Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha (Hindi: बहिष्कृत हितकारिणी सभा) is a central institution formed by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar for removing difficulties of the. Bahishkrit Bharat (Untouchable India). The following is from an editorial ( translated from Marathi) written by Babasaheb Ambedkar for one of. in Dalit History: Bahishkrit Bharat newspaper announced that those members of the Depressed classes who wanted to wash out the stigma of.
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Electronically reprinted with permission. On the other hand, I have also read and disagreed with M. Gandhi’s Why I Am a Hindu. My acquaintance with these writings has inspired me to write this essay explaining why I am not a Hindu, though I was born in a Hindu family. The Meaning of “Hindu”. The word “Hindu” is a much-abused word in the sense that it has been used to mean different things at different times.
For example, some people even now, at least some times, use the word “Hindu” as a synonym for “Indian”. In this sense of the term, I am certainly a “Hindu” because I do not deny being an Indian.
However, I do not think that this a proper use of the term “Hindu”. There are many Indians such as Muslims, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians as well as rationalists, humanists and atheists who do not call themselves “Hindu” and also do not like to be described as such. It is certainly not fair to convert them into Hinduism by giving an elastic definition of the term “Hindu”.
Besides, it is also not advisable to use the word “Hindu” in this sense from the point of view of clarity. The word “Hindu” may have been used in the beginning as a synonym for “Indian” , but, at present, the word is used for people with certain definite religious beliefs.
The word “Hindu” belongs to the category of words like “Muslim”, “Christian”, “Buddhist” and “Jain” and not to the category of words like “American”, “British”, “Australian”, “Chinese” or “Japanese”.
There are, in fact, many Indians who are not Hindus, and on the other hand, there are many Hindus who are not Indiansfor example, those who are citizens of Nepal, Sri Lanka and some other countries. In the religious sense, the word, “Hindu” is often used broadly to include Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs in addition to those who are described as “Hindu” in this most restricted sense of the term, that is, the adherents of Vedic or Brahmin religion.
For example, the expression “Hindu” is used in the Hindu law not only for those who are Hindu by religion but also for persons who are Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs by religion. This, again, is too broad a definition of “Hindu”. If we consistently use the word “Hindu” in this sense, we will have to say that Japan is a Hindu country! The above definition of “Hindu” is clearly inadequate from a philosophical point of bahishkrrit.
Buddhism and Jainism, for instance, explicitly reject the doctrine of the infallibility of the Vedas and the system of varna-vyavastha, which are fundamental to Hinduism, that is, if the term “Hinduism” is used in its most restricted sense. Therefore, clubbing together Buddhists and Jains or even Sikhs with those bwhishkrit believe in the infallibility of the Vedas and subscribe to the varna-vyavastha is nothing but an invitation to confusion.
Though I agree with Buddhism in its rejection of god, soul, infallibility of the Vedas and the varna-vyavastha, still I am not a Hindu even in this broad sense of the term “Hindu”, because as a rationalist and humanist I reject all religions including Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. However, in this essay I am concerned with explaining why I am not a Hindu in the most appropriate sense of the term “Hindu”, that is, the sense in which a person is a Hindu if his religion is Hinduism bharay the restricted sense of the term ” Hinduism”.
In this restricted bahishkrlt of “Hinduism”, Buddhism, Jainism and Bbarat are excluded from its scope. I also maintain that this is, at present, probably the most popular sense of the term, and every body should, in the interest of clarity, confine its use, as far as possible, to this sense only, at least in philosophical discourse.
Radhakrishnan, for example, has used the term “Hindu” and “Hinduism” in this restricted sense when he says in his The Hindu View of Life that, “The chief sacred scriptures of Hindus, the Vedas register the intuitions of the perfected souls.
Basic Beliefs of Hinduism. Gandhi, too, has used the term “Hindu” in this restricted sense, when writing in Young India in October,he bahshkrit I call myself a sanatani Hindu, because. I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars and rebirth.
I believe in the Varnashram dharma in a sense in my opinion strictly Vedic, but not in its present popular and crude sense. I believe in the protection of the cow in its much larger sense than the popular. Bahishkrlt do not disbelieve in idol-worship. One may be tempted to ask, at this point, whether all the beliefs listed by Gandhi are really fundamental to Hinduism.
In my opinion, I the belief in the authenticity of the Vedas and Bahisnkrit the belief in the varnashram dharma are more basic to Hinduism than the belief in cow-protection and idol-worship.
In any case, I am in a position to establish the fact of my not being a Hindu by asserting the contradictory of each of the above statements made by Gandhi: In other words, I assert that I am not a Hindu, because. I do not believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars and rebirth.
I do not believe in the varnashram dharma or varna-vyavastha either in the sense in which it is explained in Hindu dharma shastras like Manusmriti or in the so-called Vedic sense. I do not believe in the Hindu taboo of not eating beef. I disbelieve in idol-worship. However, while explaining why I am not a Hindu, I will concentrate mainly on I the belief in the authenticity of the Vedas, and II the varnashram dharmawhich I consider more fundamental to Hinduism.
Besides, in the concluding section of the essay, I will briefly discuss moksha, which is regarded as the highest end of life in Hinduism, and some other Hindu doctrines like karmavada and avatarvada. The infallibility of the Vedas. First of all, let me explain what do I mean by saying that “I do not believe in the Vedas”, and why I do not bahkshkrit so. The schools of ancient Indian thought are generally classified by orthodox Hindu thinkers into two broad categories, namely, orthodox astika and heterodox nastika.
