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Amen

March 6, 2009

The name of the book by Jesme Raphael


Catholic Church stung by autobiography recounting harassment and abuse
After 26 years as a nun, Jesme Raphael gave up her robes and walked out of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel, the Catholic order in Kerala, India, that had been her home for three decades. Two years later, Raphael, now 53, has come out with her memoirs, Amen: An Autobiography of A Nun, cataloging lurid details of bullying, sexual abuse and homosexuality in the oldest Catholic women’s order in the idyllic coastal state in southern India. Shocking as it is, the book is only the latest in a long series of accusations and scandals afflicting the Catholic Church in the state with the largest population of Christians in India.


Kerala nuns at prayer photo courtesy The Independent World
A former nun’s tell-all story which details illicit relationships, sexual harassment and bullying in the convent where she spent three decades is causing ructions in the Catholic Church in the south Indian state of Kerala.

In Amen – an autobiography of a nun, Sister Jesme says when she became a nun she discovered priests were forcing novices to have sex with them. There were also secret homosexual relationships among the nuns and at one point she was forced into such a relationship by another nun who told her she preferred this kind of arrangement as it ruled out the possibility of pregnancy.

“I did not want to make this book controversial. I want to express my feelings and to explain what happened to me… I want people to know how I have suffered,” she told The Independent last night, speaking from the town of Kozhikode. “People say that everything is OK, but I was in the convent and I want them to know what goes on. I have concerns for others.”

Sister Jesme, who quit last year as the principal of a Catholic college in Thrissur, alleges senior nuns tried to have her committed to a mental institution after she spoke out against them.

In her book, she says that while travelling through Bangalore, she was once directed to stay with a purportedly pious priest who took her to a garden “and showed me several pairs cuddling behind trees. He also gave me a sermon on the necessity of physical love and described the illicit affairs that certain bishops and priests had”. The priest took her to his home, stripped off his clothes and ordered her to do the same.

She also alleges that while senior staff turned a blind eye to the actions of more experienced nuns, novices were strongly punished, even for minor transgressions. She was not allowed to go home after she learnt her father had died. “I was able to see [the body of] my father barely 15 minutes before the funeral,” she writes. “The [response] of the superiors was that the then senior sisters were not even lucky enough to see the bodies of their parents.”

When she resigned as a college principal, she claimed convents had become “houses of torture”, saying: “The mental torture was unbearable. When I questioned the church’s stand on self-financing colleges and certain other issues, they accused me of having mental problems. They have even sent me to a psychiatrist. There are many nuns undergoing ill-treatment from the order, but they are afraid of challenging it. The church is a formidable fortress.”

The allegations are not the only controversy to rock the Catholic Church in Kerala. Last summer, a 23-year-old novice committed suicide and left a note saying she had been harassed by her Mother Superior. Reports suggest there have been a number of similar suicides. And in November, police in Kerala arrested two priests and a nun in connection with the killing of Sister Abhaya in a notorious 1992 murder.

Last night, a spokesman for the Syro-Malabar order of the Catholic Church, Dr Paul Thelakkat, dismissed Sister Jesme’s allegations as a “book of trivialities”. “It’s her experiences, but these are things that might creep into a society of communal living,” he said. Asked if the church would be shocked by the allegations, he replied: “Absolutely not. The church knows about these things.”


According to Sister Jesme, senior church officials twice tried to admit her into rehabilitation clinics and claimed she had mental problems after she complained about the scale of sexual abuse and the number of illicit affairs between nuns and priests.

Dr Paul Thelekkat, a spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Catholic church said he had some sympathy for sister Jesme, and respected her freedom to express her views, but he believed her claims were trivial. “How far what she says is well-founded I can’t say, but the issues are not very serious. We’re living with human beings in a community and she should realise this is part of human life,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

Jesme’s friend and lawyer R K Asha, who helped her in writing the book, said the work was not meant to tarnish the church’s image as alleged by certain quarters.
She had shown courage to expose the unholy things happening in convents and whatever she had written are truths,” Asha said.

We do not want to react to it without properly studying the book. We will come out with our response in a day or two,” Vicar General of Thrissur Diocese, Fr Rafael Thattil, said when the church’s views on the book were sought.

The literary and political circles too have declined to react as most writers are shying away from making any comment when contacted.
The book, published by DC books, has already had its second impression within a fortnight of its release.

Sister Abhaya murder case

PS:-I am not familiar with the workings of the Catholic Church.(or any other religious institution for that matter)but the need to share this news was there after I read about it.Or maybe I am too late in reading about it.

What was curious though is that I couldnt find any blogger discussing ths.I mean, it has happened in one of India’s most progressive states.Hence, it should be even more shocking and should have given us a jolt.And by discussion I mean going beyond news links.I am unqualified to do a discussion on the Catholic church but I am qualified enough to know that this is horrific and needs to be condemned.Why are people not speaking up?Why has this piece of news been swept under the carpet?

This is why religion is so pathetic.Any religion ,any god.You will always find an intermediary between you and god.And all the trappings that come with religion.The useless rites and rituals.The sheer hypocrisy.

A woman is I dont know what to call it..raped?molested?tortured?physically abused?and all that the spokesman can say is”her claims are trivial”?that ”these things happen”?

The Church is in denial mode and the intelligentsia is not speaking up.Atleast not speaking loud enough to be heard.I have immense respect for this woman who has stood up for herself and shown so much courage.May her courage give strength to others also to speak up.Be it any religion ,any place,any woman..they need to be heard and its our duty to make sure that their tale is read and heard by others too.

Edited to add:-Ordinary Guy has given me two links where two bloggers have discussed this issue.I am relieved and glad to see that some of my fears that no one was speaking up were unfounded.Please go here Nuns – Innocents Sentenced for Life time imprisonment by the Church.

and here A. P. Abdulla Kutty and Sister Jesme

A huge thank you to both these bloggers for speaking up about this.

And please I have deleted ‘n’ number of comments because of this tendency to be a troll.

Please remember the discussion and its context.

Sorry about the trend lately of sharing loads of news links,but they too need to be shared…back to usual posts from tomorrow.

