Time for a New Vision…a New India

She wanted to be an astrophysicist. She wanted to study the sky – or so she told me. But, she never became one. And probably will never become one, because she studies literature now. Why? Not because she was awed by Shakespeare (which she is to a very certain degree) or because she found astrophysics boring, but, because her parents were “religious.”

A decade after ‘India Shining’ campaigns have died down, one thing is obvious: it’s all hype. Abetted by the media and blind buying in of political propaganda, India has not shined; only diminished. After all, what’s ‘India Shining’ without proper empowerment? And that too, when this is happening in states like Kerala that has touted its progressive outlook? But, be that as it may. What is ironic is the fact that no political party in India has been vociferous when it comes to women’s empowerment. Because what’s carried out under the garb of ‘religion’ is immune to general questioning or scrutiny or change – and no political party that leeches on this section for votes want them gone.Religion

As a result of this negligence, even in States like Kerala, religious organizations have actively stepped up pressure. This became overt when recently a group of organization came under the aegis of a religion demanding the revocation of laws that prohibited child marriage. Their logic was that their religion permitted it and the constitution guaranteed right to follow their religion. Of course, their religion also allows them to wage war; but, I don’t suppose they wish to do that as well. If so, what’s meant to be for the good has certainly proved bad.

Such organizations, ironically, run many educational institutions as well – that too under the garb of constitutional rights. Having studied in one of those schools, I’m convinced that these schools are nothing less of mediocrity (as is in the case of generalization, there may be a few exceptions). When I was being taught evolution in 10th standard, my teacher kept on adding: ‘Of course, this is not true. But, this is what it says.’ The same went with my “moral” teacher who taught about conquests and invasions and added: “we controlled them! We should control them now!” And occasionally added how the Americans were being cruel to his section of religion.

Further worsening the lot is the general perception that allowing the female gender to study beyond the precincts of home would stray them away from cultural and religious duties. This is propped by the burgeoning crime rate that our media has so often celebrated and occasionally, debated about. Added to this is another perception of age. Whilst this claim may not stand scientific scrutiny, the general consensus among the Indian parents is that female children should be married of early. The older they get the harder it’d be to find a groom is the paradox supporting such an absurd claim.

The state of affairs in India is that everything that’s carried out in the name of religion is immune to scrutiny. Not only has this damaged steps to promote family planning and educational reforms, they’ve often threatened the very integrity of our nation. It’s a well-known fact that many minority institutions have textbooks that explicitly ask their pupils to strive for theocracy– or so I can say after having read a couple. Not only are they inflammatory, they often take away the very essence of schooling: to inoculate a sense of curiosity. Since, in fact, what these schools teach is blind obeisance to a power high above that asks them to sacrifice their dreams just because they happen to be, by accident, on the wrong side of gender.

Time has come for us to aggressively promote an India where the youth are given a chance to follow their dreams. Build rockets, study amoeba, invent medicines and win a couple of Nobel’s! This might be a mirage for an optimist, but certainly, we cannot allow the things as they are to continue unfettered.

About the Author:  A 15-year-old average Indian with too many dreams and too less effort. Love reading and writing, but haven’t been able to do neither for a longtime now.

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