hinduism is one of the oldest traditions of the world dating back to the indus valley civilisation.one of the major characteristics of this religion is the fact that it is not a religion but a way of life.that means anyone who follow the ‘indian’ way of life can be considered a hindu.this interpretation of hinduism gives scope for millions of different beliefs and traditions,so a malayali like me or a punjabi or a gujrati are hindu though our beliefs and most importantly gods vary.even the epics we hear may vary from one another this is the beauty of being hindu.
but after independence and especially from the 80s due to the vigorous efforts of some vested interests particularly from the north the religion or the hindu beliefs have begun to get homogenised.we in kerala started to get more into the rama and krishna cult and started abandoning the traditional gods and godesses.more importantly the ancestral worship which was an important aspect of our tradition is slowly dying out. the ‘adianthiram’ which used to be a yearly affair is now observed once in two or some cases in three years.’adiyanthiram’ is a ceremony that is conducted in these parts to honour the dead , the day is marked by special pooja conducted by a priest who is nonbrahmin not to any idols but to a ‘peedam’ or a small wooden stool and a plantain leaf.this ritual is supposed to feed the ancestors who are represented by the stool for one year.the ritual also involves sacrifices (cock) and offering of toddy or alcohol to appease the ancestors. this tradition is slowly dying out mainly due to the aforesaid homogenization of hinduism,where the northern beliefs are forced on us and we are made to abandon our tradition.
another of such case is the ‘naga pooja ‘and’ puluvan pattu’ ,where the snakes are worshiped.kerala have a long history of snake worship and every home used to have sacred grooves called’ pambin kavu ‘or snake temple. the naga poojas seldom happen these days and the sacred grooves are destroyed.the art form of puluvan pattu associated with this is also dying out.
the problem of homogenizing hinduism is felt in every community which have traditions different fro the north indian ones.i have read about’ balinese hinduism’ and its dilemma whether to adopt this new brand of hinduism or stick to their traditional ones. the propagators of this phenomenon must understand that diversity is the character of hinduism that differentiate it from other religions and this diversity is the only reason why it have stood the test of time.