A rebuttal to Abul Kasem’s article- Women in Hinduism: Part-1

published on March 8, 2009

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By Raju Maliger


 

“O Universal God, please lead us from untruth to truth, from darkness to light,
from death to immortality, OM let there be Peace, Peace, and Peace” said my
Vedic ancestors 5000 years ago in Brihadaranyaka
Upanishat
(1.3.28).


 


Introduction

: Recently, I
came across on Islam-watch
website a derogatory article titled “Women in Hinduism” by Abul Kasem. The author
claims himself to be a Bangladesh-born X-Muslim that has written few books and
articles on issues concerning Islam and terrorism. He moved to Australia ever
since he became an apostate. It is evident from many of his articles that he is
better versed with Arabic language and its religion than the culture and
religion of his vedic ancestors.
Based on his article on women in Hinduism, it is quite evident that he simply
copied verses from books and websites that claim to
provide translations of the Vedas and
Vedanta, but never bothered to
investigate the real meaning of the original Sanskrit verses. Never once in his
article has Abul provided transliteration of the vedic verses he has quoted. Apparently, Kasem hasn’t done any
scholarly research on his own. Rather, he reproduced verses from a and few
books, without bothering to investigate the real meaning of the original
Sanskrit verses. When many sincere people on the forum questioned the non-existence
of the verses he is said to have taken from that website, he blamed that the
aforesaid website had removed many inconvenient verses and thus washed off his
hands. In Hinduism, there is a system of scholarly debate (vaada-vivaada), which Kasem is fully aware of. In the series of
articles, I shall refute Kasem by (i) describing the glorification of women in
Vedas and providing the correct transliteration and meanings of the verses
quoted by Kasem, and (ii) showing how Colonial British were involved in denigrating
Vedas and cooked up Aryan invasion theory, which Kasem and other hibernating
authors repeat like parrots without even bothering to look into the current
status of such theories.


 


Background

: It is
surprising to find an article about Hinduism on a website meant for scrutinizing
Islam. Prior to publishing this article, Kasem had translated
an article from Bengali in which he had described the following absurdities,
which are similar to the minutes of a Bengali communist party conference on
history. A sample of his translation runs like this: “In the period 600 BCE the human
society did not even had the idea of proper body attire
. They looked at the huge trees and wondered
how those trees grew so gigantic. Men and women lived in small caves….. Around 85 CE, from the ruins of the
hunter-gatherer, a new, more habitable society started to emerge. People
started wearing loin cloths
.
” Western historians

date Gautama Buddha’s lifetime from 563 BCE to 483
BCE.


 

Piqued by Kasem’s knowledge in history, many educated people,
especially Hindus, questioned the authenticity of the article. It was then that
the Editor of Islam-watch published a derogatory article on Hinduism to counter
the loopholes in Kasem’s article. Whatever Kasem has translated, with or
without a conscious mind, does not surprise anyone because he took almost 40
years to learn the nature of the religion he was born into.


 


Analysis of Abul Kasem’s article

: Abul Kasem’s article can be found here.
It is interesting to note that he uses terms such as Sati Pratha and Dasi Pratha
that are patented by Christian missionary organizations which aim to harvest
so-called heathen, pagan, Asian souls by publishing derogatory information
about other religions.


 


Kasem writes

: Our oldest books are the ‘Vedas’, which contain highly
objectionable and condemnable passages concerning women.


 


Rebuttal

: The Sanskrit word Veda
comes from the root word vid, which
means knowledge. So, Vedas have been
imparting imperishable knowledge to mankind since time immemorial and are now
becoming popular in the West. Regarding Kasem’s comment on the presence of
objectionable verses in Vedas on women, it should be noted that Hinduism is the
last of the surviving so-called PAGAN religions (term coined by Abrahamic
faiths) that continues to worship GODDESS as Shakti and energy. In Vedas
earth, nature, rivers, and divine energy are represented by Mother Goddess. She
is also called the nourisher of mankind and all planets in the universe. If
Vedas were to denigrate women, then similar to Abrahamic scriptures, they
(Vedas) shouldn’t have contained glorifying verses on Mother Goddess, or women
in general.


