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Why Our Roots Are In Danger?

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Why is preserving our Hindu Culture is essential? We never realize certain hard-hitting realities until it reaches out to snatch a part we never cared for.

Let’s slowly come to the realization, till I take you to an end that will fill that hollowness in our beliefs. Come, Sit back and let’s read along. This post is for every Hindu, the followers of Sanatana Dharma. In Hinduism, it is used to denote the “eternal” or complete set of duties or religiously ordained practices incumbent upon all Hindus, regardless of class, caste, or sect. Our Religion is also called the Aryan Religion because it is the religion given to the first Nation belonging to the Aryan race. Arya means noble, and the name was given to our great race much more refined in character and appearance.

The First Families that settled in the northern part of the land now called INDIA and the first settled in was called Aryavarta because Aryans lived. The land from the eastern to western ocean between the Himavan & Vindhya is called Aryavarta. Sanatana-dharma is the oldest religion in the world. It is pre-historic and absolute. On the other hand, the term Hindu or Hindu dharma is a term given by Persians only a few centuries ago to mean the people living beside the river Sindhu. Initially, it was an outsiders’ term, building on centuries-old usages of the word Hindu.

References — Sanatana Dharma “An elementary Textbook of Hindu Religion and Ethics” Published by the Hindu College, Benares,1916.

Early travellers to the Indus valley, beginning with the Greeks and Persians, spoke of its inhabitants as “Hindu”. In the 16th century, India’s residents started very slowly to employ the term to distinguish themselves from the Turks. Gradually the distinction became primarily religious rather than ethnic, geographic, or cultural.

Now, this briefs us about our Evolution. We are the only ONE Hindu nation globally, so safeguarding its culture eventually means protecting it because, after 1, there would be zero. We shall be diminished to dust; hence Creation, Preservation, Expression, Suppression & Destruction of the forces that endanger us are all our Eternal Duties of Hindu faith.

Thinking, Reading, Talking & Writing all contribute to one’s fulfilment of a subjects knowledge. There are infinite references we all can adhere for this subject. But what passes from one Generation to another is Inheritance. Our Roots are our Birthright Legacy.

Orthodoxy in Hinduism is holding onto the oldest beliefs. It is, of course, impossible for the religion not to evolve at all as new questions and their answers have to address. I strongly disagree with the status of Orthodox, which still stands true when it comes to culture. Every religion has to evolve and be progressive in its approach since we live in a society with others and other religions. We also take pride in being rich in our religious & moral teachings.

Today, the Western education system’s spiritual and ethical training is suited to our needs, time, era, and a new generation that directs us to have a comprehensive, liberal but openly Hindu character. “Orthodox” version is often considered to be the least evolved sect of a religion. Does the concept of Orthodox apply in Hinduism?

Yes hence, We live as per our convenience; we proudly stretch when we are called Orthodox because tolerance is our highest moral high ground, but for whom? Will it do us any good? We cant celebrate the history that also reminds us of our slavery for hundreds & thousands of years. Every History will have its repercussions immediately or eventually. We need to gather, pick, and choose aspects of our culture that puts us in our Sanatana religious Virtue, progressive mind being the Compulsion.

By my Traditions, my Upbringing, my Parents, my Ancestors, my Character, and most importantly, I’m a Hindu by birth because of my Belief in it. I know many people who strive to find the chord to their roots of Hinduism deeply. We are surrounded by many religions and their cultures around. I can even mention a few ones that stand true to their element of unity and respect among its people, but it isn’t about ranking since that would state I consider Hindu Culture a rank below. I would never get in that game of numbers. I’m a firm torchbearer of my Religion.

Photo: Sudarshan Poojary on Unsplash

Unity is the principal ignored element among us. Coming back to why I feel our Roots are in Danger is not because I fear external forces intervening or other religions having a firm foothold in their unity and pride; having said that, these are also a little matter of concern which should tickle us to be addressed in the far future. What significantly puts us in peril is the difference in our Ideological approach among our people. Time & again, we have failed our religion and never ranked it higher above us and proudly been its flag bearers. But why has this happened? What can divide the third-largest Religion with over 15% of the global population?

Photo: Sudarshan Poojary on Unsplash

Let’s say there are two kinds of Hindu, the Traditional & the Modern. There is a strong tendency for contemporary Hindus to affirm that tolerance is the only religious virtue. On the other hand, even cosmopolitan Hindus living in a global environment recognize and value the fact that their religion has developed in the specific context of the Indian subcontinent.

