Apr 16, 2010

This morning I was in a bit of a melancholy mood... I don't remember what made me think of this, but I was remembering when a sophomore girl in high school came up to me and asked, "why do Hindus believe women don't have souls?" I was shocked and not a little offended - immediately I asked her where she got that idea. The answer: her World Literature teacher.

I went up to the teacher in question and asked about the source of this "fact." Off the top of my head I could come up with two to three examples of Hindu mythology* that refuted her statement. I had barely gotten through telling her about Draupadi, who took the five heroic Pandavas as her husbands because of her virtuous past life, when she made some excuse and fled. She never gave me an explanation, and I never found out if she issued a retraction to her class.

What bugged me more than anything else is that both these women (the sophomore and the teacher) were, in their ignorance, looking down on me. I won't try to claim Indians in general and Hindus in particular haven't treated women shamefully, often in the name of god. But to say that my religion disenfranchises half it's followers at such a fundamental level? Who would follow a religion like that? Oh, but I forgot - Indian women have no choice in the matter. We're not agents in the universe, only passive subjects. To borrow an expression... Jesus Christ.

This is why I don't understand why people want religion (e.g. Creationism) taught in schools. Ignore for a moment that the separation of Church and State is an essential part of the Founding Father's vision for America. There's a reason K-12 teachers became teachers, instead of members of the clergy or theology scholars. They simply don't have the expertise or inclination to teach religion.



*Yes, I refer to my own religious doctrine as "mythology." Mostly to remind myself that religion is a creation of people. And because you can't become in-mythology-nated.

No comments: