Unity in Diversity: Hindu Perspective



Abstract: Both accommodation and resistance were parts of Hindu behaviour pattern. caste is related to intolerance and much more. Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar fought for the rights and upliftment of the ‘untouchables’ thereby giving them their due place in society. Not letting them flourish in every possible way is a denial of humanity. Kant’s advice can be emphasised here: “A social order requires defining the freedom of the individual in such a way that it discovers its own limits in other people.” Hinduism accommodates a great variety of life styles and practices. Hindu communities assimilated people, customs and ideas despite having a hierarchy based on caste, age sex, and also despite having geographical diversity and thus bringing in unity without uniformity in diversity without fragmentation. Within the Hindufold there are numerous evidences of crosscultural fertilization. Their religious outlook is unitary. Monier-Williams, a British scholar, wrote that Hinduism was like ‘the sacred fig-tree of India (the banyan), which from a single stem sends out numerous branches destined to send roots to the ground and become trees themselves, till the parent stock is lost in a dense forest of its own offshoots.’ Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall, a British literary historian, also wrote: ‘Nowhere but in India can we now survey with our own eyes an indigenous polytheism in full growth, flourishing like a secular green bay tree among a people of ancient culture. The sects of the Hindus are numerous and new sects are coming up but Hindu sectarianism is not exclusive. The perfect harmony of relationships in this world is realised through one’s union with other leaving behind the barrier of social inhibitions, thereby fulfilling the highest mission of the

present age-the unification of mankind.’ This is an ideal for which the present-day world must strive.


Keywords: Unitary, Otherness, Accommodation, Resistance, Caste