Namaste Surya Deva, Nieztsche
I am a Indian girl living overseas. I stumbled upon this website while doing an unrelated search. What a fascinating thread. I stayed up half the night to read all 47 pages.
I respect your intellectual honesty and your ability to call a spade a spade. You are right, Yoga IS Hinduism. Your's was a cogent argument, with proof and tangible evidence. You have refuted weak, outmoded Oriental and post-colonial theories, and your knowledge base of Dharmic and Western scriptures is very impressive.
I am not a debater by any means but have lived long enough in the West to observe a few things. Yes, they are anecdotal, but permit me to make a few comments.
It seems to me that there is something in the Judaeo-Christian construct of the world that does not allow for a competing, equally-valid, advanced paradigm that is not the same as theirs. Where they cannot convert, they will subvert or at least attempt to do so. One can see this in the institutionalized opposition to specifically Hinduism and all its aspects. By institutional opposition I mean that at the highest levels, there is strong negation of Hindu influence, both ancient and modern; and, all the while there is blatant appropriation of our Hindu ideals, techniques, concepts, food, medical knowledge, and yes, even culture. There is no acknowledgement of the source of most, if not all, borrowed ideas and techniques.
This is evident in the attitudes I have read here on pretty much every page, from posters like LotusGirl and Indra Deva among others. This is not surprising, because my reading of them is that they represent a dilute, more PC face of a Western institutional bias. It is so ingrained that they cannot even see the bias, and find your vociferous opining as threatening. Their negation and denials are in fact valid, because (from their point of view) to allow that this IS simple truth for which you are debating, is to open a Pandora's Box to the deeper, more insidious lies, harms and thievery that the West has perpetrated on India and Hindus. To acknowledge the source/the seed is dangerous for them, because it undermines the Christian/Western superiority idiom. One sees this in many ways here, and on many other forums as well.
- Refusing to acknowledge that Yoga is Hinduism, the dharmic way
- Trying to portray Yoga as a New-Age, Buddhist (and belonging to practically any other religion and tradition), EXCEPT Hinduism
- When the above two arguments don't work, then claiming Yoga-predates-Hinduism
- Blatantly appropriating medical Ayurvedic knowledge - go to any Whole Foods today, and see their Health section, full of Ayurvedic herbs and medicines, with no mention of them being part of Hinduism and the Hindu concious. See their literature shelves sagging under the weight of new-age gurus like Deepak Chopra, and Yoga books from esoteric healers with nary a mention of Hinduism.
- Trying to wrest our ancient knowledge - putting patents on Haldi, basmati, seeds (Monsanto anyone?), cumin, the use of any spice really
- Cusine - yes, appropriating our knowledge and use of spices, our cooking techniques. Even today, if you were to read a book or visit a culinary forum of importance, the Hindu cusine is not acknowledged as one of the world's greats as are French, Italian, (and now Chinese, but only because they have the muscle to insist on it). And yet, the cuisine of India is one of the subtlest, most innovative, scientific, and creative cusine there is. To my palate there isn't a better or more delicious and refined cuisine, and I mean that genuinely, not in a rhetorical rah rah fashion. But you will never find this aknowledgement of the Hindu cuisine in any of the books written by the most revered Western chefs. Vegetarian Hindu cuisine is reviled and mocked (Anthony Bourdain et al). Curry is mocked, though people still relish it. A 'curry powder' has been 'invented' and used in the West and Japan, even though over and over it has been explained to people that there is no one generic 'curry'dish, but an Indian cooking technique.
- The inappropriate use of images of Hindu Gods and Godesses - American Apparel summer chappals with little Ganeshas all over them; Lakme owned by HLL (a subsidiary of the European Unilever) - a corruption of the name of goddess Laxmi.
- In fashion - Kurtis (all the rage in the Americas) and other garments such as the salwar, Indian embroidery and textile methods, being bought up/manufactured for pennies by Western designers for their new-new collections, with NO ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of the source (as long as it was Hindu India of course). The popularity of bindis and Indian jewellery, our jhola bags, bicchuas, and kolhapuri chappals, Indian motifs and again, no recognition. It is all part of the things that come out of the mysterious-exotic-East-with-no-name. Why is this?
I have attended Yoga studios and have found the attitude to a brown Indian girl to be condescending - "Look, we are teaching you this great ancient practice that WE revived from the ancient-East-not-Hindu thankyouverymuchnamaste". Saying Namaste does not make one a Yogi.
I am a modern Indian from an educated family. But if you really go to brass tacks, then in modern India we are considered an OBC. But in the last 5 generations of my immediate and extended family there is not one poor, oppressed, backward person. All are educated to the highest levels possible for their aptitude and abilities. My parents rose from humble beginnings and never faced any stigmas on account of being an OBC, and neither did I or any of my siblings. We NEVER received help from anyone. My father by nature is a Kshatriya, and my mother a Brahmin (she is an intellectual and he is bold, fearless, and honest) but they were born as OBC, whatever that may mean. Therefore I find that people like the Dalits on this website, are pushing their own version of history on this forum because it benefits them to do so. In today's world, there are many so-called backward classes including Dalits, who are NOT oppressed or economically backward in any way. They enjoy the same economic, social, political freedom that all of us do.
Yes, there are poor Dalits who may face discrimination and oppression. But this happens to poor, disenfranchised people EVERYWHERE in the world, including the US, Great Britain, Europe, Australia and other bastions of human rights and humanity. I find it very interesting and disingenuous how on this forum only the Indian Caste System is over and over reviled as a form of human rights abuse, when in fact all the Western/Christian and Muslim nations have their own institutional bodies to do this for them.
Just a little tidbit, a Kuwaiti woman politician recently called for Kuwaiti men to purchase white war booty from the Central Asian/former Russian countries belt (but only if they are at least 15 years old, because we are so modern!) so they are not tempted outside of their marriage. This is, of course, perfectly ok because it is condoned by the Quran. These are your modern humanitarian countries for you! And yet you deny the dharmic people even their roots.
It is beyond shameful. This is a distinct trend of distortion of history and facts and truth. It is denying our people their traditions and culture.
It is not PC to speak of these things no. But I have long been troubled and weighed down by these distortions. So thank you, Surya Deva and others for speaking so forcefully. I, at least, have taken note and listened.