Justification of the Declaration of the Secular State and the Abolition of the ‘Hindu State’ by the Reinstated Parliament of Nepal as we are celebrating the most popular festival of the country.
By Prakash Bom in Queens, New York
Reasoning:Who are Nepali people in the first place of the existence? Obviously Nepali people are not other than human beings who deserve basic human rights protections as per the Universal Human Rights Declaration. Then after we are bona fide citizens of sovereign nation ought to have civil liberty under the complete democratic system of government mandated by the people’s movement II.
Of course, we are happened be to born with different ethnicities in different regions of the county living together with differences yet in unity for the common cause. We are conditioned with our different ethnic identity, religious belief, tradition, ritual, values and social practice. Can we come out of it and stand as a free individual human being? Surely as an individual we can but our society cannot liberate over night. This is our utter reality thus we need our government firm with its declaration to treat us impartially by providing equal opportunities in every aspect of social, political and economic life to live in our society without any discrimination by rule of law.
Certainly if Nepal is to be declared as the ‘Hindu’ state then that will not help us to live together with these different ethnic diversities in unity of the whole nation. It will rather discriminate one from another as per its premise of caste system and hierarchical religious supremacy. Practice of Hindu religion fundamentally based on the practice of feudalism and oligarchic hierarchism in Nepal. This is a religion dominated by these political, social and economic networks of the ruling elites.
Reality:It is scholarly testified that the word ‘Hindu’ is not a Sanskrit word nor Pali. The word ‘Hindu’ nor found in any Vedic texts – Vedas, Upanishads, Geeta, Sutras, Mantras, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana and in other Vedic literatures considered to be ancient.
The word ‘Hindu’ according to the linguists is a Parisian word. The first Parisian invaders to the Indian sub-continent coined the word. The name was addressed for the civilization along the Sindhu river delta now it is in the modern Pakistan. In ancient Parisian language there was no distinct sound for ‘sa’ but it would slightly curve the tong with the phoneme ‘ha’ thus Sindhu pronounced ‘hindu’.
Later the Bhojpuria language of northern India adapted so many Parisian words after the invasion of Parisian and during the rule of Mogul empire that it eventually adapted new name Hindi. The Mogul period indeed gave the birth of two languages in India called Hindi and Urdu.
As a matter of fact, the most of the upper caste Brahmins and Kshetriyas were migrated to the Himalayan foothills during the reign of the Moguls from 12th century to the 16th century but mostly in the period of the Emperor Aurangajeva. The indigenous ethnic populations were the early settlers – Kirat, Magar, Khash, Newar and Dalits.
The contemporary Hindu religious practice is heavily propagated with the beliefs, rites and rituals, caste divisions and superstitions particularly in Nepal. The rulers have ruled ordinary people for centuries with the threat of their own royal family gods and goddesses. It is said that there was a wide public rumor in the whole country among the last old generation (men and women spread mostly during Rana and early Panchayet regimes) that if anyone read Geeta, one of the Vedic literatures of Yoga, will soon become mad. This was an outright threat from the authority against the enlightenment of the people.
As a matter of fact the feudal rulers of Nepal wanted people just remain superstitious, ritualistic, devotees of their deities and succumbed to their religious rites and worships. Nepali Hindu society performs the maximum religious rites and festivals. One of the bloodiest festivals is the Vijya Dashami. The whole country sacrifice not less than a million life of animals – goats, chickens, pigs, buffalos, ducks and so on.
Such practice seems to be absent in the ancient Vedic religious life as well as in the Buddhists. Fundamentally, it means the contemporary Hindu religion prevents people from getting self-educated, enlightened, self-realized and wise in the practice of religion. Average contemporary Hindus in Nepal do not have knowledge of Vedic literature or its schools of thought.
It is thus fair to say that the practice of the contemporary Hindu religion is the deviation from the perception of Dharma or religion as explored in the six schools of thought in ancient Vedic civilization or religious way of life.
