This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Suhani Rampal. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Many Things About Religion In India That Don’t Make Sense To Me

More from Suhani Rampal

By Suhani Rampal:

religionReligion? What is religion? Does any law define what it is? Apparently, even a priest would find it hard to define what religion is. Religion is just another name given to the different forms in which God is worshipped. In other words, like a dictionary would define it, it is a set of beliefs, a cultural system of behaviours and practices, mythologies, world views, sacred texts, holy places, ethics, and societal organisation that link humanity to what an anthropologist has called “an order of existence”.

Now, why do people need an order of existence, a set of beliefs that suit their needs and distinguish them from others? It is a fact that Man was not born through his own volition or at his own behest. Hence, he does not have the right to determine the purpose of his life. That right belongs to his Creator. One of the Creator’s countless gifts to him is that every particle of the universe has been pressed into his service. This shows that man’s Creator is indeed a great benefactor. It is only natural that one’s heart should be inclined towards one’s benefactor. To respect and love the Benefactor is the natural religion.

So, the fact that man respects his creator and is keen to serve might make sense now. But does the societal demarcation make sense on the basis of religion? Or does the caste or the Varna system make more sense? Does the inter-relation between politics and religion make sense? Does the ban on entry for certain genders or castes into the temples of their own creators make sense? Does the conversion into another religion make sense because the society may not let you live or because the other religion seems more ‘lucrative’?

Since birth, every child in India is told which god to follow and what religion they belong to. It is not a choice. It is hierarchical as well as hereditary. It may not sound funny to many but it sure does tickle my bones that a religion that a person is supposed to follow for an average of 60 years of their life is in most cases not chosen by them. Not just religion, but their castes come attached with their birth as well. It is apparently shameful but so true that the parents of many of these kids, at least once in their lifetime, do tell their kids to not be friends with somebody from another religion or caste. Man, the creation of God, is discriminated against (and the situation at times gets worse) on the basis of exactly which god he follows. Then why are kids taught since nursery that god is one and everyone is equal?

To be fair, the Indian Constitution gives some rights to its citizens for enjoying the freedom of religion. As a secular nation, every citizen of India has the right to freedom of religion, i.e., the right to follow any religion of their choice from among the many that are there in India. According to this fundamental right, every citizen has the opportunity to practice and spread their religion peacefully. And if any incidence of religious intolerance occurs in India, it is the duty of the Indian government to curb these incidences and take strict action against them. Right to freedom of religion is well described in the Articles 25, 26, 27 and 28 of the Indian Constitution. Indian society has nurtured different cultures from times immemorial and has been home to a majority of the world’s religions and having such a historical lineage, the freedom of religion here holds great importance. Though important, it is not an absolute right and is subject to various restrictions based on public order, morality etc.

Even after such strong provisions in the Constitution, why do students like Rohith Vemula commit suicide? Why did his family members have to convert to Buddhism seeing the ruckus that was created after his death? Dalits are tired of being Dalits because even after so many years of Independence, they are still not considered equal. Though it is utterly ironic to see the Jats in the country longing for ‘backwardness’ when the world wants to go forward.

Talking of politics and religion and its ugly inter-relation, a politician is the representative of the general people of India and it is his/her responsibility to think of the well-being of everyone at large. But their role has often been shameful since Independence. The entire division of India and Pakistan during Independence is the greatest example in the history wherein a country was brutally butchered into two only to satisfy some political needs and people became enemies of each other because their Gods weren’t the same.

I fail to understand what progress the nation has made if there still is a complete ban on beef in various parts of the country in the name of religion. What will banning beef solve? Would banning pork solve something too? Will the economy be better or will it be worse? Would world problems like poverty, illiteracy, terrorism, global warming be even remotely solved if such bans are in place? Will the number of people dying reduce or the huge rise in the population stop? Why aren’t alcohol or tobacco banned entirely? The youngsters in Punjab are apparently the worst hit in terms of drug abuse. Why aren’t more people focussing on stopping that? If India truly claims to be secular, why is one religion favoured over another?

Even the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, once said, “I have been long pledged to serve the cow but how can my religion also be the religion of the rest of the Indians? It will mean coercion against those Indians who are not Hindus.”

The shoes that we wear, the jackets that we flaunt, the cosmetics that we endorse are all made with parts taken from animals like cows or buffaloes. There are hundreds of medicines which use various glands of the cow that people consume to survive in times of need. Cows are brutally handled in villages, being used as cart-pullers. Is that not cow-slaughter taking place slowly? Where do god and his preachers go then?

Why don’t political party memos have only one agenda, that of the well-being of the nation as a whole? Why is it more of a business and not selfless social work? These political parties should focus on making India what it should have been after so many years of Independence but cannot be due to ‘corruption’ and the various kinds of ‘Raj’.

Well, in the end, I’d conclude by saying that religion teaches us honesty, truthfulness, tolerance, simplicity, kindness and love for all. A religious person is closer to God, often showing no malice towards anyone. Religion has great importance in our social life for people need someone to pin their beliefs and hopes on. A religion, therefore, should never be made a topic of political interest and communal harmony must be maintained. But religion, sometimes being falsely interpreted, may cause harm to people in the form of superstition. It sometimes breeds religious fanaticism and religious intolerance and hence can take people away from the path of truth and God.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ashok Kumar Chohan

    Religion does not divide people by itself , it is the people who misinterpret religion which leads to divisions . The root cause of all disputes and fights is ego , which is given to man irrespective of what religion he follows . When people of one religion alone are present in a land there should be no fighting ? That is hardly the case .
    People do not choose religion but are born into it . If this was a valid reasoning , a man does not choose his father either , should he then reject his father on that count ? When you grow up with a set of values known as religion , which has given one so many positives , then for few aberrations you do not give it up later . It is akin to disowning your father for his human flaws !
    Varna System . A cursory reading of our ancient scriptures reveals to us that Varna is not based on birth , rather on ones chosen profession , which depends on inherent character traits or gunas , the combination of rajas , tamas and satva gunas . There are examples galore . At any stage , anyone , can come out of the mode of ignorance and torpor , and by his or her own inherent latent qualities enter into the mode of enlightenment . Like Ambedkar once did . You can not continue to relish stale and left over food , vie for reserved jobs , and blame others for being dalits .
    Cow protection . This is a non starter , an argument of the appeasers . The appeasers are no good for society , never have been . If cow protection is an issue , will it be all right to keep dogs as pets and later eat them as food ? Why can’t we eat dogs as food on regular basis ? If America can ban eating of horse meat , Islamic countries can ban pork , why can’t a Hindu majority nation respect the sentiments of the majority of the population ?

More from Suhani Rampal

Similar Posts

By YUMNA MOBIN

By Sushruta

By pratyush prashant

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below