Status of Religion in 21st Century


Review of “Essay Competition” Sponsored by ‘Anti-Dowry Movement”



This year An Inter collegiate Essay competition for College students across Maharashtra State was sponsored on 1st January 2022, by ‘Anti Dowry Movement’.

It involved students from all Sr. Colleges (All Faculties) affiliated to most of the Universities in Maharashtra. Holding such competitions annually are regular features of the Movement aimed with the objective of improving cultural literacy, facilitating Intellectual up gradation and promoting socio-cultural awareness amongst New Generations of Student Community. The Essay competitions also unveil the thought Processes and Trends which are the barometric indicators of dynamics of socio- cultural and intellectual life. The Essayists are from Age Group of 15 Years to 22 Years for Urban & Rural Locations. It is noteworthy that more than 80 % of the Essayists are Females.

The well-known organization has been working devotedly for last Forty Nine years and was founded by well-known Disciple of Sane Guruji, Mr. Mr. D, B. (Mamasaheb) Kulkarni in 1975.

This year the subjects for Essay competition were (1) What lessons we got from COVID-19 Pandemic? (2) Social Media- A boon or a Curse & (3) Status of Religion in 21st Century.

It has been assumed in the social circles that under the threat of brewing COVID 19. Pandemic for last more than two – three years student community which suffered very badly on educational front must have fallen prey to depression and loose the mental initiative in articulating the thought processes.

This year’s Essay competition was aimed at selecting the socially relevant subjects and awaken mental and rational abilities, upgrade the  intellectual tools, to get well versed with human Indian & world history, social sciences, Psychology. What we could do here is to attempt to Review and  fathom the intellectual, socio-psychic turmoil, ideological currents, their attempt to explore their futuristic ideas. This may also lead to promotion of new Intellectual Ethos and debating culture.. The Essays received were in Marathi, English & Hindi languages and I have translated the relevant excerpts into English.

To the surprise of the Organizers, in the short duration of less than one month the Student essayist response was startling and overwhelming. From total of  Twenty Five Universities and Two Hundred Twenty Five Colleges across Maharashtra.  Total of 843 Essays were received, out of which from 92 Colleges 404 Essays (Covid- 19) , from 87 Colleges 339 Essays (Social Media) and from 49 colleges 100 Essays (Status of Religion) were received till  31st Jan 2022. Organizers had to return the Essay Papers to the students once the dead line of 31st January 2022 was  over for all three subjects.

One must highlight that almost all the Essay writers, with couple of exceptions have denounced the political fall outs of the process of Religion Moving into Realms of Psychic Mainstream, Politics and the Resultant Hatred. However it was amazing to see multitudes of thought processes Flowering and articulating freely across the Collegian University Youth across Maharashtra. What I have provided below are specimen or representative excerpts from the written Essays for the benefit of Readers. We have avoided mentioning the names of the Essayists participating in the competition as per Instructions from the Organizers. The Essay summaries have been classified into Eleven Sections. I do not claim that I have been able to cover 100% of significant Points.  .


It will be appropriate to begin with a Quote which is representative of number of Essayists, from a Female Essayist from KARD. She quotes few contributing Philosophers, Sociologists to explore status of Religion in 21st Century. She says,:-

“Status of Religion is a hotly debated topic that often divides the opinion. Everywhere you look Religions & Religious Controversies are shaping our world. Because of the passions I inspires, religion is a topic that seems inherently given to controversy. Religion faces extraordinary challenges, (including those from Science), in 21st Century. In history Religion will continue to be the most important world-wide shaping phenomena of the 21st Century. – She quotes, Leading French Intellectual Andre’ Malraux, “Religion now focuses on how religion, both as belief systems and socio-cultural systems are interwoven in today’s challenges”.  She provides his one more Quote relevant to the Topic, The twenty-first century will be religious or it will not be at all”.

With this Quote she sums up virtually every concept, subjects and topics implicit in the Topic of Religion.  She also inaugurates the topic by quoting David Emile Durkheim, (15 April 1858 – 15 November 1917), the French Sociologist-one amongst the architects of modern Social Science, Max Weber and Karl Marx:- “Religion has three major functions in society: It provides Social Cohesion to help maintain social solidarity through shared rituals and beliefs, social control to enforce religious based morals and norms to help maintain conformity and control in Society and it offers meaning and purpose to answer any of the Existential Questions”.

She quotes Bishop George Berkeley (12 March 1685 – 14 January 1753) also, “Religion is the centre which unites and the cement which connects the several part of the political Body”.   She has provided statistics on religious Groups, Growth of Religious Population in different countries and projects their numerical strength by 2050 & 2060.

