+ celebrities from across the country to have a surprise conversation with selected people in India. Ranveer Brar, Daniel Weber, Masoom Minawala Mehta and Ash King are some of the celebrities who will be a part of this campaign. With this campaign, the community wants to help people deal with their emotions and to motivate them. The campaign is free of cost and the nominee just has to register, wherein the unique algorithm will connect the nominee with a celebrity or other mentors on a call according to their keywords.
The community is trying to bring a change but it is the society's accumulative effort to spread awareness and to make oneself happy. We should try to start small and it will eventually make a great difference because a better society allows us to lead a better life.
(Article originally published on IANS by N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keyowrds: Happiness, society, IM happiness, campaign, India, community