Vikram Masson
(201)674 2065 (USA)

Navya Shastra Endorses Government of India Plan to Examine Laws of Manu. Commends Hindu Leaders for Initiating Anti-Untouchability Campaign

Troy, Michigan--July 5, 2005--Navya Shastra, an international organization of scholars, practitioners and priests dedicated to fostering the spiritual equality of all Hindus, commends the Government of India's Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Commission for initiating a dialog with Hindu religious leaders on abolishing discriminatory scriptures from the Hindu corpus of sacred texts. The Commission singled out the Laws of Manu for careful scrutiny, stating that it has divided Hindus based upon caste."In order to fulfill the egalitarian aspirations of the world's one billion Hindus, it is important that we carefully examine the religious sources of caste discrimination," said Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Co-Chairman, "and though the Laws of Manu and other similar texts are not legally binding in the Republic of India, many upper-caste Hindus have internalized the hierarchical values contained in the text and find in it a religious basis for the continuing oppression of the lower castes," she added.

Navya Shastra also commends a group of religious leaders in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka for initiating an anti-untouchability campaign in the region. A group of seers will compose a new mantra to end religious discrimination and have promised to agitate for the rights of Harijans to conduct religious ceremonies at temples throughout India. "For too long, Hindu religious leaders have remained silent despite soaring levels of caste discrimination in rural India. It is heartening to see them finally taking a stand," said Vikram Masson, Navya Shastra Co-Chairman.