Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Musings of Amour & the Unkind


There is one friend who latches on to philosophical discourse whenever we sit down for an evening sundowner. His memory is sharp and he quotes from varied sources. He has very valid, practical and sometimes questionable outlook towards life and death. He is not worried or afraid of the end of life. He asserts borrowing from Athenian philosopher, “The hour of departure has arrived and we go our separate ways, I to die and you to live. Which of these is better, who could tell?”

Indeed one could never tell! Yet, sometimes we can presume and sometimes we can tell too.                A couple of incidences in recent time have been telling. It is scary, unpredictable this phase called old age. But, also then as this diminutive fellow often argues, every next moment is scary because its unpredictability and one need not wait to be in old age to feel the anxiety. Nemesis can catch up with us any moment. But we continue to move on oblivious and apathetic. Quite a truism!

When we live in a non-welfare State, the odds that are stacked against us are enormous. A few months ago when my mother was hospitalised with acute pneumonia, the odds in her favour was almost bleak. It became less than pale when she had a secondary infection. When life is supported by an invasive apparatus and even physicians unable to tell how long the patient would need the aid of ventilator to survive, if at all he/she survived- as days and weeks go by, there comes a moment when we ask to particularly no one, how long can we financially sustain this cost?

A week ago, a not so aged close relative was felled by acute hemorrhage in the brain while he was revelling with his two little grandsons. He now lies in hospital after a life saving surgery and solely aided by the ventilator that keeps him alive. Will he come out of coma? If he does what impairment will he live with? If he continues to be in coma and slip into vegetative state, how long will he survive? How long will he need medical life support to survive in a morbid existence? Now his children are by his side, but soon they may have to attend to their quotidian necessities & of livelihood and they will have to leave. How deep are their pockets to meet the medical bills? Yes indeed he is their father, but how long will they be able to sustain the medical aid, for there is no cornucopia of wealth to dive into. Deep pockets!

The questions may seem to be inappropriate; after all it is the father who is battling for life. But then glaring facts and situations can be such that there is seldom room for emotional persuasions and the so called high ground ethics and morality as we love to identify with. Not everyone is a Schumacher or Christopher Reeves to possess the resources to endlessly spend on medical assistance. At some point one will have to accept that it is a culdesac. It will be an awfully repenting and helpless situation we might find ourselves.

Aruna Shanbag was cruelly kept alive-a frozen and withered vegetable for forty two years. The nurses of the King George hospital were asinine and audacious to state that given another one hundred years they would still care to keep the unfortunate woman alive and on external  life support. Well in that case there were voluntary forums to meet the medical bill of that unethical saga enacted in the name of love, humanism, compassion and godliness. What about the cases of us, many other ordinary folks who might at some point find it a financially impossible task thrust upon us? What if we are the ones to be kept alive over the broken backs and lives of our children? Financial encumbrances in such cases will be enormous even to think of. Do we want to be kept alive and in the bargain wreck the lives of all who care for us? Do we want to be plowed under by the burden that we simply are unable to cope with- sustaining the miserable existence of the person we really love? Herein lie the irony, the tragedy of our falsehood, rhetorical frippery and malarkey-the government’s and the society’s refusal to legalise euthanasia. The fascination about life is its quality. And when the quality of life is not even remotely sensible, when the “Welfare State” is nonexistent, how can the government and the moralists deny a person’s right to dignified death? What civilised thought and law is it that would enable a government to criminalise assisted death by stopping life supporting medical intervention in cases of irretrievable physical state or in cases of financial impuissance arising out of grim and superfluous ghoulish existence, when the Government itself is unable to provide a welfare state?



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Eruption of Toba & Hinduism


We all will have multiple choices. Either he or she can keep his or her convictions or beliefs to self and ignore the tumult of dissent and disagreements around; bludgeon or hound the person who airs a different view point; still strongly express one’s conviction or opinion ( often to considerable annoyance of the other) and entice the other into a healthy argument. The first option is the corollary to being a eunuch, however broad and hairy may be one’s chest. I do not intend to commiserate with such kind. The second option is the easiest way to the ones who are feeble in mind, frail. The last option need not make you right but at least (to quote) Chinua Achebe, “To me, being an intellectual (sic) doesn’t mean knowing intellectual issues; it means taking pleasure in them”.