She expects India to remain Pluralistic as envisioned by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar she is worried about Religious polarization. But when ‘Faith’ turns into Fanaticism resultant she predicts as, Religious Unity can look like Carnival  and religious liberty can look like Funeral’ and hence, “ I firmly believe that the mission of Religion in 21st Century must be to contribute concretely to the peaceful coexistence of Humanity”.


One important, noteworthy  Highlight of the Essay Competition is the Immense Popularity and influence visible in number of essays of well known Humanitarian writer, Activist, Freedom Fighter and close Associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Shri Sane Guruji . Almost Seventy Percent of the Essayist, the College Students across Maharashtra have quoted at least one of the Popular Poetic Stanzas in their Essay on ‘”STATUS OF RELIGION IN 21st CENTURY”. . Such is the Humanitarian and Secular Influence Sane Guruji has over Maharashtra. His Quotes on Religion, his critical comments on Religion and the Positive Humanitarian Role played by Religion in Human life significantly keep awakening the Maharastrian Youth

At least one of the two below quoted verses is displayed in the Essay write ups. Here Sane Guruji  compares the Religion, the Primal Institute created by human collective to ‘Baby Tunic”.

“How will the old stereotype, tattered & ragged customs and traditions work today?How can a child wear a baby tunic?”


On the other hand he highlights the Humanitarian Essence of the Religion in following Verses.

“In the world, those socially Inferior and the Downtrodden and fallen and trampled for Centuries The heartfelt need to awaken them, offer Love and Affection to this world For those who are helpless and lonely in the world and those who often cry out from InsideGo and try to make them happy offer Love and Affection to this world  Those who love the Religion and those who love GodThey need to become Loving, and offer Love and Affection to this world”

  • Sane Guruji’s life long aim was to address to the ‘Inner Voice’ and hence is recognized as innovative thinker and rationalist who founded Marathi ‘Sadhana Weekly’. The Weekly was popularized by Dr. Narendra Dabholkar .Those Essayists well influenced by Sane Guruji also happens to be rooted in Bhakti Tradition. These Essayist refer to Saint or Bhakti Tradition in ,Maharashtra as social awakening of tolerance, affection for all religions and teachings of equability with the downtrodden and Devotion towards all Human life and with upsurge against Caste system The tradition begins with Poetic Verses by Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Tukaram , Bahinabai, Sant Gora Kumbhar.Sant Rohidas .Sant Narhari Sonar, .Chokhamela  and flourished as ‘Varkari Movement and Rationalism. It was prominent in eighth-century south India in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and spreading northwards with the rise of Kabir.  It swept over the east and north India from the 13th century onwards, reaching its zenith between the 15th and 17th century in Maharashtra. Majority of Essayists have envisioned flourishing of Pluralistic Religious Culture rooted into the Saint Tradition in social tolerance in 21st Century

One more essayist from N. I. o. Technology, Nagpur, defines Religion as “Man has faith in the supernatural power, which controls the most sacred, future of the entire life and the universe or nature. In order to establish closest personal or social psychic and mental relationship and unfolding of the methods and mode of conduct and behavior can be defined as Religion”  The Essayist compares this Titled Subject with Live Volcano and to express himself, he will have to pour out energy of scorching Sun. Religious Form today looks like Diaphanous Regalia entangled on a barbed thorny Fence and torn up, ragged into thousands of tatters. These hanged ‘Raj Vastre’ (Regalia) by riding on the top, Apex of the temple must be denouncing and launching its criticism. “God is one but wars in the name of Religion are being waged everywhere. Contractors are eager to convert themselves into God.

India’s Culture teaches Politeness and Civility to the world. But in the same culture Babri Masjid is demolished and thousands of people die. Religion has divided us into Saffron, Green and Blue colors. The riots in Bangladesh have terrible impact in Tripura. In 21st Century, the winds blowing in the name of religion demonstrate that Today’s Religion has acquired destructive and Anti Human forms”.  He has quoted, last lines of Sane Guruj’s Verses, which read as under

 “Drums and kettle Drums of God, today he has immersed,However Humanitarian Religion has been trampled Under the Feet”.

One Female Essayist, quoting Sane Guruji expresses deep sorrow and boldly  articulates  the fall, degradation of  Indian culture, like the one in Sindhu Valley basin which stands as illustration of   rise of great Civilization and which taught lessons on civilization to this world. But in the same culture, the Babri Masjid was demolished by riots on December 6, 1992 and thousands of people died. It speaks of fall of Civilization and its division into Saffron, Green and Blue religious segments and which has become a business venture for saints”.