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57 Comments leave one →
  1. Sagarone permalink
    March 6, 2009 11:12 am

    Thanks for sharing, Indyeah. I was completely unaware of this. It just reinforces my belief that religion should remain a private matter between a person and his god. The moment it is organized and institutionalized, corruption starts creeping in.

  2. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 6, 2009 12:01 pm

    we, in Kerala have known this for so many years… :P… just kidding…

    Any religious institution (for want of a better word).. though heavenly.. is still made up of mortals…..which is the exact problem…..

    That is why I find organized religion, stupid… whether it be any of the religions in the world….
    and you know what Indyeah, I am not shocked….
    other mallu bloggers have also written about it…

    http://under-the-tree-of-tranquility.blogspot.com/2009/02/p-abdulla-kutty-and-sister-jesme.html

    http://ajithsdiary.blogspot.com/2009/02/nuns-innocents-sentenced-for-life-time.html

  3. Smita permalink
    March 6, 2009 2:47 pm

    I wasn't aware of this book or these happenings per se but isn't that very predictable?

    We are a country of hypocrites, plain & simple!!!! We are usually scared of supporting any good cause because it doesn't affect us but we realise the ignomy of the situation when it falls either on us or somebody we know.

    As far as the case of 'Jesme' is concerned, without being judgemental I will say that there has to be truth in what she is saying and if she has the guts to come up and accept all these against all odds then the least we can do is support her….

  4. Winnie the poohi permalink
    March 6, 2009 4:03 pm

    Indyeah.. I did read this somewhere before.. the news link and also someone writing a post on it.. sadly I dont remember the url of the blog..

    It is indeed sad.. however there is nothing new about it.. sexual abstinence while living in a close quarters is something that can never work.. .. unless ofcourse u r not human.. and that is one reason why this is happening..

  5. manju permalink
    March 6, 2009 4:40 pm

    Indyeah, I was just this morning thinking of writing about this. You read my mind!

    As I see it, there are two reasons that no one is commenting on this.

    1. Nobody, not even the government, dares to criticise the minority communities in India.

    2. Foreign funds for the purpose of proselytizing are available in abundance with the Church, so they have money-power. They are not a soft target like the majority community.

    No one cares about nthe women in this comunity. Sad state of affairs.

  6. nimis540 permalink
    March 6, 2009 5:26 pm

    ///What was curious though is that I couldnt find any blogger discussing ths

    **sigh** I made a post on this(God promise) ,but didn’t post as i had some sort of fear.. As you said,there isn’t any post(i just found ONE in the whole http://WWW..so,I was wondering if it had anything to do with some sort of fear..I asked my husband,he told ‘If you ahve doubt,don’t post’..**sigh**such coward i am…

    I will put up my post..on Monday..

    p.s:Its not just this christian issue,there are many islamic,hindu,,and hew posts waiting in my draft bcoz of this fear…

  7. Usha Pisharody permalink
    March 6, 2009 5:32 pm

    Meg 🙂 Proud of you.. and yes, this needed to be written about, just to indicate how much more there is to religion, in ever so many ways, than what it is supposed to mainly do…!

    I had heard of this book a month or two ago, but have not been able to get a copy of it. But to have any woman sharing the travails of existence, and that too, from an order that has stood for austerity and severity of life, is indeed a remarkably brave thing for her to have done. Of course, the authorities of the said religion will certainly be quick to deny and trivialize and sensationalize, but the facts as she states them are now in the open, and hopefully it will help to open other eyes, of those in it, to the system at work, and improve the lot of the novices and the others in the fraternity.

    It is rather sad too, because there are many who join the order so that their families are helped, sometimes a family, who have a large number of children, decide that their daughter/son will join the religious order, and these persons may and may not have the inclination towards spirituality. However, many do not, cannot go against the dictates of both the family and the church, and allow themselves to be part of it. There are also cases where the stigma that is attached to the novice who wishes to leave her order is so great that they are persuaded by the family and the church, gently, and emotionally to stay on.

    Many do make their peace, and have lived a life of contentment, certainly, and they must be applauded. But there has to be recognition of the basic human value and worth of a person, and that seems to have gone awry somewhere down the line.

    But as you say, it is not just the religion that this book focuses on, every religion has its share of such practices, and that is the most shameful part.

    A good question. Why religion at all? Can we not find our way to communicate with the Almighty? The trappings of rites and rituals, and the systems of beliefs seem to have done more harm than good.

    Missed being here, Meg 🙂 Glad to be reading, and gladder that I found time to put some words down here 🙂

  8. Indyeah permalink
    March 6, 2009 6:07 pm

    Sagarone:-You are most welcome.
    I was rather unaware too.All the mainstream maazines and newspapers that I subcribe to,did not say anything much till the latest issue whic made me sit up and read.

    yes,Religion is a private matter…between the worshipper and his/her god.

    Religion has been the seat of power ever since the first civilizations started coming up.Is it any wonder that religion and power can never be far apart?People forget that religion was never just about worshipping.

    as always you have put it in a nutshell Sagarone,”religion should remain a private matter between a person and his god. The moment it is organized and institutionalized, corruption starts creeping in.”

  9. Indyeah permalink
    March 6, 2009 6:11 pm

    OG:-kidding or no kidding:)the issue does seem to be known by most Kerala bloggers..the need is that the rest of India knows about it too…every litle incident needs to be shared..

    ”Any religious institution (for want of a better word).. though heavenly.. is still made up of mortals…..which is the exact problem…..”
    :D..good one OG!yes,this is the problem.
    ‘though heavenly still made up of mortals..’that was some line:)

    thank you so much for the links Ajit..really…its great to know and see other bloggers discussing this..

  10. Indyeah permalink
    March 6, 2009 6:17 pm

    Smita:-yes even I wasnt aware of this incident…and yes the first thought that comes to mind is this is so predictable…always and in almost every case things are hushed up and swept under the carpet…

    it is maddening!
    and like you wrote,''We are a country of hypocrites, plain & simple!!!!''

    yes we give a whole new meaning to hypocrisy..

