**** All opinions expressed are my own and no offence is meant to anyone. If you still wanna take offence, well good for you ****
Religion is a knife. If it sits on the table it is neither good nor bad. If I take it and cut bread for sandwiches it is good. If I stick it in your gut it is bad.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Was reading an interview with Desmond Tutu in the newspaper last week and it set me thinking. Religion is normally a subject I keep well away from however this time I think it deserves some thought.
I have often wondered why religion was created. For sure its something created by mankind. It wasn’t present at the onset of creation. So then why was it created? Maybe it gave people back then some base like our laws today. They had something to go by in certain instances. Each religion was created for that time and is specific to that time. However they have hardly evolved from then to today. A lot of what we believe in as religion today was true only for then.
Well am a muslim by birth and so will just stick to it for examples. To start with Islam lets men have four wives. The reason for that back then were the wars. After the war there were a lot of widows and girls. The ratio of women to men was very high. That’s the reason for the allowance of four wives. It was to give these women homes, there were strict guidelines like loving each equally, treating each equally, providing equally etc. and only if you could satisfy these criteria could you marry multiple times. It makes sense if look at from that angle but does it make sense today?
Another is the purdha or burkha. The burkha came up at about the same time when women were being harassed. The idea was the safety of women, all women would look alike behind the veil and so a guy who wanted to tease or harass a women would not be sure who she is coz after all it could be his mother, sister or wife. Again makes sense back then, now look at today, fancy and flashy burkhas, they don’t seem to make women merge in the crowd. They work the opposite completely and make the woman stand out, make sure she’s noticed. Beats the idea completely, don’t you think?
Or let’s look at the system of Id-dath. Ok let me explain it. Id-dath is a custom that is followed in most sects of muslims. When the husband dies the wife has to sit in seclusion for up to three months. She may meet people, as long as they are women or men related to her in blood directly (father, brothers and sons). No one else may even get a glimpse of her. Now back to history. The reason for Id-dath largely was to ascertain who the father is just in case the woman was pregnant. Back then with no technology you had to wait a few months to know for sure you were pregnant and the only way to know who the father of the child was was to ask the mother. I have seen Id-dath practiced from up close and it’s a painful experience. Think of a woman, who has just lost her husband, can you imagine the pain she is going through. To add to this you put her in seclusion (back then people had time to visit but today no one has time and are busy in their own lives), have her wear only white, no TV, no entertainment, nothing to keep her mind off the ordeal she has gone through. Rather make her relive it countless times in those months.
Really Id-dath was a requirement back then but is it required today with our technology? Must a woman who has crossed menopause go through this? After all she can’t get pregnant.
Ok what am trying to get at is that its time religions were reworked.
So going back to my original topic, Why religion? Does it really help? Does it serve a purpose?
Ok am gonna try an answer each of them. The first one I have tried to answer in the beginning of this post for now, the rest is beyond me for now.
Does it really help? Well it might, actually it would, if we see religion as it is, if it brings people together, if we let it evolve with time, if it holds meaning for now and not yesterday, if its something we make and not what makes us. There are a lot of ifs but they will make a better world.
Does it serve a purpose? It could you know, we are all different people and a lot of things make us different, our culture, climate, geography, lifestyle etc. But if you looked at the core of all religions the similarity would be stunning. And yet there are differences that we create.
I have a lot of friends from different religious back grounds and we still are good friends. There have been times that I have gone for a puja or to church and people around would have never guessed am muslim (well we don’t have our religion written on our faces, we belong above all else to humankind, that’s creation the rest we created). Well am a muslim by birth and it ends there. I am a muslim by chance not choice. After all religion is a choice. I believe so.
December 29, 2005 1 Comment
The bullet started in 3 kicks yesterday, forgot to close choke then and so she got rich and then didn’t start once we reached the petrol pump. But thankfully wasn’t embarassing coz even the pump guys had to kick quite a bit before she started. And I was proud of the fact that I recognised the problem.
