Friday, December 03, 2004


I remember when I was in my first year, my sociology professor had posed a question to our class--->"Why is religion so important to people?" (or something very similar to that) I remember that my answer was prompt---->"Religion forms one of the most important part of a person's identity." My Prof was happy with my answer as this was the reply that she was looking for. But I was very amused with my profesor's happy reaction because I thought I hadn't said anything new. I completely believed in what I said at that point of time because personally I identified being a HINDU (obvious!) and that BEING A HINDU WAS A PART OF MY IDENTITY. I was never conscious of the fact but I thought it was the most natural thing and that everybody thought the same. But to my surprise I found not many people thought on similar lines.

I don't know whether today, 2.5 yrs hence I would say the same thing. I mean I am not sure whether being a Hindu forms a huge part of my identity as it did earlier. I am not negating the influence of relegion in any way.....NOT AT ALL, its just that I now question more and refuse to accept what is status quo.

I find this very funny. Religion is something which we inherit from our parents. We are HINDUS because our parents were HINDUS and this applies to any relegion for that matter. We seriously don't have a choice in that matter. Of course one has full freedom to change his/her relegion when we major, but well...that's only when IF THE PERSON WANTS TO! Don't you think its so funny that RELiGION which is inherited, something which you did not make a choice, forms a part of one's IDENTITY? It becomes such a fundamental part of ones life, governs our life to such a large extent.....but it is something which we never consciously thought about, or basically never really sat and exercised our right to choose (coz there was never any right to choose as such when you are a kid.) It's weird.....Therefore the attitude of relegious fanatics amuses me to a great extent....I hope I have conveyed what I want to say....

Whenever any changes are recommended for the better in any relegion, it is opposed tooth and nail. I don't understand why.....I can quote one example.... vedas are the prerogative of only BRAHMIN MEN. Women and NON-Brahmin men are NOT ALLOWED to learn VEDAS. Even our Shankaracharya refused to accept the changes stating that every relegion has its own set of discrimination and that we have to learn to accept and live with that. I disagree, I completely disagree. WHY can't women or any non-Brahmin people learn Vedas? Is Vedas a prerogative only of Brahmin Men? I know many uncles who are staunchly against the idea of WOMEN learning Vedas. "Its a sacrilege" they claim. DOHHH! "Some things can't be changed. Our ancestors might have had some thing in mind before formulating such rules." DOHHHHHH again. This is the justification that they have for all the discriminatory practises. The irony is that they don't have a justification at all....HERD MENTALITY being a mantra. Just because its been the tradition, we ought not to break it. DOHHHHHHH! There are many such discriminatory practises followed till date.....and well...WE ARE IN 21ST CENTURY.....huh! I am not singling out Hinduism for such discriminatory practises, there are other relegions too. However being a Hindu myself, I prefer tot alk about Hinduism or may be a miniscule part of it.

Note: It's just not my intention to hurt anybody's religious sentiments. These are just some of the questions that I have raised and I don't think so I have demeaned the religion in any manner. If someone thinks likewise.....too bad! Constructive comments, criticisms are most welcome!


Anonymous said...

Shobha wrote:

"..basically never really sat and exercised our right to choose (coz there was never any right to choose as such when you are a kid.) It's weird.....Therefore the attitude of relegious fanatics amuses me to a great extent....I hope I have conveyed what I want to say...."

So what Shobha if we did not make a conscious choice about our religion? Think of it. Did you make any conscious choice about being born in your country? about your language? about your parents? or most of the numerous other things that define your identity? All of them are important part of your identity. Aren't they? Why single out religion as odd man out? Funny, when comes to religion, we modern people suddenly seize a high moral ground... a rational platform... looking down upon the religious beliefs ( aboriginal, of course!) of ignoramus souls who did not have profound rational faculties comparable to what we have!

Again I am just curious what makes you conclude that discrimination based on gender or caste or race is essentially wrong but discrimination based on abilities is right. Have you come to this conclusion using your profound logical thinking or repeating just like a mantra since it is politically correct to say so?