 ‘Status-Co’-Feeling Helpless’in face of Unfolding Events

Criticisms of Religions as such also were prominently seen in case of number of Essayists.  “We were not guided by the religion; we simply followed what we were asked to buy! We are the stooges of, in today’s new language Thekedar (Contractors). The social and political atmosphere is charged with Religious hatred is organized around Religious Rituals and Practices which are reproduced for decades and centuries.  “Who made Teen Talaq as Rule which must be followed? Quran has no such rules written in it! Who started these SATI Practices? Who does not allow women to wear or not to wear Burkhas or Hijab? OK. Let us talk about our Super Developed USA. Why blacks are considered nothing? Why still Jews have to be tied to chains of Slavery? There are several Essayists who made very sharp criticism of Role of Religion today”

Number of Essayists have provided Worldwide and All India Break up of Religious Population identical to provided in the above Diagrams to highlight political Role Religion can plays. Most of the Essayists have considered it as Mandatory to emphasize that “We may have different Religions different Languages, different colored skins but we all belong to one Human Race! But in spite of it we are incapable of overthrowing the repressive chains.

The events follow their own logic. The rituals and practices are crystallized over thousands of years and 21st Century has no option but to accept the Reality. The cow slaughter ban law, Muslim terrorism, ‘love jihad’, opening of Shabarimala temple, Citizenship Amendment Act, Ram temple in Ayodhya-Babri Majjid conflict and so many local and regional issues lead to conflicts and cannot be stopped. Essayist from  The 21st century has its own dynamics. The power of Religion is not shrinking. At least four Essayists have provided charts providing National and International Population coverage by Religions, in which only less than 20% of the population is ‘Unaffiliated’ while rest of the population follows the Religious divide.  Therefore, some people are pursuing their own interests by sticking to their religion and riots are being fomented in the name of religion, social conflicts are being brought about. For politicians, religion is like a ‘paris’ (Philosopher’s Stone which attracts Gold) of power. It is as if some politicians have been fully accustomed to Religious Mathematics to manipulate Elections. Subject of religion is slow poison, sowing seeds of hatred in the minds of the people is their business.  The temples, places of worship of particular religions are given more importance than the hospitals, surgeries and treatments. Whose health will be improved by building these temples? (Essayist from

Religion is a social cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews texts sanctified places. Prophecies, ethics or organizations that relate humanity to supernatural, transcendental and spiritual elements.

India can lead the way to understand at the global level how and why it is necessary to Reconcile different points on the issue of religion.  Indians are religious and capable of sharing their understanding and experiences with Non religious Indians also. Our understanding of the Spiritual sphere that is quite different than the understanding found in countries like China or the United States. Irrespective of doubts and apprehensions  religion is there to stay and will not be in fading away anytime soon though it’s form and Organization may change., B.SC. AGRICULTURE, – DR. UPC OF AGRICULTURE,  JALGAON.


One student Essayist from Agricultural College(  Pune)  has attempted remarkably well to draw out Evolutionary Pre-historical  and historical trajectory from Western Sociologists  and from 13th Century  Tradition of Indian Saints  till Contemporary society to project rapid deterioration of Plurality in the religious ethos by the Sectarian conflict emerging from within the boundaries of the secular state. The   external ritualistic aspects of the religion and Exclusivism began to dominate. The problems that we need to understand is how people of different religions, traditions and faith that co-existed in the pluralistic society were weakened by the Forces of separatism, communalism and narrow dogmatic outlook, which are the disturbing elements. It will not be wrong if we say that this has led to the resurgence of the religious fanaticism. This process is accelerated since 1970”. The unity in diversity as and tolerance inculcated by toleration”. Saint or Bhakti tradition which reformed Indian Society  by Poet Saints, like  Dnyaneshwar, Kabir, Namdev, Tukaram, Ravidas, Chaitanya tried to transcend the their religious limitations and sought a unifying Dialect and condemned the ritualism. The same tradition was echoed in Modern History by, Gandhi and Nehru who emphasized “unity of man’.  Today there is no official religion in India. Despite it is true that today in some States; politicians are using Religion for the sake of maintaining and capturing power. People have will begin to understand this “Debased’ manipulation of religious faith.

Religion seems to be in 21st century to be enjoying a global Revival that was absent in second half of the 20st Century. It is more cynical that all major Global religions are preaching not ‘peace’ but fomentation of war. Now efforts are clearly need to be directed at seeking to achieve, “Unity in Diversity”. As our Motto and strive for achieving Vivekananda dream of Oneness!

