This is with reference to the article printed in the Opinion Section of the Daily Nexus edition printed on Wednesday, 16th November. The author makes an assertion that Hinduism is a polytheistic religion (as part of an argument that the columnists of the “Ask An Atheist” column are not targeting all kinds of religion). As a Hindu I would like to state that this is not entirely correct. The Vedas, which are the religious texts of the Hindus, mention in several different verses that all gods are but a manifestation (or avataars) of the one supreme being.
To quote from a great book about Hinduism: “Hindus have one God. They also have 330 million gods: male gods, female gods, personal gods, family gods, household gods, village gods, gods of space and time, gods for specific castes and particular professions, gods who reside in trees, in animals, in minerals, in geometrical patterns and in man-made objects. Then there are a whole host of demons. But no Devil.” — Myth = Mithya, Devdutt Pattanaik.
Hinduism is accommodating of many different belief systems, and therefore one will find many different beliefs expressed by different people, all of whom will claim to be Hindus. This is in stark contrast to Judeo-Islamic systems which have fewer holy texts and a more hierarchical system.
That being said, I agree that “Ask An Atheist” could broaden its horizons to include other religions; however, I believe the point of that column is to express the viewpoints of atheists rather than just repudiate the viewpoints of different religions. On the whole, I think the inclusion of “Ask An Atheist” was a great idea because it is the beginning of a discussion. It is important that every faith gives its followers the leeway to ask questions and let them freely make a choice to believe (or not). I have found the column thought-provoking, and it’s helped me understand different belief systems better. I hope it is something that will continue for a while.
Rajlakshmi Purkayastha is a graduate student of metallurgical engineering and materials science.