Jun 19, 2017
This is a story about finding the right religion.
Sirisha respects all faiths and non-faiths. However, the religion of her childhood, Hinduism, did not resonate with her anymore and she embarked on a journey to find the core values in her life.
“I needed something to ground me.”
The religion she found was Islam.
“It really made me a better person”
She started to value the so-called little things of life, “the little blessings that I have in my life, clean water, and the people that I have and the relationships that I hold.”
Becoming a Muslim has come at a cost. Sirisha lost friendships. She is frequently expected to justify her choice and encounters the hostility which routinely meets Muslims in Sydney.
Sirisha also has the ongoing internal struggle to separate her religion from the people who claim to represent Islam and use it as an excuse to commit heinous acts of violence.
“You’re constantly dealing with a lot of grief.”
Sirisha uses the teachings of Islam to centre herself.
“The way you find hope is stick to why you chose that path in the first place.”
Sirisha examines her conscience daily, holding herself to a very high standard.
“What are you doing? How are you responding to your own self? It’s constantly a struggle with yourself really.”
Contributing to society, in small ways and large, is extremely important to Sirisha, from the relatively small acts of smiling at people, to larger projects of working to alleviate poverty.
This is important to her because it is central to her personal value system. It is also important because, in a climate where Muslim and non-Muslim appear increasingly polarised, it is necessary work to demonstrate that the majority of Muslims are good, hard working people, who follow the teachings of their faith and are a positive force in the society in which they live.
As Sirisha concludes, being part of the society that you grew up in is important.
"Even if you change something personal about you, that shouldn’t really change who you are."