La Ikraha Fiddeen

Back in the day there was never any compulsion at home about praying and roza or fasting during Ramadan. Before going to bed at night Ma used to ask which one of us wanted to fast the day after. Those who wished to would tell her, as would those who did not. During the last hours of the night she used to wake up only those who had told her they would fast, for sehri, the pre-dawn meal. The rest would continue to sleep peacefully. Anyone who woke up for the pre-dawn meal had to be careful not to disturb the ones who were asleep, make sure they did not make too much noise.

It was same with namaz as well. Those who wished to pray, did, and those who did not want to did not have to. There were no recriminations regarding this either. The ones who wanted to pray did not attempt to force those to pray who did not and the latter too did not make any attempts to disturb the former during the namaz. These rules were neither written nor regularly espoused, they were sort of like natural laws. If you are hungry you will eat, if you are thirsty, you will drink, if you feel sleepy, you will sleep.

During iftar or evening meal Ma would ask everyone to gather together. We would all sit around the table and Ma would serve iftari to everyone with equal care and attention. Whether you were fasting or not, everyone got the same food. Back then I did not appreciate it but now I do – our house had been the ideal one.

Our house was not close enough to the mosque for us to be able to hear the azaan or call to prayer. In the 60-70s, even in the 80s, there were not that many mosques in the country. However, those at home who used to pray never had to face any difficulty regarding the time of prayers. There were clocks on the walls of course. Plus, Ma could tell from the sunlight on our yard if it was time for namaz yet.

It says in the Quran, ‘la ikraha fiddeen’, ‘there is no compulsion in religion’. I believe this to be the most valuable ayat or verse of the Quran and if one were to adhere to this verse with all diligence it can possibly ensure world peace. Islamic scholars usually explain this ayat thus – ‘Islam has nothing to do with coercion, force, persecution or another such destructive behaviour. All such things are against the principles of Islam. Religion is premised upon beliefs and wishes. Forcing someone into reacting or coming to an agreement is not supported by Islam. In fact, Islam prohibits strife and discord, feuds and conflicts, rioting and vandalism. Creating terror, committing the murder of an innocent, such things are unforgettable crimes in Islam.’ Now the question is how many people actually adhere to this explanation?

What I fail to understand is why do Muslims not adhere to the teachings of the Quran that they claim to be so proud of. Allah has decreed that there is no coercion in religion. It is but expected that Allah’s true believers should abide by His counsel. But is that how things happen in reality? In the UAE a new law has been instituted whereby if anyone is found having eaten or drank outside food during the month of Ramadan, they are going to be heavily fined and jailed for a month. In Bangladesh the restaurants are forcibly kept shut during the day and if anyone is found having flouted the rule the fasting mob arrives and vandalises their restaurants. Do even thirsty non-Muslims have no right to seek water somewhere during this terrible heat wave? Someone wishing to quench their thirst is met with intimidation, violence, and destructive outbursts. Those not fasting remain in constant anxiety regarding the ones who have chosen to fast. Many of the latter believe that someone eating or drinking anything in front of them is an insult to their person. I used to eat my fill sitting right in front of my fasting mother and she used to be happy seeing me content. Many a day she used to feed me as well and never did she feel I was insulting her in any way. Neither did I ever feel that she loved me any less because I had refused to fast. My mother was a very honest and pious woman, she knew how to respect one’s choice of not fasting. Today most religious people are sorely lacking in this quality; they run on the assumption that intolerance and injustice are necessary requirements for religion.

The ones who fast expect to be in Allah’s good graces at the time of Judgement. Is it not enough? Why do fasting Muslims seek to demand respect from the ones who do not fast? And why must we show the fasting Muslims any respect at the cost of our human rights by not eating food at the restaurants? Isn’t respect supposed to be mutual? Respect can be accorded only if it is reciprocated, isn’t that so? And is someone’s sense of respect so fragile that it feels slighted at the sight of another person eating in front of them? Ma used to say if we managed to stick to our resolve and control our desires even at the sight of someone else eating or drinking, it was going to make our roza even stronger and more effective. Does no one think like this anymore?

