Request for suggestions on teaching about Varanasi

Satyajit Bose bose at EDU.COLUMBIA.CTR
Wed Jun 17 14:39:36 UTC 1992

Status: RO

In fact, having grown up on the Amar Chitra Katha comics as standard fare, I
remember them as displaying that peculiar (and perhaps typical) mainstream
Hindu tendency to subsume other religions into its own cosmological
framework. The case of the Jataka tales is not unique. There is a deluxe
edition of the comics entitled Dashavatar which treats the Buddha as an
avatar of Vishnu. The comics dealing with the Sikh gurus are equally
The intellectual result of these comics is a Hindu child professing that all
religions are true, ignoring the wishes of other religions which do not wish
to be subsumed, integrated, or, to borrow Prof. Ainslie Embree's word,
"encapsulated." This seemingly tolerant attitude is combined with a secret
pride that Hinduism, my religion, is better than all others because it is the
only one claiming that all others are true.
The neglect of Indian Muslims is demonstrated in the treatment of Shivaji and
Aurangezeb. The comics display Aurangezeb as a fanatic, lecherous tyrant
forcibly converting Hindus and Sikhs to Islam, and Shivaji as a gallant
challenger to the Mughal emperor. Indian Muslims however, have viewed
Aurangezeb, with some reason, as the last able Emperor fighting a losing
battle with foreigners to retain control of a once glorious empire.
Satyajit Bose
sgb2 at (Internet)

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