We were discussing how socialisation can be done through education in the class and our professor shared this account with us. It seems a lesson was introduced in some class text book in Kerala. The lesson went something like this. A child is taken to school by his parents for an interview. The principal asks the child his name. Then asks for the father's name, which happens to be a muslim name. Then for the mother's name, which happens to be a hindu name. Then he asks what religion should he put in the form for the child and the parents reply, no religion. The lesson ends here.
When someone like me reads this lesson, I think wow! that's liberal. Isn't it nice that children are provided the impetus to think, to create broad minds. But it seems that is not what the people in Kerala thought. The religious, especially the catholic community was in uproar. They saw this lesson as the Left's attempt at promoting atheism through education. Finally, owing to much opposition this lesson had to be removed from the curriculum. To none of us in the class it occurred that there might be any hidden agenda behind incorporating this lesson in the curriculum until, the Prof. mentioned the uproar it caused. She added that it could be a case of broad mindedness on the part of the curriculum developers in Kerala or it could be that the politicians better understand the power of education to socialise children to certain ideas or philosophies than the educators do.
That brought me to religion and the concepts surrounding it. Once I was chatting with a friend and we were discussing an a particular article which had to do with some religion. Since I don't bother with any religious identity, my friend asked me if I was an atheist. I said I am not. Why does one have to accept a religion to be a believer? Why can't one reject religion and still be a believer? But I guess it is important for most to subscribe to some form of 'ism'. To develop individual identity is to tread on dangerous grounds. It is safe to be part of a group, in this case believer or non-believer. For majority there seems to be no scope for a middle ground.