I have a subject in college called Foundation Course. At first it seemed quite boring because it was History and Civics all over again. But then, we were kids at that time; saw and treated events and issues as just another chapter in our syllabus. But today, when I hear about all those practices, I react and feel differently.
Unity in Diversity. This is what actually defines India.
This means that Indians are free to practice whatever religion they want. But we have the LAW which makes sure that no one is crossing their limits. The problem arises when religion and law clash.
India is not exactly a young country. Every law, every custom was made keeping in mind the betterment of the people. But what if right now, in the 21st century, these very same laws and customs are causing harm to the society and people ? Will we still blindly follow it ? Only because our ancestors did it, will we make the future generation suffer as well ? Or let them do things that's not good for them, even if they want to do it ?
Incident 1 : 13 year old Jain girl from Secunderabad died after she kept a 68 day fast. Fasting is highly respected in the Jain community and looked up to. But was it right to let her keep such a rigorous fast, even though she insisted upon it ?
Incident 2 : During Muharram, children as young as 5 years beat themselves while in procession. Should you be doing penance for something that happened many years ago ? Isn't there any other way to express remorse without causing harm to the human body ?
Incident 3 : Young kids are used to break the dahi handi in return for winning a cash prize. Would you be willing to break your bones in exchange for money ?
People would say it is done by "the children's own free will". Counter question - When the country does not allow a person below 18 years to vote, how can they allow children to decide such dangerous things for themselves?
There are rights given to us in the Constitution. One of them is Right to Religion. But as we have seen it happen, our rights have often been misunderstood in the past.
People can argue all they want. But the question still remains.