Non-Violence is appreciated – but it’s hard to leave a Habit – 26 Feb 14

After writing about violence against children in my letter to Indian parents and the past days, I was asked whether I really thought I would change anybody’s mind in my writing. First of all, that is not my first intention of writing, I just want to express. What you make of that is your choice. If it changes the life for some parents and children, I will be happy. I know however that it is hard to change because violence with words and actions has become a habit for many. I think you need practical help to change. I can give you the example of our Ashram where exactly that is happening right now.

One of our employees had been working here for some time while his wife was living further away in a village with his children. He went there on the weekends to visit them. He saw how we treated the children who live here at the Ashram as well as a child of other employees, a boy of about the same age as his son, approximately two years old. He heard us tell the parents that they should not hit their boy and he listened to our arguments why one should not even threaten with violence.

He understood that this was good. He wanted this atmosphere for his children as well – and so he went to get them to the Ashram. Now his wife, too, works here and his children live with us.

Nevertheless it has proven very difficult to get rid of the habit of hitting a child. He and especially his wife, who spent much more time with the children than him, have to work hard on changing their way of education. Or better said to find a way that actually teaches their children because I refuse accepting violence as ‘education’.

It took them a while to stop raising the hand as if they would slap. It took a strict ban from our side for them to stop threatening with beatings. And it took and still takes our example, explanations from us and thus our help for them to see another way. They don’t know anything else! They themselves grew up with being hit, they have seen children being raised with violence their whole lives long and only now they got to know that there is another way, too.

So we are helping them and trying to show them other ways – because they love their children and understand how good it will be to raise them without violence. They have to get used to it – and their children as well. They were hit for the first two years of their lives and not always for reasons that they could understand, not always preceded by a warning and not always with an explanation. They now need to relearn how to behave as well, following new rules, a sudden change of behavior in their parents and the amount of love that they can feel in this surrounding.

It is the best thing that could happen to both these parents and their children, I believe. And for the Ashram, because as I said yesterday, we make this the best place for my daughter that she could possible grow up in – free of violence and filled with love!

Violence with Children: Cruel, planned beating or Habit of hitting without Self-Control – 24 Feb 14

I started writing about parents hitting their children last week in a letter to Indian parents. There were many responses and I think it struck a chord with many people who see that this is not actually the right way. Several people from the west, too, have responded, telling that while it is not that common and definitely not seen as the norm in their countries, there are people who use violence in their education there as well. Today I would like to explain the two different kinds of violence that are common – and differently perceived by the people exercising it:

1. Planned and intentional, physical Punishment

This is the kind of violence that is used as corporal punishment in schools as well. For this punishment, a teacher or parent often also uses a stick, a belt or something similar to hit the child, mostly on the buttocks but sometimes in a very cruel manner on the fingers or other body parts as well. There is a plan behind this kind of beatings: the parent wants to better the child. The child is called to a certain spot where this punishment will take place and the child is often informed before, thus increasing the fear of the child.

The thought is that the child will not do certain things because he or she is afraid to get punished in this way. Not only doesn’t it work, it also brings lasting damage to the child’s psyche and in particular to your child’s relation to you. Do you really want your son to be afraid of you? That your daughter sees you as a monster with a stick in her worst nightmares?

2. Hitting out of Habit or sudden Anger

While also many Indian parents would call the above way of hitting your child violence, most would not even consider this second version as anything wrong. It is the slap on the child’s bottoms or the head when he again spilled his glass of water. It is pulling fighting siblings apart by their ears. It is the slap in the face when your child starts throwing a tantrum, bit you in anger, did not listen to your rules or painted the walls with permanent marker.

You hit the next second, out of a sudden impulse, an anger, a frustration that you could not keep back. You don’t even have the patience of one second to consider your feelings and actions – but for raising a child you need lots of patience! You have not even learnt to let this anger subside before touching your child again and these are the cases where parents, when thinking about, would say themselves it was not necessary to hit.

The problem is however that you don’t even notice anymore yourself! It has become a habit. Such a habit that you say ‘I don’t hit my children’ although you are doing it all the time.

Both forms of violence are straight-out wrong.

There is one more: verbal violence. This one is not to be underestimated and that’s why I will write about it tomorrow.

How cruel Religions mentally torture their Believers – 10 Apr 13

Yesterday I wrote about the physical cruelty related to religion that is still very spread on this planet. While that is true and obviously horrible for anybody to see, there is another form of cruelty which is even closer to your home and that is mental cruelty of religion.

