Letter to the Editor

Sir,

We laud the National Commission of Scheduled Castes initiative to purge Hindu texts of language and sentiments offensive to the nation's burgeoning Dalit community. If Hinduism is to emerge as the egalitarian religion envisioned by Ram Mohan Roy and Vivekananda, it must strike at the ideological basis of caste discrimination, which is incontrovertibly contained in such texts as the Manusmriti.

While the Manusmriti has periodically been burned in public demonstrations, most notably by Ambedkar, never before has the government aligned itself with the leaders of prominent Hindu mathas to institute much-needed textual reform. This initiative has a constructive function, and it is heartening to note that the Shankaracharya of Sringeri, once considered uncompromisingly orthodox, has given his support to the Commission.

Unlike other religions, Hinduism can withstand textual reformation without undermining its metaphysical and philosophical tenets. We can only hope that representatives of the so-called upper castes do not derail this effort in the name of religious freedom.

Sincerely,

Jaishree Gopal
Vikram Masson

6332 Denton Drive
Troy, Michigan (USA)

July 20, 2005

Co-Chairpersons, Navya Shastra

(Navya Shastra is an international organization dedicated to fostering the spirtual equality of all Hindus.)