Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Vande Mataram"

The recent row and cacophony over a diktat by a Muslim cleric/association is absolutely misplaced.

In the first place associating recital of the national song or even anthem with patriotism is ill conceived and silly notion. It tantamount to trespassing into the area of fundamental right and once freedom .If singing the national song or anthem is the yardstick to measure the intensity of patriotic fervor can we ipso facto accept the honesty and integrity in deeds and words of our ministers who undertake oath of office.? They swear by the constitution and some even further, upon God! And their subsequent conduct is best forgotten. Trivial instructions and legal enforcements to recite the national anthem have been overthrown in countries more liberal and at the same time with patriotic mindset that exceeds the average Indian.

On the whole the hue and cry over this fatwa is misplaced.

But looking from an impassioned perspective the song vande mataram- which literally means “mother I bow before thee” is a beautiful verse and has immense emotion and godliness about it. Here, mother can be God, biological mother or Mother Nature. And what is evil, blasphemous, and wrong about bowing to ,as a sign of respect to ones mother? We have been taught in childhood to cultivate respect and reverence for ones parents and teacher. It has been“matha, peetha, guru deivam (God)”, in that order. And Mother is considered as the God whom you can see, feel, be loved and know in flesh and blood. As because the existence of God in the conventional sense has or has not been proved, not yet.

The discordant part is that scriptures are taken into literally and the spirit and essence they behold is ignored or not noticed. Hence all these irresponsible statements and trouble!

If only ones heart has ones country in the forefront can one be at peace with ones god. And singing a song that reveres ones mother is not in any way sacrilegious to the spirit of ones faith and to God himself. The truth might be there cannot be God without the existence of a mother!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Inevitable

I can remember well when I look back that till about five years ago the obituary column in the Malayalam manorama news paper was the least glanced.

But since then the page has become imperative and unavoidable. I involuntarily perhaps upon auto suggestion go through the photos that are inlaid of people who wandered way. In case I stumble upon familiar faces!

I mention this because increasingly over the past years the consciousness of the inevitability is always in the mind. There cannot be any days when I have not thought , “How many more to walk”? It is not paranoia, but consciousness of the brittleness of life itself. ”Young man rejoice in thy youth”(Anonymous), and how true it is !

Rewinding to twenty five years when the nights were longer than the days back in Ernakulam in BOSBIG, Am certain that neither did I nor would the rest of the folks, we made, seldom have thought about old age, death or the unknown bend around the corner.

But then why now?

An answer would be those twenty five years of life since has chastened ones consciousness... The hubris and audacity towards life that youthful times harbored has been vanquished by the harsh and pertinent realities of life.

Though I can cross my heart and say that my feet have always been well grounded and situations and happenings have never thrown me off my feet. (though personalities have, and I bear the burnt in many cases).

Those qualities have been eclipsed by helplessness, humility when I look up yonder at the night sky and realize what an insignificant star dust I’m. Above all sense of outrage at things, and events that happen around me, and I watch like a eunuch, and still when people trample me when I m down.

And then the sense, that still there is something more to do. That helpless understanding makes me insecure, uncertain – about the life ahead- how long?

This is when death shadow dances. It is not that death will not snow you under at a young age but wait for you to ripen and rust .

Today in an informal discussion with the Asst General Manager of my Bank, he was expressing his anguish over the demise of his little sister who died of cancer a few days ago. He lamented that it was unfair that she the youngest should succumb before the elders in her clan. I suggested that perhaps death does not discriminate. He I thought nodded but was not quite convinced at the impudence of fate and life.

So then, life has to move on sometimes ebbing gently, at times tumultuously but the brittleness of life has always to be remembered.

Though the poet sang for it, is it worth to ask for another chance? This world no longer harbors the gentle sparkle of the moon light nor does the eternal dew shower like pristine white plumes, nor is it enchanting anymore.

God made a stupid decision- he created man !

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why Iam not a Christian

Apologies to Bertrand Russell for borrowing the title of his famous book.

In this context using the statement "why I’m not a Christian" is to be loosely seen. And no specific reference to the Christian mentality needs to be surmised or intended. On the contrary it is a statement against the general venality of the ilk that professes and pedal Christianity, Hinduism and Islam-the religions that really affect our daily life in India. It is with references to religions as a whole.
I have wondered why the symbol of the cross is the lynch pin of Christianity. The cross-shaped sign, represented in its simplest form by a crossing of two lines at right angles, greatly predates, in both East and West, the introduction of Christianity. It goes back to a very remote period of human civilization to the pagan era... It is supposed to have been used not just for its ornamental value, but also with religious significance and as a tool of torture.

During the early days of Christianity the cross may have been rare in Christian iconography. And it is also considered that the instrument on which Jesus died was in fact a solitary-beamed stake widely used for torture and impaling. 

