Hinduism: once was: RAJARAM EPISODE

Thu Oct 5 22:02:58 UTC 2000

1.    Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

> If an Asian/Indian Jain or Buddhist has no objections to calling
herself a Hindu,
> an objection is raised against it.
In my view, people can call themselves whatever they like and they may
well have good reasons for doing so.

> That presumes that there is a definition of "Hindu" that excludes
them, and that is
> academically acceptable. I would like to know what that definition
As I asked before, are you using the term to indicate a) a follower of
the forms of religion which in principle recognize the authority of
the Vedas, popularly known as Hinduism or b) as a term for an
inhabitant of various parts of the Indian sub-continent and perhaps
elsewhere ?   Most dictionaries I have on hand state the word in sense
b) is archaic/obselete so I guess you are probably using the word in
sense a).   If you accept that some form of recognition of the
validity (or similar) of the Vedas is part of the definition of a
follower of Hinduism, then Buddhists cannot be Hindus since they do
not recognize the Vedas -- that is why they were called "naastikas" by
those who did.  But once again, people are free to call themselves
whatever they like and likewise I am entitled to say, both on personal
grounds and on the basis of Buddhist scriptural evidence etc that I
just happen not to agree.  At the same time, I do recognize that many
non-Buddhist religions / philosophies influenced Buddhism and vice
versa -- a good knowledge of both is perhaps required of a scholar to
do justice to one or the others "camps".

> Pray what made the Sakyas "non-Hindu"?
If I could invert your question, what makes you so sure that they were

> If anyone cares to notice, no Indian source ever used the word
Hindu, till first the Middle
> East and then Europe impinged upon India in a big way.

Precisely !   But given that the term was imposed upon Indian society
by outsiders, perhaps it should be their responsibility to clear up
the mess :)

Best wishes,
Stephen Hodge

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