I came across a fantastic statement, best defined as an outlandish claim on the facebook wall, posted by a fellow fb user. It stated that Hindus existed in India from 74,000 years ago! Awesome discovery of anthropology, a mammoth singular feat of evolution and social living, a splendid demographic achievement that early in human history, one can presume (sic). The link in the post further moves on to atrocious claims that when the ancient volcano in Indonesia, “The Toba” erupted 70000 years ago, the cataclysmic aftermath wiped out many civilisation  and heralded a brief  volcanic winter shielding the sun out for a decade and more. Artifacts and tools besides fossils and skeletons  found in volcanic ash that was deposited in parts of India prove it goes on to claim that “Hindus “existed in India 74,000 years ago. Bizarre! What else can one say about this claim? Why not say that Hindus existed everywhere 100,000 years ago? Why not go further and claim that “Lucy” the prehistoric ancestor of human beings whose remains found in Ethiopia and who may have lived 3 million years ago was a Hindu? The agenda is to tell a concocted story, a surreal one a hundred times hoping it would be taken for real. Such an audacious claim is possible when you see as much as laughter provoking claims of aircrafts travelling transcontinental from India 100000 years ago and decapitated heads being stitched back on torsos aided by advancement in plastic surgery in ancient 

What are these folks after? Anyone with basic faculties will know that the science of archeology is the branch of anthropology that studies prehistoric people and their cultures through their material remains. One needs physical evidence or something near to it to extrapolate and not just mumbo jumbo and fantastic notions driven by outlandish ideas that are triggered by acute fanaticism and hallucination. Alas! The plan is simple. Create an eccentric theory that would keep folks in awe of the past and showcase it as historical truth so that the fact that the country is a land of immigrants is deftly set aside and erased; but was inundated by foreigners in the recent past, usurping a culture of a 100000 years.

“To comprehend the present and move towards the future requires an understanding that is sensitive, analytical and open to critical enquiry. …” says Romilla Thappar. This is what these folks make a pulp of and thereby making the study into history a mockery.

If a harmless question, whether God is a democrat could warrant a petition in court ,certainly these bizarre claims and statements should be termed offensive to basic intellect and commonsense and the ones brandishing such nonsense statements must be hauled up before law for offending commonsense.


Friday, May 15, 2015

'Hey Joe'


Someone said that life is not happening to you, but is responding to you.

When you meet the old fellow (sic) you could hardly relate that to him, though the phrase ‘old fellow’ is a misnomer here in his case, though he is eighty three. Talking to him, listening to him, watching him relish the third single malt (and nothing more than that) made me feel growing young- sort of aging backwards. At least for the short while he spent with us! After he was gone I began to think of the time spent with him, not many people would challenge you without virtually doing so to take personal responsibility for all that is wrong in your life and everything that is inordinate and derailed in the world. Without saying he conveys the truism that the world is that we create for us individually.

Joe as he is called, perhaps that is a moniker, is a  sprightly  man who would pass off to be in his teens, if his bald-pated  head and furrowed skin doesn’t tell a different story.
I met him some years ago and spent a few minutes with him. His extraordinariness as a person of gaiety touched me then too. I have been since then hearing of him from a friend who introduced me to Joe.

Joe lived most part of his adult and student life elsewhere in India, New Delhi and Kashmir being the highlights, I gather. As a young man he represented the Delhi Ranji trophy team in the 1940’s. He reminisced the times when Pataudi ( Sr) was frequent at the nets and the elite social company he kept , mostly flocked by memsahibs. He smiled mischievously while narrating the social high profile life in Lutyen’s Delhi in the 1940’s. He rubbed shoulder with Nehru and shook hands with Lord Mountbatten. His prized possession is the bloodied soil from the spot where Gandhi was shot and killed.

Joe’s father was employed up in north and that took him places, then his own job with a petroleum company made him a Mallu in love with the diversity of India and its varying geographical locations.
I can well presume that he has had his share of adversities personal and external.  While sitting with him I wondered if the aura of optimism and sheer plank of avidity that he stands upon will rub on me and the rest who often find it difficult to be even half alive, let alone to be exuberant and radiating elan vital when confronted even by the shallow irritancy of quotidian life. Robert Prigg says in his book Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, “Is it hard?”  “Not if you have the right attitudes”. 

I asked him while he was helping himself with dessert after a good dinner of chicken byriani and chicken grill if he was a believer- if besides the 18 hole game of golf that he ventures to play at early dawn three times  every week, going to church was in his agenda. His reply was a wave of his hand – like you keep away an unwelcome irritant fly and slightly contorting his face he said sternly,"No”. He was not deluded, I found and that must also be the reason for his sprightly mind.




