In an interesting decision given by the Privy council a century ago (1903) , the interpretation of the word ‘Hindu’ throws light on how liberal ‘Hinduism’ is in encompassing variety of practices and sections of people from the society and yet remain unique and unadulterated.
The Privy council in Bhagwan Koer Vs. J.C. Bose and Ors., Calcutta observed :
“We shall not attempt to lay down definition of what is meant by the term ‘Hindu’,
– to make it accurate and at the same time sufficiently comprehensive as well as distinctive is extremely difficult.
The Hindu religion is marvelously Catholic and elastic. Its theology is marked by eclecticism and tolerance and almost unlimited freedom of private worship.
Its social code is much more stringent, but amongst its different castes and sections exhibits wide diversity of practice.
No trait is more marked of Hindu society in general than its horror of using the meat of the cow. Yet the Chamaras (Scheduled castes) who profess Hinduism , but who eat beef and the flesh of dead animals, are however low in the scale included within its pale.
Its easier to say who are not Hindus, and separation if Hindus from the Non-Hindus is not a matter of so much difficulty.
The people know the differences well and can easily tell who are Hindus and who are not ”
Now…I am wondering what differences have we brought about after one hundred years !