The most common form of violence is physical violence. When you speak of religious violence, you think of women being flogged in Islamic for example because they are thought to be adulterous. You may think of the violence that happened during the Crusades of Christians who wanted to convert everybody to their religion. You may think of the sati tradition in Hinduism in which widows are burnt on the cremation fire of their dead husbands. You may think of terrorism, bomb blasts and suicide attacks.

This all is physical violence but there is another form, too, mental violence. Often that is even much crueler! When you are violent and cruel in your thoughts, you can sometimes hurt a person much more than with a physical attack. Once this mental violence enters a culture and stays there as a subtle but real discrimination against certain minorities, it even becomes dangerous.

If you still cannot imagine what kind of violence I am talking about, I can give you several examples. India for example still has not been able to fully abolish the caste system. Its root is religion and this is why, due to religion, there are still people who are considered untouchable by others. Isn’t it cruel to show a person that you won’t even touch his arm just because he was born into an untouchable family? How will this person feel if he realizes the moment that he touched you, you decided to take a shower to cleanse yourself again?

What about women in Islam who have to hide themselves, their heads, their hair, their faces and complete bodies? Some may say it is their own choice, they feel safe and good but what about those who don’t feel good about it but nevertheless have to follow it? Isn’t that mental torture, telling a woman that she is a lower creature, seducing men just by showing her face? When a Muslim woman gets raped, the law of Islam says she has to bring forward four adult men who can confirm that she was raped, otherwise she will be the one punished. Imagine, after the physical torture of being raped, you are being tortured mentally, too!

Christianity is not less cruel! There are lots of Christians who still believe that homosexuality is a disease or even a sin! Ask any gay man or any lesbian woman, they will tell you that they have no choice, that they cannot just decide to feel attracted to people of the other sex instead! Nevertheless people treat them as though they are bad criminals, as though they are disgusting and they teach this to their children! They show this in front of the adopted children of homosexual couples – how can you be crueler than giving such a small being the feeling his or her parents are sinners?

That is all happening just in front of your doorstep! You cannot close your eyes now anymore and say these are facts from a world far away! This is happening just in your surrounding and I want to make you aware of it! I want you to see that this is the effect of religion spreading hate, fear and violence!

You won’t find any religion that has not been violent, if not physically, then mentally. No, even Buddhism cannot exclude itself here with their obvious discrimination of women!

I don’t ask you to leave your religion. I don’t ask you to give up your faith. I just would like to ask you to consider what you would like to do – support violence and cruelty or break the cycle of tradition and spread love instead? Now it is up to you to answer this for yourself!

Religion was cruel in the Past and is still at Present! – 9 Apr 13

I yesterday wrote about cruelty in ancient religions or beliefs that people nowadays strangely get fascinated about, forgetting about the cruel aspects or simply ignoring and denying them. They don’t do that however when it comes to similarly primal traditions and cultural beliefs in today’s time!

You don’t need to go that far back in time if you search for a native religion or belief. Just go to tribal Africa where still nowadays people believe in the spirits of stones and plants. And where still today little girls and young women are circumcised. They do it because it has always been done. Because of tradition, culture and in the end belief. You may not call that a religion as it is not written but orally transmitted from one generation to the next but it is the same thing!

Maybe you can shrug that away as something very remote, far away from what you normally hear about, in Africa, there were anyway so much bad is happening, where children starve and wars are happening. Maybe you even think those tribes are like relics of the past. I have to tell you however that such cruelty, the cruelty of tradition, culture and belief is much further spread! It is a part of those big main religions which we call the world religions!

Just look at countries like Saudi Arabia! Recently there was a case where a criminal had stabbed someone and that person got paralyzed from the injury. With the Islamic Sharia law according to which judges decide there, this man was sentenced to a horrible punishment: his spinal cord should be broken so that he should be paralyzed as well. An eye for an eye, blood for blood.

There are places in this world where women are sold because religion says they are just like objects that a man possesses. There are places in this world where women are beaten because religion tells their husbands and fathers that woman have to be disciplined if they are not obedient. I say ‘places in this world’ and it looks remote, far away. If I tell you that this is happening just close-by, everywhere around you, you will realize that this is the cruel reality for a lot of people on this earth! You cannot close your eyes in front of that!