Nepal becomes constitutionally ‘Hindu’ state under the Panchayet constitution. Before Panchayet it was never declared as ‘Hindu’ state. Why did the rulers in one party Panchayet democracy played this role in the constitution? Surely such declaration will confine the ordinary people in the darkness of ‘Hindu’ traditions that are succumbed with its religious rituals and rites, superstitions and animal sacrifices. Once average people get lost in such gross yet entertaining, fearful yet sacrificial, suppositious yet obeying religious rituals and rites it becomes less rebellion to the regime. Since the king was propagated as the incarnation of the protagonist god of Vishnupurana, one of the celestial storybooks of Vedic literature, it was easy to declare it as ‘Hindu’ state.
Philosophies: Dharma in Sanskrit means to observe natural law or reality as they are, same as in ancient Greek word ‘religion’ means to see things as they are. Vedic philosophy constitutes an integral part of the culture of the great diversity in thought and practice nurtured by its liberal pluralist way of life. The six schools of thought are Samkhaya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimansa, and Vedanta.
Samkhya postulates that the universe consists of two eternal realities – matter and nature (Purus and Prakriti). Liberation (kaivalya) consists of the realization that purusha and prakriti are indeed different. The founder of this philosophy is sage Kapila.
Yoga philosophy is the further development of Samkhya philosophy in which self-realization or Moksha is attainable through the physical and the mental discipline that transcend Sattva (subtle), Rajas (active) and Tama (gross) gunas or attributes.
Nyaya philosophy describes four sources of knowledge – perception (pramanas), inference, comparision and testimony. Logic in Nyaya is a valid way to obtain knowledge to gain release from sufferings. Sage Gautama is the founder of this philosophy. Vaisheshika – in this school of thought, all objects in the physical universe are reduced to a certain number of Atoms (Pramanu) and God is regarded as the fundamental force that causes consciousness in these atoms.
These above four schools of thought were the fundamentals of the way of Vedic civilization. Along with these philosophies, the sage Panini developed the most sophisticated grammar system in Sanskrit. The grammar system consists of four parts – phonology (Shivasutra), Morphology (Ashtadhyahi), classes of verbal roots (Dharupath), and classes of primitive normal stems (Ganapatha). It was the period the ‘zero’ discovered to make numeric science meaningful (Between 2000 BP & 5000 BP).
Arbitrary authority of Vedas: The fifth school of thought called Mimamsa, which insists on the spiritual power of mantras and yajñas, compiled verses of Vedas, established the authority of rituals and rites in daily religious practice. Although Mimamsa accepted the logical and philosophical teachings of the other schools of thought, but finds them insufficient to right action. Mimamsa believes in salvation through Vedic rituals and rites rather than liberation.
This is the fundamental difference between Vedic philosophical way of life and Vedic ritualistic way of life. The rational way of life seeks liberation, discovery, and self-realizations but the ritualized way of life hunts repetitions first then later salvation.
Short Lived Renaissance: Vedanta the sixth school of thought was renaissance or the rebirth of Vedic philosophical way of life for the liberation of soul from ignorance and search of truth or discovery. Vedanta rebelled against the ritualistic way of life and denounced mantras and yajnas as means to salvation. Vedanta is the most recent development in the Vedic school of thought. However, this school got confined to those austere scholars or sannyasins who never marry to have a family life.
De-evolution: Vedas consists of mantras and yajnas or verses of rituals and rites called Karmakandas and the hymns of wisdom called Upanishads. Because of average ‘Hindu’ population got succumbed to the practice of Vedic rituals and rites the Upanishads were forgotten. The practice of Varnashrama dharma– student-life, householder life, anchorite life, and renunciate life disappeared. Majority of ‘Hindu’ in average confined to householder life and minority or few mostly scholars took renunciate life.
All in all, contemporary ‘Hindus’ grew in their family with utter ignorance of Vedic philosophies and literary works. Since the upper caste Brahmins took the authority of the Mimamsa School for performing rituals, rites and other religious practices for themselves and for rest of other caste in the society, the tradition of Vedic education declined. Vedic schools enclosed within the upper caste mostly among Brahmins.
