More Hindu Than Hindu

More Hindu Than Hindu December 20, 2017

I’ve reached a point where I’m in the awkward position of sometimes knowing more about Hinduism than some people of Indian ethnicity that I encounter.

Being Hindu is a huge part of my life and I dedicate a lot of my time and energy to it, so it’s not surprising that by this time I have a reasonably deep understanding of the faith.

At the same time it seems there are many children growing up in the west with Hindu parents and ancestry who don’t really connect with it or care about it. Some people are just not religious, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some people feel a stronger connection to the American culture than the Indian one of their families. Some are still trying to figure out their dual identity and the place that Hinduism has in their life.

It doesn’t always come up, of course, but when it does come out that I practice Hinduism and they don’t, it feels very awkward.

I always want to defer to native voices, to make sure that I’m not overpowering Indian Hindu voices with my white voice. But sometimes I am encountering Indian Hindus that know (and usually care) much, much less than I do.

I start to wonder, though, why we have the expectation that people who grew up fully American but happen to have Indian Hindu ethnicity should know about Hinduism. Afterall, no one in America looks at me and expects that I have to know all about Irish or Scottish traditions and practices. It is a part of the racism in America that I can be looked at as fully and simply American while someone with a slightly darker skin color is seen as first and foremost belonging to a different country.

I was thinking about this as I read this article in Brown Girl Magazine on a show about a Canadian woman of Indian ancestry exploring her roots and learning to hold both her identities: Indian and Canadian. I started thinking about how often I have met people who have not yet taken on that journey to learn about their roots and ethnic identity.

And again, while there’s nothing wrong with that, I feel very uncomfortable with the position that I am in when I know and understand more about Hinduism than a person whose family and ancestors are Hindu!

Do those people still “own” the rights to Hinduism more than I do? It’s an interesting conundrum in the world of social justice and trying to make sure that Hinduism is not co-opted, stolen, or “digested” by white people.

New to this blog? Check out these posts:

What Makes Me A Hindu?

Did I Start Out Christian?

Why Am I Called “The White Hindu”?

New to Hinduism? Learn more here:

Hinduism 101: What Do Hindus Believe?

Can I Convert To Hinduism?

Your First Visit To A Hindu Temple

Super Simple Daily Puja


Thank you to my wonderful Patreon supporters…

  • Brian Hanechak
  • Amit Agarwal
  • Don Moir

(views expressed here are mine alone and do not reflect opinions of my supporters. Links within the text may be affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something I get a small commission for recommending it. I only recommend things I truly believe in)

new patreon ad for blog

Become a Patron!

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • ash

    I think it very much has begun being co-opted by the west. Holi has become a rave type party. Yoga is exercise for the trendy. The story of the bindi is that it is a fashion item and that makes it ok for anyone to wear – even though I know no one who wears it as such. But these things still remain as they should be in Hindu communities even outside of India (maybe not so much in the USA where the culture devours everything). That’s what important.

  • Anonymouse

    I had come across your blog several times before and didn’t consider it worthwhile commenting.

    But, with this post you have finally shown your true colors.

    That old Jesuit dream of destroying Hindu culture and civilization never seems to go away. The mission civilisatrice never ends. As if marketing the Gospels as the “Fifth Veda” wasn’t depraved enough, now you have actively started infiltrating Hindu culture in order to mislead Hindus and re-define who a Hindu is; all the while Your fellow Irish Catholic, Jeffery D. Long, rants and raves against “right-wing Hindus” (i.e. Hindus who don’t take crap from foreigners)

    And yes, “those people” that you referred to in the last paragraph, as you usually do when the atavistic race-hatred of Hindus pops out once in a while, ARE Hindus and YOU ARE NOT.

    • kartashok

      Thank you sir. I respect the Irish Celtic mythology of your ancestors. You have a rich pre-Christian history. I don’t know why this darned woman needs to infiltrate and re-write the beliefs of MY racial history instead. People wonder why whites are often called out for cultural appropriation these days in the West, it is because of bad apples like this woman unfortunately, thanks for calling her out. 🙂

  • Anonymouse

    I should also like to add that “knowing” about Hinduism DOES NOT make you Hindu, no more than reading the Beowulf in the original Anglo-Saxon makes me an Englishman.

  • kartashok

    I think it’s very arrogant that some white Anglo-slut acts as if she’s an authority on a ethno-racial religion that was created specifically by the cultural AND racial merging of the Central Asian-Aryan, Elamo-Dravidian and Australoid peoples of the Indian subcontinent’s north and northwest starting in 2000 BC.
    Your culture is Odinism (or Wotanism). Go practice Wotanism and f*** off, pig.

  • kartashok

    White sluts like you would be more of a help if you focussed on your own Christian religion and left us alone. As it is your Christian missionaries are causing all kinds of problems in India. Now you want to deny us the right to our racial Hindu identity. F*** off, Celtic peat bog dwelling demoness.

  • Einar Tomassen

    Medieval Indian sea merchants caused whole non-Indian kingdoms to convert to Hinduism, even to the point that there are native Cambodian and Thai brahmin families to this day. Where was the problem when Cham, Khmer, Vijaya and others throughout South East Asia adopted Sanskrit scriptures and built fabulous temples to Shiva and Vishnu, notably the candis of Indonesia and above all, Angkor Wat? Hindu through & through! Vishnu veneration continues in some of those places (not just Bali). And of course there has been a stream of Hindu gurus and swamis bringing all sorts of Hindu traditions into the West for 2 centuries now, urging us to join them. Hinduism is said to be the fastest growing religion in Russian right now (despite Church opposition). There was a recent mass conversion to Hinduism of Poles in the news just a few years ago.
    Bharat Mata ki jai!


    //Do those people still “own” the rights to Hinduism more than I do? It’s an interesting conundrum in the world of social justice and trying to make sure that Hinduism is not co-opted, stolen, or “digested” by white people.//

    You talk on “RIGHTS”, that itself is enough to Judge you that you are still lot more to Learn on Hinduism, despite you may have more verbal library to your credits than a normal hindu from Bharat.

    “Hinduism” is based more on “RESPONSIBILITIES & DUTIES” than “RIGHTS”
    Hinduism is not a Matter of Commodity / Stock Trading wherein You need to be Careful for your RIGHTS, otherwise you will lose them

    Have you ever seen a River comparing itself with other Beings of Mother Nature?
    Have you ever seen a Tiger comparing itself with Snail ?
    Have you ever seen a Heart comparing itself with Kidney?

    HInduism is based on your ability to take RESPONSIBILITIES