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My Journey From A Devout Muslim To An Ardent Atheist

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There was a time when I used to be a devout Muslim and offered prayers five times a day. But slowly, I started realising that religious scriptures should be taken allegorically, and not literally because there are many parts in the religious scriptures that are beyond the general explanation. One thing behind my transformation from a devout Muslim to an ardent atheist is the religions’ ultimate statement on being unable to give a suitable explanation to a question. The question of whether we should not raise a question on the existence of God.

There was a time when I used to be a devout Muslim and offered prayers five times a day.

On the other hand, science gives one solid explanation and never heckles one from raising a question about a particular subject matter. In my opinion, religious scriptures are full of fairy tales and a part of world literature itself and nothing else. Religious institutions and people affiliated to them are of the opinion that religious scriptures have come down to this earth, undergoing a divine process, whose explanation is beyond our scientific comprehension until now.

I believe Abrahamic religions (Zionism, Christianity and Islamism) are full of wonders, which the religious people belonging to their respective religions, cannot explain properly. Their explanations always have serious doubts which is why I cannot accept them.

At the age of 15, I started leaning towards atheism and decided to lead my life without having any belief in supernatural entities. My father has helped me all through my journey. The first lesson of atheism I received was from no one but my own father.

I started having serious doubts on the veracity and truthfulness of religious scriptures. The questions that I asked my seniors and people, considered to be the experts in this field, went unanswered. Sometimes, I was given answers but the scarcity of solid facts and explanations could not satisfy me.

My doubts started growing at a rapid pace. I soon began to believe that the entire story related to God is nothing but a mere hoax, sometimes used to tame a particular class of society. The staggering gap between the nature of religion and science is that science never gives one an excuse; whereas religion, on being unable to respond to a question, tends to give one an excuse, which is easily perceivable, if one has the potential of a research-based mind.

It is important to note that a research-based mind always seeks to justify a particular subject matter on the basis of true facts, which generates instant consequences or at least consequences.

Albert Einstein On Religion And Science

Albert Einstein is one of the most revered scientists of all times. Unfortunately, he is one of the scientists whose statements have been analysed without any context. One of the statements that have created a massive worldwide debate between the theists and atheists is that “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” This is a misinterpreted statement and often taken out of the context.

Einstein was a Jew by birth. His parents were not religious but he attended Catholic primary school and had received private tuition in Judaism. But by the age of 12, he started questioning various parts of the religious scriptures as doubtful. Einstein penned a letter on January 3, 1954, to his philosopher friend Eric Gutkind. In the letter, he stated the following, “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

Furthermore, on the question of the Jews people cited as the “favoured people of the God”, his opinion was clear. He stated that “For me, the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise, I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”

From Bhagat Singh To The Socio-Political State Of The Country: Here’s What Influenced My Decision

My process of transformation, a religious Muslim to an ardent atheist, started with a book called “Why I am an Atheist” by Bhagat Singh. Bhagat Singh scientifically explained the reasons behind why he practised atheism. He stated that holding no belief in god should not be considered by people as an act of vanity, but the supernatural entities like God, have no reality-based basis. His revolutionary struggles against the fascist British force inspired me a lot. He did not change his stance, even when he was about to be hanged to death. He remained a devout atheist until his death.

Another crucial factor behind my transformation from an ardent Muslim to an atheist was the socio-political scenario of the country, in particular, and the world in general. I looked at those countries that are religious. The religious countries are suffering more than the ones which are not extremely religious. Extremely religious countries, I noticed, produce religious bigots. They are the ones who should be held responsible for the propagation of social evils. I started feeling suffocated and I needed to be liberated from all this.

Being an atheist in a country like India is not that easy. In my opinion, India is a country where some people are religious bigots and lack the capacity to filter out the bad from the good. Here, free thinkers are targeted on a daily basis. They are blamed for inciting communal violence. They are perceived as the biggest threat to any society. But the actual truth, which I can say, with my own responsibility, is that they are the ones who keep the religious narrowness aside try to rectify everything around us.

My journey as an ardent atheist is not exceptional in the context of India’s allergy towards the acceptance of atheists. I have been bullied in every possible manner. I have been insulted. My views, without even being heard carefully, have been labelled as “idiotic”. I have been made to feel cornered by others. My response to them is clear and short-cut. I have decided to live my life as an atheist based on some principles, which until now, are true and scientific to my knowledge.

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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.

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.

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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.

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 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.

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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
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