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{mosimage}A friend forwarded me an article by Tavleen Singh titled A dark distorted hinduism. Was never a big fan of Tavleen Singh ever since she started referring to Jayalalitha only as "the big lady down south". A responsible journalist does not do that to a Chief Minister, even an unpopular one
My problems with this article.

a. Tavleen thinks Pratibha Patil should not talk to dead men.
b. Taveleen feels the predominant brand of Hinduism taught in American Universities is Brahmins drinking menstrual blood.
c. Tavleen thinks Amartya Sen is wrong in telling Hindu brand of extremism is more dangerous for India than Islamic brand of extremism.

Tavleen can think true Hindus do not speak (or do not believe in) speaking to dead men. But the true beauty of Hinduism is it is all pervasive and has no problems accepting animal sacrifices, ellai theivam, ' pei adicha ponukku manthiruchu vidurathu' and widows shaving their head. Yeah! you can quote Vedas and Upanishads and say, this is not the way Hinduism is meant to be. But millions follow that and if you want to question these in the name of superstition, there is no difference between you and Periyaar and I am pretty sure you don't want to tread that path.

I do have problems with Pratibha Patil, but not being a true Hindu is not one of that and I don't think that is a qualification for the first citizen of India. Yes! Abdul Kalaam would have made a better president. But the majority party does not like him and there is no way around it.

Unlike Tavleen, I googled a bit on drinking menstrual blood and found a couple of articles on the tantric practice of Yoni Chakra Puja or Swadhistana Sattva. That begs the question is this main stream and how many people follow it. That is exactly the question Tavleen and Rajiv Malhotra should have asked in the first place. Are the American universities teaching these the 'go-to places' for learning Hinduism in America. In his article stereotyping Hindisum in American Education, Rajiv Malhotra quotes, University of Evansville, Toronto University, Princeton university press (in a very innocuous reference) and a 'prestigious US university'. Unless these are the top choices for people wanting to learn Hinduism, this is as inconsequential as Sati in Hinduism now.

To Rajiv Malhotra's credit, his problem "with such portrayals is not that they mention false things, but that the context (and quantity) in which students understand them makes them appear as standard for Hinduism" It is a laudable mission and can be better accomplished without the likes of Tavleen rabble-rousing.

I fully support Amartya Sen's view and he nailed why India's secularism should be a bit pro-minority. Amartya Sen is talking about the difference in magnitude between the damage a majority can inflict on the minority and the damage minority can inflict. Case in point: death- toll in
- 9/11 - 2752
- Holocaust: 6,000,000
- 1993 Bombay blasts: 257
- Godhra riots: upto 2,000
- Anti-sikh riots: 2,733

You don't need a Nobel laurette in macro economics to point this out. But even when they do, we refuse to believe it and rush to the first defense: He is a communist!