    ''We are usually scared of supporting any good cause because it doesn't affect us but we realise the ignomy of the situation when it falls either on us or somebody we know.''
    yes and yes…is it any wonder that India barely crawls together as a nation of sundry states all of whom would rather have nothing to do with each other and would hush up things in their own stete?And each state is guilty of this…

    yes I admire her courage too and she does seem quite truthful and brave..yes Smita you said it, the elast we can do is support her…

  11. Indyeah permalink
    March 6, 2009 6:23 pm

    Winnie:-I hadno clue about the story or the book..I am still a little clueless about the picture on a bigger scale in context of the Catholic church…

    sexual absitenece is hard I belive for any human as you point out so rightly…and yet so many peopel do it successfully only living for their god/faith/beliefe/cause….that is not the point however…the point is a woman believing in all that she had been told joined the church and donned the robes…and then was molested in such a horrific manner…

    I agree it happens in all religions and all institutions…..but the need is to talk about it,read,blog discuss so that we know the lessons that we have to learn

  12. Indyeah permalink
    March 6, 2009 6:31 pm

    Manju:-‘telepathy:)I would request you to do a post if you would still like to..because I think you can bring much more clear thoughts to this discussion…I am simply clueless about this one..

    ”Nobody, not even the government, dares to criticise the minority communities in India.

    Foreign funds for the purpose of proselytizing are available in abundance with the Church, so they have money-power. They are not a soft target like the majority community.

    No one cares about the women in this comunity. Sad state of affairs.

    I agree to quite an extent Manju..in the sense that this needs to be heard and spoken about..this needs to be condemned in the strongest voice possible….

    and the very fact that peopel who matter.people who make and shape the nation’s thought process the intelligentsia are not speaking up is astonishing and pathetic….

    Have we become so politically correct?that even the plight of a woman cannot move us?

    the silver lining I see is that atleast Jesme Raphael was able to get her book published and is speaking up…
    however I fear and have my doubts that this too has been achieved by ignoring a lot of threats to life..

  13. Indyeah permalink
    March 6, 2009 6:35 pm

    Nimmy:-((hugs)))
    I can understand your reluctance and doubts Nimmy..completely..

    and I completely believe you NImmy:)knowing you as I have and so many of us have its hard not to belive that you have done a post on this..
    go with your heart and instincts NimmY:)
    maybe this was the right time to do your post na?:)so monday it is…
    still completely up to you..
    and you know I am really glad that you are doing it…because I know you will bring a whole new perspective to it and a balanced voice…

    me…as you can see I am clueless

    (((hugs))Nimmy..do what your heart tells you okay?:)
    and do see the links Ah#jit has given

  14. Indyeah permalink
    March 6, 2009 6:39 pm

    Nimmy:-oh missed out on this
    ”p.s:Its not just this christian issue,there are many islamic,hindu,,and hew posts waiting in my draft bcoz of this fear…”

    I can completely understand Nimmy..completely…this draft has been sitting for so long because I was really doubtful …I was very unsure…but then I thought lya sure unsure?At the end of the day this is not about religion…its about people…women (and men)who need to be heard and some others need to be exposed….so why not?

    again go with what you feel is right for that moment Nimmy…knowing you and your honesty I and those who know you can never doubt you..

    (((hugs)))

  15. Indyeah permalink
    March 6, 2009 6:54 pm

    Usha Pisharody:-yayy!!(((hugs))bear hugs:))warm hugs:)
    you came :))*doing the dance*:D

    thank you..yes to show what religion,any religion is really capable of…the depths to which it can fall…

    yes a brave women indeed to share what she has been through so that others too can be warned and in some cases gain the strength to speak up…

    yes it is amazing how religion promises to be th cure for all ills…even promising economic bemefit these days..and really what else is a huge family that is burdened financillay to do?

    so ypu are right on target when you say,” there are many who join the order so that their families are helped, sometimes a family, who have a large number of children, decide that their daughter/son will join the religious order, and these persons may and may not have the inclination towards spirituality. ”

    :(.. a sad state of affairs…

    and this I had heard of but never read about…

    ”However, many do not, cannot go against the dictates of both the family and the church, and allow themselves to be part of it. There are also cases where the stigma that is attached to the novice who wishes to leave her order is so great that they are persuaded by the family and the church, gently, and emotionally to stay on. ”

    :(…stigmas everywhere…at each turn..no matter what we do its judged….why be a human at all?:(

    ”But there has to be recognition of the basic human value and worth of a person, and that seems to have gone awry somewhere down the line. ”
    trust you to put it just so Usha:)
    yes respecting that basic thread of humanity that runs through us all…just that and things will be fine..

    yes all religions go down this slippery path..it is pathetic to watch…

    hope many more take courage from her tale …

    and thank you for sharing all this Usha..it is such a joy to see you…however you are busy right now I know:)take your time and come back with a bang;)

    ((hugs)):)

    and thank you for that amazing discussion and depth that you brought here…

  16. Kislay permalink
    March 6, 2009 7:19 pm

    If only celibacy were optional for them , eh ? Seriously , how dreadfully disturbing it is .

  17. Solilo permalink
    March 6, 2009 8:00 pm

    I am so glad that you wrote about it. I was going to when I read about this but I thought in wake of my recent discussions (debates) elsewhere I wouldn’t want to rake any hornet’s nest and hoped for someone to post it.

    When time and again I raised the issue of conversion, I had this too in mind. But seriously I thought I would read it from someone who follows the religion and who can shed more light into this. That way it becomes easier for rest of us to grasp the situation.

    This is one of the worst aspects of this religion because in most cases girls are forced into becoming nuns. Most of my parents’ friends were Christians so I grew up almost being a Christian. I have celebrated equal number of Christmas as Onam or Diwali. So the inside stories which I know even from an uncle who was forced into becoming a priest and he just couldn’t take it and ran away. While he was a priest, he did everything a priest wasn’t supposed to do and then he left it. He also explained the sad plight of nuns. Many families pray that if their wish is fulfilled then they would let the first born or second born to be ‘Karthavintte manavaatti’ (Christ’s wife=Nun). That way many girls with no control over their future and all dreams shattered join nunnery. Their sexual deprivation is major part of comic acts. There is even a cheap joke about candles and nuns. I am not surprised when I read such stories.

    Abhi, as I said I wanted to write a post on it but I didn’t. The same way I would have written even more here but I am sure there is going to be troll attack just like when we supported PCC.

    Just to sum up I would say that I DON’T care what religion anyone belongs to be it Hindu, Christianity or Islam..I DON’T support women (for that matter even men) being forced to serve gods. I DON’T.

