Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Gender Studies: Religion

Indian society is structured along the axis of Caste, Religion and Gender. Do you agree? Explain with contemporary examples. 


Gender Studies Caste, Gender and Religion

“India is not a nation but a complex secular civilization. Its demography tells part of its impressive story.” – Rajeev Dhavan

Rajeev Dhavan

The religious paradigms of the Indian people, gives rise to the religion systems of India. Communalism has played a key role in it’s shaping.

According to the 2001 census, 80.5% of the population of India practice Hinduism. Islam (13.4%), Christianity (2.3%), Sikhism (1.9%), Buddhism (0.8%) and Jainism (0.4%) are the other major religions followed by the people of India. There are also numerous minor tribal traditions, though these have been affected by major religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity.

Religion dwells in almost every aspect of the Inidan society, some at a larger ground. Over the years many religious clashes have taken place. The Babri-Masjid clash followed by the Ayodhya verdict, The Gujrat riots of 2002, Communal clash in UP, all are massive examples of religious clashes that have occurred in Indian history. 

It is significant to the note the role politics plays along with religion to shape the contours to Indian civilization. Politics merges the identities of caste and religion giving it a much more complex structure. Where Jinnah left India because of religious reasons, Ambedkar protested because of caste discrimination. 

The Hindu-Muslim clash: The secular stand that India often takes, is only limited to politics, whereas, these communities stand on their own.  Religious conflicts exists based on socio-economic levels along with religious beliefs.  During contemporary times discrimination exists at other levels in other parts of the country. Decline in the status of Urdu in north India, widespread use of Hindu mythologies and symbols in school textbooks and continuing controversy over the foremost educational institution of Muslims, the Aligarh University, have indeed done much to provoke Muslim fears. Evidence that the police and administrative machinery in recent riots have sided with violent Hindus has further deepened widespread feelings of discrimination. 

The massive decentralization of States in India has only increased religious conflicts along with caste. Their correlation and hype have gravely influenced the structure of the Indian Society. Even as late as Sep 9,2013, religious riots broke out in the country killing 31 people. There have been conflicts against the  Bengalis as well in Assam.  

Contemporary India, then, is experiencing a systematic attack against various expressions of religious and cultural plurality. The move to project and promote a nation, which is unitary by way of its common Hindu-ness, is gaining ground like always. The Hindu ideologies have post independence been of prime significance in the culture, where most public holidays or festive holidays are based on Hindu system.