Monday, December 3, 2018

The Urban Naxal called Vivek Agnihotri

Vivek Agnihotri has a few credits to his name. Foremost he is a staunch defender of Hindutva and a conscience keeper for the BJP. He spares no critic of the ruling saffron party. Secondly he is the copy right holder for the term ‘urban naxal’!

Here in his Article “Why the SC verdict on Sabarimala is flawed”, he mocks at the majority judgment (4 to 1) of the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court in the Sabarimala women’s right to entry case. While conceding his right to opinion, one cannot help not terming his stand idiotic, myopic, misogynic and lacking in commonsense, let alone wisdom. Noodle-headed and those who cannot see beyond saffron hue jump on to his bandwagon and endorsed his article on social media.

He begins by saying that Sabarimala has nothing to do with gender equality and it is about tradition and rituals. He tells us at the beginning itself, he cannot see beyond his damn nose. He has no idea about the changes that came across in both traditions and rituals in Sabarimala. Did he know that the flag mast at the temple is a recent installation; the ‘Chithira attam’ ritual opening, a very recent innovation; coconuts used to be thrown on the footsteps (18 steps) by devotees while they climbed the holy stairway until some years ago, convenience and matters of necessity put stop to that practice; the ritual of rolling around, (prostrate) the main shrine- a vow of penance by devotees has been done away with; the holy furnace at the footsteps of the temple into which coconuts filled with ghee was poured and kept live through the pilgrimage season is now out; the ‘padipooja’  is a recent addition; devotees used to go by foot all the way from their homes, bare foot and with meager provisions but now journey is by air-conditioned luxury coach and cars; the customary 41 days of penance is a selective matter now? Very soon a cable car would be added purportedly to aid and facilitate pilgrims! What has become of the traditional rights of the hill-tribes who conducted their rituals at the temple? Brahmanism which Agnihotri zealously absolves of all wrong doings evicted the tribesmen and usurped the temple. This will soon be another interesting saga of litigation in the Supreme Court. The fraud called ‘Makar Jyoythi’ , or the holy beacon during Makarsankranthi that used to flare up in the forest yonder , which the temple authorities sold the gullible pilgrims  as  celestial beacon from the heavens  has now been acknowledged as man-made. Worst Agnihotri may not be aware that the presiding deity has been rechristened as ‘Ayyappa’ from the earlier avatar called “Dharma Shastha” (ostensibly a Buddhist name).

Vivek Agnihotri, you must check how traditions and rituals evolve, how one custom is superseded by newer rituals and customs. Wonder if any Sanghi has elementary knowledge of those facts. Then his amusing but dangerous take that as long as traditions and rituals do not hurt others they must continue. Well mister it does hurt, it does hurt women because many silently bear the brunt of patriarchal overbearingness which morons throw on them in the name of traditions and customs – whether they are family members, colleagues or subordinates. The ban Hindutva is trying to enforce on fecund, menstrual age women going to that shrine is nothing but a branding iron used to defile womanhood, mark her as servile to men. You may now say, “Oh women who go there are hussies flocking to the shrine to honey-trap the celibate God”! What a cruel joke Vivek Agnihotri!  Your spouse and kids, they must hang their head in shame!

You simply have no idea about the past, the history of Sabarimal when you use the borrowed word “Naisthika  Bramachari” and invoke a fable.  Can you quote one Thantric tome that can tell the so called celibate nature of Ayappa or the deity there? This was also looked into threadbare by the Supreme Court. I’m curious who told you that puberty arrives and menstrual age ends with clockwork precision at 10 years of age and then at 5o? Mister are you aware that women were going to that shrine until the Kerala High Court took cognizance of a writ and banned them from the shrine in 1991? Are you aware that women of all ages were going to Sabarimal until recently, a fact as vivid as day light? Are you aware that since 2006 the Supreme Court had sieved through every shred of evidence put forth by all the parties concerned? Which should also remind you that the God there has not been celibate, now for very long! For goodness don’t be unjust to the God of Sabarimala and insist he be consigned to eternal celibacy when many of you - the offended  faithful l(sic)  indulge and revel in epicurean life, orgy and fornication. Oh come on! We all know what kind of vow are borne by these men who go there. Not even 1 percent abides by the dictates of custom and tradition.

You claim our Justice System and Constitution is based on Western binary system. Goodness what the heck is that? The binary? Mister Agnihotri, one doesn’t have to be erudite, an academician or a scholar to know some basic facts. The worst self-infliction - the label of a buffoon is asserting something of which your knowledge is thin, nil or incorrect. Indian Constitution and Jurisprudence do have influence of the English, the French, the Roman and the US Constitution and laws. Above all our Constitution was not framed overnight, copy pasting from the West, but also imbibing various objective lessons of life down the centuries and the unique ideas thrown up by various reform movements.
Article 14 which dwells on the Right to Equality was influenced by the ideals thrown up by the French Revolution – ‘Liberty’! Liberty, was freedom from oppression; equality also underpinned the French Revolution, not to forget fraternity. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which you trivalised as the copycat of the Western binary, states, “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within The Territory of India.” Article 15 (1) & (2) prohibits the State from discriminating any citizen on ground of any religion, race, Caste, sex, or place of birth or any of them. Now you and the saffron brigade would invoke Article 25 which guarantees religious rights and  freedom, but what you men do not realise is, if the rights  mentioned in the Article 25 violates the ones in Article 14 and 15, the later would prevail. This is the corner stone of Indian democracy and this tome   you rubbish as Western and unfit for the complexity that is India, is what dictates all men are born equal and the right to equality is paramount and inviolable. In fact the power that you derive to criticise and speak your mind is derived from this basic structure of the constitution.  Hence your stand is asinine, idiotic and nonsensical. The Supreme Court clearly defines the spirit of Indian Constitution, that when the beliefs of a group, of a collective threatens the right of an individual the right of an individual will and must prevail. The purloining notion folks like you proclaim, in this era of neo-liberalism, “collective common good” is dumped in the ocean here.

