Friday, July 30, 2010

Religion? What’s that?

I was having a chat with one of my friends today and we somehow started talking of religion. I am a Hindu and he is a Syrian Orthodox (it is a sub-division within Christianity I believe). He was talking of following religion or whatever was taught to him by his parents/grandparents/forefathers/ancestors without questioning.  

I like to question and challenge religion. What IS religion? No, really. What do you mean by saying that you are Hindu/Muslim/Christian/Sikh etc etc. As per me, it only states what kind of rituals you follow. We have so many divisions within these divisions and somehow I have noticed that people are rather intolerant about other people who may belong to the same religion and caste but different region. So doesn’t that mean that religion alone does not define you? It is the sub division, the caste, the sub caste, the region, the language, and of course the economic strata.  So what I understand that when religion was created, it was essentially created to give structure to the human life and way of life. Right?

Now because the environmental, political, spiritual, financial requirement of every region was different, religion was created to balance out all of these factors. Now just straying here a bit, one thing is very important for a human to survive (and this I say with personal experience) - Faith. So, there you go another ingredient there and that what is most important – Faith was added to religion.

For getting people together and to tie them to one string of belief some rituals were added, which when followed through generations became traditions. And these became customs, and the rest is history as they say. People somehow believe that you need to follow all of these customs come what may else 1. Your ancestors will be annoyed and curse you 2. Your Gods will be offended and curse you 3. You will die a horrible death 4. You will go to hell 5. Blah blah blah All of this put together is what we call Religion.

Most of us just follow blindly without questioning the logic or origin or reason to the particular custom/ritual/tradition. We do not stop to think whether doing so and so is applicable in today’s world and times. In some religions questioning the customs or the institute is a ‘sin’. Bah! There you go. If religion is so pure and it has the truth of the world in it then why I as a follower or believer do not have a right to question it? Let me question religion and let religion prove that whatever it preaches is true and let me fall on my knees and beg forgiveness and become a follower again. But nah! That door is closed already. Do religions fear that if followers question it/them then it/they will be in a thick soup and wouldn’t know what to answer.

But again we come to the same question, what is religion? And who are these people who govern religion? Who gives them the right to accept or banish people into or from it?

I am not a non-believer, I know there is some supreme power. I like some customs, they give a person/family pleasure. But I question. I question all that that does not make sense to me. I apply logic. I may have these massive arguments with most people around me who follow these customs blindly. But I have a brain, I have education, I can apply logic, so why not question and challenge something that as per humans is a rather large part of their being. Why not question why how what is done.

I question and I am not afraid of questioning publicly. I may be called an atheist or anti God or ‘bad influence’. But I know as a human I have a right to question. To question the very core of what drives people today. To question the core of something that is responsible for war and destruction and death across the world. I will choose whether I believe or not. I will choose whether what has become of our religion today holds true or not… It is all so wrecked. I will follow what gives me pleasure and peace and binds me to my family and friends. Not what divides and fills me with hatred.

Our heaven and hell both are here. We have to experience it on earth while we breathe. I believe in good Karma and that I know what it is. I still don’t know what is Religion and who is God!!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

pari hoon

Today, read about another rape and the victim is an American woman working and living in India. It’s a regular news now to hear about foreign women being raped in India. Women, no matter from where they belong should not be violated. No matter how they dress, how they talk, what culture they belong to, when women say no they mean no, and that line should not be crossed…

हाँ में परी हूँ 
दूर देश से आई एक परी हूँ 
थोड़ी सी अलग 
थोड़ी सी बेखबर 
थोड़ी अनजान 
थोड़ी आजाद 
ख्याल है मेरे खुले खुले 
रिश्ते यूँ ही बन भी जाते है 
सम्बन्ध भी जुड़ जाते है 
लेकिन है मेरी भी सीमाएं कई 
उलंघन करके  उनका 
अनादर ना करो मेरा 
बस कुच्छ क्षण के सहवास के लिए 
न तोड़ो यूँ मेरी पवित्रता 
मैं तोह सिर्फ एक परी हूँ 
दूर देश से आई हुई 
तुम्हारा देश है प्यारा प्यारा 
प्यारे रंगों से खिला खिला 
लेकिन क्यूँ होता है हर बार मेरे साथ 
क्या में थोड़ी अलग हूँ इसलिए 
या मेरे यह विचार!
लेकिन उनका उद्देश यह नहीं 
क्षति न करो मेरी चेतना की 
है मेरी भी कोई मरियादा 
मेरे स्वभाव का नहीं यह अभिप्राय 
की तुम भंग करो मेरा देह 
मैं तो सिर्फ एक परी हूँ 
दूर देश से आई हुई 
लौट जाने दो मुझे यूँ ही 
कुच्छ मीठी यादें लेकर 
मैं तोह सिर्फ एक परी हूँ 
दूर देश से आई हुई 