In Bangladesh, people start shouting or making a commotion and in the neighbourhood to get up for sehri at the end of every night. The chaos usually wakes everyone up, even the ones who are not interested in sehri. Do they have no right to sleep if they wish to? The same can be said about the azaan as well. Back in the day when there were no alarm clocks or mobile phones perhaps the shouts and cries of the local boys used to be pretty useful for the ones who needed to wake up for sehri. In this age of technological advancements, such excesses are completely unnecessary. I’m sure everyone knows how to set an alarm in their mobile phones; even if they don’t it hardly takes a couple of minutes to learn!

The ones who wish to fast have the right to do so; the ones who don’t wish to should have a right to choose too. Every human being has the right to be a believer or a non-believer. Across the world, people have a right to practice their own religion. Not just that, the religious also have the right to be critical of those who do not believe in religion. But non-believers don’t have the right to say anything critical of the former – if they do so it results in harassment, legal trouble, jail time, exile or even murder. Religion is a personal matter. Anyone who wishes to practice a particular religion should be allowed to do so just as anyone who does not wish to should be allowed to do as they please. How can the nation, the state or society force someone to practice a religion? Does that mean religion will never show us a possible path to liberation, it will always end up putting people in shackles? The nation is for everyone, not just the majority but the minority as well. It is the duty of the government to treat everyone as equal.

The government of China has forbidden the observance of roza in the Muslim neighborhoods of the country. This prohibition, however, applies only to government officers and workers, leaders and workers of the Communist Party and students. I understand that students should not be made to fast to protect their health. Leaders and workers of the Party, being communists and atheists, perhaps are expected to not observe the roza. But not all government officers and workers are atheists. If they wish to fast, why should they not be allowed to do so? Perhaps the government wishes to convey that since fasting results in fatigue it can disrupt work at the office during the day. But what about those who can tirelessly work even while they are fasting, why should they not be allowed to fast during Ramadan? Not all who fast sit and doze off at work! I strongly condemn this embargo placed by the Chinese government.

China is criticised the world over for it’s an anti-democratic and anti-human rights stance. This move to ban Muslims from fasting too has been criticised. But the Chinese government has stated that it keeps strict surveillance on it’s Muslim dominated provinces during Ramadan to suppress terrorists and separatists. Accordingly, the government has decreed that no cafes and restaurants must remain closed during Ramadan. That at least is the right decision I believe. On the other hand, the Muslim nations have gone the opposite route of China when it comes to Ramadan and fasting and banned the consumption of food or drink even if someone is not fasting.

If Islam does not become more liberal then it’s Muslims who stand to lose the most. Numerous people around the world today are against Muslims. Muslims are not anymore trusted, most fear them or recoil at their name. Because of a handful of terrorist organisations Muslims, in general, are coming to be identified as intolerant, murderous barbarians. It’s Muslims themselves who must take up the onus of ensuring Islam becomes more liberal. They must prove to the world that they are not merely intolerant terrorists, that they do not condone the actions of Muslims radicals, that they believe in forgiveness, kindness, human rights, women’s freedom and in the freedom of expression. Unless human rights and democracy are respected there is no way Muslims can hope to earn the respect of the conscientious people of the world.

The Chief Minister of West Bengal, despite not being a Muslim herself, pray namaz and observes roza. As much as any of us can claim that she does not do any of this sincerely, that she does everything for Muslim votes, but even then I don’t believe anyone should attempt to make her stop doing these things. She has the right to practice any religion she wants. Who says someone does not possess the right to observe more than one faith at a time? Just like we have the right to forsake religion if we wish to, we also have the right to practice more than one if we wish to. But we must be careful to remember one thing – in the eyes of the state a person who believes in a particular religion and a person who does not believe in any are both equally important, they are entitled to the same rights.

The mosque in New Zealand

The entire Muslim world has been shaken by the terrorist attack on the mosque in New Zealand. As it is many people nurse a lot of anger against Muslims because of numerous past incidents of terror committed by Muslim terrorists across the world. Numerous people die in such incidents, innumerable women get raped. For these reasons islamophobes never miss an opportunity to insult or hit back at Muslims. The act of terror on the mosque is an instance of that very Islamophobia.

The attack on the mosque itself is nothing new. Sunnis have always been known to attack Shia or Ahmadiyya mosques. The attacker in New Zealand is a right-wing Christian fundamentalist and racist who hates people of colour, especially immigrants. A lot like racist Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik. Their kind of Islamophobia is a lot more extreme.