But then she didn’t start today morning again. Wonder if it was the cold. Tried choke and all except for the idling. 20 minutes of kicking and 3 suggestions from Mom on asking neighbour boy for help saw me take an auto to Pallavi’s house.
However good fun was my Mom trying to kick start and I was like wait I’ll tell u how, coz it kicks back and I was worried that she would get hurt but she was like I know let me try. Well didn’t start.
Then Granny saw me holding the back rest while kicking so she thought its some kind of thing done to keep the bike stable so she went at the back and put full strength and said I’m holding now u kick.
Comet all this while was giving the bike funny looks coz the engine was not catching and only making half thump sounds and he was waiting for the exaust to start pulsing (he enjoys the rush of air, or maybe petrol fumes are his kick factor ).
The ultimate though was my Granny saying she will try kicking. She stood on the kicker and put full force, kicker didn’t move an inch.
Thats my morning adventure for u… Full pissed… will need to have a talk with Faakira today evening This behaviour is unacceptable.
December 27, 2005 No Comments
Ever felt you don’t belong… doesn’t matter where, its just I don’t belong…
Had gone home yesterday to spent that night at Mom’s place. Felt so distant, as if am in some strange place. It didn’t feel like home. It should have, after all its my Mom’s place, the house I grew up in, so many memories and I was feeling so detached. Sleep eluded me the way it does in new places. Felt so out of place. Just wanted to go home.
But then where I live isn’t home either. Its just a house I go to to sleep and rest.
This isn’t the first time I felt this way, its happened before a lot of times just that I never thought about it.
The times I met someone and felt out of place, the times with friends I have questioned what the heck was I doing there. Innumerable instances of just feeling all alone in a crowd. When everything seems so distant or its just you being distanced from it all.
Like your a third person in the entire drama of things. A silence spectator while the play unfolds.
And am left with questions – who am I? where do I belong?
Do I even belong…
December 21, 2005 No Comments
*** Strong opinions expressed here on. If your not the kind to tolerate opinions stop here, go no further. If not read on and enjoi… Any offence taken is your problem not mine ***
The Hindu yesterday talked about virginity and pre-marital sex. The journalist wrote about the recent hype about it all when a celebrity spoke about it. A celebrity speaking about such topics is taboo but we common people can (a point made by the journalist) and so am gonna do just that.
Virginity – is not Dignity… It is just lack of Opportunity. . We said this in college but in India is it true? India, a country where your virginity is meant only for that man you marry. There is so much stress laid on this. Girls while growing up are restricted from playing games considered rough, no stretching too much, no riding boy’s cycles etc all to protect the hymen. I’ve heard of castes and families where the bed is checked after the first night when you get married for traces of blood and if not found then there are dire consequences. Over heard boys discuss to end about how you would check if the women is a virgin.
Its scientifically proven that the hymen can break with out real physical exertion. It could be a fall or injury. Its also proven that the hymen breaking may not produce blood immediately or it may be so negligible that it wouldn’t stain. Or the man just didn’t manage to break it (didn’t do a good job of it, I’d say ). So what does all this mean?
Does it mean the woman is not a virgin?
What is virginity? Is it a state of purity (someone please define pure?)? Is it a gift you give that one man? Is it just a membrane? Is it a state of mind and body? Or is it something created by men to curb freedom of women?
Virginity belongs to women and if its yours then isn’t it your right to decided what you wanna do about it. So its for me to decide whether to save it or give it away. Actually, its not something to give. Virginity is not then just the hymen. Its about your mind, the way you think, the way you feel. If your not a virgin does that mean your not a nice person?
And then follows the taboo topic of sex. Hmmm… physical needs are the same for men and women so then why can’t a woman be sexually active? Why is a sexually active man called promiscuous? And a sexually active woman a slut?
