Mark Twain famously said, "Religion was invented when the first fool met the first con man". Nothing could be more spot on. In place of nations having their own laws to govern human behaviour, some - perhaps well meaning and probably good - men found the use of a cooked up evidence-less concept called God and His will, a better way to make people behave the way they wanted to. From keeping control on women to making people fight against others to conquer their land, it served both the purposes well. Specially the purpose of keeping their women well behaved behind them as they went to loot, plunder and rape others from neighbouring land, as is evident from verses from each of the three major religions of the world, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.
I quote from the Bible, Ephesians 5:22-24
"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."
I quote from the Quran 4:34
“Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that Allah has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for Allah’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; Allah is All-high, All-great.”
And I quote from our Hindu scriptures:
"If a woman should not grant her man his desire, he should bribe her. If she still does not grant him his desire, he should hit her with a stick or with his hand, and overcome her, saying: 'With power, with glory I take away your glory!' Thus she becomes inglorious." (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6.4.7)
"It is the highest duty of the woman to burn herself after her husband’s death". (Brahma Purana 80.75)
"When a woman, proud of her relations [or abilities] deceives her husband (with another man), then the king should [ensure that] she be torn apart by dogs in place much frequented by people. And the evil man should be burnt in a bed of red-hot iron". (Manusmriti, MS VIII: 371/372)
Of course this is just a glimpse of far more and equally worse, chauvinistic and cruel stuff on women. But then that's not the only purpose religion has served. With barbaric concepts like stoning your disobedient son to death it helped keep children under control and I quote,
"If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his home town. And they shall say to the elders of his city, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear of it and fear."
Similarly with inhuman division of people, religion helped keep the society divided:
Purusha-Sukta of Rig Veda says: "Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras originated respectively from the mouth, hands, thighs and feet of the purusha or the creator."
And as I said earlier with deep-rooted hatred for people of other regions and religions, religion helped it's own clan unite and kill the non believers :
“And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.”
Having made clear how religion was created to rule women, divide men and control people in general through a false fear of a nonexistent and imaginary creation called God, I must say, the problem is perhaps not with these laws that they cooked up and wrote in religious scriptures, since two thousand years back many countries had similar laws without religion too. The problem is while normal laws can change with time, and have changed everywhere across the world, laws of religion can't be normally changed. Why? Because God gave those laws. How can you change those laws???
That actually explains why Islam is most criticised by one and all, Christianity considered more tolerant and Hinduism most peaceful. Because laws of the Quran can't be questioned or changed at all. Be it year 517, 1517, 1917 or today in 2017. On the other hand Christians have been more market savvy, with the current Pope being most market savvy and populist. They keep changing and diluting the laws of Bible to suit the times. From lying in bed with a man the way you lie with a woman being an offense punishable by death, the current Pope - still using the Bible - is even ready to forgive gays. Thank Jesus for small mercies indeed!!! And Hinduism is considered above all else at least by Hindu apologists, because reformers in Hinduism are a dime a dozen and they have changed most of the barbaric rules and made them humane without encountering impossible opposition. In Hinduism, there is no protest if you worship a stone or a towel or a cockroach because in everything there is God and there is no protest if you are a non believer too. You can still be Hindu.
So while religion per say is a pathetic fooling of common men, Hinduism truly has been far more flexible with easier acceptance of reformist ideas than others; to the extent that therefore now, it's even called more of a way of life - given that it has always been fine-tuned to the demands of time. However, though that doesn’t make the word religion or Hinduism any less a work of fictitious imagination as other religions; the fact is, ever been since my childhood Hindus seemed to be far more embarrassed of quoting their religion to spread hatred.
That of course changed in 2014. Those who were embarrassed to come out in the open trying to sound superior to other men due to their religion were no more embarrassed. On the contrary, they were boisterous, proud, radical and loud. In every WhatsApp group, they - popularly called bhakts - would unite to literally abuse the hell out of those who sounded more rational, terming them ‘siculars’ - in poplar terminology. It was shocking for me personally to see friends whom I had known for years and who would never ever talk so radically, coming out of the closet one fine day and behave like what I call Hindu fanatics from medieval times.
People often blame Modi for the same. I somehow have not been able to do so. Because as I keep quoting, he had categorically insisted that the only religious book he is guided by is the Constitution of India. And that his aim is to build toilets before temples. A man who would want Indians to become religious fanatics, however politically clever, would at least keep silent when his party members and affiliate bodies keep harping upon religion, Hindu superiority and get behind beef eaters. Instead, Modi has constantly come out and said something drastically opposite.
However, by design or by default, his biggest slap on the face of the rising class of Hindu fanatics has been demonetisation.
So strong has been the Modi slap - that cut across all sections of the society irrespective of religion or caste - that in the last two months there have hardly been any incidents of killing beef eaters at a national level, or behaving like retarded fanatics at a micro WhatsApp level. Guess all Hindu fringe groups got busy counting and saving their black moneys so they didn't have much time in hand to spread their religious rubbish. The same has been the situation at WhatsApp group level with everyone busy saving their moneys and standing in queues. And suddenly the revered, untouchable Modi, who has been used as their alibi in venting out Hindu superiority, is now even being ridiculed through forwards by the same friends who were sounding totally like fanatics just before 8th November.
Most likely Modi didn't have a clue that terrorism apart, domonetisation will even put a break on hardcore Hindu radicalism that had started spreading, much to his discomfort. And I believe, though he may never put it as blatantly as I do, somewhere he realises it and must be very happy. And add to that the Supreme Court verdict that politicians can't use religion or caste for political purposes anymore, I think the stupid wave that was sweeping across the country will now come to a halt. And somewhere inside I believe, Modi is as happy as I am. After all the only thing where one could debate about his inefficiency was the rise in the attitude of Hindu extremism within the masses and the excessive courage that the fringe Hindu groups and even his own leaders were getting to spread regular direct and indirect messages of polarisation. Otherwise, arguably -irrespective of demonetisation being good or bad- he has definitely not been worse than his predecessor.