The essayist has touched upon and quoted Mr. Robert N. Bellah American sociologist and the Elliott Professor of Sociology at the University of California, who wrote, Religion in Human Evolution: From the Big Bang to Paleolithic (stone Age) to the Axial Age (2011), traces the biological and cultural origins of religion and the interplay between the two., “Religion as way of Being it’s also a way of being together”. He was member of ‘Communist Party USA) from 1947 to 1949 and a chairman of the John Reed Club.  He also provides reference to Jonathan H. Turner and his evolutionary sociology and stresses that Religiosity is linked to ‘Economic and Technological Underdevelopment.” She  also quotes left leaning Novelist, Theorist and French Cultural Minister Andre Malraux (Who was also part of Popular Front during Spanish- war and also unviewed Assassination attempt by French Rightwing Group in 1962 ). His stint with Western and Progressive literature and writings and its influence is felt throughout while reading his essay and gives us hope for revival of modern thinking amongst Student Community.

The Essayist has expressed cynicism over the sight of Global Revival of Religion in 21st Century and which was not seen in latter half of 20th Century. Hence he concludes, “All major Global Religions preach of peace but are fomenting war. Hence he questions himself “How to go about making Efforts in seeking to achieve, “Unity in Diversity”, the Indian official Motto”. (A. K.C.- College of Agriculture.

Revivalist & Aggressive Perspective of Religion in 21st Century 

One Female Essayist from M. S. G. Malegaon, Nasik) College traces the Origins of Hindu Religion in SANATAN Dharma from Vedic Times as creation by Brahma around 6000 Years ago. She traces the history from the date of invasion of India by Mughals, the brutal behavior of Allauddin Khilji. She criticizes Romila Thapar for her identification and Analysis of Origins of Hinduism and counterpoises the history of repression of Hinduism by Islamists and Mughals and finally lands on to the Familiar topic- Partition of India. She defends RSS steadfastly. She claims that “There is not even a single illustration of Hindus carrying out destruction of Temples and places of worships of other Religion and contrary to it Muslims thugs have destroyed thousands of Hindu Temples “Hence in 1947, Mahatma Gandhi by accepting Barrister Jinnah’s proposal for partition of India he should be held responsible for Desecration of Indian nation. Hindus are unwelcomed in their nation and why Hindus should tolerate their presence?”  She quotes the YouTube posted Poetic Song Video posted on 17th December 2017. Few stanzas from it are as below. The focus is denigration of Indian nation by Bapu (Gandhi) for agreeing to partition

 “You are the identity of this India in the whole world, you BapuIf you had wished you could have taken to Luxury & Comfort tooTell the people who divided the country, whom should I identify and write as a traitor?

You!, You!, You!  Bapu, you had promised that he will not allow even a Branch of Tree to get sliced or fall

Hey, I’ll let my body to get ripped off inch by inch but won’t let the country divide

Whom should I hold responsible for the death of Forty Lacks people?

From amongst those dividing the Nation, whom should I write as “TRAITOR”?

Unclaimed Dead Bodies which were eaten up by Dogs are NOW asking!

                                          Hey, instead of two slaps, you would have given him one slap.

Had to divide, (the country) then it could have been divided MORE systematically”.


Kashmiri Pandits were persecuted in 1989-90 and forced to flee their homes and lands in Kashmir, the politically motivated leaders did repent. Will the Hindus forget this Bloodied History? Or may lead to Revival and emergence of New Concept of Religion and may lead to unfolding of new History of Aggressive Hindu System in 21st Century?  All indications of this seem to be plausible. That is why today it appears that in this 21st century may witness the rise, revival of New concept of Religion. In nutshell, in Psychoanalytic terms she predicts surge of Primal instinctual forces gushing out from the repressed social psychic and profusely flowing  wound awakened with aspirations FOR  Global Rule over the world. Following Lines speak and predict the fearful and dreadful outcome, establishment of a Political Rule WELL entrenched into INDIAN Religiosity aspiring to become Master of this World. This is her vision of Status of Religion in 21st Century.

“People say that politics is being played in the name of Religion.
But remember from the day Religion will take hold of Politics,
United India will come into existence,
And India will emerge as Master of the World.


