Religious Practices and Human Rights in India

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Location: Arcade Courtyard (Main Building)
Arpana INGLE, research scholar, India
Religious Practices and Human Rights in India

The constitution of India equips its citizens with the fundamental right to choose a religion and practice it peacefully. In India, religion is the institution that has greatest impact not just on its society and social relationship, but also on politics, economy and other primal forces, which shape and sanctions new paradigms. This paper examine that how some religious practices keeps India away from being an egalitarian society, by allotting it hierarchies on the basis of religious attachments. Caste system is one of the peculiar features of Hindu religion in India. There are some religious practices which are practiced by the lower castes in India, particularly in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamilnadu. The religious practices comprised Potraj, Vaghya and Devdasis were followed by lower caste communities. When a couple would not get a male child then they would vow before Goddess Laxmiaai, this practice is called as Potraj.  Potraj had to live a nomadic life, with no education and livelihood. Waghya is believed to be the dog of god Khandoba. Waghya were not allowed to marry, since he is considered to be married to the God Khandoba. Devdasis, which means, the female servant of God. Devadasis as a religious practice and the girls from lower castes were offered to deities in the exchange of fulfillment of vows. The devdasis became the victims of sexual exploitation in the hands of priest and powerful people in the village.

This paper argues that the religious practices have been systematically imposed on lower castes, in turn these practices violates the human rights of lower castes. There should be strict measures on these practices to promote just and equal society.

Key words: Religious Practices, India, human rights, violation, caste system.