Monday, April 27, 2015

The Sophist


How many of us have taken note of the pernicious impact discourses of specious men like ZakhirNaik, Benny Hinn, who deftly practices successfully the art of malarkey and skullduggery? Indeed, I have not ignored the fact that there is now a spurt in con artists in ochre grab and ably aided by Hindutva outfits. However now I’m not intending to pen about all men of such kind. Let me stick with this self-confessed “student of comparative religious studies” (as he himself defines him) ZakhirNaik.

Even if one has distaste and detests a person or his philosophy, it is only civil and decent that one acknowledges the man’s positives. In the case of Zakhir Naik what is starkly outstanding in the vermin of the utter malarkey and lies he preaches is the amazing rote learning he has had. He can quote extempore from various texts and scriptures, mention the verse and chapter without batting an eyelid. That probably bowls over half the gullible who drool astonished and awed like mongrels on a fool moon night, at his discourse and what not. I wonder if someone ever tried to check the veracity of his blind quotes.

If one watch the YouTube clips of some of his liberally attended meetings one can see through the frailty of his contentions and how he uses the power of the number of the virtually blind and gullible folks who stand by him to brow beat any honest and skeptical questioner.

In one of the video I happened to see a young man from California ask Zakhir Naik a couple of questions. The first query was why this omnipotent God ( to read as Allah, here)who created the sky, heaven and the earth with its multitude of living forms, not create man with the power to do only what is right and only what God proposes. Why has this God not created man minus the loathly and ugly side that is the only reason for all the strife and agony? The second question was why God is a sadist, who enjoys banishing human beings to eternal hell, when he, as the creator would have the power to mould his creation without vices.

Zakhir Naik for the next twenty odd minutes went about quibbling, talking hocus-pocus and mumbo jumbo while two menacing looking men positioned on either side of the questioner. He chided the man for his doubts and went about without airing one sentence to substantiate his argument that the God of Islam is always right. Typical of the mindset that we see among fanatics and bigots of all faith! He ends his reply with the question and suggestive answer- “well now do you agree to embrace Islam and become a Muslim?

He goes on to challenge the Christian world to prove that Jesus was born on December 25. What he conveniently forgets is that while there is no historical proof and empirical claim to prove or disprove that, there is no proof either to his claims and that the mumbo jumbo he quotes as facts from an ancient time when tribes were engaged in mindless and internecine killings were providential. The crux of his argument is that only the “book” that he quotes is true and nothing else is.

An atheist, an agnostic and or a person who enquires before jumping on to a wagon of fantasy, no man can sit back and swallow the bunkum that this person reels out. One has to be devoid of common sense and the basic faculty to think if he or she should go gaga over Zakhir Naik. Besides, it is the veiled vitriol and falsehood that he sautés his speeches that makes you retch while his audience are rapturous in approval. No wonder that the British Government after the worst pliability that it showed in case of the mad Ayatollah’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie denied Zakhir Naik visa to enter UK.
It is a pity that this sub continent known for its ancient assemblage of intelligent and sagacious minds should cater and live with such myopic minded and egregious philosophy that is spawned from all direction by men like Zakhir Naik. The inane inclination to twist history, paint myths and fairy tales as facts and historical happenings, distort the past, rubbish and spew vermin on other school of thought and people is ominously increasing in today’s society.

Look at one fantastic argument or rather holy statement of Zakhir  Naik.  To the person who threw the question he said that God created us from the loins of Adam and Eve. While he created us he asked us if we would want to live like the exalted group- the angels. It was Man, he said, who wanted to live in the world possessing the evil qualities. So it was not God who made us with evilness. Mumbo Jumbo is an inept word to describe this fantastic theory. I do not remember someone asking me while I was in the womb or immediately out of it if I wanted to be human or an angel. Zakhir Naik says that man cannot remember such a situation where God gave him a choice, because God erased that instance from our memory and we would be seeing that in replay only on the Day of Judgment. Abracadabra man!
There are certain matters in Christianity that he agrees with and is strangely comfortable with. He argues that the Immaculate Conception and virgin birth of Jesus is true. (He however sees Jesus far below the exalted position he gives to Mohammed). He gives a scientific reasoning to endorse conception without male female intervention. For this he takes out the example of certain species of butterflies and some unicellular creature such as amoeba. He latches on to parthenogenesis to establish that the Immaculate Conception and virgin birth of Jesus “could” have happened.
Any freshman in biology class would explain what parthenogenesis is and would call an argument such as that of Zakhir Naik naïve and silly. For parthenogenesis cannot happen in higher mammals or living beings such as Man.