Islamophobes have taken it for granted that since all Muslims are terrorists, killing one is akin to getting rid of a terrorist as well. Their minds are so clouded with hate, their brains so impaired that they cannot reasonably understand that most Muslims are not terrorists. Millions of innocent, regular Muslim people across the world have to pay the price for the terrorist acts committed by a few Islamic fanatics.

The way Muslims have come together to bemoan the collapse of humanity, why do they not do the same when non-Muslims or non-believers die at the hands of Islamic terrorists? Is it because they feel more acutely sad at the death Muslims than they do when someone else is involved? I have seen islamophobes who, let alone being sad, exhibit genuine happiness when they hear of Muslim people dying. Aren’t these two mindsets remarkably alike!

I will cry only when it’s someone from my family or my community who is the victim, otherwise, I could not care less – that is not what it means to be a good human being. To be loved and respected, it’s not enough for Muslims to sport the tag ‘not a terrorist’, they must exhibit kindness and compassion towards non-Muslim people just as they do to their own. The amount of freedom, cooperation, and respect that Muslim people get in most non-Islamic nations is way more than even in Islamic countries. Thus, no matter how conservative they are, many Muslims hanker to settle in non-Islamic nations.

Muslims must learn from the way non-Muslims from across the world have come together in solidarity to express their grief and compassion with the victims of the terrible incident in New Zealand. When non-Muslims lose lives in such senseless acts of brutal violence Muslims too must come together in solidarity.

Those who always seek to blame the wrongdoings of USA and Israel for Islamic terrorism, will they now blame the machinations of ISIS, Al-Qaida or Boko Haram behind the man barging into the mosque in New Zealand and killing all those people? If not, then obviously there must be something wrong somewhere.

The time for Muslims to remain in their state of childlike innocence has passed, the time has come for them to behave like adults and accept their responsibilities. ‘You cannot talk about my religion, you cannot argue against my laws, you cannot say anything about what I wear or what I eat, you cannot talk about the animals I slaughter or the discrimination between the sexes that I practice in my social life, you cannot hurt my religious sentiments, make a comment against my Prophet or make a sketch of a woman. If you do any of these I will kill you, set you on fire, destroy your world…’ These are childish and brutish demands! If one wishes to be civilised one must acknowledge not just one’s own rights but the rights of others as well – the human rights, democratic rights and freedom of expression of all people, irrespective of religion, faith, colour, gender or language.

For women, fight for independence much more important than entry to temples like Sabarimala

The protests against the Supreme Court Sabarimala temple order show that some places in the world are still inaccessible to women, all the magniloquent talk of equality in a democratic world notwithstanding.

Mount Athos in Greece is one such place where the entry of women is forbidden. Not only women, even female animals are not allowed. Mount Athos houses orthodox monasteries where about 2,000 Russian and Greek monks reside. The same system of prohibiting women is followed on Mount Omine in Japan. At its gate, “No woman admitted” is written. Still, the UNESCO declared it a world heritage site.

India, too, has many places where women are barred like Mawali Mata Mandir in Chhattisgarh, Kartikeya Mandir at the Haryana-Punjab border, Kamakhya temple in Assam, Mangal Chandi Mandir in Jharkhand, Ranakpur Jain Temple in Rajasthan, and Shri Padmanavaswami Temple, Shri Krishna Temple and Sabarimala in Kerala.

Women cannot enter some of these religious precincts because the Gods there are believed to be celibates. At Shani Shingnapur in Maharashtra, women do not have access to the sanctum sanctorum. And women could not even move around Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai. Now, after the intervention of the court, they can go there, but not the inner sanctum. The sanctum sanctorum is considered ‘pure’ and women are considered ‘impure’; so they are kept at bay.

Traditionally, women bore and brought up children, served their husbands and in-laws but did not get any respect or rights. Time changed; now women are no longer house-bound. They have become engineers, doctors, professors, lawyers, judges and topnotch professionals and scientists. They have even gone to space. In politics, they have become heads of states and governments. But all this could not disabuse them of the tag of ‘impurity’ labelled over them by patriarchal society.

