Who am I?An Indian Teen’s Identity Crisis

NOTE:This was the article I wrote for the What’s My ID Contest for Youth Ki Awaaz. I won a Nokia Lumia 710 and an internship with them. Here’s the picture :

Nokia Lumia 710 Won By Siddharth Gupta for What's My ID Contest for Youth ki Awaaz

As a seventeen year old teen, I can confidently say I’m an Indian who is astonished by India daily. With the second highest population in the world, the only way of describing us is “we’re everywhere”. Some rejoice by this unique factorial, claiming it to be a bright prospect for the country’s future. But what I, and most of today’s youth sees, is a situation of identity crisis. A situation that doesn’t look good at all.

Today, every child, by the sole act of his birth, acquires multiple tags, which already define him before he or she can logically think. When a foreign dignitary visits India, the first lesson they learn is of our cultural integrity, but they never learn of our inhumane and excruciatingly complex divide. May it be on the geographical distribution of states, or of the language rolled off their tongues, we have a nasty little intuition to immediately separate each other out. It’s interesting to note that most of the geographical and language issues are simply banal. Consider this: at the time of our independence, we had 15 odd states which today stand at 28. Looking at certain separatist movements, we may see an increase in the number. But the point that stands out is that over time, fragmentation, re-merging of areas, division etc stops mattering because over the years, the only common link geographically between people has remained that of belonging to a common nation- India.

Moving on to the touchy issue, caste based discrimination. It’s not that we are not trying to move past it. With each passing generation, the emerging youth of India has slowly worked towards making it a figment of history. Unfortunately, our social stigmas and laws haven’t caught up. As a child when my mother taught me equality, I often thought “How can I say XYZ is equal to me when he gets a reservation in educational institutes, government jobs and many other such similar offerings while I don’t?”

Bringing in the gender divide, I slightly start feeling disgusted. For a nation which claims to believe and worship in a goddess, we are simple brutes. As a staunch advocate of equality among women, I simply find myself in dearth of a true identity, because associating myself with any of them highlighted here, causes a revulsion in me.

Identity. The word itself resonates a feeling of unity, of oneness and in true essence, describes the individual persona of each person. Sadly, as an Indian who is still in his growing years, I’ve discovered that I have multiple facades, multiple descriptions associated with me. Why, is a question I’m yet to answer, because the search goes on. In India, you never have a single identity. It’s always a concoction of many different ones. But whatever the potion may be and whoever may be the brewer, one thing is apparent and crystal-clear. Something is wrong, and we must change. I hope we change. Soon, Fast and Now

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The Agnostic Atheist or The Deist? A Take On Religion,Faith and God

