The Thousand-Year-Old Injustices Of Indian Society

The Hidden Injustice In Indian Society That's Been Going On For Thousands Of Years

India is a country, deep-rooted in its cultural background. I want to explore societal issues which stem from the norms of the two Hindu epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana.

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I finished my morning jog around the local track and rushed back home. I grinned at the sight of the man clad in white. He had his ancient bicycle with him, stacked with hundreds of papers. I affectionately called him "Newspaper wale bhaiya." I saw him every morning. He had been delivering newspapers to the house from years before I was born. I spoke to the old man every day about the gossip of the town. Be it the rumors about the "bhoot" of the estranged queen, Salabat Khan, lurking in the streets at night or discovery of the new best street vendor in town, this man knew it all. I picked up and hid the copy of my favorite newspaper before anyone in my family could get their hands on it.

Growing up in the small town of Ahmednagar, I never really had much to do. It lacked the glamour of the metro-politician cities: - the malls, the restaurants or the millions of unknown faces. I studied in the local Army Public School and as soon as I began to make close friends, their fathers would get posted somewhere else. Therefore, I grew up playing cricket with the people working at my house on the street in front and loved listening to my grandma's fascinating stories about the rich Hindu Mythology to pass my time. I was particularly fond of the Mahabharata and Ramayana, the two great epics of the Hindu mythology. I often urged my grandma to delve deeper into these vast complex stories.

As usual, I sat down in the garden and opened my copy of the newspaper. I flipped the newspaper backward and started reading. A big fan of sports, I always read the sports section first. I kept turning the pages and was horrified by the news that I was reading. The paper was full of incidents such as rape, racism, and homicide. Some incidents were such that they made my stomach uneasy. However, what bothered me the most was not the horrifying nature of the incidents but how some were normalized and blamed on the victim. The entire culture encompassing events such as rape and racism majorly was flawed.

This pervasive culture included: sexual objectification, trivializing horrifying incidents and most of all victim blaming. There were instances where policemen commented on the choice of a victim's clothes which "attracted" sexual assault and somewhere the sufferer was condemned by her family members for bringing dishonor and shame to their family and community. Moreover, marital rape was constantly termed as consensual and a "right." There were instances where the police refused to register complaints of racism due to its 'trivial nature' and were at times, racist themselves.

However, this culture didn't seem very unfamiliar. I had heard about this before and commented on its unjust nature. The difference was, I had heard about this culture from the vast stories my grandma narrated to me throughout my childhood. The stories of the great mythological gods which humans fondly worship and live by.

My first thought swayed towards the noble god of the epic Ramayana, Ram. After rescuing his beloved wife Sita from the demon king Ravana, there were many rumors about her "purity" as she had been abducted and forced to live in Ravana's palace for so long. Due to this, Lord Ram was under the influence that he had lost his honor in front of his subjects. Therefore, he made Sita undergo the "Agni Pariksha" in public to prove her purity. It is said that Ram had always known that Sita was pure and merely wanted to win back his honor. But, the fact that he had convinced himself about her being pure is a clear indication that he believed in the so-called facade of "purity" even though Sita was abducted without any consent.

Moreover, after the rumors did not stop, Ram banished Sita to the forest with a heavy heart. Is that how much he cared about the woman who abandoned everything to accompany him on his Vanavas for fourteen years? This culture of victim blaming was prevalent then and continues today as our country is still deeply rooted in its past. How do we expect victim blaming to stop if humans continue to live by these scriptures and teach the same to their children?

My second thought was of Draupadi, the most powerful queen in India at that time. She was wagered by Yudshistra, the eldest brother of the Pandavas and her husband in a gambling bet that he lost. She was treated as a mere object by her own husband. Furthermore, the laws at that time stated that "A woman is the property of her husband, no less or no more than a simple cow". After hearing a great deal about the Pandavas, men like Yuddhistra and Arjun are many children's heroes. What does the fact that they were happy objectifying women as possessions send across to these children? Does it imply that it is completely normal to treat women like objects?

My last thought was of Lord Krishna. Krishna was always regarded as a just and witty man. He is worshipped all over India. However, it was Krishna who instigated Draupadi and Dhrisdayamuna (Draupadi's brother) against Karna by using his parental status. It was he who convinced Draupadi to reject Karna due to him being a "Suta Putra." He did this, keeping in mind a bigger picture of the world and did not actually have a problem with Karna's background.

However, nothing makes such marginalization which shamed a great warrior reducing him to tears excusable. He was as responsible as Draupadi in turning the youthful Karna into a bitter man. This is what continues in the world today. The constant marginalization of minorities creates hatred in their minds leading to violent or verbal outbursts which do not benefit anyone.

