Women and Religion

Upon hearing the word ‘religion’, I always had the vision of religion as a way that makes people bind together with similar thought and belief in god, and fear in evil. People believe in god, believe that God is always right and God is always watching them. People will do good things in order to rest in peace in heaven. Similarly, they try to avoid the bad actions due to the fear in evil; as a result, they avoid the risk of being in the hell after death.  This was how I thought that the religion plays role in every society. Religion is similar to rules in a society, but it is enforced by the fear, belief, and trust in God, angel, and death angels. Religion differs from place to place and also differs from people to people. There are many religions around the world namely, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, and many more.  Though these religions differ in many ways, the ultimate message that they advocate is to believe in god, be good human being, and respect others.

But the article, “Religion And Gender” by Moojan Momen, has opened doors to the other unknown roles of religion to me. After reading this article I can conclude that not all religions are perfect and good as they seem. I had never realized that religion too discriminated women; unlike the society where in everyday life see gender discrimination. As mentioned in the article from the Theravada Buddhism:

 “No man … should trust women, for they are base, fickle, ungrateful and deceitful…They do not act as they ought to; they do not care for their parents or brother. They are mean…very sharp…their nature is hard to know…Knowing this one should keep far away from them.”

Women were considered evil and inferior. Women were also considered as polluted, I believe the reason behind that is that women have menstrual cycle unlike men.  Since religion was practiced form thousands of years ago, we can infer that women were discriminated ever since. This kind of practice must have been adapted since the beginning of civilization, and so the act of discrimination against women seemed normal.  As a result, women were discriminated ever since.

At one point Momen mentions that now the time is changing. And yes, time has changed. Compared to the early days we can see women working and raising their voice for their own rights, unlike in the past where women were kept within the four walls of the house. Women too hold jobs and they are seen in occupation which only men used to hold, such as Engineer, Doctor, etc. Women are encouraged to participate in social activities. Moreover, with exposure to education, it is decreasing the gap between male and female, especially the thought of male being the superior to women.  Education is also helping the stereotypes to be recognized and analyze, so that the practice can be abolished and it can no more be imposed to females.

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Hair Cut !

If we go out in public gathering or in market or in any town area, every head looks different from the other with different hair styles. These days it’s in fashion to color ones hair. Not just with one type of color but with multiple colors. One can see all the possible colors that a rainbow carries. Not only coloring the hair but there are various hair styles too. Some have hair styles like spikes—pointed outward, others have mixed hair styles, long hair from within and cut short from outside. There are names given to every hairstyle– curly hair, wavy hair, frizzy hair, choppy hair, Emo hairstyle, and many other kinds of styles.
The article, “Symbolism of Hairstyles in Korea and Japan,” reveals that the hair styles too carried traditional importance especially in Korea and Japan. The girls, married women, men, boys and others had different hair styles. Individuals had hairstyles according to their rank and their status. I never thought that a hair style could mean and signify so much. With every type of style, it carries a meaning. The hair styles that we see now days are just for the trend and to be in fashion but in early days it counted great meaning.
In Bhutan, as far as I know, the traditional hair style of female is French-style in the front. The hair was cut to eye length covering the forehead and the rest of the hair, at the back, was cut till the neck level. For males, they used to cut their hair simply short. On the other hand, the youth, these days have varieties of hair styles. With every generation there are changes in the hairstyles. Furthermore, with the exposure to media and fashion, the teens catch up with the latest fashion trend. They adapt every new style that is in the spotlight within no time and they keep up-to-date every news and events related to fashion.
In my high school in Bhutan, it was announced by the principal that students are not allowed to come to school with fancy hairstyles. I remember, one of my teachers scolding a student who came to class with his hair dyed in red color and had applied hair gel, which made his hair look like spikes. He was scolded for not obeying the school rules, moreover, the teacher made fun of him saying that if a potato is thrown on his head, the spikes-like hair would hold the potato on his head itself. We had a good laugh over that.

How many of us lie???

The dictionary meaning of ‘Lie’ is given as, “a false statement made with deliberate intend to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.” The definition of the word Lie itself gives a negative connotation, but according to Judith Viorst, there are some grounds where telling a lie is
actually considered to be fine and is practiced in daily life. But not all lies are accepted in the society. Lies are categorizes into many namely  Social lies, Peace-Keeping Lies and Protective Lies and Trust-Keeping Lies.

For a person to lie has always been seen as a negative character in that individual but after reading Viorst‘s article “The Truth about Lying,” it has increased my perception of how lying has positive sides as well. A lie differs with situation and also to whom we are telling a lie.