The Supreme Court of India declared the practice of not allowing women of menstruating age into Sabarimala as violating the right to equality granted by the Constitution. But for the priests and devotees of Lord Ayyappa, the decision of the apex court does not hold water in the face of the old tradition. They did not allow women to enter Sabarimala, defying the court’s order, and surprisingly, many women devotees joined the male protestors. The attitude of political parties is ambivalent as they fear losing Hindu votes and so fight shy of taking a clear stand.

Religion is patriarchy and misogyny. No religion accepts equality of women. The reason because of which Sabarimala bans women’s entry is the same that of Haji Ali Dargah or Mount Athos.

However, I also wonder whether the people who want women’s entry into Sabarimala by any means think that it will give women equality. Many misogynistic rituals such as shashti, sindoor khela, karwa chauth are celebrated with fanfare and gusto. Even in marriage, the hymns chanted ensure the wife’s subservience to the husband. It was thought that Muslim women would get equality once the practice of triple talaq is banned. Such an absurd thought! Muslim women do not have equal rights under sharia laws that still exist.

We must not forget that women are oppressed because they are born as women. Incidents of rape, gangrape and sexual assault are rampant. Women suffer because of poverty, they are persecuted for dowry, and face domestic violence.

The body and mind of a woman are controlled by men. Female animals are not subjugated and tortured in the jungle the way women in the civilised world are. Animals enjoy equality, we don’t. We created religious places to worship imaginary Gods who are misogynist. Then why do women need to go to temples and mosques? Why do they need to bow down before the deities who treat women as impure, inferior, untrustworthy and untouchable. Women face problems at every step in this patriarchal society, but the truth is, temples and mosques are not going to resolve them.

The stand of Hindu fanatics in the Sabarimala case against the court emboldens Muslim extremists who always oppose judicial interference in their religious laws. They want to perpetuate their age-old anti-women laws. They refuse to be modern. Thus, Hindu and Muslim obscurantists think and act alike. The best solution is to go beyond one’s religious identity. One should say, “You are bad, but why should I not be good?” Instead, religious fanatics say, “You are bad, so why should I not be bad as well?”

Society is evolving. The feminist movement has been trying to change the patriarchal mindset but religious authorities and fundamentalists frustrate it in the name of upholding traditions based on misogyny.

Once upon a time, religious authorities enjoyed absolute power. Naturally, they did not want any dilution of their power. So, they always opposed any reforms. Countries which sidelined religion grew and progressed. Reformers throughout history have tried to make religion humane and free from cruelty and barbarism. In the past, there have been some rulers who tried to reform religion. But today’s rulers praise religion knowing that religion is anti-democracy, anti-women, and anti-free speech. They do not want to separate state from religion completely. If India is a truly secular state, it must not have religious laws. Laws should be based on equality and justice for all—Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians. One country, one law.

If women do not have the freedom to enter mandirs, mosques, churches, pagodas, so be it. I do not think it will harm them at all. Gods are male; they hate women. What women need the most is freedom from anti-women religious laws, and freedom from the barbarism of patriarchy. Women need education, healthcare, independence, and security. The fight for these is much more necessary and important than the fight to enter temple or mosque.

What happened to my Ajanta -Ellora tour?

or years, I have quietly dreamt of it, wished for it. That I’d go see the splendours of Ajanta, the magic of Ellora. I have been a tourist to many a historical marvel that India has to offer, but there are sites that have eluded me. Not only because the opportunity didn’t come up; even when it did, there were restrictions.

My long stays in Europe and experiencing its security manacles have tutored me somewhat in the methods and protocols of what to expect and how to manage my security. Here in India, I get armed bodyguards. Figuring out the rest – the where, the when, the for-how-long of the matter – is entirely my prerogative. These are my decisions, which I take depending on the situation at hand.

Since 2007, this has been my story. Before that, if I were to attend an event, be present at a function, there would be news. The possibility of my presence would be advertised. I would go without fear of being attacked. But once the attacks on my life started, they kept recurring. From one state to another, they stalked me like a ghost. It’s an epidemic really, like cholera or malaria of bygone days, or the more current dengue and chikungunya. They are never restricted to a particular time and place. They just spread like a rash on a vulnerable body.