Cruelty, blood and war is a part of all religions. Christianity, too, has a lot of cruel sentences in its Bible and Hinduism in various scriptures. You cannot just take all the good parts and say that this is what you follow. If you follow religion, this cruelty is a part of what you believe in because those scriptures is what your religion is based on.

The only thing that you can do if you want to distance yourself from that cruelty is to distance yourself from religion.

I actually believe that most people will do that one day or another and that the religions we know today as the world religions will lose its importance and one day vanish into history, too, like so many before them.

Fascinated by Celtic or Native American Spirituality? Think of their bloody Cruelty, too! – 8 Apr 13

On Friday the participants of our Himalaya Journey arrived at the Ashram. Some had stayed in Rishikesh to continue their journey from there and the rest returned to the Ashram. Yesterday our last guests left, our friends Sylvia, Melanie, Thomas and Iris. It was nice to have another free day together with them to just sit and talk a bit. While talking, I remembered a topic that Thomas and I had discussed before they left: the spirituality of people before our times and the fascination that some people have with that.

I told Thomas that I thought the religions we know today won’t stay with people forever. He agreed and we talked about religions that had been there before and which we now know only from stories. We know that the Greek mythology describes lots of gods with different qualities, half-gods, demons and more and when most people hear of that they think of fairytales, Disney movies or other fiction stories. The Roman Gods were very similar and although children in the west learn about them in school, they all know it is just fantasy and nothing real.

There are however also cultures before these that people mostly don’t learn about in school. The fact that they don’t and that most people don’t know too much about them makes them interesting to some people. Their belief was maybe not even very organized yet which is why you can hardly call it religion but it is belief with Gods and supernatural beings, including magic and energies. Many people get very fascinated and if they have the right psychological preset, they tend to believe that those beliefs were better than whatever exists today.

In the spiritual scene in the west, there are some who get more fascinated by the native American beliefs while others are attracted by the Celts and their ideas of how the world was created and how it still went on. People who are into these things will tell you of all the great knowledge those cultures had, how many things they knew that we have forgotten and how they were, with all this wisdom and knowledge, so much more powerful than we are today.

They seem to just ignore other things that we know of those natives of centuries ago! Or maybe they don’t know about it! Thomas and Iris, who had been interested in exploring the remains of the Celts in Germany, told me that they had visited a museum where their ancient rituals were explained and depicted. It was the contrary of what people like to believe! They were doing ritualistic human sacrifice, partly eating the dead because they believed they would thus soak up the strength of those people! They were barbaric, from today’s point of view you would call it inhuman! The same I have heard about rituals of Native Americans in earlier times!

So you see what is happening – out of a fascination for what they don’t know, people make themselves and others believe that the ancient times were great, that people were much more spiritual and understood life and world much better. The reality is that they were just believing in spirits and beings because they did not have any better explanation for natural phenomena! They were barbaric because their world consisted of wars among tribes and families, of violence, of eating meat of animals that they hunted and of making clothes and tools out of the other parts of those animals.

Of course people may sometimes refer to old times saying things were easier when they were simpler, when people didn’t have that much or when science had not explained the world and had not crated all kinds of gadgets for us yet. When times were slower because we didn’t have to be available at all times. But the time was not better then – it was bloodier, colder and more dangerous.

17 cruel and unbelievable Rules and Verses in the Quran and Islam – 13 Jun 12

After writing some crazy and cruel rules in Christianity and in Hinduism in the last two days, we also did some serious research for the same in Islam and I think we reached quite a good result.

Good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah has guarded. As for those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. (Quran 4:34)

Believing women should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; they should not display their beauty and ornaments; they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands and male and female relatives or their husband’s slaves or male servants free of physical needs, or small children; and they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. (Quran 24:31)

Those who hide the Scripture will have their bellies eaten with fire. Theirs will be a painful doom. (Quran 2:174)

Christians and Jews (who believe in only part of the Scripture), will suffer in this life and go to hell after death. (Quran 2:85)

Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (Quran 2:191)

Virgins await those who enter paradise. (Quran 3:15)

Those who disbelieve, promise them a painful doom. (Quran 3:21)

Those who brag about doing good will go to hell. (Quran 3:188)

Unbelievers will be tormented forever with fire. When their skin is burned off, a fresh skin will be provided. (Quran 4:56)

Those who make war with Allah and his messenger will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. That is how they will be treated in this world, and in the next they will have an awful doom. (Quran 5:33)