 


Kasem writes

: Taking cue from the ‘Vedas’ authors of subsequent religious
scriptures referred to women in more contemptuous form.


 


Rebuttal

: When a person reads anything with a defective magnifying glass, to
him everything appears arid, contemptuous, and unworthy. There is a sea of
difference between Vedic and Abrahamic scriptures which Kasem is unable to
comprehend.


 


Kasem writes

: ‘Sati pratha’ (custom of burning widows with the
body of their husbands), ‘Dasi Pratha’ (keeping the slave-girls),
‘Niyog Pratha’ (ancient Aryan custom of childless widow or
women having sexual intercourse with a man other than husband to beget child),
were among cruel customs responsible for the plight of the women.


 


Rebuttal

: It should be noted clearly that the terms Sati Pratha, Dasi Pratha,
and Niyog Pratha do not find any
mention in any of the four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama, Atharva), 18 Puranas, and
Upanishats which are considered sacred by all Hindus. The meaning of Sati is virtuous woman or wife, and it
is always associated with Pati
(husband). The meaning of Pratha in
Sanskrit is scattering, flattening, extending, or spreading out.  However, the word Pratha doesn’t appear together with Sati even once in any of the authentic Hindu scriptures mentioned above.
Abul Kasem should to do a personal research to locate the Sanskrit phrase sati pratha in our scriptures. On the
other hand, Kasem will be lucky to find such neo-Indology terms in any of the
Christian missionary websites and Bengali communist sources.  The custom of burning widows with the body of
their husbands is not present in the scriptures. In fact, Rig Veda (10.18.8)
states exactly the opposite. Here is the transliteration of the same verse- “Rise, woman, and go to the world of living
beings: Come, this man near whom you lie is dead: You have enjoyed this state
of being the wife of your husband, the suitor who took you by the hand.
”
Here, a widow is advised to live her life instead of grieving over her dead
husband as the Karma of spending earthly time as husband and wife is over due
to his death. Many of the Christian missionaries twist the meaning of this
verse to demonize Hinduism. In Ramayana, we find that King Dasharath’s wives
lived with their children even after their husband’s death. Ravana’s wife,
Mandodari, didn’t commit suicide upon the death of her husband. In Mahabharath
Kunti, Pandu’s widow, lived in the royal palace till she became old. If Kasem
finds enough time to read the medieval history of India,
he will notice that the custom of widows jumping into the funeral pyres of
their husbands started when Jihadi
thugs started invading India.
According to divine Quranic injunctions, these Jihadis used to kill the captured
male soldiers and enslave women as concubines (Refer Quran 4.25). Instead of
falling prey to these marauders, Hindu women committed suicide by jumping into
the funeral pyre of their husbands. Later on, in the medieval ages it became a
custom under the name Johar in
certain parts of Northern India where the
Islamic onslaught was at its peak. Now, such a system is nowhere to be seen
except in the Christian missionary books and Kasem’s articles.


 

The meaning of Dasi is ‘female worker’ or ‘servant’ and
NOT ‘slave girl’ as mentioned by Kasem. We find the term ‘slave’ rampantly used
in Old Testament and Quran, wherein the God (?) gives permission for believers
to wage war against other religions, rape the enslaved women, and sell them in
the market as slaves. On the other hand, Kasem should be aware of the fact that
the wars between Hindu Kingdoms were fought only amongst the warriors. Civilians,
agricultural lands, properties, and places of worship were never touched
irrespective of the outcome of the war. I advice Kasem to read the rules and
regulations set aside by Bhishma for the Kurukshetra war in the Bhishma Parva section of Mahabharath. In
fact, Megasthanes, a Greek Ambassador during the time of Alexander, has
recorded in his memoirs that farmers, sages, and other civilians walking in the
field near the battlefield, where a war was fought between two Hindu kingdoms,
were never harmed. Therefore, the question of keeping slave-girls never existed
in Vedic society. If Kasem thinks that the assistants to princesses and Kings
are slaves, then I wonder what he considers the attendants of Queen Elizabeth
or the President of America. Being a receiver of dole money, his conscience
does not permit him to think that far! Finally, the meaning of the word Niyog is application, employment, task,
duty, or function. I am not sure how he is associating Niyog with Pratha. Many
disillusioned authors mention the phrase ‘Niyog pratha’ in their articles, but
no one dares to quote authentic references from the four Vedas, 18 Puranas, and
the Upanishats.


