I saw a movie yesterday:
Article 15 which was a satire on the caste/religion/political setup in my home country - India. I felt really touched especially because it was culturally very close to what I grew up with and yet seamlessly ignored. It reminded me of all the other shows that I must have seen on this shh-shh subject, sort of a taboo of the conflicts within our society such as Masaan, Bandit Queen, Gulaal, etc and needless to say I read several of them and also got inspired by several social reforms of Indian society such as Arya Samaj. The movie brought fresh, the moments when I come back from school and see few people sitting on the ground in dark dirty clothes clearly not great in terms of bank balances, while my father is doing their finances -
Hisaab as it is called! Fed in different plates than what we ate in, spoken to with a different kind-of harsher tone than what we hear, it was truly a dark expression of my religion on our own brothers. I was told by people whose bloodline I was born with, that “they are not meant to sit alongside us”. Is this what any religion can teach? Even if some text prescribes so, do we have so little sense to not understand what is the right behaviour? It is often said to do to others as what you expect them to do to you, which probably we all forgot when comes to practice.
Of course, this should not eclipse the happy moments when I would do havan/puja during Navratri, hold Kol-sups from my mother during Chatthh puja, enjoying Diwali, Holi, etc. All the good moral values that my family gave to me as a kid were based solely on religion be it Panchtantra stories, not to hurt others, always wishing good to others, always speaking the truth, helping poor and needy etc. I think this must be the same for other religions as well. As I grew up and childhood became past, topics discussed in sociology classes during graduation seemed more thought-provoking than the ds-algo lectures of my class - one of our core courses in computer science and engineering [CSE].
Surprisingly, I heard only positives of some other religions like Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism even if I dwelled deep into their history. They command so much respect in text and public view that many some pundits claim they are also a significant part of Hinduism - manifesting itself in several paths all of which lead to one truth. On more surprise, I never heard a single good thing about Islam or Christianity other than the fact they were successful to establish a unified theocratic rule over our country and built several good things for us, some of which is undoubtedly the greatest wonders of our present times.
Comparing to how people/countries/governments fared in much of the modern history post WW2 in my limited thoughts, I can confidently put one observation.
Societies who overly rely on religion to guide for righteousness failed to achieve much on economic and social welfare like all the theocracies. Also, the societies who overly rely on enforcing abolishing religion face high individualism to the point of lack of morality, like much of the developed world today with a visible lack of brotherhood.
I feel it is as much important to let people explore their religion in a society/country as it is to hinder the creepy sway of its aspects that pushes followers to blind faith. For example, it is good if we allow religious beliefs to bring colour and festive cheer in people’s lives, while it’s a never-ending struggle to enlighten people against old superstitions and hierarchy of people based on birth/belief/race. I don’t expect everyone to treat everyone else as the same anytime soon, maybe even I would fail to do so when I hear news of wrongdoings in the name of religion. It is a shame that religious brainwashing and suicide attacks are a thing in our society, believe it or not, they are all based on an imaginary threat to religion.
I really hope people who keep concerned and command authority actually do something in this direction. Otherwise, instead of giving meaning to our lives, the religious text of yesterday would become cancer in no time. The weapons that humans invented which proved super useful to create world harmony would certainly nuke the world itself.
religion superstition extremism