Those who disbelieve will be forced to drink boiling water, and will face a painful doom. (Quran 6:70)

Those who are tormented in the Fire will have their foreheads and backs branded. (Quran 9:35)

Whoever thinks that Allah will not assist him in this life and the hereafter, let him stretch a rope to the ceiling, then let him hang himself, then let him see if his struggle will take away that at which he is enraged. (Quran 22:15)

The adulterer and the adulteress, scourge ye each one of them (with) a hundred stripes. And let not pity for the twain withhold you from obedience to Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of believers witness their punishment. (Quran 24:2)

Those who consider the Quran to be "mere fables" will be branded on the nose. (Quran 68:15-16)

If a woman fed a male colleague "directly from her breast" at least five times they would establish a family bond and thus be allowed to be alone together. (Egyptian Fatwa of 2007, retracted)

While the last one has been retracted and is thus not really valid, I found it too funny not to be included. Tomorrow I will write a summary of what I think of these three lists that I have made.

14 strange Rules and Cruelties in Hindu scriptures – 12 Jun 12

Yesterday I published a friend’s list of crazy rules in the Bible and mentioned that it is not only Christianity that prescribes outdated and cruel actions in its holy scripture. Hinduism, does not lack of them either! I know the original scriptures in Sanskrit but it was easy to search for the translations online.

If a person of lower caste adopts the occupation of a higher caste, the king ought to deprive him of all his property and expel him from his kingdom. (Manusmriti, X: 96)

If a Shudra (lowest caste member) dares to give moral lessons to a Brahmin, the king is to get him punished by pouring hot oil in his ear and mouth. (Manusmriti, VII: 272)

Similarly, if a Shudra occupies the same seat as a Brahmin, he is to be punished by branding his waist (with hot rod) or getting his buttocks cut! (Manusmriti, VIII: 281)

Even if the husband is morally degraded, engaged in an affair with another woman and is devoid of knowledge and other qualities, the wife must treat him like a god. (Manusmriti, V: 154)

Women should never be allowed by their guardians to act independently. (Manusmriti, IX: 2)

If a person of lower varna (caste) has sexual intercourse with a woman of higher varna, with or without her consent, he is to be killed. (Manusmriti, VIII: 366)

If a Brahmin (highest caste) abuses a Shudra (lowest caste), he is to be fined mildly, but if a Shudra abuses a Brahmin, he is to be killed. (Manusmriti, VIII: 267/268)

If a Brahmin (highest caste) kills a Shudra (lowest caste), he is to perform penance by killing a cat, frog, owl or crow, etc. (Manusmriti, XI: 131)

Non-believers, including freethinkers, rationalists and Buddhists, are not to be entertained respectfully as guests; though, mercifully, they may be given food. (Manusmriti, MS IV: 30)

The families of non-believers are destroyed sooner than later. (Manusmriti, MS III: 65)

If a woman should not grant her man his desire, he should bribe her. If she still does not grant him his desire, he should hit her with a stick or with his hand, and overcome her, saying: 'With power, with glory I take away your glory!' Thus she becomes inglorious. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6.4.7)

It is the highest duty of the woman to burn herself after her husband. (Brahma Purana 80.75)

When a woman, proud of her relations [or abilities] deceives her husband (with another man), then the king should [ensure that] she be torn apart by dogs in place much frequented by people. And the evil man should be burnt in a bed of red-hot iron. (Manusmriti, MS VIII: 371/372)

Offering presents (to a woman), romping (with her), touching her ornaments and dress, sitting with her on a bed, all these acts are considered adulterous acts. (Manusmriti, MS VIII: 357)

Tomorrow I will make a similar list for Muslims and the Quran.

22 crazy and cruel Rules in the Bible – 11 Jun 12

I have mentioned many times that religious scriptures are only pieces of literature that have been noted down by people in the past and should not have any relevance or importance today. They should, most of all, not be seen as holy and followed by so many. They are old and outdated. Many people don’t realize how outdated they really are because they don’t know enough about them but if you actually read them word by word, you will get to know that there are a lot of crazy things and lots of cruelty in many religions’ scriptures.

