Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Denouncing Hindu traditions is ticket to being "cool" and "progressive"

While the debate and outrage about the Khap panchayats in Haryana banning same-gotra marriage continues, many of the so-called neo-, liberal-Hindus have jumped on to the Hindu tradition bashing wagon. What the Khaps do, or prescribe is not appreciable at all, but why start bashing Hindu traditions on a whole, even without trying to understand it?

I came across this article by "youth icon" Chetan Bhagat.

What's Gotra Got To Do With It?

The great literary genius of today opens the article by saying, "I don't know why it was invented, or why it is still relevant. As if it wasn't good enough to divide people on caste, we needed one more level of sub-caste slicing to ensure as many Indians hate each other as possible." Well, honourable Chetan Bhagat, if you do not know, why are you commenting about it. Even Wikipedia has an explanation about the gotra system. If you do not believe in Wikipedia, it has a set of references given at the end of the articles, which you are free to explore. But no, you choose to bash the Hindu traditions left, right and centre. Because, that is what makes you the "modern", "progressive" and "cool" person that you are. That is what makes you the "youth icon". And it is you, who is making a baseless claim that by sub-dividing into gotra, we are making humans hate each other as much as possible. No sir, we do not "hate" any person from other gotra.

Remember, Hindu religion is the only one which gives mere recommendations and guidelines to its followers. You can be a Hindu even if you do not believe in Ram. But, if you openly express disbelief in Mohammed, you'll be persecuted. Or, in the Christian world, be thrown out of the church.

The gotra system was devised to identify people according to a set of genetic composition. How did this system evolve, may still be a mystery, but it doesn't mean that it was born out of thin air to satisfy someone's ego. There is a rationale behind it. Try to explore that. But, you do not have the time to do it. It is easier to bash the tradition rather than explore the logic behind it. And marriages within the same gotra were avoided so that the diversity of the genetic pool is maintained and there is less chance of aggravation of the weaknesses that people belonging to the same set of gene pools would have.

Sir, in the kind of social circles that you live, you might be meeting wildlife activists and conversation experts. If you sit and talk with them, they would tell you how dangers inbreeding is. That is, the dangers of allowing a pride of tigers to breed amongst themselves. The mother of the pride forcibly kicks the young ones out of her zone so that they do not inbreed with the females. You see, nature too has its own way of ensuring genetic diversity. And this is why, when a tiger and two tigresses were transferred into Panna National Park, they were chosen from different sanctuaries. So, let us leave all your mathematics and calculations of only 0.1% of DNA may be sibling like. All the mathematics and computer simulations of your fellow MBAs and investment bankers couldn't prevent the financial recession.

Many of the ancient Indian customs and religious activities have a reason for existence. The responsibilities of "educated" people like you is to try to search the reason behind it and weed out all that is not correct. For e.g., the ghungat system, dowry, etc. But, you choose to bash and berate every tradition of the Hindus. To add, you are an IIT engineer and an IIM-A MBA holder. You should be scientifically decimating the theory that same-gotra marriages are harmful, but you choose to play with emotions. And you play to the gallery of the neo-Hindus.

I would have liked your article if it was against the dictator-like rule of the Khaps. That is completely unacceptable. That high-handed rule of the Khaps has got nothing to do with the gotra system. It is just that this is one of the issues they are using to flex their muscles. But you choose to centre your article around "regressive ideas" of the Hindus.
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  1. Well, a good argument. The system is quite an ancient one which has it's own pitfalls and Bhagat, it seemed was just making some shallow remarks. I guess these days every statement made by 'celebrities' is taken as authentic and even quoted. It's time the media filters and trashes out stupid arguments.

    Writing two and half books does not guarantee a sound historical sense.

    Joy always,

  2. @Susan,
    Bhagat has been a masala-novel writer. So, I didn't expect too much from him. But what irks me is this blatant bashing of Hindu-traditions, which exist even in the animal world. Animals, infact are a step ahead. Many species some how come to know if their offspring have any genetic disorder or not. And they kill them, so as to avoid the propagation of such disorder.

    What is unacceptable is what the Khaps are doing. And I would support anybody who opposes the Khaps, but not those who blindly oppose the traditions, without supporting arguments.