 


Kasem writes

: Naturally, seeking shelter under such religious sanctions,
unscrupulous women disgraced women to the maximum possible extent and made them
means of satisfying their lust. No one wanted a daughter. As a result; female
infant came to be considered unwanted. No one wanted a daughter. Everyone was
interested in having a son. The birth of the son was celebrated, but the birth
of the daughter plunged family into gloom. This attitude still persists, even
though certain other customs have undergone changes.


 


Rebuttal

: If Kasem is writing about the female infanticide practiced in few
remote villages in India,
then he has every right to criticize it. However, such a heinous system has no
backing from the Hindu religious scriptures. In fact there is a saying- every
family needs a daughter for performing Aarati
(an auspicious ceremony). The birth of a son or daughter in a family was
considered equally auspicious. In the last 1000 years, Hinduism may have
adopted bad practices due to outside influence. However, the core of Hindu
scriptures adores women. In fact, Sri Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita “Among
women I am fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, faithfulness, and
patience; of poetry I am the Goddess Gayatri verse, sung daily by the
intelligent
.”



 


Kasem writes

:
‘Rig Veda’ itself
says that a women should beget sons. The newly married wife is blessed so that
she could have 10 sons.


 


Rebuttal

: If Kasem has read Vedas, then he should be able to quote the exact
verse number in the Rig Veda to uphold his claim. Otherwise, he is venting out
his hallucination and displaying idiosyncrasy. In fact, Yajur Veda (14.2.71)
states “I am this man, that dame are you;
I am the psalm and you the verse. I am the heaven and you the
earth.  So will we dwell together here, parents of children yet to be
.”


 


Kasem writes

: So much so, that for begetting a son, ‘Vedas’ prescribe a special
ritual
called ‘Punsawan sanskar’ (a ceremony performed during third
month of pregnancy).


 


Rebuttal

: The word Punsawan means ‘manliness’.
During the ‘Punsawan Sanskar’ ceremony, which is performed during the third
month of pregnancy, a husband

vows
to observe celibacy during the duration of pregnancy and lactation and ensure
the happiness and health of his wife, and in return, the wife vows to do all
she can to ensure the perfect well-being of the foetus so that the child is
born strong and healthy. Saskaras cannot be leant by reading Arabic night
stories or Bengali comrades’ thoughts, but by dwelling into Vedas through the guidance of a Guru.
For more information on Sanskars, please visit the following link.


 


Kasem writes

: During the ceremony it is prayed:”Almighty God, you have
created this womb. Women may be born somewhere else but sons should be born
from this womb” [Atharva Ved 6/11/3].


 


Rebuttal

: Atharva Veda (6/11/3) states “Prajapati,
Anumati, Sinivali have ordered it. Elsewhere may he cause the birth of maids,
but here beget a boy
.” It is already made clear what Punsawan Sanskar
is and it has nothing to do with the Atharva Veda verse. This verse is a prayer
to get a boy and has nothing against women. If a warrior family needed a male
child for the kingdom to fight future wars, then what is wrong in praying God
to beget them a male child. Likewise, there are many instances where parents
pray for the birth of a female child. Now, what do we infer from the following Rig
Veda verse (5.61.6) –“Many-a-times woman
is more firm and better than the man who shuns away from Gods and does not
offer sacrifices
(yajna).” Why
did the sages quote exactly the opposite thing here when compared with Atharva
veda (6/11/3)? Isn’t Kasem quoting everything out of context?