As I sit writing this article, I’m slightly dazzled. In a matter of mere hours, my convictions, my beliefs and in essence my religious outlooks have been defined and changed. Sometimes, all of us live our lives believing that our perspectives are unique and non contextual for the world. To a great extent, my religious beliefs were similar. Born into a Hindu family with an educated background, I was brought up in a world of atoms, aartis, allah and atheists. I often meet people who were either religious preachers or atheists or agnostic, although the last one were a very few. Yet, I never could relate myself with any of these groups. I always had, always will and always shall believe in God but I always used to find the elaborate hoaxes of religion distributively economical cheating, puzzling and purely insulting.  How could I pass an exam with a black thread tied on my wrist? How can I be free from the supposed influence of a planet just by performing some absurd pooja? Wasn’t our creator supposed to be our friend, our guide? Why would he do this to us?
My concept of God had always been in transition. Agnosticism, Atheism, religious devout, detached but religious, non-practicing, the list of my phases goes on. But each phase left me unclear. Agnosticism although sounds cool, is simply an act of arrogance and to a large extent ignorance. It’s deliberate aloofness. “Maybe he exists, maybe he doesn’t”. Yet, you can conveniently blame it on God when everything goes wrong. How does that even make sense? Then there are buffs that take up religion seriously and abide by fictitious but spiritually enhancing books as the “Word of God”. Many such nuts denounce science, logic and analysis. Little do they realize that reasoning, analyzing etc form the crux of human civilization. As SOMEONE said, “Religion is the greatest invention of man.” Created to rein in civilization into order from chaos, religion is simply expounded by a bunch of idiots who just wish to commercialize the gullible nature of the masses. It’s my personal opinion that our God is not a punishment-giving strict care giver who will help us only if we do some particular things. Take the Hajj for instance. What about a person who can barely afford food or shelter in say, India? Do you really think that our God is so cruel and so full of himself that he will ask the said person to sacrifice his stomach’s need and make him spend a fortune to journey to a religious spot as an obligation? Another example.  In Hinduism, it’s a wide held belief that anyone who continually recites certain mantras for some years shall be absolved of all crimes and shall be guaranteed a spot in heaven. Rather convenient for rapists and murders isn’t it? Christianity has a similar concept with regard to rosary. All religions preach that God is righteous and treats everyone as equals. Then why do temples have special, short lines where some money gives your quicker divine access?
Bringing in atheism, I simply call them “unbending geniuses with a special corner for idiotic behavior ” Mostly comprising supposedly elevated individuals like scientists, atheists are adamant that God doesn’t exist. They hide behind numbers, equations, theories etc to prove this. Even the most respected Scientists now agree that the universe was created when a lot of energy was focused on to a single micro point, later exploding into sub-nuclear particles. They also agree that somehow, the conditions were just right and a delay of even a micro second would have caused the “Big Bang” to not take place. Still scientists say, “Where is God’s hand in this?” Quoting Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, “Is it really easier to deny the existence of God than to believe that somehow out of a deck of a billion cards, we simply picked the right one?”
Today, using equipment like the Large Hadron Collider and ultra microscopes along with sophisticated mathematical formula and techniques, Science has uncovered the so called “Time Zero + .00001 Second” activities of our universe, but has failed miserably to even remotely theorize the Time Zero or Pre-Time Zero events which religion heralds as proof of God’s existence. 
George Carlin somehow answers the question, “What about prayer?” He said, “People treat God rather rudely, asking trillions and trillions of wishes, begging for wishes on SUNDAY, his day off! Suppose your prayers are not answered. What do you say?  “Ah! its God’s will” If it’s God’s will and he will do what he wants, why bother praying in the first place?”
Still, I don’t place all my trust in science. For all the supposed unraveling of the universe, all it has done is flummox us and impress us with unproved assertions. When people ask scientists who created energy (the supposed source of the Big Bang), they answer with an arrogant assertion; “Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed. It just exists”. WOW Genius! It is appalling to know that people would rather place trust in a paradoxical statement and blindly assert that energy just existed rather than acknowledging the presence of a creator.
After all this, I arrived to this conclusion. I believe in God. A kind God. A merciful God. A God who loves me. A God who created this universe. A God who laid down the rules of science we worship. But my God will never ask me to partake in meaningless commercialization of his name. He also won’t promote the killing and hurting of my fellow human being due to fanaticism over absurd inventions of man. In steps Deism.
I won’t propound or advocate Deism but just tell you what it means. A Deist is a person who believes in the existence of God, has faith that in him or her but does not believe in religion or its rituals. Rather a deist trusts in reasoning and logic over blind faith in biased interpretation of ancient texts.
To sum it up, I end with some questions. 
To religious bigots: “If God is kind and ever powerful ( as the holy books of every religion claim), why does he demand worship? Why does he ordain a way out of every sin via money?
To all atheists: “If God doesn’t exist, who created the universe? Don’t say the Big Bang because a follow up is who created the energy? And please, no “Law of Conservation of Energy’ crap.
To all agnostics: “If you don’t believe in God’s existence, answer the atheist question. If you’re partly religious answer the one for the bigots.”
I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein)
I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings. (Albert Einstein)

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Festivals; The Holes In Religious Fanaticism

This Christmas eve, I sat behind my laptop pondering over what could be a better way of passing time: Facebook or studies, when suddenly a thought comes to me which has bloomed into this blog.