We all have lied on one way or the other. For example, To save our friend from not getting hurt we tell white lies, for instance, if a friend
asks us how is his/her new dress then we answer that it’s nice and looks good on him/her. Some lies are obvious, when someone asks us how are we, we answer them that we are fine even though we aren’t.  I remember, last time I was sick and I was admitted in the Health Center for almost a week. I received phone calls from home but I didn’t tell them about my situation here. I lied saying that I am fine and I am attending the classes regularly. This lie is not a harmful lie. This lie is better than the truth. If I had told them that I am sick and I have been admitted in the health center for almost a week, my parents will be worried about me. My parents can’t come to see me within hours, since they are so far from me; all they can do is get worried about my health, telling a small lie is better than the truth, in situations like this.

On the other hand, lying is not always good. In the beginning we tell a small lie and later to hide that lie we create another lie.  Again, to maintain those lies we create chains of lie and in the end it leads to no good consequences. I remember telling my father that I got good marks in one of the class tests. Then he asked me to bring that paper so that he can see it, I told him that the teacher took it back after we had a glance at the paper. But actually, the paper was with me and I had failed in that paper. The day after that, one of my cousins came to my house and my father found out that the paper was given to the students by the teacher. And later in the evening, my dad asked me politely about the papers and I was sincerely creating some more lies and adding more to hide what I had said before. At the end of it all, I got scolding and punishment too, since he knew that I was only lying all the time.

“I am willing to lie. But just as a last resort—the truth’s always better” (Viorst 185).

Classification: Not Fair !

The autobiography Growing up as an Untouchable in India by Vasant Moon, shares his experience of
living as an untouchable in India. Moons book talks about the caste system in
India, where he mentions that the people are classified according to their
caste, as people of upper caste (Brahmins) and people of lower caste (Dalits)
also called as the untouchables. The lifestyle is completely different in these
two caste system. Brahmins have, comparatively, significant advantage compared
to the Dalits. Brahmins are honored and respected by the society where as Dalits
aren’t. Brahmins are considered as ‘pure’ and the Dalits, ‘impure’.

Personally, I don’t like this
system of categorizing and considering some among us as pure and some impure. The
low castes are not respected much in the society and are not accepted / allowed
to do certain things freely. They are looked down and are not appreciated. The new
born child, so innocent, born in the family of the lower caste has already lost
his/her freedom of living the way he/she likes to. As the child grows, he/she
has to follow the rules and make sure not to do anything that the society dosn’t
accepts. While the child of the upper class would have all the privilege and is
liable do anything without objection from the society. For example, individuals
from the low cast are not allowed to enter into the temple nor are they supposed
to enter the residence of the higher cast family. Since they are considered
impure, the things that they touch are also considered impure and whatever they
touch are not accepted by others. This system is practiced in every generation
and will carry on and on. The low cast families are the unprivileged while the
upper cast take the privilege and have more advantage comparatively.

Moon shares his experience
mentioning that he had joined a school where only the children of Brahmins were
studying. The lower class children were not to be seen there. This clearly
shows that the lower caste people are underprivileged and they are not allowed
or they don’t have the access even to education as the upper class individuals
have.

But on the other hand, I see that
this kind of caste system of categorizing some in upper class and others in lower
class makes the daily life to run smoothly. For instance, the low class people
are considered impure and they are assigned to do jobs like toilet cleaners,
sweepers and maintain drainage system and similar other activities. Whereas,
the upper class individuals are mostly preachers, tutors or handling religious functions.
So, considering and practicing this system in every generation will make it easy
to assign who will do what. Conversely, it doesn’t sound fair, as individuals
have their wish and desires to live life as they like to and their dreams are bounded
and limited by the caste system.

Dealing with Others

Our actions speak more than words. Whatever we do, the way
we treat others or deal with the situation, should be carried out or done with a
conscious mind. We should not be blinded by a simple reason that brings out false
impression on others which may result in conflict in between individuals. We
are linked to each other– near or far to us, in number of ways. So, before
doing anything we must think how it will benefit and help or harm, hurt, and
affect others.  Anything we do or say
should be carefully dealt for we are not alone in this world; we are dependent
on each other in one way or the other.

There are many of us who do whatever comes in our mind. This
is seen especially when an individual is in anger. Anger takes control over
every emotion and makes the person blind to the situation. And while a person
in anger, all that it results is the devastation is misunderstandings and
later, regret. Just like in the play “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller,
Willy– the father, having been fired from his job, after being tired of life and
depressed with the situation, he starts an external marital affair without
thinking its consequences. He acted selfish and just thought for himself only.
Later, it resulted in misunderstanding and a bad relation between him and his
elder son. In the end, he regrets, blames himself for  failing to be a good father, a good guardian,
a good husband, and out of guilt Willy suicides.