Like in any other country, when I get an invitation for an event in India, my security is arranged. But, what if I want to just travel for pleasure? What if I want to simply holiday somewhere? There’s no organisation that would make the arrangements for me then, ensure my security detail. I need to work that out myself. Book the travel tickets, the hotel. Apprise the security guards of everything – when I’d reach, where I’d stay, where all I’d go, when I’d leave – everything must be made available to them till the last detail.

No one had any idea that I was travelling to Ajanta-Ellora. I had done all that was needed to be done. I had booked the hotel in my travel mate’s name and even the air tickets. But I needed to offer my own name as a “companion”. One cannot travel anonymously anywhere anymore.

A week before I was set to leave for Aurangabad, I had duly submitted the documents of my flight details and hotel booking to my Delhi security guards. They had forwarded my application to their office “function branch”, and the latter had assured me that the word had reached from Delhi to Maharashtra, that I’d be safe in the western state, I’d get security guards once I land in Aurangabad.

No one likes to travel with armed bodyguards at all times. But I don’t really have any other option. I’m really helpless there. I try to not remember just how helpless I am. But the reality is too harsh: it doesn’t let anyone quite forget.

I left Delhi for Aurangabad on July 29. As soon as I got off from the plane, I could see the dense police presence all around. My travel mate was a young woman who’s like a daughter to me. I had told her how I hated having cops all around; it would suffice to have two bodyguards only. After all, who’d bother us in Ajanta-Ellora?

I hadn’t realised the cops at Aurangabad airport weren’t taking me to the baggage claim area, but instead to a senior officer. Once I got my suitcase back, as I was about to exit the airport, the officer held me back. He said: “Situation’s bad in the city. Protests are going on against you. There are 500 people gathered outside your hotel.”

I was stunned. This was beyond belief. My travel plans were passed on by Delhi Police to the Maharashtra Police in utmost secrecy, so how did the hardliners chance upon the information? I asked the officer accosting me: “How did they know? No one else was supposed to, but for the cops!” He said he didn’t know how the information leaked. By then, I had crumpled into a bundle of helplessness, choking with pain within. I looked around, and then asked him: “What am I supposed to do now?” The officer replied: “You must go back.”

I asked, “When must I leave? And how?”

The officer said: “There’s an Air India flight to Delhi. It’s tomorrow morning.”

I was aghast. “What shall I do until morning? Where shall I stay?”

He said: “At the airport.”

The officer thought for a while. He had the Air India crew put me back on the very plane by which I had come from Delhi a little while back; only, the flight was now on its way to Mumbai. I must board the plane, I was told. I was taken to the Air India ticket counter.

I had to buy two tickets to Mumbai. My travel mate then looked out from the ticket counter and said, “It seems the protesters have entered the airport already.” I asked the cop standing next to me, “What’s happening? Why are you letting them in?” She smiled and assured: “Don’t worry. We are here. Nothing will happen to you.”

**

The cops seemed relaxed. I was the one getting worked up. They took me to the security clearance next. Behind me, I could hear the ear-splitting shrieks of almost 200 people screaming “Taslima, go back! Taslima, murdabad. Nara-e-takbeer, Allahu Akbar!”

The cops left once they put me on the plane. Even in Mumbai, there was police everywhere. Once I got off, they started questioning me at the airport lounge. Where would I go? I was told immediately that I couldn’t step out, couldn’t visit any place in the city. I looked up online if there was any riotous situation anywhere. No, there wasn’t. I was relieved.

Sometime back I was wondering if I should go away to a European city to live in peace for a while. But then I told myself, why bother if it’s quiet in the country?

The next day, the Times of India published the news of what happened with me at the Aurangabad airport. PTI soon followed it up, and then it spread like wildfire. I didn’t want this to happen. I wish it hadn’t. There’s no dearth of bad experiences in my life. I just didn’t want it replayed over and over again, reminding me of my misery every second of the day.

**

In 2007, I was attacked in Hyderabad. When I made my way back to Kolkata, I expected the CPI(M) government in West Bengal to stand by me. But no, I was put under house arrest. I had hoped for sympathy and compassion from fellow Bengalis, but instead, all I got was hardliners rallying against me, fundamentalists wanting me out of Bengal. I was thrown out soon after. I had to leave behind Kolkata, a city I had come to see as my home away from home.

In Rajasthan, I was forced to leave before the crack of dawn. They brought me over to Delhi, and even as I kept hoping that I’d finally be able to return to Kolkata, alive, I was put under house arrest in the cantonment area.