When I formed this connection in my mind, it changed my whole perspective on this topic. I realized what is occurring today has been happening for thousands of years. Our gods themselves got parts of it wrong. However, instead of continuing to follow such customs it is our responsibility to recognize their follies and correct them to form a just environment where every man, woman and child can breathe freely without communal suffocation in the name of honor.

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From The Christian Who Supports Your Sexuality, Whatever It Is

Being a Christian does not equal hating members of the LGBTQ+ community.
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Yes, I have lied before.

Yes, I have stolen candy from a grocery store before.

Yes, I have cursed and said the Lord’s name in vain.

All of these things are Biblical sins. These are all actions that God has instructed us not to do. But as you read them, you probably thought, “Oh, that’s no big deal. Everyone has done that.” So when I say the next thing, keep an open mind.

Gay is okay.

What? Offended? Why? Because the Bible says that man shall not lay with man and woman should not lay with woman? That’s true, the Bible does say that. It also says you shouldn’t get divorced, you shouldn’t have pre-marital sex, you shouldn’t lie, and you shouldn’t steal. But those things are so common in today’s society that we all turn the other cheek to them.

I don’t want to argue or offend. I’m not here to preach that everyone sucks and we all fall short of God’s glory with sin. We all know that happens every day, to every single one of us.

I’m only here to say one thing: I don’t care who’s gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning. I don’t care who you love or how you choose to express it. It doesn’t matter to me. And why?

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

-Matthew 7:1-2

As a Christian, I am not called to judge you and tell you that you are wrong and I am right. I am not here to tell you that you are living your life wrong or loving people incorrectly. I am not called to act better than you.

As a Christian, I am called to love you. I am called to always find something in everyone that is worthy of love; and I believe that search is short and easy when you open your heart to those who are different from you.

As Christians, we are instructed to share the gospel. Gospel translates into “the good news”. And it is very, very good news. God forgives us of our sins. He shows us the purest, most important form of love that there is: His love in unconditional. That’s amazing news. The gospel is not that God doesn’t love you, or loves you less, because of your sins. Let’s not spread that news around.

For this reason, it hurts my heart when I see protesters with signs that say, “God hates gays” or something that similarly says the same thing. I was taught, and I choose to believe, that God loves you. God loves you and you and you and me. God loves you. I can never say this enough. You were made in His image; He thinks you’re beautiful and wonderful and so so incredibly lovable. He loves your smile and your heart and your soul.

And He loves me (sorry to sound braggy, but I’m really happy about that). I choose to foster that love and do my part to help it grow by obeying as much as I can. I fall short. For the love of all the goodness in the world, I and my family and my friends know all too well that I fall short daily.

One of God’s commands to me is to love everyone that I can. Another command, one that I try to take very seriously, is to never ever judge people. Again, I fall short in both departments. Loving our neighbors and loving our enemies is extremely hard.

One thing that makes it easier for me: I don’t view the LGBTQ+ community as my enemy. I love them. I love their pride, their hearts, their fearlessness, and their reckless optimism. I am different from them, but I am not better.

So no, I am not offended by the Gay Pride Parades. I am not offended by the rainbow flags. I am not offended when I see two men or two women holding hands. I love that they are happy and free and in love. Love is all that matters, and we should choose, every day, to spread that love around.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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My Relationship With Religion Will Never Be Black And White

and that's okay!

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I was raised Christian let's get that out the way. Growing up in a small town I went to Awana (a children's church group Wednesday nights) and then once I was in middle school started youth group that night instead as well as a normal church on Sundays. If you would ask me from me being really young to probably around 15 I was all about church and building a relationship with God.

After leaving public school and growing my presence online and meeting so many people from all walks of life, I started questioning things.

Suddenly, I was immersed in this community with the best people who just loved everyone regardless of gender or sexuality or race and it was the place I was able to come to terms with something I had always repressed, my feelings towards girls.

I knew the moment I started talking to a girl named Laura that I had feelings for her I would normally have for a boy and because of the people I now had around me I just didn't suppress it. I identified online and eventually to family and friends as bisexual.

My questions started with wondering how my god this loving all knowing entity I had always known was un-accepting and promoted the exclusion of the LGBTQ+ community from the Christian faith. I knew that this community was full of the most loving and creative and beautiful people I have ever met and that was the start of me knowing my relationship with God would never be the same.

As I grew up and have become an activist for the things that mean a lot to me I have stopped attending church and have begun to see that I do not want any part in ANY religion that takes part in shunning anyone based on how they identify. I have been vocal about this to many people some more excepting then others but regardless I will never again take part in something that I myself am not 100% accepted within

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