You seem to allude and I guess it is more a form of subtle and intelligent innuendo that the Supreme Court is insisting on women going there. You even asperse that the bench was dominated by men in a matter concerning women. Well what you ignore is the matter is more than women rights it concerns male hegemony and patriarchal hideousness. To put matters in the right perspective four of the five women petitioners went to the SC and filed the petition to allow women of all ages to enter Sabarimala were all with the RSS affiliation. It is no secret that the RSS was foremost in supporting women entering the shrine and said unfair traditions should be jettisoned. Why the volte face now is quite a simple matter known even to a child. The Supreme Court verdict clearly states that it is violation of Article 14 to prohibit women from the shrine and ruled that those who wish to go to the shrine must be free to go. You emphasise much ado on “devotion” and “devotees”. Pray do you have a yard stick to determine devotion and who is a devotee? 

You say triple talaq is a bad custom but calling women impure because of their physiological characteristics is not, amusing man! In the same tone one can also ask why dalits must be allowed into Hindu temples. Banning them is harmless. Untouchability is harmless, because if you have such marginalised people all menial works in the society can be entrusted to them! How would you differentiate between a harmless custom and the ones that hurt and offend? The Bombay High Court verdict on women entering Shani temple Sighnapur did not offend your tradition and customs?

Laws reflect the spirit of times. The Courts may have in their wisdom held a different view 70 years ago. The anachronistic colonial - Victorian puritanical hangover law, Article 377 which criminalised homosexuality and which the Supreme Court refused to strike down a few years ago stands shred away and thrown out today. Consenting adults having physical relationship is no more adultery. LGBT citizens are not anymore seen as pariahs, they get to lead a dignified life like any of us. Well your traditionalists must be peeved.
Your acumen makes one roll about laughing incessantly. You say that the Courts should only pronounce verdicts that are ‘implementable’! Well why then should we have Courts?  Each one to himself and let us revel in anarchy, the powerful wins over the meek and the marginalised. Worst still is your comment on the Court verdict deciding the 500 meter distance of liquor vending shops from State and National highways. Do you know that , the Court could have refused to make suitable amendments to the verdict on alcohol vending shops, because right to consume alcohol is not a fundamental right but as the merit dictated when a verdict has to be reviewed it was done. As for loud speakers blaring from mosques and other religious places, is it not a collective contempt and dishonor of the Court ruling by one and all? If someone goes back with a petition contempt of Court will befall on quite a few. Well mister this disregard of a Court verdict is by no means an achievement to be proud of for a society that calls itself civilised.

 “In case of Sabarimala, I believe, the interpretation of the Supreme Court is flawed and against the grain of Hindu faith and the religious freedom as defined by Dr. Amabaedkar the founder of the Indian Constitution.” Oh goodness Mister Vivek Agnihotri, you are blundering nonsense, idiocy and ignorance at every turn. In the first place there was no founder for the Indian Constitution. Mr.Ambaedkar was the Chairman of the Constitution drafting committee and independent India’s first law minister, not the founder. There were 7 prominent members in the committee and they were not nitwits or Hindumahasbha/RSS bigots.  Now, the Courts decide matters on merit and at the touch stone of Constitutional provisions and there the fundamental rights predominate. Hence you saying that the Courts are to honour the grain of Hindu faith or for that matter any faith is outright rubbish and a vacuous statement. India is not a theocratic State!

Have you heard of the Vaikom Satygraham (1924-25) which was against the Brahmin custom that banned low caste, dalits and untouchables from thoroughfares around the Vaikom Siva temple? Have you heard about the Guruvayoor Temple Satygraham (1931-32) which was for the rights of untouchables to enter the temple? Have you heard about the “Villuvandi’ agitation spearheaded by the great social reformer Ayankali which was to assert rights of untouchables to walk the thoroughfare? Do you know that the Temple Entry proclamation by the erstwhile Travancore Maharaja offended the traditionalist Brahmins and the custodians of customs? Have you heard about the consecration of the deity of Siva at Aruvipuram , Kerala by the social reformer Sree Narayan Guru a low caste? That was grossly offensive and against all tradition and custom. Well one can lay out to you scores of such iconoclasm and rejection of age long customs & traditions. Kerala society evolved through rejections and imbibing, all societies do and longevity of customs is only as long as the spirit of time.

I think Mister Agnihotri, you need to also read a bit of Kerala history and the role reformation played in the social life. I encourage you to do that than sit in your damn ivory elitist tower and regurgitate utter nonsense and ill will.

You state, “Judiciary’s foremost duty is the protection of that faith….” Again you blare loud your ignorance and naiveté if not gross stupidity. Go back get the copy of the Indian Constitution and read it, carefully and see if you can soak up the core values enshrined in it. If it does, you too would, I promise become an ‘Urban Naxal’!

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