Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another veiled story…

As I tried understanding the debates around the burqa especially in the French context here, I received many valid, well thought out, and legitimate replies – all in one way or the other against the “forced veiling”.

In a country like India, it is heartening to see educated people expressing their opinion, which is for humanity and moderation and balance. However, it is greatly disappointing to wake up to news that reads: Forced to wear burqa, teacher quits.

What is most shocking about this news is that the Students’ Union pressurized the university teacher!

What is happening to the supposedly educated youth in our country?

Why are young minds embracing religious fanaticism with such ardor?

Are they in search of a unique identity because they feel their individuality is threatened?

Has Indian politics created a whole generation of confused and misguided youngsters – rebels without any real causes?

I still remember my childhood days when religion and caste were only chapters we read in our Civics books. In school, I did not know which caste my classmates belonged to.
Through my growing up years, I had Sikh neighbors with whom I used to happily pile on for the Sunday langars at the Gurudwara; I had Muslim neighbors who were differentiated only because of the wonderful language they spoke – aap, bhai-jaan, abba-jaan – music to the ears; I had Christian neighbors who shared rich plum cakes on Christmas; and all of us together celebrated the “Hindu” festivals of Diwali and Holi!

Come the late 90s and early 2000s, as college beckoned, caste based reservations became the talk of the day. Quota seats – General seats – SC/ST – OBC – all alien terms began to invade my vocabulary.

I still remember the day I started filling out my entrance test forms - all of them asked the following disturbing questions:

For the first time I was going to define my identity within a religious institution that had not meant much in my life so far.
Hindu, I wrote. In a fraction of a second, differences based on religion were established between neighbors.

And then the final blow that firmly established boundaries and partitions in once-innocent classrooms.
Select one of the following:
SC, ST, OBC, Others
I was baffled. I asked my dad, what I should fill in.
He said in a matter of fact tone, “Others”.


  1. Yea, very sad indeed. Education seems to have failed its primary purpose. And surprisingly, i find that youth today are more religion, caste, creed, region conscious today than ever. I don't have a good feeling about where we are going :(

  2. I agree; we are already on the road to hell, and no one wants to turn back. Even here folks are busy racing down... we truly live in sad times.

  3. This is a too complicated issue.No one in the civil society wants to see these divisions. Unfortunately,we are blessed by a political system which can not survive without divide and rule policy.That is exactly what is happening and is on expected lines.

  4. Ah "religion", This term brought me to this blog..
    I expected the standard blog post based on religion. But this is something interesting. An idealization of how everyones thought process should be at this age.

    But alas thats not the case.

    Division rather categorization on the basis of religion is illegal, given that India is a secular country and its constitution and all laws are formed on that basis.
    But such division based on religion happens even in US at a much higher scale.

    Well we can just hope that this ends somewhere.

  5. @Maria: I also get that sinking feeling so many times...

    @Madhurima: I wonder if this is rock bottom!

    @Chowlaji: I hope this is the worst and it doesn't sink deeper.

    @xyzandme: hope - our only consolation

  6. Well sometime the moderation ends up actually being fence-sitting. You know... kinda like "i'm too busy to be bothered with all this BS". And then one day it comes smack in your face. I'm k with moderation... but then it needs to be forced moderation. Not that moderates can be moderates and fanatics be fanatics. Coz always the fanatics get together and forcefully enforce their will. That's not right.

  7. yeah... it is one snake that has refused to die despite all the claims of the politicians.. infact, who am i kidding - many groups promote this religious fanatism outright. You try to oppose it and are immediately labelled "anti-religious / anti- national".
    they dont find anything wrong with forcing their own teacher to wear a burqa she doesnt want to...

  8. @Ajai: Valid point!

    @Dr. Roshan - Yes, the religion in politics and politics in religion is very very ugly.

  9. Ok. i think you like me trying to find meaning of things around us. but for that i find history has answers. i did some reading on belife, chooses,.. iam a liberal with open mind, open view on anything/everything under the sun. but i realized almost anything in life which are important are subjective.

    this might interest you: moral roots

  10. thank you for sharing your views and the link!


I appreciate you taking out the time to share your valuable opinions! They mean a lot!


Related Posts with Thumbnails