Religion Thriving, Happiness Follows

After I came to Noida and settled down, I thought people here are too materialistic compared to West Bengal where I lived for the best part of my life. But I also found people here more religious. In West Bengal, the atmosphere becomes religious only during (Durga) Puja months. While going or returning from my morning walk, I see people visiting temple right in the morning, students bowing to deity before going to schools, and office goers getting into temple and I get a real pleasure.

Indians of all communities are really religious. An exclusive opinion poll conducted for The Times of India by TNS, a leading market research agency, shows some revealing aspects of Indians.

Three fourths of Indians are strong believers. God is perceived by many more as a source of energy rather than someone to be feared. Asked to respond to the statement, ‘I think I fear God’, only 41% said they completely agreed and another 33% said they mostly agreed. On the other hand, in response to the statement that ‘God is a source of energy in my life’, 56% completely agreed and a further 32% mostly agreed.

Indians are not convinced that God is a micromanager, that is, someone who controls our actions on a day-to-day basis.

A high 54% were against the broadcast of prayers, hymns or bhajans over loudspeakers.

The number of people who said they are more religious now than they used to be was considerably larger than those who felt they had become less religious.

A good 54% said God answers all prayers and another 41% said some prayers are answered.

And more surprises come from the younger persons. Contrary to what many of us (elders) believe, the young in India are no less religious than their elders, though their faith appears to be on the whole just a little more abstract and less ritualistic.

72% of those in their twenties strongly believe in God, which is only slightly lower than the overall average of 75%, and another 19% “somewhat believe”.

The young are less inclined to see God as present in places of worship, idols, spiritual gurus or holy books.

The young were less inclined to fear God than their elders.

The young are also less convinced that God will punish them for their sins.

However, surprisingly the young were less open to the idea of people converting from one religion to another, though the difference between age groups on this question is fairly small.

Does it not give a great hope and happiness for the traditional elders?

And then comes the result of another survey of youths of India that says Young Indians are amongst the happiest. MTV Networks International (MTVNI)’s brand new Wellbeing Index, based on the six-month survey of more than 5,400 young people in 14 countries, found that nearly 60% of Indians between 16- to 34-years is both religious and happy. And interestingly, the MTVNI index found developed and well-provided Japanese young utterly miserable with only 8% claiming to be happy and a whopping 76% admitting to no religious compass at all. As per the survey, the great happiness divide marks the planet’s young, with fewer than 30% in the US and 50% in the UK accepting they are happy with the way things were.

The survey is certainly invaluable from a sociological point of view because it “challenges the usual assumptions that today’s young people are rebellious, looking for fun and to look cool”. They are not. Instead, “today’s young people are obsessed with security and their future and they’re hard-working, not rebellious at all.”

And news comes from Bangalore about the Morelove campaigners. Nearly 2,400 students across the city have affixed their signatures on a pledge card the size of a small cell phone avowing to remain chaste until they get married. Today’s youth wants to go back to scriptural values.

I wish our youth would learn to maintain their cool and happiness under all circumstances and challenges of competitive life, and keep on believing in the Almighty that said, “Yogah Karmashu Kaushalam”.

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