Tag Archives: Jakob De Roover

The Embarrassed Modern Hindu (Upper Caste Man)

Perhaps the clearest statement on what exactly it is in Wendy Doniger’s work that bothers some people – and who these people are – is outlined in Jakob De Roover’s empathetic account of the imagined ‘Hindu boy with intellectual inclinations’ born in the 1950’s.  This boy grows up going to the temple, hearing stories about Bhima’s strength, Krishna’s appetite, Durvasa’s temper. If you were this boy,

Perhaps you rejoice when Rama rescues Sita, feel afraid when Kali fights demons, or cry when Drona demands Ekalavya’s thumb as gurudakshina.

The boy goes to school and learns about caste discrimination in Hinduism (that he had to go to school to learn about caste discrimination establishes his own caste position very clearly).  This makes

You feel bad about your “backward religion” and ashamed about “the massive injustice of caste.”

But

You sense that it misrepresents you and your traditions—it distorts your practices, your people, and your experience…Everywhere you turn, people just reproduce the same story about Hinduism and caste as the worst thing that ever happened to humanity: politicians, activists, teachers, professors, newspapers, television shows… Continue reading The Embarrassed Modern Hindu (Upper Caste Man)