    Isn’t Devdasi custom abolished in Hinduism? This is also similar to that. High time it is abolished too.

  18. Solilo permalink
    March 6, 2009 8:06 pm

    While we are on religion,

    For a forward and one of the most literate state of India, Kerala has it’s share of nonsense in the name of religion.

    Have you guys heard about Sabarimala where women aren’t allowed?

    I have written a post on it but half way. It just irritates me that women aren’t allowed in the temple. What world are we living in?

    Who are these middle men between a devotee and god? I feel like shooting such middle men and also all MCPs who support Sabarimala’s policy. This time when I visited Kerala had this huge argument with a relative about this.

    Will post it once I find some free time. I have so many things half done in drafts.

  19. Vinod_Sharma permalink
    March 6, 2009 8:48 pm

    I had read about the book in the papers and also in a small blogpost on which I had commented.

    We all know this has been going on since the Catholic church came into being. There are many ghastly stories of sexual harassment, rape, sodomy, the world over. But, this is the first time an Indian nun has shown the courage to put it all down for all to read.

    It is not surprising that very few bloggers have written about it. No one wants to mess with any religion except Hinduism because only that punch bag is available to all. You need to be complimented for showing the courage to support her and many others who are still suffering silently.

    What is disappointing is that no TV channel has run a program on it. No “We the people” type of discussions at all. Total silence, in fact. I may be wrong but I had read somewhere that many of those who become priests come from very poor families and are happy for the food, shelter and respect that they get publicly as priests.

    As long as celibacy is forced on people when their hormones are raging, such crimes will be committed. It is time the Catholic church realised this basic biological need that is the work of God and stopped forcing good people into doing sordid things that put even ordinary men and women to shame.

  20. nimis540 permalink
    March 6, 2009 9:09 pm

    Done with the post dear 🙂 check it out and share your thoughts..

    http://nimis540.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/sister-jesme-amen-abhaya-case-and-muringoor-retreat-centre/

    🙂

  21. Biju Mathews permalink
    March 6, 2009 10:38 pm

    Kudos for putting this up! I read Nimmy’s post too.

    Thanks for giving the info about the book. I’ll try to buy it today and check it out…

    This has not been a shock to me. The newspapers in Kerala have mostly reduced the news to small clippings and no longer they enjoys headlines. I too have witnessed this when I was small. I studied in a catholic boarding school and shock knew no bounds when me and my friends witnessed a “party” through a window after 10:00 in the night well past our bed times.

    Sister Abhaya’s case has been on since 1992 and the catholic church have tried their best to bribe and influence their power into its investigations. I’m glad that in 2008 there was a break and the cuprits were exposed.

    As you had mentioned in Nimmy’s post that the Roman Catholic Church should start allowing the Nuns and Priests to get married, I too agree that this is the only hope to keep the sanctity of Christainity!

    Keep blogging!

  22. Surbhi permalink
    March 6, 2009 11:01 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this, Indyeah. Really, thanks so much.

    I’m going to get the book as and when I can. Meanwhile, its yet another reason why I feel proud of being a non-believer.

    BTW, you’ve been tagged at http://the-xx-factor.blogspot.com/2009/03/playing-tag.html, so do drop in and write on!

    See ya over at my space!

  23. oorjas permalink
    March 7, 2009 12:44 am

    i think in poor families some girl children are sold to the church to be coverted to nuns. not all of them decide on their own.

    there was a time when i thought being a nun was such a noble thing to do. now after reading this i feel poor girls who choose this path to get to GOD but end up with DEVILS instead.

    good that atleast one of the sisters had the courage to bring this all to light. and i thank you for sharing it, i might have missed it otherwise.

  24. Maald permalink
    March 7, 2009 5:11 am

    Sister Jesme recalls an encounter with a priest in Bangalore en route to Dharwar for a UGC refresher course in English. She originally planned to stay at the waiting room of Bangalore railway station, but some convent sisters suggested staying with a “pious, decent priest;” he personally received her at Bangalore. After breakfast, the priest took her to the Lalbagh Botanical Garden and showed her myriad couples cuddling behind the trees. And contrary to the official dogma, he “gave a sermon on the necessity of physical love and described the illicit affairs certain bishops and priests had.” On returning to his room, he stripped and forced her to do the same.

    http://maald.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/mote-and-the-beam/

  25. Mavin permalink
    March 7, 2009 6:07 am

    Every institution goes through a period of decay and original ideals are trashed.

    The Church is one of the many institutions which is seeing this decay.

    The news is not shocking and the sexual escapades were known for long but hushed up. It was easier to believe that they did not exist.

    There was an incident in Mumbai where two nuns were murdered. Forensic studies concluded that they were sexually active and had some sex related health problems.

    The poor forensic surgeon had to face a public protest and the report was quickly hushed up.

    As Manju rightly says – no main stream media has had a full blown coverage and an expert panel discussing this. Had it been a Hindu institution, we would have been told about the rot that has set in and all “experts” would have commented and the coverage would have been sensational.

    Pretty hypocritical….I would say.

    Till then the Church will keep suppressing these matters and many thousands of young girls who will be drafted in as nuns will be devoured by the lust of many a frustrated senior priest/nun.

  26. Anrosh permalink
    March 7, 2009 6:27 am

    i agree with usha (i know 3 of them who has recieve free education and has and got out nd got married)but some continue to stay.

    “there hasn’t been a TV program about it ” as vinod says.

    it may be because most of these nun run and priest run institutions thrive on donations from foreign currency and these are “mission” organization supported by catholic organizations from the US, UK and other european countries. and the currency would run out or stop! and then what?

    putting people in boxes and asking them to behave in a certain manner by suppressing “human emotions and behaviors in the name of god” is disobeying one of the commandments itself !

    such instituions have their pros and cons too

    we must also not forget the jesuits have led the educational front in india.

    And so do many “orders” of nuns have opened many institutions.
    some joined it genuinely, and some did it due to “forced by choice”

    as in every institutions their is bribe, corruption, slavery, dishonesty, injustice, the order of this institution also becomes victims of these.they are also human beings.
    and many different forms, shapes, types in attitude, conduct, personality and character exist.