One Female Essayist from Dental College of Nasik provides us the Face of Rationalism of Student Community from Maharashtra. The Essayist emphasizes the need to induct and awaken Rationalism amongst the youth which has become the victim of Superstitions and Blind Faith. The Essayist quotes Sane Guruji, “True religion is only one, which offers only love to this world”. The dominance of Blind Faith, hatred towards other religions and its enormity is clearly visible in ruthless killing of those commitedly working towards eradication of superstitions… In entire Human history highest loss of Human life is entirely caused by ‘Anti- Religious Riots. Destruction of the “places of Worships’ in the Name of Religion, Construction of New places f Worship at Controversial Locations, hatred, religious tensions, provoke and inflame riots results into immense loss of life. In Human History of thousands of years Racialism and Religious Intoxication has caused maximum and unparallel loss of human life all over the world. It is the man who has given Birth to Religion but we have forgotten whether Religion is for Humans or Humans are for Religion. And She says ‘subjugation of Man- human beings and enslavement of Human Psychic life to Religion is authenticated in Karl Marx’s statement,     “ ist das Opium des Volkes” which means,  “Religion…is the opiate of the masses.” And whose complete statement is, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

The repressive role of Religion is clearly visible in Indian Society in Single illustration which Essayist provides, the Number of Nobel Prize winners in the Field of Science which cannot even be counted on finger tips, like the one by C.V. Raman and no one has succeeded like him. The advances made possible by Science completely overshadows all achieve put together by Religion over thousands of years.(From-College in Paniv)

In the medieval period, along with the notion that God created man and established religion, many irrational concepts originated and began to be adopted in the name of religion. New practices began to take root in the course of history. This new system was beneficial for the upper class and distressing for the lower class. Religious Power and Political Power were established hands and gloves with each other exploiting the common laboring people.

On getting answers to many such questions, the Diagnosis of ‘religion-system’ must be done by all concerned. This requires a scientific approach and temperament, rationalism, and at the same time scientific study of Darwinian Theory of evolutionism and Stephen Hawking’s ‘Big Bang Theory’ which deals with origins of Universe should be introduced in School Syllabus education. Its social propagation and social dissemination should be undertaken on Priority to create awareness about it. It is significant that this Female Science Student from Dental College knows the significance of Hawkin’s Big bang theory of Origins of Universe as an infinitely small, infinitely dense point called a ‘singularity’ and Hawking’s description being almost universally accepted among scientists. She recommends his theory should be prescribed to be part of School Syllabus and socially propagated and popularized to create social awakening and awareness. Essayist emphasizes that Origins of Religion dates back to Invention of Writings (Appro. 5400 years ago), while recorded Prehistory shows existence of Beliefs.

In Defense of Theology and Vedic Concept of Religion

1) One Essayist has attempted to confront Modern Science, its reductionist framework and evolutionary Scientists like Darwin and others who took recourse to atoms and molecules contemplating that from them the Life has or will come into existence. In Vedantic view life is beyond Atoms and molecules, it is Spiritual. Life is fundamentally expressible through Consciousness, which is beyond Brain & Mind. Darwinism completely ignores it. Darwinist Evolution. Darwin’s evolutionary model keeps no room for existence of GOD and spirituality. Knowing the molecules or genetic codes does not sort out secrets of Life. Life comes from Life! Srikrishna. Krishna, the Lord is the cause of manifestations of Living entities in this world. He instructs Brahma, the First cosmic being to regulate this phenomenal world of Animate and inanimate objects. “The tenancies to worship (Whether God or Celebrity in Modern Times)to create rituals, to attribute meaning to entities and organize beliefs into systems are deeply rooted in human nature and are very likely to be evolutionary, built into Human Psychology” (D.R.U.P. College of Agriculture Jalgaon) Therefore Religion is the Religious reality of the Human Experience. Hence it will be status of Religion in 21st Century and India will lead the World.

Few Essayists have taken up uncompromising stand that, “Religion has been the most intense world-wide shaping phenomenon in History, and it will continue to be the most important worldwide – shaping phenomenon of the 21st century too”. At least three Essayists have reiterated this conclusion drawn by Pascal –Emmanuel Gobry who projected Religious Revival in 21st Century.

3) One more Essayist (From Dental College) also has taken similar stand and stated that it is ridiculous to confront Science and Religion. She says, “Soul of the Religion is Scientific. Roots of Science are in investigation, research and in experimentation and so that of Religion also”. She provides the unity of science and Spiritual background of Vedic culture in which Science and Religion function cooperatively. In Vedic culture illustrates how Ayurvedic Medicines and Yogas, both work for well being of human body, healthcare and Psychic life.

( S.S.P.- Dental College)

Passage from Religion to Science


There are couple of Essayist who have expressed deep suspicion about Role of Religion in Human Life in 21st Century It was pleasurable to read a few Essays quotes Voltaire (Fanatism is a monster that pretends to be the Child of Religion”, or Albert Einstein, “ Science without Religion is Lame and Religion without Science is Blind. It was an attempt to reconcile Religion & Science and Seneca. The Essayists have attempted to reconcile Science & Religion but how Religion is gradually giving way to Science by losing the ground on which it stood from History before Christ to Modern History and prevalent 21st Century and concludes that Religion or Faith is all about good deeds. Trust in yourself, karma, hard work, humanity and perseverance! But now as Bertrand Russell says, “Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines”.

