Saturday, 12 September 2015

Fast till death..

Badani devi does not aspire to a long and healthy life. For nearly 2 months she has survived entirely on a few spoons of water everyday, which is taken between sunrise and sunset. She is so weak that she can hardly speak. She raises her figure when she wants water and take a sip and then again raises her hand to say that she has had enough. Badani. Devi's weakness is self-induced, the result of her undertaking Santhara, the ancient Jain tradition of fasting unto death. Santhara is a Jain custom of embracing voluntary death. It involves practitioners taking an oath of stop eating until they die of starvation. According to Jain's, this is a way to purge oneself of " bad karma " and to have "moksh". The concept of " Ichcha Mrityu" or Santhara has been a constant theme of our Indian culture. In Indian mythology it has been described as a rare gift, reserved only for the greatest of souls and those who earned it as the ultimate reward for Karma. In Jainism the concept of choosing the manner and time of one's death is a century old ritual. According to this ritual, which Jain's believes has been prevalent for thousand of years, a person voluntarily gives up food and water, either because of incurable illness or due to the belief that the end is near. It is reserved only for the old and is practised rarely. According to the Times Of India report, in the first half of 2015, around 118 Jains performed Santhara across India. On August 10, the Rajasthan High Court banned Santhara, and made it an offence under section 309, attempting to suicide of Indian penal Court. It says that any person supporting the practice would be prosecuted for attempting suicide. High Court said Santhara was not an essential religious practice of the Jain community which needed to be protected under the Right to freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution. In 2006, Jaipur- based Lawyer Nikhil Soni filled a PIL under Article 226 to the central as well as state government to treat Santhara as illegal and punishable under the Law, calling it suicide and therefore a criminal activity. He also argued that death by Santhara was not a fundamental right under Article 25, because it violates the Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21. It argued that religious freedom is subject to public order, morality and health. The Jain have challenged the ban in Supreme Court saying that it cannot be compared with suicide or euthanasia. They came out on the streets of several Indian cities in large no. To seek the court's order and to protest the ban. On August 24, the community took out massive silent rallies in several cities and towns. Meetings held before the rallies, members of the community openly criticised the judge's order, calling them ignorant and disrespectful of religious practices. The pannel of judges also admitted the appeal for hearing and granted leave. This means that the matter will come up for a hearing only after a few years from now when other older appeals are decided. The top Court says that it would take up the issue for consideration. Human right activists allege that it's a social evil, and old people are made to undertake this practice by family members who don't want to look after them for a variety of reasons. The concept of natural death as the perfect end to this life and the ideal beginning of the next may be based on their philosophical and religious tanets. The only hope for Santhara is that it lies in decriminalisation of suicide and legal acceptance of euthanasia. The path to moksh for Santhara goes through the acceptance of universal right to "Ichcha Mrityu".

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I want to do it all.. I also want to do absolutely nothing!!

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Blogging is that passion that lit a spark on that dream of mine which made a place where I could share myself with others but sooner or later I realized that my real dream was helping others be heard by lending them a voice. Discipline is the art which I want to master. I feel myself like a Taxi Driver who is completely absurd regarding her destination yet retaining my “INNOCENCE”.