To think about it women most often (leaving out exceptions) would have sex with a man they feel something for (and the feeling is not lust). To women sex is an intimate part of a relationship. Women would move into a sexually intimate mode at a later stage of a relationship. Women are unlikely to just sleep around. For men on the other hand the feeling most often is lust. To men the number of women they have ‘had’ (I personally feel slept with is a better word) is an achievement. They can’t wait to lose their virginity and anyone (as long as she’s of the female species) would do. The ones that follow the first are a learning experience. Soon they lose count too. And yet women are called sluts?
Ok, truthfully the above paragraph might have been a bit strong but I do feel passionately about it. Isn’t it two-faced to sleep around yourself but expect to get married to a virgin ? Don’t the rights apply equally to both sexes? Agreed that the risks are higher for women but then women know about protection too. So why should the fun be only for men?
Hmmm maybe that’s not my question… All I wanna know is why the difference between the way you view a man and a woman?
Maybe it’s about rights or respect, even self-respect… It’s about respecting others rights and choices. And finally respecting your own choices. Not sure, its something I’ve thought about for sometime and the answer is not satisfactory yet. Wonder what it actually is…
December 8, 2005 1 Comment
This is an argument I have had for sometime now with quite a few people. It’s about the situation not in one state but quite a few in India. People for a long time have asked me why after spending 25 years in Karnataka (Bangalore to be precise) I have not learnt Kannada completely. Yes I agree I haven’t. Well am linguistically challenged and have been in an environment where people around me spoke languages that I spoke so there was never a need to learn another. When I reached college I learnt a bit of Kannada to survive in buses and autos. Yeah I have learnt more over time but can’t speak proficiently yet.
People always said if you’re a Kannadiga by place of birth then you should speak Kannada. Or, since you live in Bangalore then you must speak the language. Now the question I have had for ages – how many people speak Hindi in India (in each state respectively)? Do they realize they live in India and their respective state is a part of India and hence they should speak its language? If it is important to speak the state language, isn’t it more important to speak the national language?
Everyday I speak to at least one person who speaks only Kannada, who never thought about learning Hindi. I struggle to explain myself to this person in the little of Kannada I know. In the end the result is that am not sure that person understood what I was trying to say. Am left hoping the outcome of our conversation will be the required result. How do you explain the minute issues you have with your bike or electronic goods in bits and pieces of Kannada? If you went to Tamil Naidu, they will refuse to understand you in another language. You must and should speak Tamil. It’s not about making an outsider comfortable but about making your own countryman and alien in his/her own country.
In Bangalore sometime years ago (and still on) there was a drive made by a certain group to convert all to Kannada. All hoardings had to be in Kannada, all shop names had to be in Kannada, it was an all Kannada drive. They finally relented but only to the point that you could also have English and other languages but Kannada was a must. You will still see some English hoardings and shop names etc. that are being vandalised by these pro-kannada activists.
Recently there was a drive to have more people watch Kanaka movies. Great idea I would say, so then what do you think you would do to achieve that? More advertisements or promote Kanaka movies. Ahh… but no this wasn’t done. What did happen was all English and Hindi movies release was delayed by 3 or so weeks. This led to hardly any movies showing in these languages. All of this just to get people to promote Kannada.
Now this is not a phenomenon only in the South but across the country. In each state a different language is spoken and any other language is appreciated. Everyone seems to be in this mode (pride maybe a better word) that my language is better and to be protected. Are we not people of the same country, so what if there is a difference in language and culture? Why do we a lot of times first describe ourselves according to our state then our country.
Yes I agree that if you did look across the country there is not language that is common, including Hindi. English yes is quite common but that’s an international language. Do we not need a language that brings us all together? A language that is understood no matter where you go and no matter the language of the state. This would mean every Indian can communicate with the others with a barrier.
Hindi is our national language but also a language that already has its roots. It’s taught in most schools across the country as a second or third language. And if Hindi can link us all, if Hindi can be a link language, then why not? Why this barrier towards Hindi?
Why not open our minds to a unified language, the space and gaps reduce between people when we can communicate. Yes, it’s good to have diversity in people and languages but must we not be united too…
*** All views expressed belong only to ME and no offence is meant to anyone.
December 7, 2005 1 Comment