Criticism of Hinduism

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

Social structure

The caste system in India and Nepal has existed for centuries. It is described as a hierarchical, endogamous and closed system of jatis that assigned people different classes in society. Hindu scriptures however state that 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 and Sikhs. Systems similar to Indian caste system can be found in other parts of the world, like Songbun of North Korea,[3] and Hukou of China as well as the caste system in Pakistan.[4]

When the British started to classify castes for the purpose of colonial administration, caste associations were secularized.[5]

Discrimination against widows

Hindu women traditionally leave their household after marriage and move into the household of their husband. If their husband then dies, this leaves them entirely dependent on his family for sustenance.[6]


  1. "[1]" by Jeaneane Fowler p. 19-20]
  2. Chatterjee, Partha (1993). The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Post-Colonial Histories. New Jersy: 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Barbara Demick, Nothing to Envy: Love, Life and Death in North Korea, Fourth Estate, London, 2010, pp 26-27.
  4. "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."
  5. "Religion, Caste, and Politics in India", by Christophe Jaffrelot, p. 450
  6. Burns, John F. (29 March 1998). "Once Widowed in India, Twice Scorned" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 5 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Apte, Vaman Shivram. The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43878-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Keay, John (2000). India: A History. Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-3797-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>