But why must the Christian establishment which zealously nurtured and evangelized their version of the story of Jesus Christ have the figure said to be of Christ on the  the cross? And now one can see why. The Powers that be who rule and tender the flock need the agony and humiliation of Jesus on the cross to ensure that the flock mind their way as desired by the Powers that rule the Christian world. I see it to me more out of  sadistic pleasure and disregard for the sufferer (Jesus), that his image is perpetually on the cross even though the official version claims that he was brought down from the cross ,entombed and thence resurrected. Would we Indians sit back and enjoy if Shaheed Bagat Singh's memorabilia were to depict him hung on the hangman's pole with noose around his neck?

It is said that in Christianity the cross reminds Christians of God's act of love , Christ's sacrifice at Calvary—"the son of God who washes away the sins of the world." And that the cross also reminds Christians of Jesus' victory over death, since it is believed that through his death and resurrection he conquered death itself and salvaged the world. They venerate it not as a material object seen in isolation but as the symbol of the sacrifice, by which Christ saved them, as the instrument of Christ's triumph.
And this is hypocrisy, selfishness and utter disregard to another mans agony. To have his figure on the cross perpetually in itself is abhorrence. And all this after being remorseless for not defending him in the kangaroo trial that the priest-dom managed successfully. This is the definite way to disrespect a man who perhaps with the knowledge acquired during his journeys to the orient stood against everything that now Christians practice in his name. And the principle and idea of vicarious redemption trumped by the Church is the most macabre piece of idea ever invented.

That brings me to the most art of "hypocrisy” practised by the church and the laity.
Shashi Tharoor in his book on Mrs. Indira Gandhi has wryly commented on the twenty point programe (thamasha) she dangled. He wrote, "Even the good lord had only ten points”! But, even the ten points that the Lord himself crafted have always been relegated to the sophisticated occasions of the holy mass.

In the New Testament version Jesus has commented on the Ten Commandments. He in fact condensed it to a nutshell that is far more powerful than the version in the Judah-exodus version. Jesus thus said “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang the teachings and preaching’s of Christ. Which the holy see and the holier than thou Christians quote like the devil who quote the scripture for his means and end..
From this it should be clear that Christ did not differentiate or create a distinction between Christian God, Jewish God, or a Pagan God. He exhorted to love your God and not this God or that God. Now what does the so called practitioners of Christian faith do? They divide God and human hearts by race, ethnicity, country and region. They even created a Catholic God, a Protestant god, an Adventist god, and so on a so forth. Here in India in the heartland of Christianity- Kerala they smashed the father son and the holy ghost into smithereens that they now have a Roman Catholic house of God, a orthodox, a Marthoma, a Cannon,Malankara,an evangelist, a Presbyterian etc etc. And to add up to these agonisingly clownish excercise, they not so long ago in Kerala even fought pitched battle inside a church. Many Christian dioceses refuse to solomnise wedlock if one of the candidates is from a different religion. Baptism and Holy Communion are used as tools to harness the flock and forced wearing of blinkers. Fear is instilled into the mind right from the early age to confirm and confirm without questions lest ill will befall. The uncertainty and the inherent insecurity of life are exploited by the Christian religious powers.

It is in all certainty perversion and anti Christ in every sense when the so called sales men of god (the priests) and even the zealous practitioners throw vituperation at other religions that coexist. Is it their lack of understanding of Jesus himself or is it plain intolerance ? Nevertheless one will abhor to be Christian in such congregation. When you look back into history the most cruel form of evangelization let alone the Holy inquisition) was perpetrated by the gospel preaching mariners who sailed into the new world and into the dark African continent. The brutality and pain the native Indian populace met at the hands of missionaries in the Americas is well documented Negating the holocaust and refusing to bate an eyelid against the systematic persecution of Jews by the Nazis is again another instance where one must abhor being Christian. The extent to which the Holy See opposed various scientific discoveries, inventions and explorations is again another example of negating every truth that is inconvenient.

Prolysetisation has been used as a weapon and tool to increase the numbers in the flock. It is no secret that financial and various other  and enticements have always been means of  coercion and lure to convert the ignorant and poor. I fail to understand that why must conversion ever be necessary to economically uplift a person or group? If as Jesus said love your God it is apparent that the God he refers to is not “jealous” nor is he the person who wields the sword. It can be Mother Nature herself. And as he exhorted love thy neighbor like you love you- then quid-pro-quo in the form of conversion and gratification is not necessary. A true Christian must love all things that the “good lord created”. The true Christian must be the one who is at peace in a Church, a mosque, a temple or any other place of worship and sanctity. He doesn’t have to identify with the frenzied imploring that happens in these places of worship. He doesn’t have to be identified with the medallion of Christ on the cross dangling around his neck,

Then we have the hypocritical variety amongst practitioners. This clan is in my opinion more dangerous than apostates and the likes of Barabas. Unfortunately we have them in our midst in plenty. They pray, observe the holy eucharist, confess, conduct holy mass in their bungalows, fornicate with the men in robes; throw thick note wads as philanthropy. And they profess sacrifice, abhorrence of material well being and son on and so forth. Such people don’t realize that the word sacrifice is loosely used and they cannot let go their possessions. If they say they have given everything away that is a lie. One who has given everything away I’m sure will at a later point in time extract the maximum flesh. Their religion or kinship will not deter them...
Does this make the followers of Islam or Hinduism (as is now practiced in India) a better class apart?The answer is no. Religion as is professed and practiced today is the bane of mankind. It is more dangerous than opium.

