Criticism of Hinduism

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Criticism of Hinduism refers to the practices and beliefs held by Hindus which have been criticised both by Hindus and non-Hindus.

Social structure[edit]

The caste system in India has frequently been criticised. The caste system in India and Nepal has existed for centuries. It is described as a hierarchical, endogamous and closed system of castes that assigned people different classes in society. Hindu scriptures however state that the caste system is not hierarchical but based on the person's character, knowledge and work.[1] Caste-based identification is unique to Indian society[2] and it is also found among Indian Christians, Indian Muslims, Sikhs and others.[3][4][5] Systems similar to the Indian caste system can be found in other parts of the world, like Songbun of North Korea,[6] and Hukou of China as well as the caste system in Pakistan.[7]

When the British started to classify castes for the purpose of colonial administration, caste associations were secularised.[8]


  1. ^ "Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices" by Jeaneane Fowler p. 19-20
  2. ^ Chatterjee, Partha (1993). The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Post-Colonial Histories. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 173. ISBN 0691019436. If there was one institution that... centrally and essentially characterized the Indian society as radically different from the Western society, it was the institution of caste.
  3. ^ Cohen, Stephen P. (2001). India: Emerging Power. Brookings Institution Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8157-9839-2.
  4. ^ Chaudhary (2013), p. 149
  5. ^ The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Christian caste-Indian Society". Encyclopædia Britannica. The Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  6. ^ Barbara Demick, Nothing to Envy: Love, Life and Death in North Korea, Fourth Estate, London, 2010, pp 26-27.
  7. ^ "China's New Confucianism: Politics and Everyday Life in a Changing Society" by Daniel A. Bell, p. 186, quote = "From a liberal democratic perspective in other words, the hukou system is the functional equivalent of a caste system that marks a group of people as second-class citizens just because they were unlucky enough to be born in the countryside."
  8. ^ "Religion, Caste, and Politics in India", by Christophe Jaffrelot, p. 450

See also[edit]