The Art of Questioning

Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

In society practice and ritual define everyday life. These rituals evolve out of time from seeing what is right and what is wrong. Sometimes we follow certain rituals without knowing their meaning this means they are out of date and have no reason to do so. We need to understand the necessity of each ritual and process that’s in our society so that with changing times we can adapt to it accordingly.

The Problem

A funny anecdote my father said to me once is evidence of this act. In Indian households, we have the practice of a yearly ritual where we offer food to ancestors and pray to them. In a particular household, the head of the house was performing the ritual for his late father and the cat in the house kept disturbing the ritual. So the householder tied the cat to the pillar so that it wouldn’t disturb the ritual. Seeing what his father did and knowing half the meaning his son continued the same. While tying the cat to the pillar. 2 more generations later when the great-grandson was about to do the ritual he made sure that he got a cat for the day and then tied it to the pillar saying that it was a custom that was followed in the household since ages without realizing the meaning of it.

The same is happening with Indian society. No matter what the religion is we have customs that have lost meaning over time and hence need to be questioned and modified accordingly.

We as Indians discourage the act of questioning something. We get too emotional about stuff when it comes to stuff like religion, rituals and fail to find the meaning behind it. It took a Rajaram Mohun Roy to change the custom of Sati and there are other similar practices that have continued in the society.

Solution

Questioning of practices and authority is the best and the only way to start. By questioning, we subject them to constant feedback and change.

This lack of questioning attitude has also curbed our scientific progress and we have a bunch of used to instead of currently pursuing. We haven’t done great research and the best minds which are curbed run away to the western world where questioning is considered okay and even encouraged. Even stupid questions have their place

With the availability of the internet at our disposal it’s easier to answer the why’s now and let the curiosity grow and in turn make better individuals out of the future generations.

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