All religious rituals are useless but some are very dangerous. A child brought up under Jainism was killed by such a ritual.
A 13-year-old Jain girl died in the Hyderabad,India after observing a 68-day fast.
The girl, Aradhana, observed the ‘Chaturmas’ fast to bring good luck to her family. Her father, Laxmichand Sansadiya, had recently suffered huge loss in his jewellery business.
A Chennai-based priest had advised the girl’s parents to ask their daughter to observe the ‘Chaturmas’ fast in order to recover from the loss in business and earn huge profits.
Aradhana’s 10-week long fast ended on the 3rd October and it was celebrated with a huge event at their house called ‘Paarana’. The event was also attended by Padma Rao, a Telangana minister from Secunderabad area.
Soon after, she was rushed to a hospital because of dehydration. The girl had slipped into coma after prolonged starvation and the doctors said that her intestines had dried up after the fasting and both her kidneys were also severely damaged.
The doctors declared her ‘brought dead’.
For 25 days, Aradhana Samdhariya went to St Francis School in Secunderabad with just a bottle of boiled water. A Class VIII student, it was her breakfast and lunch. Some of her classmates knew she was on fast, but did not know she ate no food at all and was surviving only on those few gulps of water. This fact was known only to her family, relatives and close friends. After the first week of fasting, she became withdrawn and lost interest in studies. Back at her home in Kot Market, she watched TV, lay around, drank more boiled water for dinner, and went off to sleep. From the 26th day of her fast, Aradhana stopped going to school altogether.
Her parents didn’t object. Her mother and sister dressed her up every day like a princess, while she recited religious texts. Her father, Lakshmichand Samdhariya, owns the Arihant Jewellers showroom in Kot Market.
The family had conducted a function after Aradhana’s fast ended. An advertisement was given in a vernacular daily hailing Aradhana, a student of St Francis, as a “Bal Tapasvi”.
It also mentioned the names of businessmen and religious leaders from the community.
Aradhana’s grandfather Manekchand Samdariya said, “This was not the first time Aradhana fasted. Last year, she fasted for 34 days and before that for eight days. After 34 days she assured us that she can go ahead.”
The Balala Hakkula Sangham has written to the Hyderabad police commissioner that Aradhana was forced to fast by her family and Jain elders. The NGO has also alleged that the jewellery business of Aradhana’s father Lakshmichand Samd-ariya was not doing well because of which, after suggestion by a Jain guru, he forced his daughter to fast to bring luck. Anuradha Rao of the NGO said, “It is the duty of society to condemn such practises.”
The family of the girl has been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. But more worrying is the attempt by many to hail her “sacrifice” as something laudable and to be emulated.
Harshvardhan Soni is a 16-year-old who has the experience of fasting for 11 days. What happened to Aradhana has scared him but he is also undeniably in awe. “I would love to emulate her. But by dying it all became a waste… It is wrong. Her parents should not have allowed her to do it since she was so young but yes, if possible, I would also like to do it someday,” he says
Religions spreads lot of stupidity, but unfortunately this family took it seriously.