Sunday, July 17, 2011

Who is Hindu ?

Many questions sparked in my mind, after reading an interesting Judgment of Kerala High Court in Mohandas Vs. Dewaswom Board, the ratio is Who is Hindu? Declaration by a non Hindu is sufficient to be treated as a Hindu.  ,
  • Are the sufficient criteria for becoming a Hindu?
  • How and when Hinduism establish?
  • What is the provision of declaring a person as Hindu under Modern Hindu Law?
  • Hinduism in our Vedic test?

The simple definition is,  Hinduism is a conglomeration of religious, philosophical, and cultural ideas and practices that originated in India, characterized by the belief in reincarnation, one absolute being of multiple manifestations, the law of cause and effect, following the path of righteousness, and the desire for liberation from the cycle of births and deaths. O r in other simple words a religion and then whoever is born in that religion would be considered a Hindu, i.e. a Hindu by birth or a Janma Hindu.

However, I really do not want to have a narrow approach towards it, so I went to a deep understanding of Vedic text, law and judgments.

History says the origin of Hinduism dates back to 5,000 or more years. The term Hindu come into existence when Greek who called the inhabitant of the Indus valley as indo.

In reality, Hinduism is an attitude; and it is far more than a religious ideology. In the holy text the Merutantra, the word ‘Hindu’ is defined as 'Hinani Gunani dushyati iti Hindu.' Meaning that which destroys or dushyati the inferior Raja-Tama components or guns (subtle spiritual components) is a Hindu. Thus, to be a Hindu is to follow a way of life that enhances the spiritually pure Sativa component and Sattva predominant qualities like love, humility, courage, expansiveness, etc. and overcomes the spiritually impure Raja-Tamapredominant attitudes like anger, attachment, jealousy, greed, lust, pride etc.

After the codification of Hindu law, it gives the negative definition 
A person who was not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew was a Hindu.
Hindu is a general term, it denotes those entire person who Profess Hindu religion either by birth or by conversion to Hindu faith.

In Yagna Purusdasji  Vs. Muldas- Supreme court held
Acceptance of Vedas with reverence, recognition of the fact that the means or ways of salvation are diverse and realization of the truth that the number of gods to be worshipped is large, that indeed is the distinguishing feature of Hindu religion.
Hindu is born not made

According to Hindu theory Hindu is born not made, but this statement is not fully correct.  Under old Hindu law no one could be Hindu by conversion. The status of a parent he is a Hindu unless he changes his existing status by becoming a member of such a religion as would destroy his status as Hindu, and give him a new one. A Hindu on his conversion to any other religion ceases to be governed by Hindu law.

According to Privy Council
Those born as Hindus and also those who become converts to Hinduism.
Application of Hindu Law 

Hindu By Religion- Any person who is a Hindu, Jain, Sikh or Buddhist by religion, i.e. Hindu by religion.
Under this category two types of person falls:
  1. Those who are originally Hindus, Jain, Sikhs or Buddhist by religion.
  2. Those who are converts or re converts to Hindu, Jain, Sikhs or Buddhist religion.

Hindu By Birth- Any person who is born of Hindu parents ( viz. when both the parent or one of the parents is a Hindu, Jain, Sikh, or Buddhist.
Any person who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew, and who is not governed by any other law.

Hindu law not applies

Scheduled Tribes- the codify Hindu law lays down that its provisions do not apply to the member of the Scheduled tribes coming within the meaning of clauses (25) of Article 366 of the Constitution of India unless the Center Government notification in the official Gazette directs that any of the enactments shall apply to them also.

It does not mean that any Scheduled tribes which were governed by Hindu Law before the Codification of Hindu Law, not being governed by Hindu Law, they will continue to be under the periphery of it.

Surajmani Stella Kujur v. Durga Charan Hansdah

Section 2 of the Act specifies the persons to whom the Act is applicable. Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of sub-section (1) of Section 2 make the Act applicable to a person who is a  Hindu by religion in any of its forms or developments including a Virashaiva, a Lingayat or  a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj and to a person who is a Buddhist, Jain  or Sikh by religion.

It is also applicable to any other person domiciled in the territories of  India who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion. The applicability of the Act is, therefore, comprehensive and applicable to all persons domiciled in the territory of India who are not Muslims, Christians, Parsis or Jews by religion. 

The term “Hindu” has not been defined either under the Act or the Indian Succession Act or any other enactment of the legislature. As far back as in 1903 the Privy Council in Bhagwan Koer v. J.C. Bose


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