  27. Anrosh permalink
    March 7, 2009 7:43 am

    And no where in the Bible it is written that the person should go without marriage (may be it is because of the institutional feeling that one’s children becomes much more important than any issue that the catholic instituion put up a rule that they should not get married.

    “not getting married and committing yourself for the service of god” is their motto! – is mostly the practise of catholic institutions

    protestant priests get married and have family life

    nuns and priests are created by institutions and not anywhere written in the bible.

    so one may treat this as any other insitution like a corporation and rules agreed by the board ! for the propogation of the insitituion!

  28. Charakan permalink
    March 7, 2009 8:05 am

    Most ppl in Kerala know abt all this and there were big discussions abt the book Amen in most channels except Manorama News.There was an interview with Jesme in Times Now also few days ago.
    There were lot of discussions abt fake ‘hindu’ sanyasins and fake ‘Muslim’ God mens also in Kerala few months ago.So the notion of some of you that Hinduism is the only punching bag by media is wrong.

  29. Surbhi permalink
    March 7, 2009 8:11 am

    And hey, did I tell you I absolutely love your banner. It is THE BEST I’ve seen ever. Hats off to you and Chirag!

  30. Indyeah permalink
    March 7, 2009 8:22 am

    Kislay:-yes it should be optional..or better yet why have it at all?it is disturbing..

    Solilo:-yes I was really doubtful coz religion is such a touchy subject at the best of times…but then I thought what the hell?this is like my post on child marriage or anything else…just highlighting the evils of any religion..

    ”Many families pray that if their wish is fulfilled then they would let the first born or second born to be ‘Karthavintte manavaatti’ (Christ’s wife=Nun). That way many girls with no control over their future and all dreams shattered join nunnery. ”
    I had no clue about this…see this is why a discussion is important Solilo..but you already know that…
    and yes agree any religion should be highlighted like this…MCP’s abound …

    please do the post Solilo…itllbe nice to have a viewpoint to read on sabarimala issue..

    ”Just to sum up I would say that I DON’T care what religion anyone belongs to be it Hindu, Christianity or Islam..I DON’T support women (for that matter even men) being forced to serve gods. I DON’T.”
    agree completely…Solilo

  31. Indyeah permalink
    March 7, 2009 8:25 am

    Vinod sir:-yes I did read your comment there..just now after you mentioned it..it is on the second link I think…

    ”I may be wrong but I had read somewhere that many of those who become priests come from very poor families and are happy for the food, shelter and respect that they get publicly as priests.

    As long as celibacy is forced on people when their hormones are raging, such crimes will be committed. It is time the Catholic church realised this basic biological need that is the work of God and stopped forcing good people into doing sordid things that put even ordinary men and women to shame.”
    you are right I think(as far as I can make out from what the others have said sir)this does happen…
    and I agree its a biological need and why have such strict rules for no reason?why not allow them to marry and still serve god like other religions?

    I am dissapointed about the tiny media attention this has gotten in the mainstream media too..

  32. hitch writer permalink
    March 7, 2009 8:26 am

    As Ajit says, the mortals ! thats where the problem is !

    Instead of following set rules, rituals and customs, which people have named religions, it would rather be more easier to try and be a good human being.

    At the end of the day you can see in the mirror and say I was a good man today… thats it !!

    If you still want to have a religion, lets have indianism…

  33. Indyeah permalink
    March 7, 2009 8:29 am

    Nimmy:-read it and commented my heart out..:)
    whatever I feel is there to read…no pretensions no political correctness..
    and I loved that you did it so promptly…:)

    Biju:-
    you are most welcome…yes,I will get the book too…and while I was aware of the sister abhaya case I was not aware of this one…the thing is Biju I am noticing that most ‘mallu'(apologies if this is the wrong word:))most bloggers from Kerala do seem to be aware of this…but the rest of India more or less isnt….

    I agree that they should be allowed to marry and the point you wrote about on Nimmy’s was really valid..
    Thanks for bringing another perspective here..:)

  34. Indyeah permalink
    March 7, 2009 9:47 am

    Surbhi:-thank you so much Surbhiyes all these incidents need to be heard and read about and written be it any religion…

    hmm..I am still somewhere between a non beliver and a spiritual something…very confused…

    yeah this puts one off anything religious…makes me cringe in disgust…

    took up your tag SurbhI:)
    thank you so much:)

    OOrja:-yes going by what the others have shared here what you have written does seem to be the case…

    and it is a horrific plight to be in…

  35. Indyeah permalink
    March 7, 2009 9:56 am

    Maald:-thank you for the link…will see it in a bit..

    Mavin Sir:- ”no main stream media has had a full blown coverage and an expert panel discussing this. Had it been a Hindu institution, we would have been told about the rot that has set in and all “experts” would have commented and the coverage would have been sensational.”

    ”Pretty hypocritical….I would say.”

    sir..what you have expressed is something a lot of people are feeling ..whether right or wrong, that only certain religions are being made scapegoats..

    the problem is the reluctance of a lot of people to even accept that something indeed could be wrong with even other religions and that just purely dismissing these feelings (that Hinduism is highlighted) as mere fundamentalism(yes people have termed it that)is just adding more fuel to the fire….

    I feel that all religions should be exposed for what they are and bashed up equally…

  36. Indyeah permalink
    March 7, 2009 10:03 am

    Mavin Sir:-thank you for sharing about the Mumbai incidents also..
    and thank you for sharing your viewpoints here too..

    Anrosh:-”putting people in boxes and asking them to behave in a certain manner by suppressing “human emotions and behaviors in the name of god” is disobeying one of the commandments itself !”
    exactly Anrosh !

    ”we must also not forget the jesuits have led the educational front in india.”
    yes thanks for sharing that positive pont Anrosh…all the facts that you aresharing are new to me and this is the first time I am hearing of them…

    ”And no where in the Bible it is written that the person should go without marriage (may be it is because of the institutional feeling that one’s children becomes much more important than any issue that the catholic instituion put up a rule that they should not get married.

    “not getting married and committing yourself for the service of god” is their motto! – is mostly the practise of catholic institutions

    protestant priests get married and have family life

    nuns and priests are created by institutions and not anywhere written in the bible.”

