Re: [sixties-l] George Harrison, India,& Caste Society

From: Ted Morgan (
Date: Tue Dec 18 2001 - 11:12:54 EST

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    A thought on Michael's post. It seems he's equating Harrison's embrace
    (if true) of Hinduism with some horrific practices engaged in by the
    organized Hindu religion. On those kinds of grounds, wouldn't we have
    to condemn Martin Luther King for the horrific practices of organized
    Christianity over the years, etc. etc? The question as I see it is,
    what kind of life did Harrison lead, was he committed to social justice,
    Ted Morgan wrote:
    > I'm no expert on George Harrison nor Hinduism, so my post is more about raising questions than providing answers.
    > My understanding is that Harrison went to India and converted to Hinduism. A lot of "counterculture" people thought that was a cool thing to do.
    > >From what I know of Hinduism, it is strongly implicated in reinforcing India's caste society, which is hardly a model of social justice.
    > The members of the lowest caste, the "untouchables," live in conditions of degraded poverty. Lower caste members are not expected to attempt to rise above their circumstances. The notion of reincarnation, associated with Hinduism, conveys the promise that they will be reborn into a higher caste if they honor their caste obligations in this life.
    > If I am correct, then I don't see much reason to sentimentalize about Harrison as though he were some kind of hero in a struggle for social justice.
    > If I am being unfair, then I shall listen to individuals who have made a deep study of Hinduism, India, and the caste system.
    > Recently I heard a lecture by a British anthropologist (whose name escapes me) on the subject of modern slavery. He talked a lot about the sexual slavery of teen girls, and India was one of the places upon which he focused attention. I assume these victims are members of the lower caste. Often their impoverished mothers are duped into selling them into slavery with the false promise that the girls are being given the opportunity for some kind of honorable vocational training.
    > -- Michael Wright
    > Norman, Oklahoma

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