India’s new government is moving to ban the practice of Hinduism in India, but there are still many who believe in the Hindu gods.
In the U.S., a group of American women who identify as Hindu activists are campaigning to overturn the ban.
Here, we speak to one of them, Sangeeta Chatterjee, a lawyer who left her faith in 2014 and now works as a lawyer for a Muslim community organization.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
This is a lightly edited transcript of an interview with Sangeetas Chatterji.
[music: “Baba Ghandi’s” “Johannesburg” (1947)] The last time I heard of a ban on the practice was in the 1960s.
When we started our group in 2006, we had no idea that this would become the main issue in India.
So, we decided to create this movement that would challenge this idea.
We wanted to challenge the idea that it’s a religion of peace, and we wanted to make sure that it was not a religion that is only for Hindus.
Our goal is to create an awareness that the Hindus are the biggest threat to India, not the Muslims.
We want to make India safer for women and to fight the Islamophobia that exists.
So what did you do before you joined this movement?
[Laughs] You have a lot of experience in legal matters, I guess, so I was very excited to meet you.
I had never seen anyone who was so passionate about this issue.
But you started to hear about it through your daily life.
What are some of the things that you think make a person a Hindu?
We all know that we are different from everybody else.
In India, we are the second largest religion in the country, after Christianity.
So I’m not really sure why there is such a stigma that we don’t belong to a religion.
We don’t even have the right to wear a veil in India because it is considered to be a crime, and if a woman goes out alone, it is not permitted.
But the fact that we have a law against the wearing of a veil is a huge step.
It’s not just about religion; we have also to deal with discrimination against women.
I have a sister who has been in a relationship with a Muslim man, and the way she treats her family and her husband, who she has met through this movement, is very harsh.
She has been a supporter of the BJP and is now a BJP member in the Rajya Sabha.
And then there are the women who are involved in this movement.
There are some people who believe that a woman should wear a headscarf or something like that, and some people say, Why should I wear a hijab or a niqab or something similar?
But if we talk about women who come from religious backgrounds, the majority of them are women.
So it’s not only the religious people that are against this, but the entire community.
This is the first time I’ve been able to see a community that has a strong sense of belonging to their community.
I think that is a great thing, because there is a lot that is missing from our society.
When I was a child, we lived in a very patriarchal society.
Women were the breadwinners and had to be subservient to men.
We didn’t have a voice, so we were not allowed to express ourselves, and our voices were suppressed.
We couldn’t even speak our minds, and even if we wanted a political opinion, we were treated as cowards.
We had to work harder than everyone else to earn our bread.
Now, I feel like there are a lot more opportunities for women to participate in society.
We have been able the last couple of years to have women ministers in the Parliament, and I feel that we should do more.
[Sitting in a hotel room in New Delhi, Chatterjis husband is seated at a desk reading a paper.]
So when you are a lawyer, what do you think about the Indian judiciary?
The Supreme Court has been ruling on a number of issues related to women’s rights.
We were very lucky that we were able to join a few cases that the Supreme Court heard.
But I would like to see more female judges on the Supreme court.
I am against the use of rape cases to harass women.
It seems that every time the court hears a rape case, there is more abuse of women, which is not right.
The way the Supreme Supreme Court is interpreting the rape laws is a travesty, and it needs to be fixed.
The government needs to amend the laws.
We are asking the court to give more rights to women.
[laughs] What do you see as the most important things you have learned from being in the court?
When we were in the Supreme Courts in India for two and a half years, I