    I had no clue!thanks for sharing this Anrosh..I barely know enough about Hinduism let alone Christianity…

    these are indeed new and interesting facts…

    thanks Anrosh:)
    I really loved hearing from you..becasue i have no clue even about the different kinds of christians..

  37. Indyeah permalink
    March 7, 2009 10:20 am

    Charakan:-I agree now after hearing from so many bloggers from Kerala that this was discussed in the Kerala media…and quite elaborately too from what I hear….this is another reason why this discussion was necessary..

    the thing that is disturbing is that the mainstream media in India (except for Times Now)all the major news channels barely gave this a passing mention…why?

    Why did NDTV (hindi and english)and CNN (Hindi and english)and even others not cover it?cover it in detil?take it beyond a 2 minute news clip?

    The feeling that Hinduism(and Islam too) is used as a convenient punching bag is mine too Charakan…this feeling as you can see from the discussions here is something that has left many of us feeling unsettled…

    if these feelings are merely dismissed as the rants of communalists or fundamentalists or even as products of our hyperactive imagination..then they will fester even more…

    they will simmer under the surface with a false sense of righteousness…and will eventually explode….

    wouldnt it be better to write about it so that we the blogging community does get to know of such incidents?we are the educated elite arent we?

    so atleast we can make the effort to dispell these notions…

    the way Nimmy helps us to understand Islam better by giving us the true meaning of the Quran and tries to expose the evils in Islam…why cant others do the same?

    IHM does it beautifully and passionately on Hinduism…

    we are not here to praise any religion Charakan…but as you can see in the case of lack of sufficient information these kind of doubts crop up..even in my mind…

    Why not help in dispelling these doubts?

    A rectionary reply only succeeds in convincing those who feel ‘victimised’ that they were right all along …that Hinduism is indeed the ‘victim’

    The way most of us dont target Islam courtesy Nimmy’s posts becase we try to understand the otehr side…cant the same be done for Christianity?

    and Charakan the amazing thing is that we are all educated,net savvy bloggers…living in cities and educated…and yet our knowledge of the others faith is so damn limited that no wonder such feelings of being ‘victimised’ crop up…

    I am sure you will help dispell these notions by sharing and posting on such topics…

    I am very clear about what I think…and what I think is for everyone to see…I cannot hide behind political correctness or the fear that I may be called a communalist…

    I ask you no request you to enlighten us and broaden our perspective so that atleast a few of us including me ,will be able to learn another faith better and will take away a deeper understanding from the discussion..

    I know you have very busy working hours and have a family , a son too:)

    …please do it whenever you feel like it and have time…dont feel pressurised….

  38. Indyeah permalink
    March 7, 2009 10:26 am

    Surbhi:-thank you so much:)
    yeah hats off to Chirag for sure:))

    Dhiren:-:))
    ”Instead of following set rules, rituals and customs, which people have named religions, it would rather be more easier to try and be a good human being.

    At the end of the day you can see in the mirror and say I was a good man today… thats it !!

    If you still want to have a religion, lets have indianism…”
    your whole comment was awesome!:)
    I hope so too:)

    Religion is such a dirty word that no wonder it gives rise to such hideousness…and the kind of evils in each religion…my god the list would be pretty long….

    I agree Dhiren being a good human being should be the foremost priority and yeah why not have Indianism as a religion?:))

    Thansk for that really positive comment…:)

  39. Ordinary Guy permalink
    March 7, 2009 10:50 am

    i am now inspired to do a “serious” post on religion in kerala… 🙂 will do one… 🙂

  40. Anrosh permalink
    March 7, 2009 12:44 pm

    Indyeah –

    i know this is not a religion post. but if i did give you the impression that there are different kinds of christians – than it is WRONG.

    As in many things human beings interpret and perceive things the way they want.
    (the many kinds of different religions are made by man and not in the Bible) so if there are 10 differnt sects of christianity there are 10 differnt heads. ( remember power issue)

    Religion is made by MAN. So nun and priest and all associations are related with is another institution.

    muslims fight — because they belong to different tribes or they believe the prophet did this and that – again different things and different interpretations.

    Among Jews there are 12 tribes and they fight between themselves for what?

    In institutionalised christianity every pope, priest, minister, mantri, bishop came and gave their institutions. the bible also says do not believe any man that comes and talks about it. the bible says GO READ IT YOURSELF.

    i know that hindusim is a way of life.

    Radical thinking and Fundamentalism can come out of anything — that is what happened in wall street too !

    i studied in a convent school. and than there was an adjoining school run by Fathers!.
    in the evening after mass all the sisters and the fathers would be together !

    and than there was catechism and moral science – it was such a mockery – as kids it is “knowledge” and information, but once you grow up — you analyze and question — than the fun begins 🙂

  41. Biju Mathews permalink
    March 7, 2009 6:43 pm

    Ha Ha. Mallu is the right word 🙂

  42. Rakesh permalink
    March 7, 2009 6:51 pm

    Honestly, I’ve become so numb with all the crap, all this doesn’t affect me that much anymore. I mean, I can’t find a thing today that is unbelievable.

    I guess, it’s up to us to keep the integrity in ourselves alive which in today’s world, seems the toughest thing to do.

  43. Charakan permalink
    March 8, 2009 9:08 am

    Indyeah,please do a well reaserched post on ‘main stream’ media’s bias against Hindu religion[and now you added Islam also]
    Some points need clarification.
    Whom do you consider main stream media?
    Do you find the bias against Hinduism in general?

    Or is the bias against Hindu God men/women/sanyasins?
    Or do you mean a bias against Sangh Parivar?
    Are you saying that the media favours the Christians,Sikhs etc?
    Are you saying that media should give equal time for attacking what is wrong in all religions in India?
    What do you mean by politically correct? I never understood that.
    Do not reply here.Do a post on it later.

  44. Indyeah permalink
    March 8, 2009 9:22 am

    OG:-Ajit that would be great!:)will look forward to it:)

    Anrosh:-arre!:) share exactly what you feel Anrosh..this space is always open for you..)

    and yup my undersatnding of any religion is darn limited even the one I am supposed to be following Hinduism…
    so please feel free to correct me..

