India is home to some of the biggest and most popular religions including the oldest surviving one, Hinduism. The flip side of religion is intolerance, which has been part of several different cultures and communities for centuries now, and continues to plague our nation.
While India is a great example of pluralism, violence and intolerance in the name of religion is frowned upon — especially by the younger generation. So it isn’t surprising that more and more people are turning to agnosticism and atheism. These beliefs have given rise to parallel lines of thought and parody religions around the world.
Did you know that India has its own parody religion with thousands of followers? It’s called Dinkoism, perhaps the youngest of its kind.
What is Dinkoism?
Dinkoism is a social movement — a mock religion. One could say that it is a creative way of protesting and exposing fundamentalism and religious extremism. Dinkoism emerged in 2008 in Kerala, and picked up pace on social media platforms immediately. Ever since, they’ve been active online and offline as well.
The Dinkoists, as they call themselves, worship a local cartoon character that goes by the name Lord Dinkan. As with any other God, their deity means a lot to them and they won’t take any mockery against him.
For instance, last year, they staged a mock protest in front of a restaurant owned by Malayalam actor Dileep, who was doing a movie called Professor Dinkan. The Dinkoists accused him of ‘insulting their God’. But don’t worry, the protest was non-violent. In fact, if you think about it, it was just a way of exposing the absurdity of the religious protests happening in the country!
What Do Dinkoists Do?
Dinkoists are young rationalists. They celebrate their religion and believe in adding some fun in faith. They also organise religious meets to keep their community going.
Aside from mock protests, they have been doing many more creative things and they sure do have a sense of humour. A Dinkoist once posted a matrimonial ad in the newspaper, seeking a Dinkoist girl!
Millennials on Dinkoism
“I happened to hear about it last year, when the news of their mock protest came out. I think it’s a hilarious, innovative way of registering one’s protest. Moreover, it gives a voice to the atheists, who are tired of archaic religious beliefs being forced upon them,” says Rashi Goel (23), a Delhi student.
Many young thinkers might agree with what Rashi has to say, especially now that we’re seeing the growing cases of religious violence and lynchings that have brought infamy and shame to India.
Today, it’s more important than ever to have a parody religion — it’s important that young rationalists begin raising their voice and reach out to more and more people to counter this violent extremist ideology of mutual exclusion.
21-year-old DU graduate Vikas Raghav agrees. “We participated in the Not in My Name protest against religious violence, because we are concerned about where our country is headed. As educated and aware citizens, it is our responsibility to tackle extremism in different ways.”
“I had never heard about Dinkoism before, but I think it’s a fascinating idea. Maybe, I have finally discovered the right religion for me,” he adds.
Dinkan to the Rescue!
We must realise that Dinkoism is not about insulting others’ religious beliefs. It is just about addressing the negativities that have become a part of religious traditions over time. Be it certain religious communities or fringe groups, there’s simply no justification for the death and destruction caused in the name of religion.
“Some people might feel hurt by idea of a parody religion, but I think they should understand it is only helping the bigger religions by pointing out the bad in them,” says Shweta Sengar (26), a journalist from UP.
An attack on violence, extremism, exclusion, and intolerance is certainly not an attack on religion itself.
Dinkoism’s Facebook page has 12,000 followers so far. It seems like proselytisation isn’t their strongest suit, but the Dinkoists are still going strong. Earlier this month, the Government of India accepted the visa application of a man who quoted Dinkoism as his official religion in the application form. Isn’t that great?
What’s your take on parody religions? Share your thoughts by commenting below.
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