Religious community gives people the sense of belonging and provides important social support and lives the healthier life style. Religion brought us close to human values But today Religions are inflicting harm also and have lost appreciation of sufferings! Hence the Essayist confronts Religions with Spirituality; they stand almost opposed to each other. Spirituality deals with What is Consciousness, what is humanity and essence of Humanity. Spirituality’s passage is from Abstract Philosophy to Engineering and Science. For health Medicines and Agricultural output one does not need Temples to pray. These realms are taken over by Technology, Engineering and provides collective identity for Human Groups. Twenty First Century will tear down, bring down the walls of separation and help us to walk through the world of peace.    (The Female Essayists from C.H. Sholapur and C.O.A. Chiplun)

One important area considered by number of Essayists is compatibility between Religion & Science and / or prolonged conflict between Religion and in which Science having established significant Edge over Religion. Two Essayists have Quoted Bertrand Russell . “Science progresses by means of Observations, deductions and reasoning based on facts and discovers Laws to Predict the Future Events as against it Religion has Faith and Mysteries as driving forces.

The conflict between theology and science can be reduced to conflict between authority and observation. In the course of history, the Scientific method achieved immense successes, both theoretically and practically and so hat theology was driven to accommodate itself to science.

The Essayist has also referred to Bertrand Russell having considered synthesis or debate between Science of Psychology, Sociology and History as possible solution to overcome the destructive fall out of Science playing into hands of Authority. Psycho-analysis has attempted to create such a science, but its success lies in its Future Development of Science, which in turn will depend upon debate between Physics, Biology and Psychology by getting rid of errors. .

Finally Status of Religion boils down to role of Authority. He quotes, Bertrand Russell who says, “The persecution of intellectuals in Germany and Russia has surpassed, in severity, anything perpetrated by the Churches during the last two hundred and fifty years”

Key functions of Religion in Human Civilization & History

Few Essayists have reiterated Views expressed by Western Sociologists, Psychologists, Anthropologists, like Frankel, Frazer,  Rushton Coulborn and Karl Marx.

It is commendable that a Female Essayist from Foster Development‘s Homeopathic Medical College dedicated her Essay towards Enquiries and studies of inter-relationships between Religion, ethnicity, theology, nationalism and civilizations. She took cognizance of internationally well-known Sociologists, Psychologists, Anthropologists, and Philosophers to initiate discussions on ‘Status of Religion in 21st Century”. Hence I am beginning with her Essay Highlights to stress and highlight her Internationalist Outlook and Reading habits of the Essayist.   She begins by providing Definitions of Religion and says, “There is consequently no universally acceptable definition of Religion and quite possible there never will be” and moves forward to discuss the functions of Religion as below.

The Essayist traced the origins of Religion from the beginning of Culture as the most ancient Institution and states that, “There is no Primitive Society without Religion”. It being the most important institute “which has exerted tremendous influence on Political and Economic Institutions.  Shared beliefs and practices are born out of perceived phenomenons which were beyond comprehension. The Latin words – ‘legate’ meaning, to join or link. It means linking of ‘Human’ and ‘Devine”. Linking it with Supernatural Powers. Hence central to all Religions is ‘Faith, hence religion is the organization of faith which binds beings to their temporal and transcendental foundations. . Hence faith distinguishes man from other beings.

The First one under her consideration is Rushton Coulborn, (Feudalism in History-1956)’s Professor Coulborn presents clearly and convincingly a number of significant conclusions concerning the formation of civilized societies documented and analyzed the pertinent data drawn from archaeology, anthropology, and history. He shows how a new religion in each case gave the settlers the needed courage to survive the hazards of difficult physical environment, and he concludes that religious acts occupied a central place in the formation and initial development of all the primary societies and civilization.  Religion is interwoven with all aspects of human life with kinship system, economic and political institutions. Prior to the advent of what may be called as the ‘Age of reason’, religion has been the chief supporter of the spiritual and moral values in life. He concludes that, the seven primary societies-Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Indian, Cretan, Chinese, Middle American, and Andean. Rushton Coulborn- civilization are here seen as the chief causes of the origin of the seven primary societies-Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Indian,  Cretan, Chinese, Middle American, and Andean. Professor Coulborn has convincingly presented a number of significant conclusions regarding the formation of civilized societies, with supportive documentation and Analysis of relevant data drawn from archaeology, anthropology, and history. The New Religion in each case has provided courage to the settling Groups to face all natural and other environmental hazards and Religious practices formed the core to enable their initial development of all the primary societies.