Haan main pari hoon
Door desh se aai ek pari hoon
Thodi si alag
Thodi si bekhabar
Thodi anjaan
Thodi ajaad
Khayal hai mere khule khule
Rishte yun hi ban bhi jaate hai
Sambandh Bhi jud jaate hai
Lekin hai meri bhi seemyein kai
Ulanghan karke unka
Anaadar naa karo mera
Bas kucch kshan ke sehwaas ke liye
Na todo yun meri pavitrata
Main toh sirf ek pari hoon
Door desh se aayi hui
Tumhara desh hai pyara pyara
Pyare rangon se khila khila
Lekin kyun hota hai har baar mere saath
Kya main thodi alag hoon isliye
Ya mere yeh vichaar!
Lekin unka uddesh yeh nahi
Kshati na karo meri chetna ki
Hai meri bhi koi mariyada
Mere swabhaav ka nahi yeh abhipraay
Ki tum bhang karo mera deh
Main toh sirf ek pari hoon
Door desh se aayi hui
Laut jaane do mujhe yun hi
Kucch mithi yaadein lekar
Main toh sirf ek pari hoon
Door desh se aayi hui

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why are we killing our girls?

Just yesterday I was talking to my super boss from Italy about Female infanticide when I had to explain to him what the phenomenon is and why it happens in India. I was infact discussing the same thing with my mom also a couple of days ago.

I want a girl, no really. I think they are cuter, you can dress them up, play with them and they care about their parents in a naturalistic maternal way eventually. However, I have come to realize that most Indians (even Chinese for that matter) do not concur with this idea.

So the question is why do Indians kill their daughters the moment they are born or right in the womb when they know they are going to have a girl? The answer is simple… Dowry.

What is dowry? Now, if you realize that till some years back a daughter did not have any legal right to their father’s property. Because this was prevalent even hundreds of years ago, parents gave their daughters’ ‘gifts’ in her marriage so that they can give her what they want as per their financial capability. It also meant that they keep giving their daughter ‘gifts’ on special occasions after her marriage because she had no claim/right in the property.

Now, the downside of this practice.  Certain families who had/have sons thought/think they have a ‘right’ to ask for ‘gifts’ from the girls parents, during and post marriage. Girls are tortured, burnt and killed for dowry. Girls’ parents are pressurized to pay up for marrying their daughters off to these sons. Over the years and for centuries now this pure practice of ‘gifting’ has taken a hideous turn and has turned into a bane called ‘Dowry’ for the girl and her parents alike.

Keeping this in mind, many people think that they did rather not have a daughter at all than facing issues of Dowry, ransom, torture etc in the future.

A couple of days ago when I was talking to mom (who is highly educated and has been a teacher) she said something like – I will have to give so and so to your mother-in-law for so and so occasion. Huh? Why? I mean if she wants to ‘gift’ me something or my husband something or my family members (in-laws) something it makes sense. But her stress on  the words that she ‘will have to’ really annoyed me. She said that ‘the relationship demands so…’ Huh again!! Why? I mean my mother-in-law hasn’t done a miracle because I am married to her son. Or no mother in this world has done a miracle by giving birth to a son. And there is no reason why a daughter’s in-laws need to be treated differently from a son’s in-laws.

 Why today someone like my mom also agrees that my in-laws need to be treated differently than my brother’s in-laws. The daughter’s in-laws demand higher respect? Why? Why should a girl be made to feel she is in some way inferior in a relationship? I mean, I just don’t get it.

I don’t believe that my in-laws can ‘demand’ anything materialistic from either me or my family, they also do not have a ‘right’ to any gifts my parents give me. My gifts are mine alone. This exchange or relationship is something that I will share with my parents for my lifetime. What I receive from them or give them is mine alone and no-one else’s to share or demand or ask.

But this is something that the standard ‘Indian’ mentality does not understand. And majority of Parents who have sons think they have a right to what a girl brings in the house. They treat their sons as some commodity that the girl’s parents ‘need’ to buy at the terms and conditions of the boys parents and keep feeding that commodity for life as some recurring cost at no expectation of any returns really.

India! Wake-up! The world has changed. Daughters earn equally (even better in some cases) than sons. There is nothing like Dowry in Vedic Hindu culture. It is a farce created by some greedy worthless pile of jerks who thought they are Gods because they have sons. Why are you still following it? All relationships should be equal no-one superior or inferior. Stop killing your daughters; they might just look after you better in your old age. The ratios are already dwindling. Half of the Indian men will soon die bachelors because there will be no women to marry them off to.

Wake up India