Such a tension between universalist and particularist impulses has long animated the Hindu tradition. When Hindus speak of their religious identity as Sanatana Dharma, they emphasize its continuous, seemingly eternal (Sanatana) existence and the fact that it describes a web of customs, obligations, traditions, and ideals (dharma) that far exceeds the Western tendency to think of religion primarily as a system of beliefs. While you continue reading, you should categorize yourself either of the two, traditional or modern.

let’s Discuss few fundamental Ideologies of our Sanatana Dharma which will quickly show us the mindset of the Traditional vs Modern.

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DIVINE – in simple terms, it means the worship of our Divine Deity. Our religion has prescribed several ways to celebrate our Devas & Rishis’ Ceremonies, which significantly improves the atmosphere around us, aids our intelligence and peace of mind. We use materialistic objects, gestures, postures & sounds to get the result aimed at. Idol worship primarily being the glorious joy that is our identity as Hindus. What divides a tradition from a modern Hindu is his actions of worshipping the deity. The Traditional Hindu will visit the temple and believe in compulsory idol worship as a part of his everyday life. A modern Hindu is doing the same but in his capacity. This disparity is caused by the availability of time, money, energy, age & location. The purity of anybody’s faith is not calculated by his attendance marked on temples but by his Faith & Belief’s attentiveness.

If I call myself a traditional Hindu, I will visit my temples regularly, but no number of visitations can entitle anybody a greater or a lesser Hindu. I cannot enforce or label my kids or my Grandfather my way of following my Divinity. Every person is in the epicenter of their solution & Problems of life. Like mindedness of our ideology will become our strength towards attaining absolute unity among our people. We should thrive on passing on beliefs that will be the pillars of our identity for generations to come rather than enforcing parameters to tick.

DHARMA -Hinduism is the oldest, survived the longest till date Religion. Dharma follows our eternal duties and obligations in our life by following the path of virtue, showing the highest moral high ground that will promote greatness for everybody around us. Deeply taught by our elders & Family, not specifically parents alone, we are always given a roadmap to follow, our Dharma. How to follow will be more importantly mentioned rather than accomplishing it. Here is the bridge of difference that widens deeply between Families, which creates a disparity between my dharma and its path.

Moreover, each traditional attribute develops out of a history of conversation, elaboration and challenge. Hence, in looking for what makes the tradition cohere, it is sometimes better to locate central points of tension among us and not agree on Hindu thoughts and practices just for the sake of contending our mind. Each Individual is guarded by forces of his mind & soul, which will always propel him to follow his Dharma irrespective of his Belief in his faith. You can run away from your Faith but not your Fate. Both ideologies must exist together, guarding and respecting each other heavily.

Rituals & Traditions are the solid pillars and identities of our religion that have evolved over centuries. Today the perception of rituals and traditions is also determined and followed with the convenience of time in our lives. Our Hindu rituals widely include idol worship, meditation, recitations, festivals, and pilgrimage, etc. Today, there is a disparity between the traditional vs the modern Hindu beliefs primarily because of Time, Money, and Priorities. The methodology will be different for me and to them, but our intentions should be the same for performing or following any basic rituals of our everyday lives. Coming to a broader spectrum of festivals in our life unites us, enables us to share space, time, and knowledge between our people, family & friends. Nobody contemplated that we would be grappled by a pandemic taking away the lives of so many of our loved ones. Amid a situation like this, we come to a complicated plight of choosing between our Dharma ( duties towards our religion ).

Still, the emotion attached to doing it in our minds is the biggest prize, and Nothing else matters. I have seen Families celebrating Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navrathri, and other festivals on scales desirable to many, wishing we would do the same if we have Money, time, and people. The biggest failure here is not the above three elements mentioned to celebrate our Festivals. All we need is a mind that wants to do it and manages to do it in his capacity to enlighten him and his space, atmosphere, and people around.

Weare a big Society of over 1.2 billion people, with liberals & Conservatives, always existing together to challenge our unity but unnecessarily endorsing moral foundations more when righteous acts target our people internally is not what we should strive for. Both ideologies are critical perspectives of our Roots, and no other religion can test our moral foundations. Together as Santana Dharma, we should emphasize maintaining an equilibrium among ourselves by respecting our ideologies, taking pride in our fellow people’s work in contributing to our Culture.

With Age comes Wisdom, no person can occupy the social and religious role of our Society as a whole, he will pass on the torch to a generation more Enlightened in the Right direction.

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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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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.

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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.”

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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.

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
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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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