Sunday, June 17, 2007

Attended a meeting in Mani Bhavan which was Gandhiji's residence in Bombay.It is situated at 19 Laburnum Rd, Gamdevi, Mumbai 400007.
Amongst many other activities that took place there...
Gandhiji learned spinning here.
Satyagraha against Rowlatt Act was launched from here in March 1919.
Today Mani Bhavan is a Gandhi Memorial.

The meeting I attended on 9th June 2007 was an Interfaith Dialogue on 'Status of Women in Religion' hosted by 'Centre for Study of Society Seculiarism'

Some of the points discussed by various Religious Scholars...
Shariah Law can be changed since it is an interpretation of the Quran.
Purdah is not advocated in the Quran
If purdah was advocated then why should it be advocated that man should lower gaze in front of the woman.
Female circumcision not advocated in Quran

Status of Women in Jainism
According to Digambaras women cannot get Moksha (Liberation)...Also because women are fickle-minded...a man has to renounce everything including clothes and a woman cannot do that...

...However when Lord Mahavira was asked whether a woman can come in the Sangha, he answered in the affirmative.

According to the Christian Scholar, Christ took water from a Samaritan woman...who was considered 'less priviledged' The Christian Scholar was making the point that Christians do not have a Caste System...

I clarified that the caste system was equivalent to 'professions'. In modern society, the son of a lawyer may decide to become a doctor, or the son of a sweeper, a teacher. Similarly there was no law that insisted that the son of a 'Shudra' remain a 'Shudra' A son of a 'Shudra' could join the army and become a 'Kshatriya' just as easily as the son of a teacher may become a merchant today. Unscrupulous people have the genius to exploit the credulous for their selfish ends, and this is exactly what happened to the 'caste system'. The Brahmins decided that only their sons may have access to the Scriptures, They exploited the 'working class' and even declared that it would amount to a sin to have any contact with them! Nowhere in the scripture is the above expressed!

Education is required, to eradicate ignorance. Desire to learn erases misconceptions.

Hindu women enjoyed a high status in Ancient India...Sadly Manu Smriti lowered her status...Manu was just a law giver and is not the final authority in Hinduism...

The Buddhist woman enjoys a good status...I do hope that it is as much in practice as it is in theory...

We all agreed that the True Masters of each religion respected the position of women...Durga Laxmi Saraswati is a woman...but it was man's insecurity that sometimes interpreted the Holy Books to suit them!
Sad but I believe it to be true!

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