Are You A Hindu? My Religion Is Vedic


Long back I had read a book called Roots. It was a story of a man who finds out how his family was picked up from the tribal areas of Africa like animals and forced into slavery for the whites. The idea was not to make a judgment on certain people but to know the truth. Finally, at the end it’s always knowing about the truth and what is most important is accepting it.

Since birth I was put in a category of people called Hindu. The irony is that even the meaning of the word was not known to me. Today it’s known, but there is no going back to the records… and as I got to know… I share here with you.

The word Hindu in Persian literature Hindu-e-Falak means “the black of the sky and Saturn.”

A Persian dictionary titled Lughet-e-Kishwari, published in Lucknow in 1964, gives the meaning of Hindu as ‘chor (thief), dakoo (dacoit), raahzan (waylayer) and ghulam (slave)’. Yet, according to another dictionary, named Urdu-Feroze-ul-Laghat – Part 1 (p 615), the meaning of the word Hindu is as under ——- in Turkish: chor, raahzan and lutera (looter). In Persian: ghulam (slave), barda (obedient servant), sia faam (black color) and kaalaa (black).

Hinduism is derived from the word Hindu, the names of the other three religions… Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism founded on the Indian subcontinent are derived from Indian words with noble meanings: “Budh” (enlightenment), “Jan” [victorious (over vices)] and “Sikh” (learner), respectively.

Does it make any sense for Indians who are never tired of talking about the glory of their past, their religion and their civilization to call themselves “Hindus” when this word is not found in any Hindu text?

The foreigners gave this derogatory label “Hindu” to the people of the Indian subcontinent. What right or justification do the champions of “Hindutva” have, to apply this derogatory label “Hindu” to others, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists?

Just for record, I asked my mother: “If you knew this, why did you allow my name to come under such a name for records?”

“Well,” she very conveniently replied, “I always say my religion is vedic.”

By Ashish Kaul


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