This was a question on Quora already 8 years ago. Meanwhile there are many more attempts to associate Hinduism wrongly with violence.
Here is my updated reply from 8 years ago:
Hinduism is the only religion of the three major religions (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism) that never used a sword to spread, unlike the other two. The reason is simple. It is the only religion that does not divide humanity into “us, who are right, versus them, who are wrong”. It is the only religion of the three, which does not claim that it alone is true and others need to follow it because this is the Will of the Highest.
Hinduism is in a different category from Christianity and Islam, both of which demand blind belief in what one person has said about the Will of the Creator.
However, Hinduism is often unfairly maligned as violent and as ‘proof’ the caste system is mentioned.
It is unfortunately a general human weakness that those with a higher standing in society often look down on the lower classes. Hindus are also humans and some may treat lower classes/ castes badly as it happens everywhere in the world, but this has nothing to do with Hinduism. It’s surely telling that this is the most ‘negative aspect’, which the Abrahamic side could find, to malign Hinduism.
If for example a Brahmin refuses to eat with someone who eats meat, it is made to look as if it is the worst possible crime a human can commit, much worse than the inhuman tortures and murders which those two religions committed in the name of their God over centuries.
Many millions all over the world were killed by them, and many millions of them were Hindus. To kill people because they worship God in another way is definitely not the mindset of Hindus. Yet incredibly, attempts are made to make Hindus look as the perpetrators of violence, as it happened recently in England.
Yes, violence may be needed in defence of Dharma and to stop evil-doers, but never to silence/kill other views about the Divine.
The Divine is in everyone as pure awareness, never mind which religion he or she follows. That’s the inclusive Hindu view, which makes sense, but unfortunately is not shared by the dogmatic religions.
By Maria Wirth