 


Kasem writes

: “O Husband protect the son to be born. Do not make him a
women” [Atharva Ved 2/3/23]


 


Rebuttal

: It is important to note that Book 2, hymn 3 of Atharva Veda refers
to the medicinal properties of water. Most important thing here is that there
are only 6 verses in that section. Kasem is either ignorant about this or he is
using Al-taqiyya (deception)
technique to fool gullible people.


 


Kasem writes

: In ‘Shatpath Puran (Shatpath Brahman)’ a sonless women has been
termed as unfortunate.


Rebuttal

: Here, Kasem deliberately avoids quoting the exact verse number for
the fact that he has borrowed this statement from a secondary source.


 


Kasem writes

: Hindu scriptures in other places say: “There cannot be any
friendship with a women. Her heart is more cruel than heyna” [Rig Ved
10/95/15.]


 


Rebuttal

: Here is the correct transliteration of Rig Veda 10/95/15: [Urvashi
says] “Die not Pururava, fall not; let
not the hideous wolves devour you. Female friendships do not exist; their
hearts are the hearts of jackals
.” I am sure Kasem doesn’t even know who the
addressor and addressee of this verse are, and yet he quotes everything out of
context. Here, it is essential to understand that out of jealousy Urvashi, a
WOMAN, is addressing Pururava (her lover) not to become friendly with other
women. As any person would fear the separation of her lover, Urvashi uttered
this out of sheer possessiveness for Pururava. More importantly, it is not told
by the venerable devatas (Gods) of the Vedas. For more information, one can
refer to ‘Vikramorvasheeya’, a play
written by the world renowned poet, Kalidasa, wherein he describes the romantic
life of Pururava and Urvashi. 


 


Kasem writes

: ‘Yajur Ved (Taitriya Sanhita)- “Women code says that the
women are without energy. They should not get a share in property. Even to the
wicked they speak in feeble manner” [Yajur Ved 6/5/8/2]


 


Rebuttal

: Firstly, the verse is incorrectly translated to suit the needs of
early Indologists. For the benefit of all readers, I shall quote the original Sanskrit
verse, its transliteration, and the context of the verse.


 



 lokam ajigamsan
te swargam lokam na prajanan



 te etam patnivacham
apashyan tam agrhanat



 tato vai te
swargam lokam prajanan



 yat patnivacho
grhyate swargasya lokasya prajnatyai


sa somo natishtata stribhyo grhymanas


te ghrtam vajram krtvaghnan


tasmaat striyo indriyaanigrahanti dayadaraah api paapaat
pumsa upasthiraram


 

lokam = world;
ajigamsan = discerned; te= they ; swargam = heaven; na = not ; prajanan =
discerned; te = they   ; etam =  this   
; patni = wife ; vacham = speech ; apashyan = saw, discerned ; tam =
him; agrhanat = took, hold ; tato = from then ; vacho = speech; grhyate = being
taken; somo = soma drink; natishtata = not stand; stribhyo = women; grhya=
hold; prajna = consciousness; manas = mind; te = they; ghrtam = ghee; vajram=
thunderbolt; krtvaghnan= beat it and used; tasmaat = therefore; indriyaanigrahanti
= control sense organs; daya= compassionate; aadara = respectful, accommodating;
api = also; paapat = with sinful ; pumsa= man; upa= with; asthiraram = not
comfortable


 


Transliteration

: They could not discern the
world; then holding on to the speech of (their) wives, they certainly discerned
the heavenly world. Then, to be conscious about the heaven, they still held on
to their wives’ speech, but (in doing so) soma cold not be held by these women.
They powered on ghee to turn it into a bolt and used it. Therefore, women control
sense organs, are also compassionate and respectful, and are not comfortable
with sinful man
.


 

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