In Indian society one is surrounded by false values right from birth irrespective of religious background. Rare People try to change the notion of modernism and put reforms in this plural democratic nation. Today, the language of secularism and equality is different from ground realities.
Despite faith based flaws of Abhrahmic religion, it considers all humans equal. While Hindu considers and see people in hierarchical manner. Leave this old theoretical aspect of religion and culture aside. Look into Hindu Law (not obsolete and biased Manu Smriti) through insight of an excellent article of Ramchandra Guha :
Those who want to explore the details of these changes are directed to Mulla's massive Principles of Hindu Law (now in its 18th edition), or to the works of the leading authority on the subject, Professor J.D.M. Derrett. For our purposes, it is enough to summarise the major changes as follows; (1) For the first time, the widow and daughter were awarded the same share of property as the son; (2) for the first time, women were allowed to divorce a cruel or negligent husband; (3) for the first time, the husband was prohibited from taking a second wife; (4) for the first time, a man and woman of different castes could be married under Hindu law; (5) for the first time, a Hindu couple could adopt a child of a different caste.
BJP is termed as Brahmin Bania party in public and it has gained popularity with economic reforms and growing Hindu nationalism. It always jumps on proving the role of Hindus as reform supporting and secular. That is indeed true but not because of them for sure. Now, our RSS and BJP supporter guys should be asking for the constructive role of their party in the Hindu law reforms. I will tell that also ( same source as before) :
In the vanguard of the opposition was the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). In a single year, 1949, the RSS organised as many as 79 meetings in Delhi where effigies of Nehru and Ambedkar were burnt, and where the new Bill was denounced as an attack on Hindu culture and tradition.
A major leader of the movement against the new Bill was a certain Swami Karpatri. In speeches in Delhi and elsewhere, he challenged Ambedkar to a public debate on the new Code. To the Law Minister's claim that the Shastras did not really favour polygamy, Swami Karpatri quoted Yagnavalkya: "If the wife is a habitual drunkard, a confirmed invalid, a cunning, a barren or a spendthrift woman, if she is bitter-tongued, if she has got only daughters and no son, if she hates her husband, (then) the husband can marry a second wife even while the first is living." The Swami supplied the precise citation for this injunction: the third verse of the third chapter of the third section of Yagnavalkya's Smriti on marriage. He did not however tell us whether the injunction also allowed the wife to take another husband if the existing one was a drunkard, bitter-tongued, a spendthrift, etc.
Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and B.R. Ambedkar are the reformers who pushed the limits of high caste and class oriented Hindus towards reforms. There was opposition from upper caste leaders of congress but that were brushed aside by charismatic and soft dictatorial nature of Jawaharlal Nehru. Again quoting the same article:
These three great reformers were Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and B.R. Ambedkar. Gandhi and Nehru, working together, helped Hindus make their peace with modern ideas of democracy and secularism. Gandhi and Ambedkar, working by contrasting methods and in opposition to one another, made Hindus recognise the evils and horrors of the system of untouchability. Nehru and Ambedkar, working sometimes together, sometimes separately, forced Hindus to grant, in law if not always in practice, equal rights to their women.
I will like to express one more blow on the defenders of new Hindutva forces. Like any other religion, they also shed their brains in the matter of faith (as defenders of Islamic forces shouted on the ban of the veil in France). Around 1987, BJP insisted, that if a widow volunteers to burn herself on her husband’s pyre, her choice should be respected. Look in the Hindu article for details.
It is most difficult to enact resides where our old, entrenched interest have grown deep, stubborn roots. The strength of any culture will always be reason and flexibility, not dogma and posturing. That had helped in past and will guide Hindus in the future also. Hindus don't have to be brilliant to see this but must be committed towards equality of gender and cast, seeing the initiative through. And upcoming this requires massive popular will. The inability to argue out issues without being tagged with labels has allowed a cobweb of ad ideas to persist in our approach to democratic discussion. Don't know what I will be tagged as after this post. :)
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