One of my friends from New York, Deniz Tekiner, has recently compiled an impressive list of craziness in the holy Christian scripture, the Bible, warning people that they should not say they believe that to be the word of God – otherwise they would have to follow these rules:

Don’t have a variety of crops on the same field. (Leviticus 19:19)

Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric. (Leviticus 19:19)

Don’t cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)

Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed. (Leviticus 20:9)

If a man cheateth on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die. (Leviticus 20:10)

If a man lieth with another man, both must be killed. (Leviticus 20:13)

If a man or woman has sex with an animal, both human and animal must be killed. (Leviticus 20:15-16)

If a man has sex with a woman on her period, they are both to be “cut off from their people.” (Leviticus 20:18)

Psychics, wizards, witches and so on are to be stoned to death. (Leviticus 20:27)

If a priest’s daughter is a whore, she is to be burnt at the stake. (Leviticus 21:9)

People who have flat noses, or are blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God. (Leviticus 21:17-18)

Anyone who curses or blasphemes God, should be stoned to death by the community. (Leviticus 24:14-16)

From the book of Deuteronomy:

Anyone who dreameth or prophesieth anything that is against God, or anyone who tries to turn you from God, is to be put to death. (Deuteronomy 13:5)

If anyone, even your own family, suggests worshipping another God, kill them. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)

If you find out a city worships a different god, destroy the city and kill all of its inhabitants, even the animals. (Deuteronomy 13:12-16)

Kill anyone with a different religion. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7)

Women are not allowed to wear the clothing of men and men are not allowed to wear the clothing of women (Deuteronomy 22:5)

From the New Testament:

Slaves must be submissive and obedient to their masters. (Ephesians 6:5)

Women must be submissive to their husbands. (1 Peter 3:1 and 3:5)

Women should not style or braid their hair or wear any adornments (jewelry) or fancy clothing. (I would also presume that wording to include the wearing of make-up and coloring of hair in that context. – 1 Peter 3:3, 1 Timothy 2:9)

Women should be generally submissive and should be quiet, never teach or hold any authority over men. They should just be silent. (1 Timothy 2:12)

Women must wear head coverings in any place of worship. (1 Corinthians 11:4-7)

The Bible is not the only scripture with crazy and cruel rules. In the next two blog entries I will give you examples of similar lines in Hinduism and Islam.

Religion says: Hurt yourself, go hungry, beat yourself, bleed and repent your Sins! – 31 May 12

While I yesterday wrote that religion supports criminal activity, especially with its easy way of easing one’s conscience, religion actually keeps people under control by creating this feeling of guilt and having sinned. They tell you that you are a sinner and give you a solution for it right away, too. In order for their concept of control and manipulation to work however you need to believe them that you are full of sin and sinful behavior. That is why they always promote that you cannot be 100% happy with yourself and your life.

I have heard that in Christianity – or at least Catholicism – there is the concept of an original sin. You are born with sin, something having to do with the way how God threw out Adam and Eve from paradise. So women especially but also men are basically not able to be completely without sin, not even a birth.

In Hinduism, too, you are not free of sin at birth. The mere fact that you were born shows that you still have Karma that you have to work on. If you were free of sin, if you did not have any Karma left, you would not have to live another life on earth. You would be liberated and would reach Nirvana.

So religion practically teaches you to feel guilty for something that you have not done and which you really cannot influence in any way. In a next step, they give you instructions on how to get rid of that sin: you punish yourself for having it. You have to do penance. Only that makes you a truly religious person – if you hurt yourself, restrict yourself, if you feel pain, if you suffer, if you feel guilty, if you feel bad.

You get a lot of options for doing this and proving how religious you are. And the more you do it, the more you suffer, the greater you are. There is hardly a limit to what people do to themselves to show how religious they are.

Probably the most popular way of penance is fasting and I believe it exists in all religions. You fast and you should be hungry or you abstain from something you really like because you repent your sins. In Hinduism there are every month two fasting days called Ekadashi, on the eleventh day of the moon in Hindu calendar. There are several of these days which are even more special and tomorrow is one of them, Nirjala Ekadashi. On this day, religious believers are especially asked to fast without water. No water for 24 hours when temperatures here reach 50 degrees centigrade! Religion says it will purify you from all your sins. I say it might as well kill you.

There are other ways of self-punishment and signs of guilt which you see often if you just visit a temple. You can watch how Hindu believers grab their ears in a gesture that shows they are sorry and they slap themselves on their cheeks – mostly symbolically and not very hard but showing and displaying their penance.

