Speaking of All Saints Day Narendra Dabholkar (who was born on November 1, 1945) was assassinated in August but his Anti-Superstition organization continues. Here are some words from Suman Oak, a woman speaking out in her homeland.
“[Common people] were banned from learning and were immersed in religious rituals and practice, Poojas and prayers, pilgrimages and festivals, observances and penance of all kinds so that they perpetually turned their sight towards the ‘Other World’. Our outlook still remains “Other Worldly” because of our weak psyche and intellectual inertia despite the fact that the right of every Indian to education is enshrined in the constitution and many of us are educated.
We have got to overcome this weakness and inertia and start thinking afresh about our customs and rituals and especially those rituals and religious observances forced upon our women to keep them chained within the four walls of the home. All that is harmful and degrading to human dignity should be discarded forthwith, retaining the healthy practices necessary for emotional development. We must weigh up how much time we can afford to spend in the religious practices vis-à-vis our family, social and monetary obligations.
The Indian mind is not content with the 330 million Hindu gods with additional gods of other monotheist religions, all dwelling in the other world. So we install deities in the earthly rivers, mountains stones, animals, trees, souls of the departed, ghosts, saints, fakirs and what not. Instead of conserving the revered rivers, mountains, trees and animals we ruin them in the name of religion.”
This courageous woman sounds like the John Muir of India!
(I consider John Muir a “Secular Saint”. . .appropriate for All Saints Day).
And read Suman Oak’s Women’s Declaration.