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Its the majoritarian ignorance of Hinduism rather than facts behind the ayodhya verdict

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I have been engaging in many discussions on Twitter, especially on Hinduism, which has been a hot topic for the past six years since the Modi government won the general elections in 2014. Some of the engagements have turned ugly, forcing me to block them from commenting any further. Social media is inundated with experts on Hinduism who switch quickly to abuse when their ignorance is exposed. What has baffled me though is the Supreme Court’s decision about Ayodhya. Every aspect of the verdict seems to be fishy. Why was it that the verdict had to be pronounced before the end of CJI Gogoi’s tenure?

My bone of contention with the verdict stems from three reasons:

1. The reason for Babri Masjid’s demolition has been given as the mosque was built on top of a non-Islamic structure, after it was demolished, and the remains of the building are below the mosque. All that the Supreme Court can do is to give the verdict to rebuild and renovate the demolished structure if ample proof is presented before the court to ascertain that the remnants continue to exist under or near the mosque. This is the only way a body of law can take a decision, based on evidence and logic. It is beyond the jurisdiction of a court to permit to build a new temple at the disputed site simply because a body of law cannot take decisions based on mere tradition and belief.

2. The court has stated that the demolition of Babri Masjid is illegal, but it stopped short of taking action against the instigators and the demolishers. A mosque is a place to pray, whereas a temple is a place of worship. The difference is in the practice of idol worship followed by Hindus. Babri Masjid has been gone for 27 years, and Muslims at Ayodhya have been praying for all this time. More important than a new mosque is for the Muslims to strive to get the court to pronounce the maximum punishment for everyone involved in the demolition of Babri Masjid.

3. By ruling that Ram is a human and the owner of the disputed site, the court has decided that Ramayana is Ram’s biography and is no longer an epic. Representation of Gods in human form started after the beginning of Kali Yuga and this is how idol worship started and temples started getting built. The court, has thereby displayed its complete ignorance in the Ramayana itself and stands proved that it has no credentials to take any decision in the Ayodhya case, or for that matter, any case related to religions.

These so-called experts of Hinduism on social media believe that Hinduism as a religion has been in existence since time immemorial and the ancient Indian texts are Hindu scriptures. I do not blame them completely because this is how we have been indoctrinated from our childhood. Our minds are buried so deep in culture and tradition that we simply accept everything we are told and never analyze anything we hear with commonsense and logic. There is not even the awareness that there is no mention of the word Hindu in any of the ancient texts, and Hinduism as a religion took shape only after idol worship in temples started.

It is not the ancient texts, but the knowledge contained in them that have been in existence since time immemorial. So how did the ancient texts become Hindu scriptures? Those texts contain ancient knowledge about advance science and technology. They have got nothing to do with any religion. Ironically, out of the numerous available gospels, four were selected and used to create the Bible which highlights the fact that ancient texts getting adapted to a religion is not an isolated case with Hinduism.

The Brahmins who were the guardians of the texts seems to have attached divinity to them so that they could enforce their monopoly on the knowledge in the texts and this seems to be the most likely reason for the beginning of Brahmanical hegemony in Hindu society. Ram is not mentioned as a God in Ramayana just like Jesus Christ is not mentioned as a God in the Bible. In fact, none of the nine avatars of Vishnu were considered as Gods till idol worship started. Whereas, Jesus is called the son of God, Ram is described as the avatar of Vishnu. How do we differentiate between the son and avatar of God?

We call son as the male child of a human. So how can Mary have a child with a God and still be a virgin? Just like in the Mahabharata, Kunti had six children with different Gods with no apparent physical contact. Vishnu, being one of the Trimurti could be an inter-dimensional being of the highest order that could exist simultaneously in different dimensions in different forms which is the only possible explanation as to how He could exist as Himself and as each one of His nine avatars at the same time? This is why I believe ancient Indian texts contain nothing but knowledge of science and technology, and we treat them as holy scriptures because we are not able to comprehend them. Do we know how to have a child without physical contact?

Brahmastra was the only weapon that couldn’t be recalled after it was used. We know how to abort a missile after it is used, but we have no clue how to recall a missile. There was a time when we used to associate nature’s elements with Gods and believed that thunder and lightning were created by the wrath of Gods. It’s been human fallibility to associate divinity with the incomprehensible from the beginning of our existence, but as we understood more about science we began understanding facts without the aspect of divinity. It is ignorance and the obvious inability in people to think critically that is fanning the current disturbances in India.

So why is Hindutva ideology getting compared with Fascist ideology widely on social media? Because just like Hindutva is using ancient texts to build the hype around Hinduism and restore Brahmanical hegemony on Indian society, Hitler also used ancient texts as the premise to drive the idea of Aryan supremacy into people’s minds. But where the two ideologies seem to differ is, Hitler seemed to have realized that ancient texts contain advanced knowledge of science and technology, which is why he apparently sent teams all over the world to study ancient texts. They seem to have succeeded in part in interpreting ancient knowledge which is probably how they were able to build advanced weapons like the U-boats and V-rockets among many others.

Ancient knowledge was probably what the Vatican was after when it incited the kings of Britain and France to start the Crusades under the pretext of reclaiming the holy land of Jerusalem, which was apparently flowing with milk and honey, but was found to be dry and barren by the Crusaders when they captured it. Search of ancient knowledge is probably what is still keeping the Middle East region in the state of flux it is in even now. Some people are also relating Ayodhya with Jerusalem and stating that Ayodhya is for Hindus what Jerusalem is for Christians.  Ram is revered for his virtues and was elevated to the status of God whereas Jesus is the son of God and the representative of God on earth for Christians. Such illogical statements from ignorant people who believe they know everything are serving to amplify the disruptive ripples in the society. All ancient texts have been modified over their period of existence to suit the needs of society in those times. Hero worshipping of a local legend and then the addition of divinity has resulted in the transformation of Ayyappa to a God. Similar seems to be the case with other Gods as well which is how the Hindu pantheon of Gods swelled to 33 million. When I tried engaging with the self professed Hindu scholars on social media I realized that they have zero understanding of ancient texts. The Trimurti is a 3 dimensional representation of the primordial force that creates, preserves and destroys the Universe and the same cycle of life and death is followed by everything within it. Shiva is worshipped as the most powerful Hindu God because He has to destroy in such a way that the Universe can be created again. This is why He is depicted with fire coming out of His 3rd eye and river Ganga in His hair bun. Fire is the only element that can destroy without maligning itself. We all know how life sprouts right back when rain falls after a forest fire. Every aspect of the texts can be interpreted similarly if we look at them with commonsense and logic. The Supreme Court has made its decisions like a temple administration body rather than a judicial one in the Ayodhya case, by giving into blind faith and I expect it to do no better with the Sabarimala case. If the court decided to stand by the wish of the majoritarian Hindu population then it has made a horrendous mistake. All that it will take is to ask any Hindu if building a temple will solve India’s economic problems and I am certain no one will say yes. The Ram temple issue was reignited for political reasons because of vote bank politics and has got nothing to do with Ram or Hinduism. The country is already nose deep in problems and building temples and statues is not going to solve any of them other than help the ones backing them to stay in power and control the people with their narratives.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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.

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