Victor Frankel, the Founder of Logo therapy (A form of Psychotherapy) and who survived Nazi concentration camps in the 1940s. His Logo-therapy was developed to improve and imbibe acceptance, Altruism, courage, Humor and Spirituality and so on. She says, “Frankel helped people to find purpose and meaning in life. Religion gives meaning and purpose to life. – Religion can be one among many channels to help someone to gain a sense of meaning.  Through helping others to remember that joys, sorrows, sacrifices and blessings and thereby bring to mind the meaningfulness of the lives as already lived”. It is incorrect on her Part to treat what Frankel calls ‘Spirituality” with Religion, nevertheless her attempt to trace the historical transformation from Religion to Secularization and transcendental power of love.

The Essayist incorrectly quotes the contribution of James George Frazer. (1 January 1854 – 7 May 1941- Scottish Social Anthropologist, who focused on stages of Mythology and Comparative Religion)  In fact he argued that that “It is the Religion which plays a crucial role in establishing the connection to the divine and developing the belief that there is a supreme energy that acts as the regulator in our day today life. Thus the component of prayer chants and hymned. Create spiritual bond”. In fact Essayist wrongly makes this statement since Frazer was Atheist! Frazer believed that, over time, culture passed through three stages, moving from magic, to religion, to science. Frazer saw religion as “a momentary aberration in the grand trajectory of human thought. He developed the narrative of Secularization and disenchantment with Religion.

However she points out that most importantly he carried out studies in Mythology and Religion and relationship between Myths and Rituals. In tune with him the Essayist attempted to discover relationships between Hindu rituals, special clothing, immersion in river Ganges, starving, fasting.  She says this was the Era before the advent of ‘Age of Reason’. Hence she identifies Religion’s preserving traditions, preaches submission to the existing conditions and maintenance of status quo. Hence Religion is not amenable to social change and progress and hence ‘Anti Science” which suppressed scientific progress initiated by Darwin, Huxley and others. Hence religion affects creativity of Man and hence in 21st Century it will be hurdle to Human progress.

She quotes the illustrations of Martin Luther King and his Fighting aspirations emerging from his grooming into theological Significance of Black Church in America.  She quotes Karl Marx, “Religion was the Opiate of masses” and under its burden of ‘Religion which works like a Drug”, The poverty stricken people feel that,” It’s God’s will that they are poor either because he is testing their faith in him or because they have violated his rules or believe that if they endure the sufferings they will be rewarded in the afterlife”..” The religious views let them not to blame the Capitalist class for their poverty and thus not to revolt. For these reasons says Marx that religion leaves the poor to accept their Faith and helps maintain the existing system of Social Inequality”.  .

Finally the Female Essayist concludes that ‘Religion can be source of social Unity and Cohesion but over Centuries, it has led to persecution , torture and wanton Bloodshed————–  And the History of the World Shows that individual people and the whole communities and nations are quite ready to persecute, kill and go to war over religious differences”. However in last two years with COVID spread with phenomenal speed, people have shown restraints and have celebrated each other’s festivals and hope that 21st Century will  bring together all Religious communities to realize” Vasudeva Kutumbakam, Sarve Sukhina Bhavantu”

Essayist From Agricultural College- Kolhapur sums up his conclusion about the Pluralistic Trend in Hinduism, “All this matters because Religious Pluralism is a Characteristic of the Globalized  21st Century, so these perspectives will help shape the International approach to religion more than simple monotheism and atheism. This is true both in philosophical terms as well as from utilitarian   social perspective.  Societies & individuals from different Religious backgrounds increasingly mix and interact, so it becomes harder to publicly hold to the belief that only one’s Religion is true or alternatively to contemptuously dismiss all Religions. And no other Religion has to change its fundamental beliefs to acknowledge that the Divine spirituality found in their faith is found in other faiths in a different manner.

An Essayist from JAT ARTS College for Women,  (Malegaon)  states that here Religion can be explained as Set of Beliefs concerning causes and purpose of Universe created by ‘Superhuman or Agency involving devotional and Ritual observations strictly takes Anti Atheist approach. She Quotes Lawrence Maxwell Krauss, the American-Canadian Theoretical Physicist and Cosmologist, Author of “UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING’ (2012), and who spent his life time in investigation of our questions about our origins and who explained how entire Universe could have emerged from Nothing. He tells the story of modern Cosmology,  making way through Big Bang, to microwave background Radiation and to the discovery of Dark Energy and raises the question whether Religion will become outdated in 21st Century? She says that it tallies with the Observations of progressive fall of Role of Religious Institutions  and organizations in instilling good moral values.(She provides Zuckerman, the Author of ‘Invitation to Sociology of Religions and who  stresses the dependence of religious involvement on “time and place.” Which greatly affects his or her religious identity and who has produced statistical proof of how Atheism is growing all around the world? She further quotes results of “Gallop International Survey carried out for more than 50,000 people57 countries to demonstrate fall in the adherents of Religions across the world.