After a few months of house arrest in Delhi cantonment area, I was forced to leave the country. I was the victim of the attacks on me, but I was the one who got punished. Someone who has gone through what I have been, wouldn’t want history to repeat itself, to be attacked again, the news of the attack to spread.

Many journalists got in touch with me seeking an interview since the Aurangabad airport incident became national headline. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone about it.

But I could see what the newspapers and TV channels were reporting. Maharashtra Police was mincing words when asked by reporters what they knew about the episode. Conflicting versions were coming out. Once they said they didn’t have a clue that I’d be travelling to Aurangabad. Another time, they said they were informed at 4.30pm of July 29. Then they contradicted themselves again. No, it wasn’t at 4.30pm, but at 6pm that they got to know that I was coming.

I have no idea what was the precise moment when the “function branch” in Delhi sent out the message to their counterpart in Maharashtra. Often, in order to prevent the information from leaking out, alerts are sent out at the last moment. Yet, what baffles me is this: does it really matter if the information was sent at 4.30pm or 6.30pm? How did it fall into the hands of the fundamentalists in the first place?

How was it that the protesters had on them every little bit of my secret travel plan? The fundamentalists were aware of everything – from the hotel I had booked, to the name under which it was booked, till when was I staying, where all had I planned to visit – everything was meticulously cloned from my clandestine, security-cleared and security-privy itinerary.

I checked on the internet: before a mob of ideologically inebriated rioters, Muslim fundamentalist leaders were delivering a passionate speech, in which they were spilling the beans of my Aurangabad travel. Every secret little nugget of information was out there, being tossed around by the hardliners. They would teach me what the Ajanta-Ellora caves were really like. The leaders were telling their minions that they had ensured that cops prevented me from stepping out of the airport and entering Aurangabad.

**

I wonder, don’t the Muslims know who their real enemies are? I look at the gau rakshaks running amok all over the country, killing Muslims with glee, why don’t I see Muslims protesting against those acts of murder? Why is it that it’s me who faced the brunt of the Hindutva brigade’s wrath when I criticised cow vigilantism on Twitter? Am I attacked, assaulted, abused again and again because I’m a soft target? That I’m an exile in this country? That I don’t have anyone to call my own, no country, no land to call mine?

Congress, CPI(M), Trinamool have all punished me for no fault of mine. I guess it’s perhaps the BJP’s turn now. And why wouldn’t BJP as well? If they don’t appease the real hardliners among the Muslims, how will the vote-bank politics play out after all? Politicians don’t think of anything beyond elections and what would fetch them some votes, and this is true irrespective of party lines.

**

I sit back and wonder when was it that the Muslims turned me into their enemy. Is it a crime to want that the Muslims modernise themselves, seek equality between men and women? Why am I the adversary then, when all I ever wanted to be was a friend?

Who is the real enemy of Muslims, I ask? Those who want Muslims to stay blinded by religion held back by the lack of education, superstition, sectarianism, intolerance. Those who want the Muslims to be forever limited by the darkness of fundamentalism, fettered by its toxic chains. They are the real enemies. Not them who want Muslims to pursue education, find enlightenment, develop a scientific temper, be sensitive to and indeed fight for human and gender rights, believe in equality.

Who am I? I don’t have a political party, or an organisation, or the support of the intelligentsia. Public intellectuals are now opportunistic spokespersons of one or another political party. My existence in India is a tale of utter and absolute solitude. I don’t have anything or anyone to fall back on but my ideals and my beliefs.

I don’t have ground beneath my feet. But still, I am here. I continue to be. Because I love. I love this country. I love this country because this country looks like my country and feels like home.

Cow slaughter

Cow slaughter is getting illegal in India. The state of Maharashtra imposed a 5-year jail term for cow slaughter. Now Haryana government would make cow slaughter punishable by up to 10-year imprisonment.
“We would not allow beef in Haryana as it hurts our religious sentiments.” The Haryana minister said.

“Some people argue in favour of respecting sentiments of beef-eaters. If some community develops a habit of eating human flesh, should we respect that as well?” Another minister said.
State education minister suggested death sentence for cow slaughter.

