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Sikh Vs. Hindu Essay

2349 words - 10 pages

Woman’s Rights - Comparative Essay - Hinduism vs. Sikhism
Throughout the history of religion, the dialectical process has been in full effect. The dialectical process begins with a thesis, an established entity. In opposition to the thesis, there is an antithesis. The antithesis spawns from the thesis due to oppression, objection or similar matters. This process is generally what happens within religion as well, and how the formation of new religions occur. Sikhism, a religion formed from Hinduism, demonstrates the dialectical process. Within this paper, I will be comparing Hinduism and Sikhism, and the rights of woman within each religion to demonstrate how Sikhism is more progressive ...view middle of the document...

Sikhism was derived from Hinduism. Within the dialectical process, Hinduism was the thesis, and Sikhism was the antithesis. The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, was born into the Hindu caste system as a merchant. God chose Guru Nanak Dev to form the religion of Sikhism. Aging in the Hindu caste system, Nanak discovered that there were many concepts within Hinduism that he did not agree with. These concepts contained the belief in multiple gods (no one knew who the one true God was), the divide between the wealthy and impoverished, the consummate amount of selfish desires that society inhabited, the unfortunate event of low caste individuals being treated poorly, and the idea that women were inferior to men. Guru Nanak Dev designed Sikhism around equality: ‘The principle of equality lies at the heart of Sikhism’s ethical code; no distinction is to be made in terms of caste—central, of course, to the surrounding society in India—nor in terms of gender” (Mahmood, The Guru’s Gift, 27).
This principle strongly promotes gender equality in Sikhism. In contrast with Hinduism, Sikhism is much more progressive in terms of woman’s rights. Unfortunately, even with being the world’s oldest religion, Hinduism’s ideas toward gender equality is very primitive, undeveloped and stagnate. In Huston Smith’s, The World’s Religions, Smith states, “If we were to take Hinduism as a whole — we would find it saying: You can have what you want” (Smith, The World’s Religions, 13). This may be true in retrospect to practice, but as for the life of women, this couldn't be further from the truth.
The life of a Hindu woman consists of four stages: daughter, wife, mother and the most unfortunate, widow. Before even being born, women are secondary to men; Hindu families put “great emphasis…on the hope of a male child…This has always been true in Indian Pumsavana (male production) being the third of the sacred domestic ceremonies” (Cormack, Hindu Woman, 4). The “birth of a daughter within the family is considered to be a curse” (Cormack 5). Although it has become less common today, there are still some communities within India who practice female infanticide. Female infanticide is the intentional killing of newborn female babies due to the preference for male babies.
During childhood, female children have strict rules that they must abide by. Traditionally, boys have a considerable freedom to play in the streets and fields, but girls, are usually strictly circumscribed, living more or less within the house or courtyard, playing with members of the family or with approved neighbors’ children.” (Cormack 2). The woman of the home, child and adult, work closely together to complete household tasks, such as cleaning and cooking. This is considered “training” the child for her future as a wife. During childhood, much more is expected from female children, “from the age of seven— …Girls are told, ‘You are a woman’”. (Cormack 46). A 2012 study conducted by UNICEF showed...

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