    ”Religion is made by MAN. So nun and priest and all associations are related with is another institution.”

    yes,I agree completely..

    actually I have no idea who a protestant a catholic(or are they the same?)or any other christian is…or for that matter even my understanding of shias and sunnis is very textbookish..one followed certain teachings the other didnt and a feud arose..and well…I am lost in this aspect…

    so take me as someone who is absolutely clueless…

    ”Radical thinking and Fundamentalism can come out of anything ”
    ABSOLUTELY Anrosh..completely with you on this one..

    all religions produce such fanatics on a daily basis…the Hindu goondas are proof enough…

    ”but once you grow up — you analyze and question — than the fun begins :)”
    yeah agree 😀
    thats what troubles my Hindu relatives and other friends when I start questioning some dumb beliefs..

    you are always welcome here Anrosh..:)feel free to share..always:)

    ((hugs)))

  45. Indyeah permalink
    March 8, 2009 9:50 am

    Biju:-:D thanks..whew!I thought I had written something err…not quite right..:)

    Rakesh:-I agree ,the ugly face of religion ahs made us numb today..but we can question it and question it vehemently..

    Integrity…yeah tough word..tougher to keep it alive…

    Charakan:-I am sorry Charakan but I am answering here in this comment box.Precisely because I do not have the time or the patience to get another headache of epic proportions like the one I had on the issue of freedom..
    I have asked questions..I am satisfied..I will however comment on yours and discuss whenever you do a post on this topic…

    but in the meantime would like to answer your queries here..

    errr..Charakan I did mention ISLAM at Nimmy’s post here..and quite clearly as to how Hinduism and Islam are bashed a lot in India…by the mainstream media..

    http://nimis540.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/sister-jesme-amen-abhaya-case-and-muringoor-retreat-centre/

    I consider the mainstream media to be NDTV(English hindi)CNN(again both),AAj TAk(the english version too),Times Now,Star news,and some others as well..in other words the english and hindi channels that are understood by the countrya s a whole…and include newspapers in the media category too..

    I do not consider DD to be the mainstream media because even though it is beamed all over India..it barely gives a passing mention to any news let alone an important one..in any case it is a tool of the govt,whichever one happens to be in power..

    as I pointed out earlier, te moment you saw me lamenting how Hinduism has been made a victim , you straightaway jumped to these questions below ..

    ”Or is the bias against Hindu God men/women/sanyasins?
    Or do you mean a bias against Sangh Parivar?”

    SO am I to assume that I am supporting the sangh parivar covertly?Because that is what your counter questions seem to imply..

    ”Are you saying that the media favours the Christians,Sikhs etc?”
    No what I AM SAYING IS THAT THE MEDIA THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA

    (and please do define also what your version of a mainstream media is that India watches as a whole)

    ONLY SHOWS THE SIDES IT WANTS TO SHOW…GIVING US ONLY HALF THE TRUTH IS AS GOOD AS A LIE..

    millions get affected by watching and reading the news….will they not form opinions based on the news?yes even city dwellers are in millions…acc to statistics…

    you have asked
    ”Are you saying that media should give equal time for attacking what is wrong in all religions in India?”
    YES,I AM SAYING THIS UNEQUIVOCALLY.

    ThAT IS WHAT ITS JOB IS.

    by politically correct I mean that some sections of the media will not touch topics that are tabboo..they will not touch upon something that they fear might offend sensibilities of certain groups…

    Charakan you have asked some questions here and I have tried to answer them to the best of my ability or atleast whatever my half baked understanding says…

    could you also please consider my request the one I made in the earlier reply?about doing regular posts on Christianity or even one so that I and otehrs are able to understand it better?

    Because by going down the same path again Charakan the whole point is lost isnt it?

    I have already accepted that my views and those of others might be wrong and that we might be suffering from a false claim of victimhood and ”can you please enlighten us on certain aspects of your religion so that we can take a deeper understanding of your religion as well?”this question has been asked of you too..

    Instead you have again asked questions which take us back to square one…

    I am requesting you to please do posts on Christianity…and its positives and its evils…
    If we cannot have a dialogue on each others religions then how can we move forward?

    Reading your perspective will broaden my horizon and understanding and I might accept that I was wrong and come to believe that yes all religions suffer equally…

    but instead of answering my doubts and questions on Christianity and posts…you have asked me several counter questions..

    How will this move forward Charakan?

  46. Poonam permalink
    March 8, 2009 6:17 pm

    I hadn’t even known about it. Now that I know, I will write about it.

    THank you for bloging about it. 🙂

  47. Indyeah permalink
    March 8, 2009 7:19 pm

    Poonam:-thank you for writing that:)
    see this is exactly what I was trying to say..I also had no clue …I came to know ..wrote about it..others came to know..will write about it and a discussion can start…

    India needs these discussions on her religions ..very desperately…without a dialogue and a discussion these doubts (like mine and others and above)will keep growing

    so thank you so much Poonam for writing this here and as always from what I have read of your thoughts in your posts I know you will bring a new ,unique perspective to it..:)

  48. Chirag permalink
    March 8, 2009 7:54 pm

    Church has never been open about anything done in the name of faith, and folks who are heads’ at such holy places mostly take advantage of people in the name of faith.@People say that everything is OK, but I was in the convent and I want them to know what goes on. I have concerns for others – and she is right why take shit, but why wait for 53 years to write all this.

  49. Indyeah permalink
    March 9, 2009 6:49 am

    Chirag:-exactly Chirag anyone who is placed in a position of power will misuse it..and why give people so much power in the name of faith?faith which can make so many people fall victim to it?

    and thats a good question..yes speak up but why did she bear it for so long?specially when she was in a position of authority later on?

    thats a good question Chirag..

  50. Ajith permalink
    March 9, 2009 8:42 am

    Hi Indyeah, thanks for posting my views in ur blog. As u said many bloggers keep away from issues relating to religion, as its a very sensitive issue. But I believe its high time we should realise the ill effects of religions and the so called ‘messengers of God’. People should come up openly against such things and should’nt bother about those who worry too much about minority and majority communities. They are victims of divisive and communal politics who lost their mind and forgot that they have taken a pledge in school to consider all Indians as brothers and sisters.

    Blogrolling u!

  51. Happy Kitten permalink
    March 9, 2009 7:59 pm

    Indeyah.. thanks for mentioning my short blog note on “Amen”.

