A Layman's Guide to World War III
By Kevin Filan
The Persians and Greeks, referred to the people living beyond
the Indus River as "Hindus;" the Moslems, and later
the British, used it specifically to describe those who did
not profess Islam. Today one out of every six people in the
world are followers of what they call "Sanatana Dharma";
it's difficult to estimate how many others have been influenced
by concepts and practices like Karma and Yoga, as Hinduism
has blossomed in the West into the New Age and Theosophical
The term "Hinduism" encompasses a number of disparate
sects. There are monotheistic Hindus, polytheistic Hindus,
pantheistic Hindus and atheistic Hindus. Hinduism does not
believe that there is one way to heaven, nor do they believe
that one can only attain salvation by following any particular
religious path. As a result various Swamis (holy men) have
emerged, each with his or her own particular interpretations
of divinity and of Hindu holy texts like the Rig Veda and
Upanishards. The present Indian government lists as Hindus
several sects which do not themselves identify as Hindu, including
Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs. (The Sikhs are particularly miffed
by this classification: many Sikhs have been fighting for
independence from India and the establishment of Khalistan,
their own state).
Hinduism has produced some of the most profound texts ever
written; it has also been responsible for its share of atrocities.
Officially discrimination based on caste has been illegal
in India since its 1947 independence. In practice there is
widespread discrimination against the Dalit, formerly known
as the "Untouchables." This discrimination is particularly
widespread in the populous Uttar Pradesh and Bihar regions,
where violent clashes between lower-caste Maoists and high-caste
landowners have claimed thousands of lives. The recent election
of the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Party does not bode well
for the Dalit, or for India's 20+ million Christians, many
of whom have reported increasing attacks and social opprobrium
in recent years.
Hindus tend to see Islam as a colonizing force which was
even more insidious and destructive than British rule. While
Hinduism is deliberately many-faceted and even at times internally
contradictory, Islam is a religion which demands adherence
to Q'uranic law; the Moslems also had little tolerance for
India's long tradition of graven images. India's 1947 independence
was quickly followed by the war which gave birth to Moslem-ruled
Pakistan. India is likely to be an enthusiastic supporter
of any war on "Islamic Terrorism" - particularly
if that war involves Pakistan.
Rig-Veda (English translation)
An Introduction to Hinduism
The Hindu Universe
Kevin Filan is a freelance contributor to hybrid based in
New York. Last month, Kevin wrote a piece entitled The
Thermonuclear Men's Club.
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