Political correctness aside, we need to understand that not all religions and all gods are the same. Their rituals and forms of worship too, thus differ. Once while discussing about religion with a friend and colleague of mine at office over a cup of tea, what intrigued me most was the fact that she taught her five-year old son the same old version of secularism which says that all religions and all gods are the same. While on the one hand she claims herself to be a firm believer of Hinduism as a way of life and also criticises the radical and communal face of Islam, on the other, she had been teaching her son that the ringing of the bell in the temple and the chanting of Allahu-Akbar from the mosque are both the same modes of worship of the one God. 

This is exactly from where the problem arises. The impressionable, young mind of kids retains everything minutely whatever they are being taught and whatever they see in their surroundings. When this same kid goes to school and is introduced to a culturally alienating system of education inspired from the West, he/she gradually becomes more and more rootless. It is because the kid spends more time in the school than at home with the family. But, before blaming the education system, we also need to look at our own way of upbringing of our kids, both male and female, which is, to a large extent, responsible for producing an entire generation of youngsters detached from their own texts, food, rituals and festivals.

As a child, I used to remember a few of my Muslim friends who were educated in the same convent school system of English education as mine but were taught to read and write Urdu and verses of the Quran by maulvis who used to come to their place in the evening. Unfortunately, the poison of secularism has entrapped many of us Hindus to such an extent that we have come to consider the teaching and learning of the Sanskrit language as outdated. We are ourselves unaware of the vast body of sacred knowledge stored in our rich texts such as the Bhagavad-Gita, Ramayana and Mahabharata, etc. but we soar with some sort of inexplicable pride when our kids are able to recite their prayers and poetry in fluent English.

We boast of our sons and daughters becoming doctors and engineers and taking up well-paying corporate jobs, but shy away from teaching them our own true history and the history of the other side too, our philosophy, culture and traditions. We find bhajans boring, but love to tap our feet to the tunes of DJ music! We love to spend our time exercising in the posh air-conditioned gyms and take to allopathy in the slightest instance, but shy away from our own Ayurveda. Eating macaroni or maggie noodles, pizza and burger is fashionable, but we detest at the bowl of healthy dal-khichdi topped with a dollop of desi ghee.

When Hindu parents, especially mothers, themselves love to ape such a lifestyle, what more to expect from their kids? It is because the mother shares a special bond with her child for she is the creator and life-giver right from the time of conception till the birth of the child and after.

Picture Credits: Hindu Existence

Once our daughters grow up, as parents, we expect them to marry someone from our own community. But, the question is – as parents, how far have we ensured that our daughters themselves do not become the victims of Love-Jihad? Jihadis very well know that our daughters are a vulnerable lot, for they have not been taught to take pride in their culture and heritage, etc. which makes them easy targets for accomplishing Islam’s sinister goals. Celebrating Daughters’ Day and Mothers’ Day is just not enough; we need to ensure that our daughters are trained in the art of self-defence, by teaching them the importance of who they are, i.e. Sakti, as manifested in the form of Durga and Kali.

Cosmopolitanism and respect for diversity are perfectly fine in their own place. But, dressing up our kids as Santa Claus or putting up a Christmas tree at home during Christmas should not, in any way, mean sidelining our own festivals and traditions. The teaching of stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, etc. should be made as colourful and interesting as possible and a part of the kids’ daily routine at home. A secular and pious kid who respects each and every other god is appreciated, but this secularism should not be blinded by a non-critical acceptance of all religions as the same. In this respect, the onus of responsibility lies completely on the parents.   

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