I think genesis of an idea or a philosophy is greatly influenced by the age and time in which it is born. As much as a child who’s growing up, his outlook, vision of life, his morality and ethics are determined by the circumstances into which he was born and importantly how he was raised. Don’t you think so?
I some cases a turbulent incident and or experience can influence a person without bounds and change the course of his or her life. Like it probably did to the lives of Gautama Buddha and the Mauryan beacon- Emperor Ashoka and in recent history to Mohandas Gandhi.
It is also true that a religion like Communism was born out of the socio-economic conditions of an age. But its application in society in as violent a way as it was applied in the Czarist Russia or even in the Pol Pot’s Cambodia, paved way for its eventual demise in those societies. It is a glaring fact that history often repeats, but Man seldom notice – that violence begets violence and, “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart”( Proverb 11.30).
Though an irreligious person, I have been fascinated by Christ (not the Christ that the Church has electroplated as she want), but the Christ- he may have been a mere mortal, the son of God (figuratively speaking) or the son of God, a man who extolled virtue, nonviolence and urged masses to rebel silently within and exhorted the marginalised to do so, so that a skewed and unjust socio- economic system was addressed and changed. He eventually paid with his life like some others in later history, who dared to articulate- a loner, a lone voice in a frenzied mob.
I feel Christ was perhaps the first communist and not Karl Marx, who was more of an economist expanding on probable panacea for economic and social ills and also borrowing from the philosophy of Christ. It was strange aberration and a painful one that his (Christ’s) acolytes in later days indulged in the most heinous acts to preach and spread his philosophy around the globe. But then that scorched chapter became a ugly history after the age of the Inquisitions. I think, now no one who has admiration for Christ would exhort the archaic dictum of, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”, even against the most extreme provocation. If this does not suggest the thought behind the genesis of Christ’s philosophy, the humanistic ring around its genesis, what else does it tell? Whereas a violent birth and a violent childhood is sure to bring forth violent existence!
I have now spent more than a year in a society, a land which is by far open and free, when compared to some of the countries in the neighbourhood who are grossly obscurantists and intolerant. Most of them are conforming to remnants of tribal laws and culture from the medieval ages, when tribal customs, archaic and unjust laws, belief in sorcery and its use to create fear of the supernatural, internecine wars and intrigues, horrendous cruelty on the losers and dissenters were all as common as the sun rise and sun set. Faith and philosophies born out of such times continue to be as primitive as it can be. Though people live in the absolute comfort aided by the advancement of science and technology coming out of Western scientific temper and thought, they seem to be still marooned in the dark ages as far as intellect, custom and beliefs go. Faith in violence, still is in the core of their nuclei.
If someone told me that I represent a country of apostates and who are pagans and with beliefs in strange and false gods, I would either try to enlighten him on his lack of knowledge or ignore the comment in total. For if someone calls you a jackass, unless you doubt you are one why react or show a violent dissent?
A few days ago I was privy to a strange custom that was enacted outside my apartment. A house of god as one may call it, flocked by a sect of people situates across the road. The ten day long festivities began and for the first eight days I was curious, to begin with and then began to enjoy the congregation that came at night time, the drums and the songs they sang. It reminded of those temple and church festivities back home. Then on the ninth night and tenth morning it was in my understanding bizarre and macabre enacting of a strange and repulsive ritual. Scores of youth lining on either side clad in white, wailing, flagellating with flails and soon they were drenched in their own blood. The morning ritual was with menacing swords slashing themselves, their torso and head. The young fellows seemed to flaunt. Blood was flowing from head to heel down their torsos, the white clothing a distant thing! The bizarre melee was their way of venerating a historical figure who they considered as the ordained chieftain of the faithful’s and who was brutally killed in the battle by renegades of the same faith.
Later that afternoon I walked an alley down and for the first time I knew the stench of human blood. It was nauseating and morbid air. I wondered how haloed would this bloodletting and infliction of pain can ever be? If reverence to the martyr and commemoration of martyrdom was the observance then those folks could have enmasse gone to a medical facility and donated blood. That would have been a great act of reverence and worshipful than this ghoulish ritual. But!