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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Don’t place Vedas in a cabinet of curios
Sir, We have serious reservations about UNESCO's recent decision to name
Vedic chanting a "Heritage of Humanity", along with with
twenty-seven other cultural and artistic traditions.
The other traditions honoured — from the Wayang Puppet Theatre of Indonesia
to the Carnival of Binche of Belgium — seem to be folk or even popular
traditions, while the Vedas are the epicentre of the Hindu religion. The
words uttered by the Vedic rishis have always profoundly affected the
spiritual worldview of all Hindus. As such, the Vedas and the traditions
associated with it deserve a place alongside the Bible and the Quran, and
should not have been placed in a cabinet with other cultural curios.
It also disturbs us that UNESCO is endorsing a programme which would
establish Vedic schools throughout India for Brahmin boys only. While it is
laudable that Brahmins continue to serve as priests at a time when
globalisation and modernity have made other professions more attractive, we
feel strongly that the new schools should be open to all Hindus, or even all
Indians. Several noteworthy Hindu reformers and thinkers, including Swami
Dayanada Saraswati and Dr. Sarvapelli Radhakrishnan, have advocated that the
Vedic tradition be open to all. We should not ignore their wisdom.
Jaishree Gopal and Vikram Masson, Jersey City, USA