The epiphany came to me on a chilly morning many years ago in Melbourne, Australia. I was standing in the aisle of a supermarket, trying to determine the answer to an important existential question viz. Could green olives be an effective substitute for pieces of raw mango in Tambrahm curd-rice? My thoughts were interrupted when a portly Australian man came up to me with a smile and said, “Excuse me, but would you know the recipe for a garlic-free Doll tadka?”
Like any good Indian, I pointed the nice uncle to an ISKCON recipe on the Internet. I also came away with a new-found appreciation for the universal appeal of Indian food, specifically the Hindu saattvik ahaar consisting of big helpings of rice, daal, desi ghee, and sanctimoniousness. I wonder if this is what our honourable leaders mean when they say we are all Hindus, whether we know it or not. Maybe they are right. Maybe all this hullabaloo over Ghar Wapasi is completely unwarranted. If Hinduism is indeed a way of life, then where is the question of conversion?
I pondered these questions as the new year dawned. And then it struck me. Hinduism has always been an open-minded religion with a great history of being tolerant. But now the time has come to support the self-appointed guardians who want to change all that. Maybe I could be freed from the eternal cycle of life and death if I carried out a Ghar Wapasi ceremony! This could be the ultimate new-year resolution.
I immediately set about doing some research but was left with many questions.
- Rumour has it that a Christian convert gets Rs. 2 Lakh and a Muslim convert gets Rs. 5 Lakh. As the organiser, do I get any holy commission in this? What is the going rate for atheists, pastafarians, and aliens who donâ€™t look like Aamir Khan? Further, since Hindu organisations, like Christian ones, also receive foreign funding, can any such (divine) money be paid directly into my Swiss bank account? Is there a society of NRI Hindus that I can approach for this?
- What caste do people get converted back to and what forms of oppression are they allowed to practise on others? Youâ€™ll have to admit Manu Smriti is a rather unpopular book, even by fundamentalist standards. Is there another manual I can refer to? I turned to the works of the honourable Veer Savarkar for guidance but was a bit appalled to find that he was an atheist who didnâ€™t believe in caste or sacred cows. (P.S. We really ought to look into this Savarkar guy.)
- Our fearless leaders have rightly campaigned for replacing sex education with Vedic maths, after meticulous research showed that both deal with multiplication. They also want to replace foreign languages with Sanskrit, since the latter is far more useful in world domination. How soon can the new converts start joining such campaigns?
- Is a degree in science necessary? Some of the potential candidates I have approached have expressed their apprehension that Hinduism is becoming too high-funda and â€œscience-yâ€, what with all the talk of cross-species plastic surgery and supersonic flying machines. Can we just stick to simple blind faith and superstition when we convert?
- Since we are closely modelling Ghar Wapasi on the Christian proselytization schemes, the effect needs to be just as grand. Christian miracles are often depicted with tiny children blowing noisily on trumpets, but I remember seeing pictures in Amar Chitra Katha comics of apsaras showering flowers and saying things like, â€œThis one is a noble one.â€ Is there some way we could arrange that? That will also help allay fears such as in point no.4.
I am hoping to find the answers to these questions by the next auspicious date in the calendar, so that I can arrange a grand ceremony. It is a sad state that Hindus make up a microscopic 80% of the countryâ€™s population. We all need to contribute to making Hinduism a majority religion. When that day comes, we will be able to rewrite textbooks, whitewash history and maybe even have an all-Hindu ruling party that supports us. After all, it is Hinduism that has given the world the wise philosophy of Vasudeiva Kutumbakam, meaning All the World is one Family (except for any Christians, Muslims, Jews, Parsis, Buddhists, or Pastafarians).
Well brought out Suchi. After converting all the people in our country probably we can target the rest of the world. Afterall our religion is the oldest in the world and so every body in the world should do a ghar wapsi. As for all the psuedo science that was taught to us in school and afterwards, I want to sue my teachers. How could they make me cram so many formulae when the simple thing was to tell me that it was already in existence five thousand years ago and that would have been the end of it. Never mind that to make a living afterwards I would have had to become a sadhu/yogi so that I could free load on the masses. Poor me, I guess I’m not so lucky.
Yes, we could’ve just rested on our laurels!
Hope you are not a person, who throws stones and runs away.
Hope you are open to new thoughts and knowledge.
I understand that, you are agonized at the “Ghar Wapasi” and “PK protests”.
Regarding “Ghar Wapasi”, I have one question for you:
1. You will agree that conversion has been going on for ages. And it is the Christians and Muslims who have converted Hindus all this time.
You also might know that, lot of bloodshed has happened in the name of Islam and Christianity. Crores of people (literally) have been killed by Christians and Muslims in the name of religion.
