Parents of two daughters narrating as why it was so imperative to raise their children with no religious beliefs is a tale that lights a new perspective of secularity and dharma.


In today’s time where national politics has boiled down to religion. It became important for me to ask my parents why they raised me and my sister with no religious faith. And here is there answer in my parents’ words


‘People often mistake our choice of upbringing our children as our unawareness about our religion, other religions and spirituality in general. However, it was only truly understanding teachings of holy books, the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Quran, the Bible and others that we came to this conclusion that our children will follow no particular religion.


If someone actually takes the time to understand these texts, he/she will realize that the end goal or the preaching of each book is the same. It states very evidently that all of us are a small part of larger conscious and each says that the only path of living is to be dutiful and responsible. If all paths have same ideals and all end goals are same, then why should we pre-impose certain set of rules on our kids and rob them of the choice of finding the path that convinces their individuality. It is the same as saying that our child would be a doctor.


In 2001, our first child was born, at that point admiring our daughter both of us decided we will never rob her of her originality as a human. All we will do is give her exposure to all rights and all wrongs associated with each philosophy and religion, then she can make an informed decision of what she believes for herself.


The other thing we strongly believed was, once we start belonging to a particular religion or follow a certain thought process, we lose the capability of imbibing the great of other religions and questioning the flaws of ours. When we wanted our daughters to meet people, we wanted them to judge them on their opinions and thoughts, not where they come from and what they follow.


The greatness of our nation lies in the fact, that all people from various ideologies can co-exist and celebrate all types of festivals with each other and we wanted our kids to enjoy all spheres of the society.


A huge problem we faced was if we had subjected our kids to one particular thought, we would have the risk of them being victims of false propaganda and pseudo-spirituality which is preached often by bearers of these particular religions and our children lacking the exposure would have taken them as the gospel truth.


We wanted our children to understand that to respect your community, you need to respects others first because all have the same purpose and teachings, to make sensitive human beings. Our choice also allowed us to interpret their teachings in the way we understood, instead of how they are manifested in society.’


My father added, ‘The biggest motivation of teaching no religious ideology to our daughters came when I studied Bhagwat Geeta, a sentence said ‘ek aadmi ka dharma kya hai’, when I analyzed this I got stuck on the word ‘dharma’, I realized this word is used in the context of duty. As in, if you translate this word to the English text, it means duty and not religion. In fact, Hindu sub-texts don’t have a word for religion. In our Sankskriti, religion is nowhere mentioned, only duty is. Duty towards your parents, towards your environment and fellow people. And this definition of dharma is same for every religious ideology. It is not that Hinduism teaches you to take care of your parents, but Sikhism doesn’t. So, religion is just a set of rules to fulfil that dharma. So, if I make my kids dutiful, they won’t need religion. Religion only became an unnecessary word to separate us into smaller groups and propagate politics and is nowhere involved in the personal growth of human beings.’



‘People often say you will find Moksha and Nirvana through religion and that’s not true at all. They believe that our Geeta says that the following religion rigidly finds you happiness, a saying in Geeta has been translated to ‘tu kam kare ja fal ki chinta mat kar’ means you work and god will give you your prize in next life or when you reach heaven. It actually means that when you do a good deed, you instantly feel happiness. and when you hurt someone, you feel guilty.

It also paves the way to think that humans in their intrinsic fabric have a moral compass, then you don’t need religion or set of rules to fulfil your dharma.


Religion has no role in personal development, otherwise people wouldn’t kill each other for religion. It is a means of highlighting festivals to move economy or have a system for society.


We wanted our children to be rationalists, for them to always have the capability of asking questions. Both of us come from scientific backgrounds and we knew the importance of scientific temperament. It gives you the power of innovation and yet a check on reality. Science is fact-based that gives you concrete knowledge you can build upon, but history has been the witness of so many religious texts becoming irrelevant due to scientific advancements. When Galileo Galilei proved there are moons orbiting Jupiter, it forced the Bible to accept that earth is not the centre of solar system and the universe. These holy texts were written as per the need of the society then. However, they should adapt to the needs of society today. And being part of one religion would’ve halted their personal evolution.

In conclusion, I believe all we wanted was that our children to be kind, dutiful and secular. When we mean secular, we mean they can do whatever they want until they hurt someone else. We don’t mean pro-Hindu or pro-Muslim, just inclusive, pro-choice, pro-people and constitutional citizens. Hence, philosophy and scientific narrative proved to be better tools of upbringing than religion ever did.’


Listening to their answer, it made me wonder, is religion the root cause of the bias that we share as a society and does liberal children, hope to solve pressing problems of today. Whatever the answer to those questions be, it is imperative that we have children and youth, free from every bias so they can pave way for a more inclusive, sensitive and better society.


Feature Image Credits: Sacred Games (Netflix)


Chhavi Bamba

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Sex Education, the word itself brings along with it a secretive and weird ring in our society. However, this image is slowly changing as we are moving towards educating of all. So, how does Islam, one of the so called/thought to be conservative religions deal with the same subject?