Over the years we all have some how or the other seen religious discrimination or fanaticism. may it be in an open form( Wayward Hindu-Muslim jokes, Pope-Priest jokes or actual civil wars or fights where in people are hell bent on murder) or in behind-the-doors, closed whispers( woh Hindu hai usse dhoor raho OR yeh christans aise hee hotee hain). But still we(the current generation) has brought about a silent revolution which is unspoken and unconscious, but runs deep and affects all of us.

National Integrity

This effect is that of religious indifference. Despite of our religious prefrences or practicses(which have been ingrained into us from birth.), we still are a single bunch, a single youth that is not divisible by ambigous borders like religon becasue we are intelligent enough to recognise that at the end of the day we are all one and there is only one God who is common to all of us but we are diffrent just because of our ways to approach him/her.Confused?Let me explain with a story Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa(Swami Vivekananda’s Guru) told his disciples. he said that once there used to be a huge tank in the middle of a field. Everyday, a muslim man used to draw some water from it and called it pani. A hindu priest withdrew the same water and called it Jal and when a christan woman would do the same and name it water. But in essence of the subsstance, the immutable quantitiy or mass or water or jal or pani  or whatever you call it, remains the same. In the same manner, whatever you name the omnipotent force, it remains the same. So it boils down to this: Billions of people fight with each other over the fact that whose NAME is right?

Also proof that we are way above such nonsense and the inspiration behind this blog is Christmas itself or any other festival for that matter. How often we have seen a christan boy burn phooljadis or burst crackers on the Hindu Festival Of Diwali or a Hindu girl having kheer at Ramzan at her Rakhi brother’s house or a Muslim family attending Church on Christmas eve to be a part of the midnight mass? These occurences are not coincidence but rather proof that unity does not need to be forced upon us but it is infact already becoming an innate attribute of our nature.

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Karma: Does It Work?

Karma is one of the paradoxes of our society. Although being a flawed concept that is thrust down our throats on religious basis, it is a superb concept which magically works to ensure the balance of humanity. Tracing its origins takes us back to nearly 3000 years back in history( Take a moment to savour this; It’s easy to say 3000 years ago something but something totally all together different to appreciate the actual significance). The Aryans were comfortably settled in the northern plains of India and it was then, when the concept of Karma was born. Who knew a simple idea would mould into a way of life for millions? Actually, I believe it just works on the seeding of fear.
The small but deep fear within us which is embedded into our conscience enables us to direct our lives on the simple basis of “do good, feel good, and reap good”. How many of us live out our entire lifetime thinking, “a good deed now will be a blessing for the future”? Even though it appears as a religious brain washing system (to which all atheists and agnostics will agree), a simplistic explanation and a much more viable one too is to accept the concept as an idea propagated for the betterment of the society.  Think about this: The Aryans conducted a rudimentary form of what we today call “A Social Experiment”. If I correctly remember, The Immortals of Meluha by  Amish Tripathi expounds a similar concept. “If everyone righteously carries out their own duties selflessly, automatically law and order will be maintained in the nation state”. Seeing the effects today, we can accurately say that their notion was successful. With people tattooing the word itself onto their bare skin or drinking the mantra with their morning tea, the delightfully acceptable concept has taken the globe with a rage and is definitely become important in today’s War infested world where a brother hunts a brother, father kills his family and nothing humane remains (I know it sounds clichéd but kya karen it’s an accurate description). Some religious authorities might claim that “Karma is a Hindu concept” or “It was expounded by Buddha, he is not our God”. May I ask all of them; didn’t Jesus preach that performing good deeds reaps good fruits? Didn’t the great Muhammad ibn Abdullah say the same? (One of the fundamental pillars of Islam, Zakāt or donation of alms to the poor is a thinly veiled reincarnation of the same). At the end of the day, whatever you do, whatever you may be or whatever is your religious status on your Facebook, We all have been truly thought about Karma and have been trained into observing it in our lives.

At the cost of being called selfish, I say that Karma brings to our society what we call “peace and harmony”. Thus I end by modifying a popular pop culture track, “Because Karma is a bitch” to “We are humane, because Karma is a bitch!”

Here are some images which will definitely help!

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