So, why you have never opposed this all this while?
Few thousands might have been converted in the name of “Ghar Wapasi” and nobody has been forced or killed or threatened for this.
So, why are you feeling so bad about “Ghar Wapasi”, while you never felt bad about millions getting converted to Christianity and Islam?
2. From your writings, I understand that, you have some kind of inferiority complex about our past.
Maybe you haven’t read anything about Vimanas or you haven’t tried to search for research in that field.
Here are 2 links related to that:
I don’t understand why you are opposed to Samskritam? You might very well know that, English is the most unscientific language.
But, do you know that Samskritam is a very scientific language?
I really want to know, why you don’t like Samskritam or opposed to it?
Hope you will read those links and share your thoughts.
Thanks for your comment. You’re assuming a lot about my views and opinions. 🙂
And here is one more link related to Vimanas:
I am not telling that Hindus were perfect or they were the best.
My only point is, they were not useless as made out in your writings.
And here is an article from Shashi Tharoor regarding the same subject:
Thanks, I did read that article. As he says, “knowledge must be uncontaminated by ideology, superstition or irrational pride.” Sidin Vadukut has written a good book on this as well, where he investigates all the claims: http://www.rupapublications.co.in/books/sceptical-patriot-exploring-truths-behind-zero-and-other-glories
Well Suchi, Gr8 thoughts. Its easy to indulge in saffron brigade bashing and get lauded from all corners. While I too share your thoughts on the irrelevance of “ghar wapsi” as in issue, I cant understand why authors like u fail to take a balanced view and criticise the other side too. Why have u failed to write about the mission “conversion” that followers of christianity have indulged in, for centuries, right from St Thomas, who they say is the first disciple of christ to have landed in India. I really dont know if u have ever watched a “sponsored” commercial programme on certain Tamil TV networks, where the converted islamists indulge in fun-making of the hindu rituals to justify the reason of their conversion, while those sitting around are laughing their hearts out. I wonder if u have ever cirticised the Australain government for banning burqas. I wonder if u ever had the guts to write against the Shahi Imam and other mullahs who spit venom against hindus and get away. Its fashionable to support PK and indulge in HIndu bashing. B’cause, as you have said, hinduism has taught us to be tolerant. I appreaciate your writing skills but Pls do take some time to write about others who preach things other than tolerance, if u want be balanced in thoughts.
Thanks for your comment. As a writer, I have many complex opinions and views.
After having read in Asian Age (hope I had the name of the News Paper right- pardon me I am semi-demented), became nosey to look through the Blog you have!! ‘Blog’ for its coining is a portmanteau and so is the religion ‘Pastafarian’ you brought in. Stupid me!! I thought you have mistaken for ‘Rastafarians’!! ‘Pantomath’ Google stretched the helping hand to make me humble before you. Thank you for the FSM religion introduced to me! And are you a ‘Pantomath’ yourself?
I am hardly a Pantomath. 🙂 And yes, the FSM religion is fascinating!
I haven’t read the book “Sceptical Patriot”. So, I don’t know, what kind of arguments or evidences the author has put forward to tell that Hindus were not the inventors of Zero.
But, it is a fact that the concept of “Shunya” originated in Vedas. And “Shunya” is nothing but Zero.
Atharvana Veda talks about many branches of Mathematics including Arithmetic, Algebra, Calculus, Indeterminate Equations, Geometry, etc.
If you really want to know the Samskritam verses which explains about the Bodhayana Sutra or Shulva Sutras (today what we study as Pythagorus Theorem), let me know.
And you might very well know that, Greeks and Romans were the most advanced civilizations and were the pioneers of Mathematics and Astronomy in the Western World.
Also, you will know that, both of them used Decimal Number System. The biggest number in Roman Numeral is ‘M’ or ‘Milli’ or Thousand.
At the same time, Hindus were using very big numbers. For example, Hindus tell Pravara while starting any pooja or Yajnya. In that, they use the word “parardha” while telling about the time.
Parardha is 10 to the power of 22.
Similarly, Hindus have used very small numbers such. For example, ‘Truti” which is 0.031 Âµs.
All these are well documented and you can directly refer Vedas or just Atharvana Veda to check and we don’t have to depend on some so-called interpretations such as “Sceptical Patriot” to understand whether Hindus knew about Zero, Mathematics, etc.
[[Youâ€™re assuming a lot about my views and opinions. 🙂 ]]
Since we haven’t met or discussed anything before, your writings have created some sort of perceptions. 😉
But, one thing is sure.
You are a wonderful writer and I envy your writing skills 😉
Rolling on the floor laughing as I read this! You have that rare gift-an intelligent sense of humor shot through with sparkling wit!
Oh, thank you. 🙂