Social Reforms versus Religious Reforms: A Distinction!
There is a need to draw a line between Religious Reforms and Social Reforms. By and large religion spills out in the society, creating a situation where social pressures are imposed upon those who are deemed inferior by the religion.
There is a dire need to fight for these reforms which bring about a social equality. However, one has to differentiate between what is a social reform and what a religious reform is.
To give an example, Dalits have forever lamented about them not being allowed to drink water from the same well as the upper class.
This I see, as a social imposition, where a certain group of people are not allowed to enjoy the same public facilities as a certain other section of the society. This is definitely a cause well worth fighting for. The abolishment of such feudal practices is a must. And I would classify this as a social reform.
At the same time, the Dalits have also complained that they are not allowed to enter the same temple as that of the upper class. This I see strictly as a religious imposition pertaining to a private place of worship, as per the private religious norms of a private religion.
Here, the Dalits can actually choose to shun the religion which treats them as unequals. Stop going to those temples, stop doing “seva” in those temples, stop cleaning their gutters and stop considering yourself to be the part of that religion.
That religion which treats you as unequals or inferiors should be disowned by those who get such a treatment.
A religion predominantly thrives on the oppression of the “inferiors” for the betterment of the “upper classes”. Let’s see how long these religions remain without its minions.
A fight for religious equality is a useless fight which only elevates the stature of those who are already in power, since those who aren’t in power are literally begging for the right to be recognised. Why fight for religious inclusion when you can easily shun that religion?
The fight for social equality is what needs to be fought. You cannot shun the society and you should not be treated as inferior in the society. A social reform that leads to equality of all, within the society, is almost mandatory for everyone to fight for.
Fight for Social Equality and individually disown the religions which do not offer an equal status to all Men and Women alike, and you will find that religions will start reforming by themselves, becoming more and more private, as they should be and spilling out less into the public space.
Disclaimer: The examples given in this article are purely for illustration purposes and do not intend to offend the sentiments of any particular group of people.