When Islam kills in the name of God and for God it ceases to be religion of love and compassion. The day the golden temple was stacked with weapons of destruction it ceased in all respects to be a sanctified place, it was no more the place of god.
If persecution and agony is inflicted on a Hindu or a Jew, it by no extent is a lesser injustice than, if it is inflicted on a Muslim. Pain and blood is unique amongst all biological creatures and it doesn’t differentiate between a Muslim and a Hindu. Injustices have always existed and have been inflicted on the hapless irrespective of religion, caste, color and ethnicity. It is not Muslims or Islam alone that is being showered with injustice. It is because of myopia afflicting them that the learned Diaspora of Muslims are pliable. They have neither the courage nor the will to unite against murder, rape and pillage neither within their community nor in communities at wider. It is beyond godly mind to devise fairy tales to lure and mesmerize the gullible and pack them off as human bombs with the promise of paradise in the after-life. Islam which gave forth many contributions to the filed of learning has now been catapulted and constricted into the web of obscurantism, and has now become a religion that detest the fundamental right of a person to think. When places of learning are razed to the ground and girls terrorised from attending schools it is Islam losing ground as a faith of salvation and is being increasingly emasculated by bigotry. The sectarian antipathy amongst Muslims- Shites and Sunnis for example is again a clear fact that religion cannot bind people. Faith in fact becomes the fire spewing dragon when it is practised outside one’s soul.

The faith that was unique to India has also been hijacked by the fire swallowing, ash painted, naked and semi naked thrisul brandishing bigots in saffron attire, The so called spiritual India who finds apathy with the creator by smoking bhang and charas. And together with their ilk in the politician mould becomes a pernicious syndicate. Hinduism from what I could learn from various readings was away of life of the people of Hindustan. The uniqueness of Hinduism with its pantheon of Gods and Goddesses is the fact that one could be in union with any god or goddesses and be at peace with the rest without inviting the wrath of the other members of the pantheon. ‘Hindu Gods are not jealous unlike the god of Moses”. However with the spread of the Aryan civilization the caste system came into existence and thence the economic and social discrimination as well. Which has now grown into mammoth proportion where it could lead to the demise of a ‘wonderful way of life”.
However when one eliminates the vituperative bigots amongst the Hindus it will be only in India that a Jew, Christian, Muslim, a Buddhist or even agonistic could express himself without fear. It was in India that St Thomas could built the house of God or in Kerala where the first Muslim mosque was built in 639AD ( the Cheraman Masjid in Kodungalloor).And the Jewish synagogue from the earliest centuries still survives in peace in Cochin. Tolerance, compassion and respect for a foreign faith are effervescent in our culture. No where else in the world but only in Kerala that Jews could live without the fear of persecution.
Ram and Krishna are not historical figures. They are mythical and central to the legends and lore’s of India. And to raze down an unattended Masjid was also never in line with the life stories of neither Ram nor Krishna. Quid –pr-qo to correct acts of injustice that history tells is not wise. If Muslim history in the Indian sub continent was one of war, ransacking of temples, plunder and pillage it does not invest providential right on us to retort in the same anarchic way. That is not our culture and is not civilized form of conduct.

When Hindus speak in anguish about erosion of their values one must look around and see the values that they refer to. Those values are splashed daily in the pages of our dailies, and on the television channels- rape, murder, corruption, 

intolerance,indifference to poor and the marginalised, dowry deaths, and desecration of Mother Nature and on and on. It is the preservation of values in life, and culture that stood the test of time that enriches the greatness of a nation and not the opportunistic cahoots with values that are inherent.

Another factor that has been used literally as a tool of submission and silencing of expressive voices is the law and fatwa’s on blasphemy. Ones faith must indeed be very fragile and brittle that it would tremble at the slightest and distant criticism or perceived threat. How else can one explain the frenzy and vociferous cacophony that arise at the publication of a book or caricature? In what way will movie on the life of widowed Hindu woman by the Ganaga denigrate Hindusim? This reminds me of the words of the French philosopher and thinker Voltaire," I detest what you say but I’m prepared to die for your right to say that”.

What would possibly denigrate and tarnish faith and belief in God is the way faith itself is practiced.

The soul has been lost!

As J.F.Kennedy said, “religion must be as private as ones tooth brush”. And until we realize that any number of prophets will not be able to put:”humpty dumpty back on th