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How Studying The History Of Religion Has Brought Me To The Brink Of Atheism

Posted on July 23, 2015 in Society

By Mayurpankhi Choudhury

Recently, I have noticed that to be a secular Hindu it is imperative that you question your own faith and blatantly side with the other. The problem with me is that I don’t stop with questioning my faith. I question the others’ as well.

The Lie Of Hindu Gods

I am a student of history and being so has brought me to the brink of atheism. I have seen how man, to fulfil his own desires, often political, invented and used and sometimes even destroyed religion. I have seen how to extend their political domain rulers sent Brahmins to the remote areas of northeast to bring tantric tribes under their rule.

hindu gods
Primary gods in Hinduism today like Kali, Durga, Shiva don’t even have their origin in Brahmanical Hinduism. They were tantric gods that were incorporated within the Brahmanical fold to widen their audience and at the same time integrate the tribes as shudras within the caste hierarchy and extract labour. The Hindu Gods that we worship today weren’t even “Hindu” to begin with!

The Façade Of Religious Pride

The 1992 Gujarat riots started with an idea, build Lord Ram’s temple in Ayodhya. Who says Ram was born in Ayodhya? The Ramayana, history says. And who wrote the Ramayana? Valmiki, history says. Or does it? History says that “the great Indian epics” like Ramayana and Mahabharata are too dynamic and vast to have a single author. Dating based on the literary style of writing and inherent contradictions across passages stand as a testimony. There are certain versions of Ramayana which state that Ram and Sita were in fact siblings!

In the documentary “Ram Ke Naam” director Anand Patwardhan shrewdly exposes the façade of religious pride. Neither the vandals who proposed to be “protectors of the Hindus” nor the sagacious priests were able to provide a satisfactory answer to the simple question “When was Ram born?” One can see the cruel manifestations of religious incitements by political leaders. They were fighting for a “God” whose origin was uncertain.

Mention Of War In Religion

Hindu radicals are just a few steps behind their counterparts – the Muslim radicals. Manipulation of Islamic verses to garner wide scale acceptance of violence is not unheard of especially by the kuffars “the infidels in the west“. Islam has always preached the formation of a formal state structure with a monarch as the head. Majority of the western historians consider Islam to be furthering its religious ideologies by expanding their state, sometimes even by force. It’s a fact that certain passages in the holy book of the most widespread religion in the world mentions “jihad” or religious war in the name of Allah, the benevolent. The Quran has certain loopholes which the radicals exploit freely to provoke religious hatred. Similar is the case with Hindu radicals. During the Gujrat riots, Hindus were provoked to practice violence by their leaders who outrageously cited examples from the Mahabharata stating how the gods went to war to eradicate evil.

The Virtue Of Being A North-Easterner

I hail from the north-eastern state of Assam and after arriving in Delhi to study; I was shocked to see that religion was actually an issue in mainland India. We are Assamese back home – that is our identity. Our ethnicity binds us together irrespective of the religion each of us follows; thanks to our tribal background. Immigration has always been a problem in the claw shaped state of Assam that borders the country of Bangladesh. The Congress government that had been in power for the last 15 years in the state turned a blind eye to the issue so they could sway their votes in their favour by bribing the immigrants with concessions.

The problem of scarcity of resources especially redistribution of land among the natives caused many bloody protests. The Congress kept mum while the locals suffered. Although Modi in his campaign had promised to enact the 1985 Assam Accord and send back the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, after coming to power BJP proposed that they allow the Hindu immigrants to stay while the Muslim immigrants will be asked to return back. This caused a state wide outrage and AASU (All Assam Students Union), demanded that all illegal immigrants be sent back to their home country irrespective of their faith.

Dumbing Down Of History

Religion is a sacred and untouchable topic in India. Don’t question your faith or else you’re a traitor. Don’t question the others’ or else you’re a communal. They say, “Seek and ye shall find“. But it turns out people don’t want to seek the truth. As the face of power politics in the Centre changes, the face of history textbooks will too it seems. Distorted religious facts have already entered the school textbooks and it’s not long before it seeps into the young minds too. As the former member secretary of Indian Council of Historical Research, Gopinath Ravindran has expressed his concern at “the dumbing down of history“; I as a student fear the same.