Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Heritage, or hate?

Religious or racist?
In Dailekh, Nepal

I'm not saying I have an answer. Just putting it out there.
Parkala Matha

Brahmin priests in Dailekh have padlocked temples of the district to protest a recent verdict of the district court.
...(a) court verdict three months ago imprisoned a Brahmin priest on the charge of untouchability.
On April 12, the court sentenced Dipak Upadhyay... for refusing to tie Raksha Bandhan (holy thread tied around the wrist on Janaipurnima day) to a dalit local.
...Claiming they have the right to perform religious rituals as per their wish, the Brahmin priests padlocked a dozen temples...
District chairman of Hindu Vedic Sanatan Parishad (HVSP), Tilak Rijal, said the priests did not need to perform religious rituals for all the people.
"Practicing untouchability" - that is, discriminating against those traditionally considered of lower Hindu castes - has been made a crime in India and Nepal, though in remote areas such behaviour largely goes unpunished, and many old ways are still observed.

So, is this religious freedom, or racism? Or, at the very least, illegal discrimination? Should the courts be able to tell houses of worship whom they must accomodate? How would we feel if it were a White Supremacist church (they do exist) refusing admission to someone of another race? Is that even a valid analogy? Many Hindu temples specify "Hindus Only"; however, the Dalits themselves are Hindus. Does this mean they have to admit all Hindus regardless of caste?

And if there is a tradition of excluding certain Hindus, how much does the tradition matter? That is, is it beyond the law ?

Just asking questions.
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1 comment:

John said...

Well, in the United States, a White Supremacist church would be legal under the first amendment, as far as I know - as is White Supremacism - which often is not "supremacism" at all, but is labeled as such by "liberal" media.
Most of those "White Suppremacists" are just concerned by the fate of the Whites, and the real discrimination against them in "multicultural" societies.

There is also Black Supremacism, Jewish Suppremacism, etc. But those are pushed under the carpet, as only Whites can be stigmatized as racists these days.

Is it legitimate to care about one's own race?

American media and official policy, seem to believe that it is - for Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, and everybody else but Whites...

But since, even in such atmosphere, racial discrimination is perfectly legal in the private sphere in the USA, and religion IS the domain of the private, there is no reason why caste discrimination in the (private) religious sphere wouldn't be legitimate in India.

If those untouchables are not satisfied with their religion, they can change religion, become Buddhists, Christians or atheists, whatever.

State cannot dictate or lmitate religious dogma, unless it infringes rights that are derived from the public sphere (like right to life, security, property, various economic social rights etc.)

Other than that, the state has no right of interpherence in the purely private dimension of a religion.

Religion, in its private dimension is logically beyond the law indeed.