I have seen cows walking around Delhi. They have no food. They are eating plastic bags from the streets. Cows suffer from intestinal obstruction because of having plastic bags. I do not know why they, who worship cows, do not provide the poor cows grass? I am not a cow worshiper, but seeing cows eating plastic bags makes me feel cry. I collect grass for hungry cows. But it is not possible for me to feed hundreds of cows. I am not against beef farming, but I am against torture and ill treatment of cows and all other animals.

cowplastticbags2

Religious Conversions

Tricks and treats, coercion, threats, manhandling and extermination are the methods by which Christianity and Islam have spread throughout the world. If these tools had not been adopted, neither of the two religions would have ever crossed the territorial boundaries of the Middle East. I always thought Judaism and Hinduism were two religions where that kind of conversion does not feature. It now appears, however, that the differences have dissolved somewhere down the line. Anyone can become a jew, if they so desire. And anyone can become a hindu. The foreigners of the Hare-Krishna cult, I knew, were into the habit of wearing tilaks on their forehead and chanting Sanskrit slokas in their bid to pose as hindus. But it seems religious conversions are no longer limited to the Krishna devotees. For quite some time, India is undergoing a phase of mass conversions where groups of muslims are converting to Hinduism. Are they becoming hindus because they are suddenly attracted to the religion? If indeed they are, then I see no problems therein. If they are being coerced into it, I’ll protest. I have always been voluble against forcing people to do things, anything, in fact. The fact remains that hindu fundamentalists are coercively pressurising muslims to change their religion, and they are converting mostly out of fear. Fear of life exceeds love of religious faith. Consequently, everyone will try to avoid any active threats to their life and living by taking whatever measures he or she can. Greed is another factor: apparently, a lot of money is on offer for conversions. There is already a fund created for this purpose. It is exactly the same methodology adopted by christian missionaries or sufis. Hindus are calling this conversion wave ghar vapasi. Which means a ‘returning to the fold’: in other words, since they were once forced to convert to Islam from Hinduism, now it’s time for the prodigals to return to their home turf safe and sound. I asked a hindu orthodox, “How much time do you think has elapsed before this apparent ‘return’ is taking place?” He kept silent. I added, “About eight hundred years, isn’t it?”

Almost all muslims in India are converts. Lower caste, untouchable, deprived and impoverished hindus converted to Islam either because they were brainswashed or bribed or beaten or attracted by the sufis or out of their hatred of brahminical Hinduism. It’s still going on. In case of a hindu-muslim wedding, the hindu has to convert to Islam. Its opposite, where a muslim embraces Hinduism after marriage, almost never happens. For hundreds of years, hindus have been systematically converted in this subcontinent. Today, when hindu fundamentalists are screaming revenge, and want to reverse the tide of history, the Delhi masnad trembles in the wake of their forceful slogans. Hindus can be converted to muslims or Christians, but none can be converted to Hinduism – this strange discrimination and discrepancy in practice shall no longer be tolerated. Hindus are going about it with a lot of enthusiasm, but, the question is whether it is at all possible for 25 crore muslims to be reconverted. Especially when converting even 25 of them has ended in stirring up a controversy. There is condemnation and criticism all around.

The right to conversion should be universal. Hairstyle, fashion statements, houses, cars, political parties, ideologies, husband, wife – if one has the right to change all of the aforementioned, then why can’t a person change their faith! It’s not such an immovable, insurmountable existential truth that it is deemed irreplaceable. People should be able to change their faith as frequently as they like, whenever they like, to any whichever religion they like. Hindus to muslims, muslims to hindus, Christian to jewish, jewish to mormons, mormons to Jehovah’s witnesses, from thereon to zoroastrian, to bahai to pagan. Anything they wish. Conversion should be part of human rights. Or if they so wish, they should even become atheists, free of all religious shackles. I have been free of religious faith since my childhood. Ideally, no child should be marked by any religious faith since no child is born with any innate religious beliefs. It is riddled with its parents’ faith almost forcefully. Every child is forced into adopting the faith it is born into, and coerced into believing it to be its own. In an ideal scenario, when a child reaches maturity, and acquires an objective knowledge of the religions of the world, along with adequate exposure to humanism or atheism, it should be left to choose which of them it wants to follow. If one has to be a mature adult to adopt ideological or political beliefs, then how is it that one does not require adulthood to adopt a religious faith?