I have seen Muslims do the same thing, but quite a bit harder, beating themselves on their chest and I heard that they even hit themselves with knives, causing cuts. There were Christians in older times slashing their backs bloody for penance. In my grandmother’s village I have seen how in Navaratri time Hindus pierced both of their cheeks and stuck iron rods through those holes! We took the picture above on the Kumbh Mela, the biggest religious Hindu drama, in Vrindavan 2010. You see those boys, hardly men, having pierced themselves in so many places of their body, putting knives through arms and legs, bleeding and walking in a procession, showing it off.

These all actions are seen as something very devotional and if you can bear this much pain while regretting your sins, they must be forgiven. The normal believer nearly worships people who can endure such penance! In summer they sit in a circle of fire and in winter they take off their clothes. The more you can do to make yourself suffer, the higher you are valued because you must be closer to God!

Some people thought that I went into the cave for penance, too. It is a tradition here that religious people – as I was in that time – do such extreme actions for self-punishment and I explained very often that this was not my reason for going into the cave. Nevertheless people who heard about my stay in the cave may have just assumed this.

So you see how normal it is for religion to ask believers for such sacrifices. Why? Because religion wants you to be and remain a victim. All kinds of suppression and exploitation works best when there is fear of some kind. Religion comes from fear and wants to keep you in fear. Hell, purgatory, never-ending rebirths, rebirth as a lower creature, never reaching heaven and burning forever. Threats that create fear. And all those threats are just an illusion. None of those things are real – but they create fear.

Religion teaches that you should not be completely happy. You have no right to be. If you are too happy and enjoying life very much, you will cry one day. Too much happiness will create misery. I believe that people are harder to control when they are happy and when they are not afraid. Another reason not to follow any religion – because you want to be happy, not afraid.

Cruel and Heartless – Young Children separated from Parents in Norway – 23 Jan 12

On the weekend there was horrible news in all TV news channels and all newspapers: an Indian couple, Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, who live in Norway, have lost custody of their children – two and a half years old son Avigyan and five months old daughter Aishwarya – last May for not taking proper care of them. Not taking proper care was for example feeding the older boy with the hand instead of a spoon and having the children sleep in their bed instead of getting a separate bed for each of them.

It is terrible that the child care authority of Norway can take away children from their parents for these reasons! These children, loved and taken care of by their parents, have been brought to a foster home and are soon supposed to be put into two different foster homes where they should be taken care of until they are eighteen. The mother has to pump out her breast milk and give it to the authorities who then bring it to the foster family to feed the five month old girl. The parents are fighting to get their children back but have had no success so far. Their visa expires in March and so they are now in an emergency to get their children back – they obviously don’t want to leave Norway without them!

Their grandparents have met the Indian president Pratibha Patel on Saturday to ask her for support and she promised to do whatever she can to help the family.

The child care service obviously believes it is doing a good thing by splitting up this family. Their reason is after all to protect the children. The reality is however that these parents are not criminals, drug addicts or alcoholics! They are Indians! This is our culture, this is the way how children are raised here! We don’t eat with forks, spoons and knives! We don’t have baby cots and separate beds for children!

I believe the western world has itself a serious problem with raising children! Children growing up in the west often lose every little bit of respect for their parents. They go into drugs, yell at their parents and curse them with the worst words you can imagine. I think this would be a worse sign that something is going wrong! Child care services should look into such problems first and try to fix them instead of separating parents from their children because of their culture!

I had to think of the man who last year killed nearly a hundred teenagers in the same country. He was not old, he was a young man and I am sure that there was something wrong with how he was raised so that he developed such a sick mind. There are many problems with people raising children which are much worse than feeding your child with your hands.

Children need love and closeness and in the name of freedom and individuality you take this away from them. Will it become a law now that you cannot let even your two-and-a-half-year old sleep in your bed? In India children grow up much more closely to each other. They usually have a loving environment in a big family with closeness to uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents. Very normally family members sleep together in one bed, live together closely and just share love more closely than what I have seen in Europe.

I want to request the Indian government to take strong action now to help these people. They are Indian citizens and they have not done any crime! Not the parents and surely not the children! If you cannot let them live their culture, just depart them but don’t force these children, who are at the beginning of their lives, to grow up with strangers instead of in the arms of their parents! I saw on TV how the couple is crying. It is so cruel to separate children of this age from their parents! Why would anybody ever want to come and live in a country where they are not allowed to feed their children the way they want?

There is a clear lack of respect for our culture which I had not expected from a country like Norway.