Open Access Articles- Top Results for Criticism of Hinduism

Criticism of Hinduism

This article is about social and cultural criticism of Hinduism. For bias and/or prejudice against Hindus, see anti-Hindu.

Criticism of Hinduism refers to the practices and beliefs held by Hindus which have been criticized, both by Hindus and non-Hindus. Early Hindu reformers had pointed the on going misrepresentation of Hinduism, and later reformers did the same through their movements.[1][2][3][4][5]

Social structure

The caste system in Nepal and India has been prevalent for centuries, it is described as a hierarchical system that assigned people different classes in society, similar to the 'middle class', 'upper class' system used in many western societies. Caste-based identification was not unique among Hindus,[6] to this day it is also found among Muslims, Christians, and others. Neither caste system is limited with India; Songbun of North Korea,[7] Hukou of China,[8] and others are regarded as caste systems as well.

The true essence of caste system was not by ones birth or by one's parents inheritance but by one's acts or by profession/heredity.[9] i.e. A Shudra can become a Brahmin (Example: Valmiki who wrote Ramayana), or Kshatriya can become Brahmin (Example: Vishwamitra, by whose grand son's name Bharata, India was named as Bharata centuries ago), or Kshatriya can become Shudra or Vaishya or vice versa. Which actually happened in a well known person born in Shudra family is called as Brahmin due to his profession of writing some highly scholarly writings.

Later, after the British colonization of India, the caste system was legally established.[10] The land policy created new class of landlords, drove millions into the ranks of tenants and agricultural labors.[11] Even though caste was actually based on one's deeds or works, afterwards it was generalized by birth.

Discrimination against widows

Hindu women traditionally leave their household after marriage and move into the household of their husband. If their husband then dies, this leaves them entirely dependent on his family for sustenance.[12]


  1. ^ Axel Michaels, Hinduism: Past and Present 188-97 (Princeton 2004) ISBN 0-691-08953-1
  2. ^ Nitin Mehta (2006-12-08). "Caste prejudice has nothing to do with the Hindu scriptures". The Guardian. Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  3. ^ M V Nadkarni (2003-11-08). "Is Caste System Intrinsic to Hinduism? Demolishing a Myth". Economic and Political Weekly. Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  4. ^ "suttee." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004 Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service.
  5. ^ Euthanasia and Hinduism - ReligionFacts
  6. ^ Ganguly, Rajat; Phadnis, Urmila (2001). Ethnicity and nation-building in South Asia. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. p. 88. ISBN 0-7619-9439-4. 
  7. ^ Barbara Demick, Nothing to Envy: Love, Life and Death in North Korea, Fourth Estate, London, 2010, pp 26-27.
  8. ^ "China's New Confucianism: Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society" by Daniel A. Bell, p. 186, quote = "From a liberal democratic perspective, in other words, the hukou system is the functional equivalent of a caste system that marks a group of people as second-class citizens just because they were unlucky enough to be born in the countryside."
  9. ^ "Caste System in India: A Historical Perspective", Ekta Singh, 2005, p. 25
  10. ^ "Religion, Caste, and Politics in India", by Christophe Jaffrelot, p. 450
  11. ^ "Identity and Genesis of Caste System in India", by Ramesh Chandra, p. 77
  12. ^ Burns, John F. (29 March 1998). "Once Widowed in India, Twice Scorned" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 5 April 2015.