It’s perhaps because religious fanaticism needs blind faith. And children are eminently ideal for such a scenario. Enlightened adults do not get carried away by faith-related fairy tales so very easily. If it actually becomes possible to stop the brainwashing of little children with religious jargon, then the concept of religion itself wouldn’t take very long to disappear.

And now, hindu fundamentalists have taken it upon their righteous selves to follow Islamic fundamentalists to the very last detail. Since muslims are violent, they have to turn aggressive. Since muslims convert kafirs, they need to do the same. Evidently, fundamentalists from all religions are verily the same. They have only one motive, one mantra: to destroy civil society.

News is that an anti-conversion bill is about to be passed. This is taking the whole issue too far. It makes absolutely no sense that human beings, who have the right to change anything about their lives, will be debarred from changing their faith. To imprison a person within the cages of a single religion is exceedingly cruel and unjust. If the Constitution allows for democracy and human rights, then this bill cannot be legally passed. It is inconceivable how fear of extinction of religious orders can drive communities. What power can close the gates on time and evolution? When has it ever worked? Sumerian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Viking – all the religions that once ruled the planet with pomp – are now dead and dusty. The Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism as we know now – all shall inevitably die some day. I pray to nature that when that finally happens, no other new god, no other high priest comes to plague the planet with new lies, superstitions and tall tales.

Let humanism live. No religion has the power to make a civilisation survive. Only the love and human sympathy of one people for another can achieve that. Freethinking, rational humans with a scientific temperament, unencumbered by superstition, shall eventually save humanity.

ISIS wants to rape children.

Here is the news.

In the ISIS guide, one question asks: ‘Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty?’
The response is: ‘It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse.’

Another asks: ‘Is it permissible to sell a female captive?’ The response is: ‘It is permissible to buy, sell, or give as a gift female captives and slaves, for they are merely property, which can be disposed of.’
The document says that all ‘unbelieving’ women, including Jews and Christians, can be taken as captives and sold as slaves.
The pamphlet allows masters to beat their female slaves, but only as a disciplinary measure, and not as a source of gratification. The master is also forbidden from beating his slave-girl on the face.

The IS price list for slaves ranks the cost of a woman by age, so while a woman aged 40-50 would sell for just 50,000 dinars or $43, a girl aged 10-20 would be worth 150,000 dinars ($125) and a child under nine would sell for 200,000 dinars ($166).

ISIS is doing everything exactly what Muhammad did. Muhammad killed non-Muslims,non-believers, apostates,captured non-Muslim girls and fucked them. He fucked female slaves. He fucked a child. Islam says if you want to be a good Muslim, follow Muhammad’s lifestyle, do everything what Muhammad did.

Horrible mass slaughter!

Every five year a slaughter festival takes place in Nepal. Hindus offer animals to Gadhimai goddess for luck and prosperity.

gadhimai

The ritual sacrifice of goats, buffaloes and roosters in Gadhimai temples and at home is widespread in Nepal.
10,000 buffalo calves and 150,000 goats are going to be offered to Gadhimai — the goddess of power — during the ritual.

In the last time nearly 20,000 buffalo calves were killed, and more than 200,000 goats were slaughtered. This year less animals are sacrificed because of animal activists are trying to prevent people from slaughtering animals. Hundreds of people thousands of animals for 2 days, many animals were not slaughtered completely. Buffaloes walk with their head hanging in the killing fields.

slaughter

Do people get prosperity after making Gadhimai happy by killing hundreds of thousands of animals? For human’s superstition, so many animals are getting brutally murdered. This barbarism must be stopped.

Stupid verses of the stupid Quran

If you are a non-Muslim, and you are not able to recite the stupid verses of the stupid Quran, you can be killed by stupid Al-Shabaab islamists in Kenya.

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Yesterday the stupid islamists killed 28 innocent people. They ambushed a bus in Kenya and sprayed bullets on those who failed to recite Quranic verses, killing 28 people.
The bus, which had 60 people aboard, was heading to the capital of Nairobi. Islamists stopped the bus at a hilly area and stormed in. They demanded people sitting in the bus recite Quranic verses. They opened fire on passengers who failed to do so.

The most dangerous people in this universe are stupid people, believer people. Be aware of them.