But why do you want to know the child’s religion?

I have been taking heed to the news items about the controversial seventh standard school text issued by the Government of Kerala. The chapter entitled Mathamillatha Jeevan is about the school admission formalities for a child named Jeevan. When filling out the details during admission, the headmaster understands that the child’s parents belong to different religions. So he asks the child’s father about his son’s religion, to which the father promptly replies that he does not want to fill that information. He goes one step ahead, asking the headmaster to write that the child does not have a religion. He believes that the child should be allowed to choose the religion he wants when he grows up.
To me, there is no problem at all with what is mentioned in the text book. It is something I would call forward thinking. The excerpts from holy books which are appended to the passage only ascertain the fact that people need to live in harmony by respecting others, which I believe is exactly what is to be taught. But there is another dimension to it, different from the one projected by the fomenters against the book. The formenters believe that the communist government is trying to endorse their disbelief in religions through this.

My point is simple. If a government decides to issue such a book for study (which mentions that a child can choose his religion as and when he grows up and reaches a level where he can take the best decision), why don’t the same government stop the actual practice of asking for a child’s religion and caste details at the time of school admission. The controversial chapter conveys nothing without the government putting an end to that practice first. What we see now is a new age, new people and new opportunities. It is time we changed out outlook towards conventional beliefs and foolish practices like reservations based on caste and colour.

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18 responses to But why do you want to know the child’s religion?

  1. “If a government decides to issue such a book for study (which mentions that a child can choose his religion as and when he grows up and reaches a level where he can take the best decision), why don’t the same government stop the actual practice of asking for a child’s religion and caste details at the time of school admission”a very valid question…i think people who preach should follow what they preach too..

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  2. Interestingly the only other place I have heard of this happening is when I asked my Japanese friend 10 years ago about her religion. She said she did not grow up forced into any religion. Her and her sibling were exposed to religions when growing up, but not forced to take up any religion (by baptism or any other method) and when they turned 16 or 18 or some age when they were mature enough to decide on their own they did. If they decided also not to have a religion society did not seem to think badly of them.

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  3. BTW, the govt. asks for a newborn’s religions since it is required for legal purposes. In matters of personal and property law, Indians are governed by the laws of the religion they belong to. It is perfectly possible for a newborn to be registered as “Secular”, in which case the child, and their descendants will be governed by a system of secular laws. However, property law is tricky, since how and what you inherit depends on the relgions of your ancestors – so it’s never possible to completel extricate yourself from religious affliation. All I am getting at is that unless we have a Uniform Civil Code it is required by law to inform the child’s religious affliation.

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  4. Hi Sreejith,I am Richa from SiliconIndia. I am also an avid blogger for a while now and participating actively in Indian blogosphere. I read your blog posting and found them very interesting and informative. We would love to see a copy of your blogs posted here, whenever you are posting it on blogger.com. Here are some of the benefits of posting your blogs here:We have a strong community of 500,000 Indian professionalsBest blogs of 2008 to be published in a book “SiliconIndia bLoG PrinT”Best blog to be printed in SliconIndia & SmartTechie magazines each monthChance to be featured on homepage everydayWe appreciate your community initiative here and in helping build a more powerful India! Also, if you have any ideas or want to volunteer to help for SiliconIndia, we would be more than excited to get your help. Pls mail me back at richa@siliconindia.com with your suggestions and feedback.RichaBlog Editor – SiliconIndia

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  5. There is a problem in that Sreejith…In India caste and religion is so interwoven into our system that it is virtually impossible for at least a few generations to take the question out…Well, the option is to add the choice “no religion”, which has become the eye of the storm..:)

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  6. reservation is needed.. But the policy currently followed by the govt is not proper…Reservation on the basis of income is the best thing if it is followed properly.. Still i know people who are rich enough to buy a zillion aeroplanes and get reservations…I certainly cant think of what should be done, but the experts should come up with some fool proof thing.. 🙂

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  7. Re: JenniferOh really? That is great to hear! It is hightime all societies accepted it. Choosing a religion should be one’s own wish and religion should not be a factor worthy of consideration for anything.Great to have a comment from you here. Do come back please.

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  8. Re: Sharad JaiswalI never demanded that the governments shouldn’t ask religion to a citizen at all. I only said religion should not play any role in a child’s education or job opportunities.I never knew that it was possible to write ‘secular’ and follow secular laws. Thanks a lot for enlightening me. Yes, I agree. There should be a uniform civil code in place.

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  9. Re: ScorpiogeniusI agree. It will take more time to eradicate the discrimination and appeasement based on religion and caste. Basically, politicians need these factors in play. They ensure vote banks by playing their cards. The option is to write ‘secular’ as Sharad just commented.

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  10. Re: TejasFor the records, yes. But why do they want to ask that question if the same government thinks it is not good asking the same question. Textbooks have one version and the actual school admission has another.

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  11. I wonder when you say reservation, that itself discriminates people of different groups and then comes the caste and religion. In India things run well with these two and including politics where people go mesmerized with invisible words and magical leaders who choose god and promise the so called list.Even when educated people are so concerned about caste and religion, how will the other massess who just believe anything like a superstition will remove it.Do u think parents raise conceren about application forms. They all need is a good school and not to getinto trouble anywhere coz it may affect his or her child’s future.

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  12. Re: PriyaI agree Priya. Even the well educated and the leaders preach one thing and practise another.Parents should only worry about the education given to their children. Such silly things MUST NOT come into it. Reservation must not decide the future of a kid.

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  13. Anonymous

    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

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