The Mimamsa got detained within the Brahmins as sacred religious practice. Consequently the rest of the other castes were deprived from its knowledge. For example, the contemporary average ‘Hindus’ do not know the meaning of Gayatri Mantra, the great mantra of all Vedas, yet they chant it every morning and evening to get salvation.
“Om bhūr bhuva sva, tát savitúr váreniyam, bhárgo devásya dhīmahi, dhíyo yó nam pracodáyāt” Meaning: ‘O nourishing Sun, solitary traveler, controller, source of life for all creatures, spread your light and subdue your dazzling splendor so that I may see your blessed Self. Even that very Self am I!’ (Translated by Ralph Thomas Hotchkin Griffith)
It is written in Vedic poetic meter twenty-four syllables (three lines of eight syllables each). Therefore it is a hyme or in modern word a song. Vedas are compiled with such verses for all mantras and yajnas or rituals and rites. It is a grand poetic (literary) work of art.
Similarly, the later literary works such as eighteen Puranas or great religious story books, Mahabharata the religious history and Ramayana the epic are now popular with the contemporary ‘Hindus’ for not really understanding the meaning of stories but to worship its characters as an religious idol.
Two schools of thought Yoga and Vedanta talk about three qualities or Gunas in men – the Sattva, Rajas and Tama (subtle, active and inertia or gross). Later the ruling elites such as Manu and other Brahmins classified these Gunas into the caste system in society. The system is extremely discriminative to whole of humanity.
It is most horrendously inhuman to create untouchable caste. This was all done in the name of Hindu religion. In such practice Nepal has still the most active, ignorant, superstitious and arrogant traditions, which prevails due to the uneducated upper caste communities.
History: The sort of rites and rituals practiced in Nepal in the name of Hindu religion are very primitive such as sacrifice of animals in temples during several Hindu occasions. One of them is called national festival – Vijaya Dashami. On this occasion at least one million goats, buffalo, and other animals are sacrificed in the temples of goddess Kali, the fierce protagonist of the Devipurana, one of the eighteen Puranas or the religious stories.
Nepali ‘Hindu’ traditions are basically confined to the stories of Shivapurana and Devipuranas. Most of village king clans’ deity was either Shiva form of god or Devi form of goddess. These two puranas of the celestial religious stories are the fiercest of all puranas. The practice of Tantriks with frightening superstitions consists in these puranas.
Nepal did become the land of religion of superstition and animal sacrificial ‘Hindu’ society mostly after the flock of upper caste Brahmins and Ksyetriyas immigrants from northern India migrated during twelfth century to fill up the western Nepal. This was how the kings and Brahmins ruled the endogenous ethnic population of Nepal.
The feudal oligarchic system of government survived two hundred and fifty years with such religious ‘Hindu’ society and its working networks are still built up with such superstitious beliefs and tradition.
For example, most of the land owners are upper caste Brahmins and Ksyetriyas known as Thakuris did not till the land because according to the religious propaganda anyone from this upper caste till the land he or she will naturally be demoted to the lower caste. So, their lands are still these days tilled by the lower caste farmers. Therefore, the land reform or redistributions of lands are more important socially and economically than politically.
As a matter of fact, Nepal becomes constitutionally ‘Hindu’ state under the Panchayet constitution. Before Panchayet it was never declared as ‘Hindu’ state. Why did the rulers in one party Panchayet democracy played this role in the constitution? Surely such declaration will confine the ordinary people in the darkness of ‘Hindu’ traditions that are succumbed with its religious rituals and rites, superstitions and animal sacrifices. Once average people get lost in such gross yet entertaining, fearful yet sacrificial, suppositious yet obeying religious rituals and rites it becomes less rebellion to the regime. Since the king was propagated as the incarnation of the protagonist god of Vishnupurana, one of the celestial storybooks of Vedic literature, it was easy to declare it as ‘Hindu’ state.
That’s why Nepal was declared as ‘Hindu’ country in one party Panchayet democracy. However, there are many among us who think Nepal should declare ‘Hindu’ state even after the mandate of people’s movement II for the ‘Complete Democracy.’
