SANTHARA- DEVOTION OR SUICIDE

Badani Devi, 82 lady is surviving only on a few spoons of water every day; she is practicing Santhara.

A multilingual and multicultural country, India  boasts of thousands of different traditions and customs practiced under  innumerable religions followed here. Undoubtedly the people have immense faith in their customs considering  them above their own lives. Though many a times, these rituals pose a grave threat to the person concerned and to the society, thereby encroaching the fundamental right of life . Thus, to solve these types of conflicting religious philosophies, the law jumps into action to decide a way out; Santhara cum suicide case being the latest issue..

Santhara is a rigid ritual followed by the jain community which is a fast-unto-death. The person practicing it takes a vow and voluntarily sacrifices all sorts of worldly pleasures and lives a simple yet difficult life. Santhara is practiced in stages, gradually giving up solid food, then liquid food and finally even water. Turning indifferent to any type of suffering to their body, it is a stubborn manner of waiting for death to engulf them, a form of soul purification; they say it is. According to the person following it, Santhara  is an act of spiritual purification premised on an exercise of individual autonomy.

The righteousness of Santhara case came into question when Rajasthan High Court gave a verdict against it. On 10th August, the Jaipur bench of the court ruled on a public interest litigation filed in may 2006 against Santhara. It was ruled that henceforth, it would be treated as suicide, punishable under section 309 and 306 of the Indian penal code, and not as a religious practice. The High court also compared the practice to the old Sati practice.

The question is, whether the stand of the Jaipur Bench to term Santhara as suicide is right or wrong. Legally if we see, then Santhara is close to suicide, although not as a result of hopelessness or any negativity, and so IPC can be imposed on such act. However the Supreme Court has lifted the ban as it is reviewing the cluster of petitions from Jain community saying Santhara is constitutionally protected as right to religious freedom.

Santhara leads to a painfully slow death and so stinks of the chances of foul play sometimes.  Jaipur based lawyer and activist, Nikhil Soni who had asked for the santhara to be banned debates that it can be misused to cover for the death of family members they to do not want to take care of.

Whether to treat Santhara as suicide or not depends upon the viewpoint of people from different communities. Where the Jain community regards is as completely justified and an act of supreme renunciation, others may consider it, as a suicide camouflaged under the name of taking death under stride.

A JOURNEY CALLED LIFE

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Life is a form of endless journey.It goes on  and on. in day and in  night, through weeks and months.It may stop for you but not for the world.And if it stops for you , you are dead. Life is actually an unknown journey.in the inception you are handed over some important things to survive viz family and basic necessity and then you have to add on to move ahead. Through plains , terrains, mountains and beaches, it just continues. It brings you joy , happiness sorrows and festivity and still goes on. Many people join you and many leave you , but then only you meet your soul mate.

In this unknown journey called life, many a times you come across situations when you feel the door in front of you is closed or the path is taking you to a wrong destination.It is actually a test; a live test which is taken to see if you are eligible to go further in your path. If you steer your path correctly, you can make through the difficult situation, and succeed; otherwise the destiny abandons you there.

Whenever you step a foot  forward towards your desires, there are numerous cuffs holding your steps.This is a crucial time.A point to scuffle through your priorities ;to decide which part of your life is more important then your step ahead. Whatever you do , you should always have the main goal of your life in  acorner of your heart.your  main destination should not diminish away.It should always shine  aloud to be remembered. After all its you who have to embark your ultimate journey towards it.

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