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Re: physical versus economic force

Administrative Note:

Week's Agenda: Economy

I was hoping that this diversion on religion would die down and we could
all get back to our main objective at IPI. 

 However it looks as though there are a lot of underlying currents with
regard to this issue  that are better dealt with now rather than later.  So
I recommend that the IPI Admin team consider  discussion on the topic of
religion  for a week and collect the view points of everyone concerned. 

This posting maybe differed if the admin team considers it a distraction 
at this point in time.

On the topic of religion: 

I believe that, at a philosophical level, ALL religions preach just about
the same values:

1) Existence of a power that is super-human (Supreme governance).
2) The importance of leading a good life  and being fair to others (Social
3) A good life leads to a good after-life (Rewards). 

Therefore the fundamental values  of  religions are  not in conflict with 
the requirements of a fair society. 

However by virtue of their early documentation and evolutionary style, some
religions are  intertwined with history,  while others are  more abstract
and philosophical.  

IMO,  Christianity and perhaps Islam  fall in the first category while
Hindusim falls in the second.

By virtue of this, Hinduism has remained  tolerant of religions over a very
long period of time while those in first category are less tolerant about
the RELIGIOUS beliefs of others.  (Please note that I distinguish between
tolerance of religious beliefs and tolerance as required by a fair society
i.e. tolerance of a person's right to worship or follow any religion)  As
for tolerance of a persons right to worship, IMO,  Christianity and Islam
have kept pace with Hinduism in India and elsewhere.  

However, IMO,  what  we are seeing in India today is a change in the
practice of Hinduism with  an attempt, by fundamentalists,  to build
beliefs around historical events.  eg. Ramayan its historical significance,
and the worship of its idols are being  popularized while, sadly,
relegating the philosophical essence of Hinduism. Do temples, their size,
their history and glory supercede the values taught by the very Gods for
whom these  temples are built?   By breaking temples to build churches or
mosques to build temples aren't we violating the fundamentals of a fair
society? Is the existence of an unfair society in the past  or in another
land, a justification for us to do an unfair act?  By that logic, shouldn't
we go back a few thousand years and send all those of Aryan origin back to
the Balkans and give India to Dravidians? Or even further and eat the
decendants of barbarians,  in order to build our fair society????  

Proselytization ( which I presume is preaching  one's religion with the
objective of persuading another )  IMO,  is not very different from what
IPI is doing for social/economic reform - When Charu talks about the
virtues of socialism or Sanjeev advocates thoroughbred capitalism,
commoners like me are making an informed decision. Should the advocates of
Capitalism quell the dissent from Socialists through law ( or simply taking
them off the list in the name of protecting others from their views)?  IMO,
 that would violate the definition of democracy/ fair society that we have
set forth. 

Also Ash, is your contention that Hindusim needs 'protection' from the west
since they market their product - Christianity, better than us?  IMO,
Hinduism is a religion with enough depth to stand the test of
proselyizations. Of course in a fair society conversions can and will
happen both ways just as products gain and loose customers in a free and
fair market. 

Maybe the need of the hour for Hinduism is -  good preachers, missionaries
and social workers who can prove to  potential 'converts'  that Hinduism
too can provide hope,  happiness, peace and mental strength  to withstand
the tests of our times? ; Get them beyond the shame and ridicule of our
caste system? 

As for a fair society I believe that we need to look beyond the differences
in religions and appreciate their fundamental values , that they are one
and the same. 


> From: Ash Mahesh <ash_mahesh@hotmail.com>
> To: debate@indiapolicy.org
> Subject: physical versus economic force
> Date: Tuesday, 13 October 1998 1:59

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