Posted by Sanjay Srivastava

Anonymous said...

Sanjay: Well, what i wanted to convey was even though relegion was something which we inherited, people make such a big deal out of it. Don't you think it is ironical especially considering the fact that there are scores of people fighting over something like relegion which they haven't consiously chosen?

Ok..also, please don't equate relegion to language, country etc. The importance of relegion suprasses everything else. Relegion is a way of life, a change in relegion will mean a drastic change in every aspect of a a life of a human being. I hope you get the drift.

I am just curious what makes you conclude that discrimination based on gender or caste or race is essentially wrong but discrimination based on abilities is right. Where in the post have i mentioned anything like this? How did you reach tos uch a deduction? *curious and confused* 

Posted by Shobha

Shobha said...

I, Me and Media!

BlogBack Closing 13th October 2005.
Vaibhav Roy:

Religion is a form of control just like goverments are. Unfortunately as human beings the idea of power and control gives us a mental orgasm. Hence the clever people who way back invented religion and bogus religious rules and philosophy knew it was a clever way of control.

2004-12-03 21:52

Wow.. Well said.. I would say, Hinduism which began as a way of life… Later got corrupted because it was more open to changes..(kinda opposing to your 'change' view).. bringing in all kinds of superstitions(good or bad)… nightmarish caste system(which is used gratefully by our politicians and missionaries).. but still survives with all its scars!! Though, am a moderate liberal, I trust hinduism's core value of spirituality is good!! All the bad elements were added for centuries by certain influential selfish people!! Now, that we are mature enough with our thinkings, its time do some serious thinking in this aspect you discussed!! Talking of other religions.. YO.. I dont want to be killed!! :)

2004-12-04 00:35

I guess we take our religion as being something very natural, perhaps just like our surname. It is a part of our existence. It probably is a way of life in itself. We could probably classify religion as "rules for living". Guess that was the way it was supposed to be a few millenia ago. Overtime, the true essence of religion has come to be diluted, adulterated with half-baked knowledge of people claiming to be god-heads, gurus and what not.

I guess the true interpretation of religion has to come from within. We don't need to and should not rely on the written word to understand what way we should live.

As for the interpretation of religion, I guess our ancestors did have some reasons to do the things they did. But in a dynamic world we can not afford to abide by tradition forever. I guess at the time the Vedas were expostulated, allowing others to interpret it would have frittered away the meaning. However, in the 21st century, forcing the same age-old rules on people doesn't make sense. I am sure many of the non-Brahmin men as well as women are far more capable of interpreting the Vedas since they understand the world far more. Now-a-days it has become more like holding fort. Brahmin men are afraid that if the celestial knowledge was to become common, it would signal the end of their importance in the world, their livelihood.

We perhaps need to re-interpret the world. Sticking with age-old traditions will not help.

PS: This post was more like your blog !!!

2004-12-04 03:51

religion to me was an invention by some ppl, to keep man in bounds of scocial acceptance. the unfavorable part about it is that it doesnot change with the times. i would not like to cite any examples here, but i think it is pretty much apparent. again, as u say, religion forms a large part of ur identity, but then i aint think its that big a deal. it is actual just an easy method of personification. once u know someone follows X or Y religion, one can make many assumptions. ofcourse the practice will soon die out as most the 'self thinking' new generation does not wanna inherit such stuff and end up being agnostic or atheist.

2004-12-05 00:02

Religion, for me, is quite a trivial issue.

When filling up all these silly forms and asked what religion I am, I would rather put down my species name Homo sapiens. But what would happen is that, that form would be promptly returned to me, and then I would have to go thru the hassle of rewriting it.

The point is, religion seems to form an important part of our life, and we can't avoid associating ourselves with a particular religion. Its just it.

And the simplest way to get the religion we want, is inheritance - don't we inherit surnames too? And dont surnames play a major part in our life (for eg. - ordering in alphabetical order in many places is based on surnames, and that can affect a lot.)