    You and Ajith have given the deserved focus and I hope this issue will be discussed further in our country. You might know that the Catholic Church elsewhere ignored such key issues until they were sued. Their finance is still being drained. Maybe the Church and most believers are not going to wake up until the Church faces the court.

    It is only the Catholic Church which insists upon celibacy and it is painful to read their justifications. I think it is time they liberated from this idea and let the person decide for themselves.

    As for Chirag’s question as to why she did not open up earlier; this same question is being used against her by most. I guess in a social set up like that of Kerala or even India, women gets bolder only as she ages. The society entangles them is such ways that it is difficult to break free. From a woman’s point of view this is the only explanation I can find.

    Yes, organized religion is becoming disorganized and as a result, simple faith is being replaced by fanatic ideas. But then this is not confined to any one religion and coupled to the fact are the politicians who are waiting to take advantage.

    In Kerala, the Christian community is just not ready to rock the ship but there is a huge discontentment among them and hence you find new Churches springing up like mushrooms. They in turn are found to be worse.

    It is best to keep one’s faith simple and personal.

  52. kanaguonline permalink
    March 9, 2009 9:20 pm

    /*We do not want to react to it without properly studying the book. We will come out with our response in a day or two,” */

    What response they will give.. accepting their faults and failures.. surely not… See like the political system, our worship to god is also coruupted.. People are looking those priest and nuns as god and whatever they do will be tagged with a reason..
    Talk with any Christian who believe in christianity completely, they will say we are not catholics and we belong to CSI.. nobody is ready to accept their faults.. everybody loves to bury it and grows a garden on that.. If that is the case in Kerala means it is the same in whole world…

    I hate those Priests, Nuns, Gurus any mediator between god and people… I don’t believe them.. what makes them to be a communicator with god and not us.. has he/she dome any miraculous thing to be there??????

  53. Indyeah permalink
    March 9, 2009 9:49 pm

    Ajith:-”People should come up openly against such things and should’nt bother about those who worry too much about minority and majority communities. They are victims of divisive and communal politics who lost their mind and forgot that they have taken a pledge in school to consider all Indians as brothers and sisters.”
    EXACTLY Ajith!
    I am so happy to read your words here because we have to stop being afaraid that we can only critice this religion or that one…instead we have to treat religiona s a whole and expose its evils..be it any religion..even if people tag lables..or get offended..it was a pleasure to share your views and a relief as well to see that this was being spoken and written about..

    thank you so much:)have already blogrolled you:)

    Happy Kitten:-”You might know that the Catholic Church elsewhere ignored such key issues until they were sued. Their finance is still being drained. Maybe the Church and most believers are not going to wake up until the Church faces the court.”

    no ,I had no idea,thank you for sharing this..

    ”But then this is not confined to any one religion ”
    Absolutely!ALL religions are guilty of this..and all of them need to be exposed..

    yes I think what Chirag and I were baffled by was that JEsme was in a position of authority later and yet took a really long time to come out in the open..

    but as you say,”The society entangles them is such ways that it is difficult to break free. From a woman’s point of view this is the only explanation I can find.”

    yes this holds true for our Indian society more than any otehr…

    It was a plesaure sharing your post because of the sheer relief that one felt that bloggers were discussing this..
    so thank you for writing about it…

    Kanagau:-thank you for that very clear and strong thought..

    ”I hate those Priests, Nuns, Gurus any mediator between god and people… I don’t believe them.. what makes them to be a communicator with god and not us.. has he/she dome any miraculous thing to be there??????”

    yes exactly Kanagu!
    I mean a pandit/priest/maulvi/and otehrs know more than us?and have been given divine right to sit there or what?

    It is really frustrating to see…

    and yes as I said on Nimmy’s post…this refusal to accept that a religion might have faults is going to eat up them from inside..
    be it when a Hindu refuses to belive that he is wrong about rama and Ayodhya,or when a muslim says Allah told him to be a martyr for a cause..or a christian spokesperson says,”this happens”

    ”nobody is ready to accept their faults.. everybody loves to bury it and grows a garden on that..”
    Kanagu your wit is amazing!
    🙂

  54. Happy Kitten permalink
    March 10, 2009 12:09 am

    Indyeah: Here is a timeline from BBC although I read that Child abuses occured much earlier..

    http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3872499.stm

    nd I do not think it is confined to this Church alone. I think any institution enjoying power will have such individuals and the matter is just hushed up. It is only the victim who suffers. If it was child abuse in other countries, here in India it is also plain abuse of women..

    In religion, as long as one pay undue reverence to these mediators of God such and other issues will continue. After all they are only human..but then people who hold such views are considered as strange!

  55. Indyeah permalink
    March 10, 2009 1:14 am

    Happy Kitten:-Thank you for that link.
    reading all of that made me want to gag..an institution seeks to potect those who sexually abused children??
    what kind of a twisted world are we living in?

    and to ask for protection of right sof the accused priests??
    what a joke!
    and reaching settlements as well!

    This is enough to make me want to turn against religion forever…
    Which religion can stand tall?

    Hinduism is a bloody big joke the way its beng used by murderers,Islam ia ina league of its own..Christinaity’s ugly face is this…dont even get me started on the others…

    ”I think any institution enjoying power will have such individuals and the matter is just hushed up. It is only the victim who suffers”]
    yes you are right..and now I can also recall the Hindu math somehwre where the shankarachrya is a criminal and abuse takes place on a daily basis…will go and search for that now..and do a post on it in a few days…

    I am depressed…

    Happy Kitten thanks for the links..and please do keep sharing..

  56. Poonam J permalink
    March 16, 2009 7:48 pm

    I read about this a few days ago, in the newspapers, i guess as a book review . Thought of it then too that so much happens under the garb of religion.
    My previous maids daughter became a nun, i guess it was to escape poverty. For my maid that was one mouth less to feed. She could save her from hunger, but can she save her from the greed of many ?
    Sadly this is not one of the many issues that women are dealing with in the land called Bharat Mata…….we are aland of hypocrites

  57. Indyeah permalink
    March 17, 2009 6:32 am

    Poonam:-yes It is sickening and religion no matter which one is always the root cause somehow..
    😦
    we are a land of hypocrites..

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