One important area considered by majority of the Essayists is compatibility between Religion and Science and or a prolonged conflict between religion and science in which, science has established significant edge over Religion and only two  Essayists have quoted Bertrand Russell. Science progresses by means of Observations, deductions and reasoning based on facts and discovers Laws to predict the Future events.


The conflict between theology and science can be reduced to conflict between authority and observation. In the course of history, the Scientific method achieved immense successes, both theoretically and practically and so hat theology was driven to accommodate itself to science.

The Essayist has also referred to Bertrand Russell having considered synthesis or debate between Science of Psychology, Sociology and History as possible solution to overcome the destructive fall out of Science playing into hands of Authority. Psycho-analysis has attempted to create such a science, but its success lies in its Future Development of Science, which in turn will depend upon debate between Physics, Biology and Psychology by getting rid of errors. .

Finally Status of Religion boils down to role of Authority. He quotes, Bertrand Russell who says, “The persecution of intellectuals in Germany and Russia has surpassed, in severity, anything perpetrated by the Churches during the last two hundred and fifty years”(Essayist- S.P.C.A. Chiplun, Ratnagiri)

However only TWO Essayists took recourse to Sigmund Freud’s identification…….. All the people in the society have been living in the imprisoned and diseased state of social restrictions since birth.  Hence are obsessed with emotional disorders. Sigmund Freud’s theory is disagreed by many ‘Believers’ and religious Psychologists. This is because of the fact that atheist and agnostic philosophers like Freud have been around us since ancient times. Secondly, there is a large section of people in this society who blindly believe that mental and physical ailments can be cured with the help of Pooja, Tantra Mantra, Prayer, or Sorcery.  People who have this attitude are liable to become victims of Religious dominance and repression and develop mental illness or disorders without healing and create an imaginary Fetishistic web or  The Essayist quotes Bertrand Russell, “To some extent, psycho-analysis has attempted to create such a science, but the success of this attempt, in so far as it avoids physiological causation, may still be questioned. I incline – though with hesitation – to the view that there will ultimately be a science embracing both physics and psychology, though distinct from either as at present developed”, to emphasize that such Science will transcend the limitations and offer Solution.    2) One Female Essayist from R.G.C.  for Women opened up the confrontation of Religion with Science, “Religionists often say that religion begins and spirituality begins where science stops, stumbles and falls, but their claim is completely false. But the fact is that where religion stops, where science stops, science begins again”. Though we are living in the 21st century considering the world events, the society of India is still entangled in the web of religion, culture and tradition and if that is the case then it is a costly destruction of India dreaming of becoming a superpower.

Anti-Dowry Movement has carried out Great Work of Awakening of curiosity, facilitated Independent Thinking and facilitating the Students to come out of Intellectual Lethargy and stressed importance of ‘INDEPENDENT THINKING”. The Subject- Status of Religion in 21st Century has been considered and treated by all Essayists without exception as most controversial and consuming subject and has expressed themselves from their heart and soul. The Essay competition also helped them to relate themselves with literature around the world and keep track with the updates.  We need to conceive this competition as a cultural milestone. This outfit suggests me to recommend on behalf of Anti Dowry Movement to propose to all Colleges and Universities couple of suggestions. 1) Each college should consider enriching their Libraries with Marathi and English Books, (their digitalization if possible) with subjects not only relevant to the disciplines Taught but multiple subjects and faculties ranging from History, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Sciences & Literature etc and promoting readership. 2) Holding Quarterly Debating competitions of students on multiple subjects like  Indian and World History, Psychology, Economics, Sciences & Literature etc. to promote multi lingual and  Multi cultural activities.

With these suggestions I personally wish great success to Ms. Asha Kulkarni, who is very actively shouldering the responsibility of  ‘Anti- Dowry Movement’ for last few Decades to facilitate spread of such ‘Ventures’ across Maharashtra and India.

Anil Pundlik Gokhale is an Engineer by profession. As a non regular writer on political literature I have always been attempting to integrate Psychology and Marxism. I have recently published books ‘Condensation And Condescension In Dreams And History: Essay – From Sigmund Freud To E P Thompson’ by Author House London. Psychoanalysis & A- Historical Story of GENGHIS KHAN, Author House- London.

Compilation and Writing – Translation of my own Article in Diwali Issue of Marathi Magazine-  JEEVAN JYOT (2018) – with their Permission


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