The above example illustrates that while doing anything we
should not only think about the present conditions but also the future. We
should analyze what it will bring in the future. We should be really careful,
especially when we are away and in a new place. For instance, here in
university, in between so many individual form diverse culture and background,
with different characters and habits, we are all alone with only friends around
and no family to guide us. The small steps that we take will count a lot in
later life. And this age is a major part in our life, we must think in every
way possible and carryout our decisions and daily dealings for we are in a
stage where we mingle with new people and will have to move on in life along
with them, near or far. And so, the relation and impression that we make now
will make a lot of difference in future.

 

Haiku

I have always thought that poems are a set of lines that makes a long paragraph along with some rhyming words which makes the sentences sound more musical and the words carry deep meaning. But after being introduced to Haiku—a short 5-7-5 syllable poem, I found it more interesting. It’s a short poem that indicates a specific meaning with the use of limited words. There were multiple haikus discusses in class and below is an example of one among them:

Silence around us

Our watchful eyes hear the world

Hands do the talking.

                                -Jenifer Verginia

The meaning that I can derive from this piece of haiku is that what we see is the result of what we do. Our eyes see and hear the world. The eyes know what’s happening in and around us. The eyes see the things around us happening, changing, creating, effecting, and dying. The eyes also hear and see good and the bad, the new and the old, the eyes see much more than what we hear and it is our hands that are either responsible for these or it is our hand that makes all these thing happen. Our eyes see it and out hands respond to it, the hands do the talking. This particular haiku includes the line on the top, “Silence around us,” which, I believe, is written in the point of view of a deaf person or a person who sees the world around us as silent place. And the happenings in and around him/her are all seen and heard by the eyes and the hands respond to it, in one way or the other.

It also indicates that though we know what we are doing and what its consequences are, we still ignore them. Since the eyes that see and the hands that react are of the same person, the realization and the reaction are perceived by us. For example, let’s take the current issue of the Global warming, we know that we should not pollute the environment and stop the practice of deforestation, over use of natural resources and other such activities that harm the environment, but we keep on continuing it just for our benefit without thinking for the after effects and not thinking for the future. Another simple example can be the act of “Procrastination.” Though we know that it is not good to procrastinate our work, but we still keep the work for some other time and later we regret for doing it.

Decision

At one point or the other, one comes to a stage in life wherein certain situations, it is necessary to take a decision. Just like in the poem, “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost. He also faces dilemma when the single road that he was taking, at a point, diverges in to two and he has trouble deciding which road to take.

I have always asked my elders for their suggestion when I am required to make big decisions. Whereas, it was easy for me to decide for smaller decisions.  I have always found find myself in dilemma in making huge decisions like career choice or other such decisions that were associated to my future or anybody’s future. Till date I find myself doubtful in the chances that I take.

 I feel that it’s the lack of confidence is one of the factors that weakens a person’s ability to handle it. To add more to it, the lack of ideas and information about the surrounding and having no contact with the day-to-day life’s weakens a persons contact with the world and lessons and limits the ideas, way of thinking and knowledge. I have also observed that for a person who cannot take decisions, in later life, the person becomes weak in terms of thinking and is morally weaken. Furthermore, with the lack confidence the individual is regarded as a non-talented person by others.

The quote “I love the challenge of doing things people say can’t be done. The minute somebody says, “that can’t be done” I respond by thinking it would be interesting, exciting and fulfilling to prove it can be done” – Rude Gioliani. This quote encourages me. To see any kind of challenge as a mission that is interesting to do and as something that is to be proved really changes our mind to carry it out rather than backing-off from it and avoiding it. It makes us say, “Let’s take the challenge. It will be easy to tackle.” A slight change in thought also makes a lot of difference. Just by saying “I can’t do it.” stops one from doing any action that could be possible if we had tried. On the other hand, the phrases as mentioned above and a lot of others inspire and motivates us to take-up any task and just complete it what so ever the outcome is.

I still find myself less confident at times in decision making but compared to my previous days I have gained and have seen some improvements in me. I am glad that now I can take decisions on my own. I know, that there are a few more big decisions yet to come, and I hope that as times goes by I will be bold enough to make my own decisions in the right way and without any hesitation.

Women and Men

During my teenage days in school we were taught about men and women. In what aspects they are alike and what makes them different. In those days, I thought that the only difference between a male and a female were their physical appearance. Soon I joined high school and there I learned that there are some biological differences too, like the chemical components in the body, the size of the heart, the size of lungs. Even the bones and its structures differ and some other features too. Then I joined university, in the beginning of the academic classes we were taught how the stereotypes created  more differences . And it plays a huge role in the society by distinguishing the works, privileges and options for a male and a female in different cultures in and around the world. I came to know how women are suppressed and are discriminated. The stereotypes exemplify perfectly the characters of male and the female in the society—just as the society wants it to be. Then again I came to know there are more difference in male and females. Apart from all these, as mentioned above, there still exist some other forms of differentiation too. Those are in terms of how they speak, respond and take its meaning.

