Recently I boarded my usual train to Mumbai the Pragati express. I have never traveled without reservation , If i dont have a reservation i travel in the general compartment. I got to my reserved seat and like always there was a 10 year old girl with her mother occupying my window seat.( I love the window seat ,it signifies hair blowing,music in my ears and endless thoughts in my mind) I told the mother so, she told me to sit in the aisle seat as the daughter would start crying if she doesn’t get the window. I sat on the aisle seat. This incident is not new it happens 90% of the time in the Indian railways. People travel unreserved with absolutely no guilt about it. Later the T.C comes in and I hope he would at least ask her to get up, but of course not he just took 15 rupees from her (she had a general ticket) and let her sit exactly where she was. She later told her friends who were sitting unreserved themselves that this is the first time she’s paying that 15 rupees, the general ticket is enough most of the time, she claimed.
I looked around me clearly the reserved seats quotient was less than the unreserved, and that’s when I started thinking. Is doing the right thing, the right thing anymore? Are the right doers foolish? Are they in the minority? Has it always been like that and if so, why? When I stop at a red signal in my city, I am laughed at, honked at, sometimes even abused. Why? Do the majority of the people think I am a fool and I am just wasting all of our valuable time by stopping at a red signal? Even after all this I stop at red , I go to the reservation booth and book my rightful seat. I have learnt that rules are not made for someone else’s safety and comfort but mine. When I stop at a signal I might be saving a life and that life could be my own.
My mother always tells me that doing the right thing always leads to being awarded because someone is watching. I don’t believe that someone exists. I do the right thing for very selfish reasons. There is no GOD as such that I try to please or believe in and pray to everyday. I believe in the mystery of a higher being but don’t depend on it for my success or well being. I don’t believe in a religion. India has innumerable GODS with innumerable stories of it’s existence. I always ask myself what has religion given India? Has it made us stronger, safer or even high in moral?
Religion has always been an excuse for riots, it has given us a reason to fight. Ironically we are ready to kill each other and rape our mothers and daughters for someone who we cannot see, cannot touch or feel. It has given us GODMEN who have lakhs of followers,sadly. People like Asaram and Nithyananda are supposedly people speaking the language of god. One says the Delhi rape would have been avoided if the woman would have called him a brother and the other forces young women to have sex with him and explains the act by calling it a way to reach god. These God men own lakhs and lakhs of rupees, which more than anything shows how guilty we are as people, to give these men such kind of power.
Religion has always been used as an excuse to look down upon women. We were not allowed education, or to have any kind of ambitions other than raising a family. Practices like sati,dowry,female foeticide,the pathetic lives of widows all have there roots in religion. Religion was always used to tell us that men were superior and we needed to bend down and worship them. When today we consider ourselves equal to men, we are independent and not scared to voice our thoughts, we should question how did we reach here? It wasnt entirely because of a super power it was because of men and women who fought for our rights and got us our freedom. I sometimes feel we should worship people like Jyotirao Phule, Ram Manohar Lohia and likes rather than a unknown God.
With the recent Delhi rape case it becomes clear that we need to become humans again. We shouldn’t call ourselves animals also because they are way better than us and have always been. Let’s stop depending on Allah or Ram , let’s start practicing humanity and sensitivity as religion. I think now it’s pretty clear that the Gods really cannot help us. We need to start doing the right things not just in our minds but in our actions.(and that involves stopping at a red signal) We are in a desperate need of following humanity as religion that’s the only way forward.