Its just it.

2004-12-05 02:01

I agree with Vaibhav's point - religion provides a kind of "law and order" to society. It's dominance as a form of control works well in societies where government-controlled law and order is weak. Where government-controlled law and order is strong - e.g. in more highly developed countries like Japan, France, Sweden etc. then you tend to find that religion is less about "identity" and more about "region/locality". In such societies - you find stronger groupings of humans around "regional" custom than around "religious" customs. Whereas in some other countries with very weak/corrupted government and justice systems - you find stronger groupings of humans around religious customs.

2004-12-05 11:58

wot has changed in 2.5 yrs?

2004-12-05 13:16

hey i am shodhan's college friend. Humans care and gives importance to whatever effects there body the most, be it clothes, danger etc. That is why religion aims at the body e.g. Hindus need an upnayan sanskar, death rituals. Infact rituals and ceremonies are made to categorize or discretize tge continuum of time and to crystallizes ones transformation. e.g. you move from bachelorhood to being married, from living to death, from other house to a newer house. That is why religion as so much control over humans and that is the same reason it is misused.

One point i'll disagree is that religion doesnot change. Anythign that doesnot change with time fades away. We call hinduism as a religion but do you find the word "Hindu" in any of the scriptures or ancient texts. With advancements things too change and those who donot perish.

I agree that some of people stick to the "old values and traditions" but what we consider traditions where day to day part of work or way of life. Like celebration at crop harvesting etc. they have a totally new meaning now.

But dont you thing modernoty has its own traditions?

2004-12-05 14:54
The Hissing Saint:

Religion I guess started out as method of preventing society from slipping into chaos and anarchy.

The concept of God as the punisher….watching over you…….keeping tabs on your activities….the fruit of which you shall later reap.

Look at some of the tenets and you realise what a fallacy the whole thing is…….it becomes so obvious that religion was no gift of god but a contraption of human beings.

Look at homosexuality for that matter.

In some religious texts there is mention of Male homosexuality….but no mention of lesbian relationshiops.

The error of a sexist??

Or perhaps the person was a male who found the concept of male homosexuality odious but found female homosexuality erotic.

Isnt it the truth even today…….look at the way the media portrays lesbians and the way they portray gay men and the difference is apparent.

Religion today has lost its relevance……

2004-12-07 15:34

interesting isnt it - ur two liner about aids attracted around 20 comments and a well written blog about religion some 9 odd comments

2004-12-12 13:36


Since you have a lot of people agreeing with you ( it is nice to be part of the agreeing crowd always) I will dsagree with you for a change. I think you will change with age. I used to have similar thoughts like you (this is regarding "who is allowed to read Vedas"). There is a lot of thought and science behind everything said in the vedas( which in-turn clearly say women shouldnt read vedas.) Since Brahmin-men are the predominant sect who have read Vedas. They happen to be the only ones who can say "what Vedas say and dont say". So it is almost logical that you would hear about banning-women-reading-vedas from Brahmin men only. There is nobody else who can say it because not many have frankly read The Vedas.

Have you noticed that there are many things women are encouraged to learn but instead of doing that they want to learn something else? Have you ever pondered why so ? Is that some sort of a competitive instinct? Is doing what men do (for eg vedas) an indication of equality. I dont think so. Just because a person is educated and has read science and can talk freely( which is a result of demoracy) does not mean that the person can question just about anything ( another thing encouraged by democracy). There are many things which transcend beyond, education or India or democracy. Vedas are one such thing. There are certain answers which aren't immediately understood . NO is one such answer. The fact that you are fuming means you havent yet understood the reason why you are being denied. Maybe if you take the time to find out what women are encouraged to learn and recite instead of "competing" ( and vedas and life is really not a competition) you will find that God has maybe arranged things quite nicely.

