We Need a BIG Change—Religion

I am back after a long break. As promised, this post is about religion. Most Indians are very sensitive about religion. This sensitivity to one’s religion is common considering several religions with radical viewpoints co-exist in our country.

Being of a religion is not as much a problem, as it is to convert your religion. It has often invited trouble, as many innocents would realize hard way.

Conversion of religion is no longer uncommon in India. Attempts to formulate a law to stop the conversions are a common scenario in any Indian state. It happened recently under a ‘secular’ Congress state government of Himachal Pradesh.

Though the reasons for religion conversions can be varied. There are some who do it to garner hype. Remember writer Kamala Das (sadly at this point of time I am unable to remember any of her books and poems, all I remember is some flippant columns written by her for newspapers), she converted to Islam with pomp and show when she acquired a Muslim lover. (Sadly, this lover spurned her later, and Kamala Das was back to denounce Islam. I am not aware of her current religious status.)

Dalits and other so-called ‘lower’ caste citizens who are ill-treated by so-called ‘higher’ caste Hindus convert to Christianity and Islam all the time.

There is a third category as well—young couples whose love transcends the boundaries of religions. It is this third category that sparked off this post.

Anticipating the opposition from their families and societies, these young couples from different religions often elope, convert, and marry. There is not much that they can do there. A Hindu marriage requires the two individuals intending to marry to be Hindus. Nikah happens only between two Muslims. There is a Special Marriages Act for people who marry across religions. But it requires a long bureaucratic process that requires a month’s notice wherein the danger of anyone objecting their marriage can not be ruled out.

Such a love story took the nation by storm this month, courtesy our news media of course. Priyanka and Umer became talk of the nation. It seems Umer, a muslim boy, converted to Hinduism (rechristened to Umesh after conversion) to marry a Sindhi girl in MP. People in their no-so-modern neighborhood were outraged. So much that the local police detained Umer’s brother for inexplicable reasons. It seems Umer’s other brothers have also married Hindu girls who willingly converted to Islam.

RSS, or was it Bajrang Dal created agitations over the issue. They alleged conspiracy and argues why couldn’t Umer’s father accept his son’s conversions and accept his Hindu daughter-in-law when he already has two daughter-in-laws who converted to Islam after wedding. RSS and Bajrang Dal called a band and floated a new organization called Hindu Kanya Suraksha Samiti to protect Hindu girls from being preyed by guys of other religions.

New diktat for women comparable to those in Taliban’s have been announced that prevent them from using mobile phones, wearing scarves (Muslim women wear scarves, you see) or riding two wheelers. Hmm, Hindu culture is being well defended.

One day, it could be you or me. If one day I decide to elope or marry outside my religion, my personal matter (at best, I may call it my family matter) may any day become the talk of the nation, a political issue with vested interests of the bigots.

5 Responses to “We Need a BIG Change—Religion”

  1. 1 Rajib July 23, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Religion is a very sensitive issue. Moreso, because very few people understand it, and amongst those who understand it, fewer can practise it properly. That’s why the so called religious leaders do take the mass for a ride, so easily. The common saying is, the person who has an ideal ( religious or otherwise), has to be on alert everytime, lest he would fall from the ideal. However, a person who doesn’t have any ideal have no such fear. We love to blabber, like to give sermons but are scared to fight for a good cause. I am happy that I could extend all possible help to a friend of mine to listen to her inner voice and go in for an intercaste marriage. She is happily married now. That’s my little effort. Likewise, if all of us can make similar stide, it will bring smiles to many weeping faces. It is said that, by being cheerful and always smiling, it takes you nearer to God, nearer than any prayer.

  2. 2 nishugoyal August 26, 2007 at 11:59 am

    as karl marx says” religion is opium of masses”./

  3. 3 falcon November 19, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    1. hindu which is essentially a culture and not a religion.. True
    2. hindu- the religion which u refer has no such thing as conversion .. it was introduced in India by Arya Samaj … and hence no question of conversion
    3. As per Hindu religion, (not law) a spouse need not be a hindu (especially the wife as ours is a patrichal society..) interesting, did not know about it

    4. Marriage as per historians, was started to ensure the survival.. it was the basis for forming community and allies… the logic: the more allies the more ur chances of survival hence as long as it does that … it doesn’t matter whom u marry. I would certainly hate to marry for survival, I want it to be for love

    Conversion is all right but it should not be immoral…
    Immoral is a subjective word… i refer it to as job prospects, live hood, or as a precondition to marriage
    I believe converting from any religion is defying the fail that God is one, but there are different paths to it. I do not believe in conversions.

    Poonam: I have added my responses above in italics.

  4. 4 falcon November 25, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    @poonam for ur responses…
    i have something to say

    Pt no 3. U can be a hindu if u start following its principles, beliefs and ideas and Ideologies.. no custom is required to chnge to hindu. thus it being more a culture. religion being VEDIC or rather more apprpiately “vedic hindu”. Once a gal marries a hindu she is supposed to be the part of the guys family and is supposed to follow its practices which makes her hindu. However she may continue to practice her own religion which is permissible as long as it does not conflict with the hindu belief ( families issues will arrise otherwise). hence she automaticaly becomes a hindu … the tolerance and adaptibility is one of the main pillars of the religion survival.

    Pt. no 4: u did not get the point all i implied was marriage is supposed to make bonds and unity and not break them…

    Pt no 5: ideas differ. But As per me religion is belief of certain ideologies.. And its only fool who claims to know his or her religion and claim it as greatest or for that matter disrespects the other belief. These thoughts or scriptures are nothing but ideas and ideologies of several philosphers and intellectuals (much more smarter and intelligent) than u and me) handed to us over the centuries. If u see or disapprove of something then rest assured thaT ITS EITHER A MISINTERPRETATION OF AN IDEA OR IT IS A FAILIURE ON UR PART TO UNDERSTAND IT.
    By that logic, a conversion is on ur part is a shift of ideologies to one which u can easily comprehend from a one that u could not identify with or comprhend. Just because u are born into one religion doesn;t mean u should be able to identify with ur belief. eg: change of religion by emperor Ashoka. It in no way means what u think. just like if my family supports one political party say Congress doesn’t mean i should be a part of it.

    On a lighter note: to see futility of all religion or my lack of understanding of these visit

  5. 5 Poonam Sharma November 28, 2007 at 5:28 am

    Falcon, I read your post. It certainly is sarcastic with wry humor as promised in beginning of your post.

    I did not misunderstand your point 3. It was as you say, ideas differ. 🙂

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