There are still among us who refuse to accept all celestial Vedic literary works such as Ramayana, Mahabharat, and Purana as pure literature, but not the historical events that had once occurred in time and space of the universe. What these great works of literature convey the meaning to human life matters more than the worship of the storybooks ‘granthas’ and its characters as gods and goddess. Such conditioning resembles the conditioning of moviegoers’ who become fans of actors to model themselves. Literarily this is natural but religiously this is ignorance.
Average ‘Hindus’ all over the world are conditioned with their granthas or religious storybooks like any other average followers of faith-oriented religions in the world. But such gross conditioning is not the way of the origin of the Vedic culture that the contemporary ‘Hinduism’ de-evaluated or degenerated with the deprivation of all its essence and evolution to observe or witness Dharma or the natural law.
The fundamentals of Vedic way of life or religious way of life are to expel ignorance to liberate oneself though self-knowledge of one’s conditionings or Samskaras, to achieve Mokshya or enlightenments, and transcendent oneself from all gunas or conditionings subtle or active or gross. But the way contemporary ‘Hindus’ take their superficial religious values and beliefs for granted without further enquiry to discover the truth or Dharma. Thus they cannot propagate Nepal to be declared constitutionally as a ‘Hindu’ state for their false gratifications and perpetuating fanaticism.
Declaration: Nepal cannot be the property of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, RSS, Shivashena or any other Hindu organization. Nepal is a county of diverse ethnic group of people with diverse religious values and believes. It is not an inherited land of Hindu. It is the land where Buddha was born. It is the land of many indigenous people with different ethnicity, tradition, culture, language, beliefs and religion. Ours is the plural society in culture, tradition, and religion and we have lived centuries under Śākyas, Lichavi, Mallas rule of law long before the Gorkha rule – the feudal oligarchic regimes of Shah and Ranas.
Our root of ethnicity goes back to the neolithic era in human evolution to the birth of Buddha whose philosophy completely transform the human perception. The name of our country ‘Nepal’ comes from the word ‘nipalaya’in Sanskrit and ‘niyampa’ Tibetan and both words means samething ‘the holy land’, the land of the great Himalayas. One of our indigenous ethnic group the Kiratas have lived in Nepal since the first millennium BCE. The Śākyas the Indo-Aryan tribe (Buddha’s clan) arrived since 1500 BCE.
Therefore, we declare that our county cannot be contemparary Hindus’ ‘Hindu’ state to be manipulated by the politics of fanatic Hindu organizations like Indian RSS, Shivashena. We believe in the practice of religion that is not contaminated by the power of politics in the light of our anceint history, teachings of Buddha, and the love and spirit of Bhirkuti the Lichavi princess.
I appreciated the courage of the reinstated Parliament of the New Democratic Nepal in nulling the provision ‘Hindu’ state and there by declaring the ‘Democratic Secular’ state. This means separation of state and religion. The religion should not interfere with or be integrated into the public affairs of a society and rule of law. Thus, eliminating discrimination on the basis of religion.
Our declaration for ‘Secular Democracy’ stands for peace, prosperity and freedom to protect our ‘Civil Liberty’ and to guarantee our basic human rights as per the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights. This is how our ‘New Democratic Nepal’ will comply with the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights of the United Nations.
It is absolutely necessary for us in Nepal to understand the significance of the ‘Secular Democratic’ state in the political context of the nation that has diverse ethnic group of people with different religious orientations, culture, tradition and so on. The essence of the secular state lies in the secular-humanist political ideology of Democracy without which civil liberty and human rights of minority are hardly protected
I think we are fortunate to have reinstated Parliament whose members have confronted the reality of nation in the course of our struggle for the Democracy to discard the forcefully laden
‘Hindu’ state for the ‘Secular Democratic’ state. This is our one of the historical glories.
Hopefully, the draft of the new constitution with the electoral mandate of the constituent assembly elections will continue with the status of ‘Secular Democratic’ state. It is very important for all of us, once again I repeat, to realize the significance of the secular state to live our daily civic life by the rule of law in justice and freedom.