For the longest time, the thought, idea and any discussion about sex has been ushered to be disrespectful and taboo. It took a lot of time for the country as a whole to finally come to terms with being able to freely talk about it. Yet religions have still called it and barricaded it by calling it as inviolable. One such religion or actually should I say the so-called preachers of such religion are the Islamic priests. For the longest time, it was said, preached and believed that sex was only a reproductive act done to carry forward the species, and the thoughts of protections and contraceptives have been and still in some place are rejected by a lot of people misguided by false preachings.

It wasn’t until Al Azhar Islamic university of Cairo researched and found out that condoms and other similar form of contraceptives aren’t banned in the religion of Islam and it was just a false hoax created around it by those with different views. One of the few banned things were abortions and that too is allowed in some medically required cases.

‘The wrong media coverages and false preaching have been behind Islam being thought to be a highly conservative and strict religion, however it is a very understanding religion’ is what one of the faculty members had to say about the issue. This marked one of the first steps into sexual education and sexual care being given importance in this religion and by its preachers.

Although the Quran has placed so much emphasis on acquiring knowledge, and in the days of Prophet Mohammed, Muslim men and women were encouraged not to shy away from asking any question, including those related to private affairs such as sexual life, it has been changed into a taboo subject. We as responsible citizens and any responsible Muslim need to focus on finding out the reasoning and correction in each statement. Questioning is a right and knowledge is lauded. So, why should this also not be discussed?

A famous saying of the Prophet goes like “Blessed are the women of the Helpers. Their Modesty did not stand in the way of their seeking knowledge about their religion” (Bukhari and the Muslim).

Everyone has the right to gather knowledge especially sexual, as it is also a part of wellbeing. In our educated world, even Islam and those of stringent beliefs have started to see the path of light into this subject and openly started talking about sex and its other aspects.

Featured Image credits- Windsor Star

Haris Khan
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How many times has the sight of men clad in skull caps instilled a sense of fear in you? What makes the recitation of Quran and the offering of Namaz in public places an astounding spectacle? To answer these questions well, retrospectively, it is important to understand what Islamophobia is.

Islamophobia, as the name suggests, is the irrational and unfounded fear of Muslims and/or Islam, often times used as a political rhetoric. The term surfaced in the late twentieth century, only to reach an unprecedented peak, post the 9/ 11 terrorist attacks. The perpetrators of the same were 19 men affiliated to Al-Qaeda, a militant Islamist organisation. Having mentioned the involvement of an Islamist group in this dreadful act, it became all too inevitable for the Muslim community as a whole to not be viewed under the same radar as terrorists. Treated just as such since, their community has been under tremendous pressure from agencies all across the globe.

Their blatant ostracism from the mainstream affairs of the world is not a pleasant sight to behold. US President, Donald Trump, openly campaigning for an absolute ban on Muslims entering The States is a sickening ploy, more so because it was a political propaganda camouflaged as a mitigation measure against rebellion. He garnered an unbelievably huge response to his unlikely candidacy at the presidential elections by fanning the already seething flames of hostility towards Islam in the US.

Prominent American Muslim, Edward Mitchell IV of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told Al Jazeera that it is one thing to read anti-Muslim rhetoric on the internet or to see it on Fox News and it is an other thing to hear it from the president of the United States. The same can be said about Theresa May, only she does not out rightly admit to racism. Theresa May, Prime Minister of The United Kingdom turned a deaf ear to the incessant wailing of Muslim worshippers, celebrating Ramdaan at London’s Finsbury Park Mosque, when a white van swerved sharply off the road and slammed into the crowd, killing one and injuring at least eight others. However, earlier in the same year when jihadists orchestrated an attack on London, in which eight people were killed, May was infuriated and issued a statement saying that there was far too much tolerance of Islamist extremism in the UK and announced civil liberties restriction. What May did in the latter, was indeed the right thing to do to in order to safe guard the interests of her citizens, however, the lack of reciprocal prosecution in the former suggests bigoted sentiments of the Prime Minister towards Islam.

The present day plight of Rohingya Muslims, the most vexed ethnic Muslim community in the world, is nothing short of horrific. Having to flee away from Myanmar, their home land, they find themselves negotiating the terms of refuge in neighboring nations, having to live without an identity, for what seems like an indefinite period of time. Mob lynching cases in India have been on the rise since the BJP government attained power in 2014, not to mention, the categorical slaughter of Muslim men under the pretext of beef consumption and cow annihilation. Pehlu Khan, Mohammad Aklaq, and Junaid Khan, are a few names out of a couple hundred that resonate with indignation and lost pride.

World domination as against a particular community, based on the suspicion of radical ties of a few with certain established militant organisation, is an extremely poor choice, especially when we are living in a polar world, where the dissemination of information is the freehold of media houses, a privilege which ought to be exploited, like all others. “If I was not a Muslim and all I knew about Islam is what I saw in the evening news, I might be afraid of Muslims too,” says Mitchell to Al Jazeera, highlighting the deplorable state of moral policing in media and print stations.

It is important to separate religious affiliations from counter terrorism. Terrorism is not the sole propriety of a particular community. The sinful acts of a few radical extremists should not lead the remaining 1.6 billion into apologetic surrender. It is the job, not just of the government but also of the masses to scrutinise the current scenario and come up with a mechanism to weed out the rotten lot and save Islamism of religious defamation.


Feature Image Credits: The Express Tribune Blog

Lakshita Arora
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