The six main Hindu systems of thought — Mimamsa, Vedanta, Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisheshika — are regarded as orthodox astikanot because they believe in the existence of god, but because they accept the authority of the Vedas.
Out of the six orthodox systems of Hindu thought, Nyaya bhqrat is primarily concerned with the conditions of correct thinking and the means of acquiring true knowledge. According to Nyaya system, there are four distinct and separate sources of knowledge, namely, i perception ii inference iii comparison, and iv testimony or shabda.
Shabda, which is defined in the Nyaya system as “valid verbal testimony” is further classified into i the scriptural vaidikaand ii the secular laukika. Vaidika or scriptural testimony is believed to be the word of god, and therefore, it is regarded as perfect and infallible. Mimamsa or Purva Mimamsa, another orthodox Hindu system is “the outcome of the ritualistic side of the vedic culture”. However, in its attempt to justify the authority of the Vedas, Mimamsa elaborately discusses different sources of valid knowledge.
Naturally enough, among the various “sources of valid knowledge”, Mimamsa pays greatest attention bahishrkit testimony or authority, which, too, is regarded by it as a valid source of knowledge. There are, according to Mimamsa, two kinds of authority — personal paurusheya and impersonal apaurusheya.
The authority of the Vedas is regarded by Mimamsa as impersonal. As mentioned earlier, according to Nyaya, the authority of the Vedas is derived from their being the words of god. But Mimamsa, bahrat does not believe in the existence of god, declares that the Vedas like the world, are eternal. They are not the work of any person, human or divine. The infallibility of the authority of the Vedas, according to Mimamsa, rests on the “fact” that they are not vitiated by any defect to which the work of imperfect persons is liable.
Thus, orthodox Hindu schools like Nyaya and Mimamsa regard the testimony of the Vedas as infallible, though they give different reasons for doing so. Well-known orthodox Hindu theologians like Shankar and Ramanuja believed in the authority of the Vedas.
Manusmriti, too, upholds the infallibility of the Vedas. As pointed out by S. Dasgupta, “The validity and authority of the Vedas were acknowledged by all Hindu writers and they had wordy battles over it with the Buddhists who denied it.
The point worth noting is that though popularly Hinduism is a theistic religion, it is not essential to believe in the existence of hbarat for being an orthodox Hindu — belief in the authority of the Vedas is more important. When I say, “I do not believe in the Vedas”, what I mean is that I do not regard the testimony of the Vedas as a valid source of knowledge.
In other words when I say, “I do not believe in the Vedas”, I do not mean that each and every proposition contained in the Vedas is false. It is quite possible that one may find a bahishkfit true statements in the Vedas after great amount of patient research. But I assert that the truth or the falsity of a proposition is logically independent of its being contained or not contained in the Vedas.
A proposition is true if there is a correspondence between the belief expressed by it and the facts. Otherwise, it is false. So, a proposition contained in the Vedas bahishkriy be true, that is, if there is a correspondence between the belief expressed by it and the facts, but it is, I insist, not true because it is contained in the Vedas.
I categorically reject as invalid every argument of the form: Therefore, the proposition P is true”. Besides, Bhadat also assert that some propositions contained in the Vedas are certainly false. For example, according to Purusha-Sukta of Rig VedaBrahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras originated respectively from the mouth, hands, thighs and feet of the purusha or the creator.
I categorically reject this statement as false. I maintain that varna-vyavastha is a man-made social institution and it has nothing to do with the alleged creator of this world. I also reject both the reasons put forward in support of the infallibility of the Vedas. I neither regard them to be “the words of god” nor I consider them to be eternal and impersonal.
I believe that Vedas were conceived, spoken and written by human beings. The question of their being “words of god” simply does not arise, because there are no good reasons for believing in the existence of god. The existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent god is totally inconsistent with the presence of suffering and evil in this world. It is impossible for god to exist.
Similarly, Vedas could not have come into existence before human beings appeared on this earth, and before Sanskrit language came into existence. And there are no good reasons for believing that Sanskrit language came into existence even before human beings appeared on this earth! As far as Gandhi is concerned, though he liked to describe himself as a sanatani Hindu, he was, in fact, not a completely orthodox Hindu. For example, in the article quoted earlier in this essay Gandhi goes on to add, “I do not believe in the exclusive divinity of the Vedas.
Bahishkrit Hitakarini Sabha – Wikipedia
My belief in the Hindu scriptures does not require me to accept every word and every verse as divinely inspired, I decline to be bound by any interpretation, however learned in may be, if it is repugnant to reason or moral sense. I seriously doubt that this position will be acceptable to an orthodox Hindu. In fact, Gandhi’s position comes very close to that of rationalists and humanists when he says that “I decline to be bound by any interpretation however learned it may be, if it is repugnant to reason and moral sense”.
However, since he refused to say in so many words that he did not believe in the authority of the Vedas, Gandhi may be described, in my opinion, as a liberal Hindu with an eclectic approach towards religion. On the other hand, my position is radically different from that of Gandhi, because I do not consider either the Vedas or the Bible, the Koran and Zend-Avesta or any other book to be divinely inspired.
MookNayak and Bahishkrit Bharat – Rare Pictures
Before discussing varna-vyavastha or varnashram dharma, let me clarify in the very beginning that I am not interested in giving my own interpretation of what varna-vyavastha is or ought to be in its ideal form. I am interested, firstly, in giving an objective exposition of varna-vyavastha as contained in recognized Hindu scriptures like Vedas and dharmashastras like Manusmriti; and secondly, in mentioning my reasons for rejecting varna-vyavastha.
In doing so I will concentrate on the chaturvarnya four-fold division of society aspect of varna-vyavastha.