btw Vedas are not beyond the reach of non-brahmin men. I am not sure if you have been trained in logic. "if(P) then K" corresponds to "if ( no K) then no P". It does not mean "if ( no P ) then no K". So understand what cause-and-effect are. Men are required to read Vedas. Men who read Vedas are required to follow certain procedures. The men who volunteered for those procedures were mostly ( and not only) Brahmins. Hence Brahmin men predominantly are the ones who read it. If anybody else has the interest all they have to learn is how to qualify and then qualify. But who is interested? Nobody! Both Brahmin and non-brahmin men by virtue of the power science education has given to them fancy calling themselves as atheists or even ridiculing the procedures (like what you just did in your blog). Maybe like engineering college exams or IAS exams if religion had proper system for people to write exams to even qualify for commenting on religion then this sort of thing would reduce. But sadly religion's lack-of-rules makes it a free-for-all bash.

2004-12-14 05:14

Bharath: Ok….cool to get a varied point of view. Ok.lemme go point by point!
You say: There is a lot of thought and science behind everything said in the vedas( which in-turn clearly say women shouldnt read vedas.)

My say: Well, as a woman I would want to know where in vedas is it written that Women can't read vedas. I am not satisfied with the second hand information which I recieve from people like you, however authentic it may be. I guess we women are free to make our own discoveries and broaden our knowledge and LEARN FOR OURSELVES!

I think women are free to learn whatever theyw ant irrespective of the fact whether they are encouraged or not. And pray tell me, who is it who decides that women should learn this and not that! WHY should we follow that, Sorry to say, but We can think for ourselves. I think the only thing which isn't subject to change is CHANGE in itself. There may be rules formulated during the olden days. But times have changed, and I guess things should change too. Holding on to the archaic values which really don't make sense in the curent world doesn't make sense to me atleast and I am surw to a vast majority of people. Also I think the refusal to change, to adapt is one of te many reasons why people get disillusione dand think Atheism is an easy way out.

I am a Hindu. I want to know mroe abpout my relegion and I think learnoing about vedas is an integral part. I don't think anybody is going to stop me from doing that. If you don't know, devotees of Sathya Sai Baba in Bangalore are encouraged to elarn Vedas in which women are in great numbers. Not saying that I believe in Sathya Sai Baba, just to say that a start has already been made.

You say:*Just because a person is educated and has read science and can talk freely( which is a result of demoracy) does not mean that the person can question just about anything ( another thing encouraged by democracy)*

Ok.I think unless a human being questions anything, s/he is a vegetable. Questioning, analysisg and thinking is what makes Human beings special. otherwise we would be as good as animals. I am not a kind of person who will accept things just because it is said. Ok, you tell that WOMEN shouldn't learn vedas. Have you read the vedas? could you elaborate the reason? As I said earlier, women should be given the freedom to understand and decode vedas for herself. it is not comepetiton, mind you! I think women are intellectually at par with men and that she shouldn't be denied any opportunities which men are given!

You say: btw Vedas are not beyond the reach of non-brahmin men.

This is one of the most nice things you have said. :) I hope it is followed more and I see more non-brahmin men reading vedas. Well, i would wanna see how many dalit people can become priests……right?

I don't understand the qualification bit. I think as human beings every single person is entitled and should be entitled to read and access relegious texts. Who was the one who determined the qualification? We human beings only! I don't think anybody NEEDS ANY PERMISSION if that person wants to learn vedas. That's the best thing about Hindusim as it does not impose anything on anyone.

As I said, the lack of flexibility offered by the people who claim to follow relegion properly, are one of the major reasons for people to turn atheists. If people like you (I assume you have read the Vedas, ) don't elaborate things, reason out things, then i am sorry, the number of atheists will only grow. BTW you haven't elaborated why women shouldn't read the vedas. As I said earlier I assume you have read the vedas and thus making the statement. If you haven't I don't think you have any business telling women not to read vedas. and I stand by what I say….*WOMEN AND NON-BRAHMIN PEOPLE HAVE ALL RIGHTS TO KNOW WHAT VEDAS STAND FOR.*

Thanks for dropping by..keep visiting :)

2004-12-14 08:51