According to the article “Talk in the Intimate Relationship: His and Hers” by Deborah Tannen, She mentions the meta-messages that are misinterpreted ultimately leading to misunderstanding, which I found are interesting to know. She states that men and women differ in how they expect from one another. Many women, after a long-term relationship with someone, feel that the parson with whom she had the relation should by now understand her situation and know what she actually wants without being told to them. Where as a men feel that after a long-term relation the other person should be able to feel free and be open enough to share and tell what they want without being bothered to be asked time and again.

These are completely opposite statements, which in itself doesn’t agree with each other, then how can it be accepted and applied in the practical life? It is true that a person who has been with a partner for so long should be able to judge and know the likes and dislikes of the other person. If one cannot do that than what kind of relation is that? It’s like they are still strangers to each other. However, it is also true that after a long-term relation they should be open to one another and express whatever is in the mind. We are humans and not god that we can understand what others think and want. If you want to convey some messages, the best way is go speak it and convey it verbally. I wonder what other unknown and hidden difference exists or not. If yes, what are those? … What do you think?

love is..

Upon hearing the word love, we directly think of the relationship between male and female, especially the ‘College love,’ the crush, and all. A smile appears on our face when we talk of love and related topics because we directly think of the love as the ‘love’ between the two opposite sex. Of course, this is what love is but there are many other possible meanings of love too. Take a moment and think broadly what love actually is.

I feel that ultimately love is what we show to others—the care we have for others and the help we provide them, and being altruistic. Isn’t this what love is? Isn’t this what we do when we feel love and is it not how we tend to response to love? One loves someone else and so he/she tends to do things that benefits and helps and pleases the other, things that makes the other happy, this is what love is! Love is everywhere, within the family, among friends, etc. love is something that cannot be forced /compelled to feel. This feeling comes from within with the appreciation, admiration and other such feelings etc.

Love can take place anywhere with any one at any moment. Here, when I say anyone I meant the ones whom you have known, the ones with whom you interact with. It even includes the things that you have in your surrounding that you interacted with every day, every time– Animals too. I loved my pet. But now I miss it as it died in an accident, years ago. I know many of you also have pets and you too do love and care it.

Love has different forms and it is displayed differently depending on the individual how they convey it. We have known love as being kind, caring, advising, giving gifts and all. The other form is the harsh way. Love also exists in the form of scold, punishment and hate (though for a short period of time). When we do some mistakes knowingly or unknowingly, we are either scolded or punished by elders (parents, friends. Siblings, teachers) even our colleagues scold us or at times they become angry at us. And what does this imply? The only reason they do is to make us realize our mistakes, they do so because they care for us. They love us. They are worried about us and so they react this way and only the ones who are close to us, who knows us better than others become angry to us and show their love in a harsh manner. After all this action of theirs is going to benefit us and make us better individual. So love is not limited and there are much more to learn and explore about love.

Education

Everyone likes to be educated. Moreover, being educated is what counts in today’s life. It is difficult to survive in this competitive world without education. Unfortunately, some individual among us don’t have the fate to get education or they are not access to education. And there are multiple reasons for that, for instance, the poor are not able to proved education to their children. Also those who are physically challenged have difficulty in getting proper education facility. Especially to those children who are blind, handicapped / disabled or mentally challenged and many other such cases find it hard read and write. These were some of the cases where individuals can’t avoid it and have to live with it but in other cases the society doesn’t allow individuals to get education though they have the ability, capacity and right to acquire education. What I am talking about is the issue of females not allowed to educate themselves. We see in some communities where the daughters are considered to be the ones who stays at home and does the house works, whereas the males are provided education and other facilities. This does not happen in each and every family but in those families whose parents are uneducated, the society who believe that women are considered the weak gender, in these areas females lack education. For example, in the Transcript Wideangle  provides an example, in the tiny desert village in Rajestan, Neeraj had to work during the day and go to night school where as her brothers went to school in day. Moreover, she was intended to have early marriage, which was common in her area.

Another example provided in the film transcript Wideangle it reveals that not only poverty but the disease that a child hasn’t been directly infected nor are his/her parents, but they are still being indirectly affected by it. As mentioned in Wideangle, Joab, a boy from poor family in Kenya joins a school. Unfortunately his mother dies at the age of 28. The reason for her death was unknown, since AIDS was common in Africa, rumors spread that she died of Aids. Because of that Joab faced problems — the society started avoiding  him assuming that he was contagious to the disease plus he dropped  out of the school—“When my mother died, nobody wanted us, even as friends. Not even when we were playing with their children. They were chasing us away” (6). After a month of being on the streets he joined the school back only after being rescued by the teachers.

These kinds of issues should be thought deeply and the responsible authorities should come up with best solutions for them.