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Examining differences does not constitute hate or racism

by Visakha Kawasaki, Sri Lanka, The Buddhist Channel, Feb 28, 2006

You can't win!  A word in defense of Pravin Bhalesain, from New Mumbai. He wrote in response to Kelvin Wong's letter and, as per request, provided some interesting links and information about the relations between Hinduism, especially fundamentalist Hinduism, and Buddhism, especially Dalits converted to Buddhism, in India. I found the article he recommended by the American scholar Gail Omvedt extremely readable and informative.

Instead of thanks for his trouble, he is chewed out, quite unfairly in my view, by Roger (no last name) from the UK. I don't know if it was Roger or the Buddhist Channel that put up the title "Stop publishing letters that spew hatred" but for the life of me I can't find any hate spewed in Pravin Bhalesain's letter, nor anything racist either.

Maybe Roger and I have a different definition of hate, racism, or spewing, but examining history and discussing differences in various religious beliefs isn't my idea of racism or hatred and that accusation is neither fair nor friendly. Nor is it up to Roger to determine who among us is really a Buddhist. (For Roger to state: "For a Buddhist he harbours so much hatred and anger I wonder if he is a Buddhist at all?" is quite over the top!)

If Roger wishes to continue to believe that every religion under the sun (except Judaism and Islam, apparently) are interconnected and essentially the same, that is quite up to him. If he wishes to remain ignorant of the condition of the Dalits, Tribals, and Scheduled Castes in India, that too is his prerogative. If he wishes to know nothing about the Buddhist revival due to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, who converted to Buddhism with many followers in Nagpur on 14th Oct. 1956, that is his choice.

For myself, I am happy to have the Gail Omvedt link and to be reminded that it will soon be 50 years since Dr Ambedkar converted to Buddhism.


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