To narrate more about the fantastic stories of Zakhir Naik is to belittle the genre of old woman’s tales and bed time stories we all have relished. Zakhir Naik must now be feeling the heat with an invigorated Sangh and with its political party in power- more wonderful stories of long distance aircrafts, plastic surgery, of transplanting of the head from the shoulders, of nuclear reactors in ancient India are abound. Certainly these claims might pale a little the fantasies Zakhir Naik narrates quoting his holy book.


When fools are abound, when people miserably ache and seek for magic to lighten up the burden and mundanity of their lives, such bigotry and sophistry thrive in the guise of spiritualism, promise of salvation ,passport to paradise and shameless evangelism. Those of us who show the gumption to stand on our feet and look life in the face and not wait for magic and sorcery to bail us out, can either fret and fume, write blogs and post defiant statements on the Facebook or Twitter and continue with our little lives, hoping that in the frenzied scramble towards paradise these folks would not deny us peace here and not let us keep our little lives to ourself.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Where the Rain is Born


Anton Chekov’s short story “The Bet” always reminds me of the awe that one can feel reading books, the powerful sway that books can have upon the reader. But then over the years I also realised from experiencing people who also read books that, “books are mirrors you only see in them what is already inside you”.

Let me go back to the story before I reach to narrate the reason for the above statement.                       During an evening of revelry a wealthy Banker and his guests debate the subject of capital punishment  While the Banker asserted that capital punishment was preferable to solitary confinement that kills the prisoner gradually, a young lawyer states that he would prefer to be alive and a life time of imprisonment than be killed. To this the Banker mocks that the young fellow would not spend five years in confinement and he was willing to pay him 2 million if he would spend 15 years in solitary confinement, no daylight , no human contact. They  enter into a wager.
An almost uneventful first year went by with the young lawyer ordering wine, cigars, good food and superficially exciting light novels and played his musical instruments.  The second year was often dotted with bouts of wailing, angry monologues and he drank a lot. From the third year, saw the young lawyer dropping notes for books- classics, philosophies, travelogues, medicine, religion, chemistry, languages and so on. As years went by the sound from inside the prison was barely heard. There were only notes for more books.

As the fifteenth year approached its end the Banker was truly getting nervous at the prospect of having to pay the lawyer as agreed in the wager. Plowed down by worry and deceitful, the Banker plots to kill the young man. Sneaking into the prison he found an emaciated figure stooped in a chair and oblivious of his entry. He found a letter written thus-“For fifteen years I have been intently studying earthly life. It is true I have not seen the earth nor men, but in your books I have drunk fragrant wine, I have sung songs, I have hunted stags and wild boars in the forests, have loved women…beauties as earthreal as clouds, created by the magic of your poets geniuses, have visited me at night and have whispered in my ears and wonderful tales have set my brain in a whirl. In your books I have climbed to the peaks of Elburz and Mont Blanc and from there I have seen the sun rise and watched it at evening flood the sky, the ocean and the mountain – tops with gold crimson. I have watched from there lightning flash over my head and cleaving the storm clouds. I have seen green forests, fields, rivers, lakes, towns. I have heard the singing of the sirens and the strains of the shepherds’ pipes; I have touched the wings of comely devils that flew down to converse with me of God… In your books I have flung myself into bottomless pit, performed miracles, slain, burned towns, preached new religion, and conquered whole kingdoms….

Your books have given me wisdom. All that the unrestfulness thought man has created in the ages is compressed into small compass in my brain. I know that I’m wiser than all of you.
I despise wisdom and the blessings of this world. It is all worthless, fleeting, illusory and deceptive, like mirage. You may be proud, wise and fine, but death will wipe you off the face of the earth as though you were no more than mice burrowing under the floor and your posterity, your history, your immortal geniuses will burn or freeze together with the earthly globe. You have lost your reason and taken the wrong path. You have taken lies for truth and hideousness for beauty. I don’t want to understand you.

To prove to you in action how I despise all that you live by, I renounce the two million of which I once dreamed as of Paradise and which I now despise. To deprive myself the right of money I shall go out from here five hours before the time fixed and so break the compact…”

The distraught Banker limped back to his house after reading the letter. The next morning the jail keeper announces that late at night he saw a shadow of a man wriggle out through the window, scale the high walls and vanish into the misty night.

Surely no further explanation is needed here of the outcome.

Now what would you say about folks who “trivalises” books, who do not value books? But who vainly reads them or impresses upon others that they read them? Who audaciously walks away with a book from your collection even without informing you and when you repeatedly over days remind that care should be taken to return, ferally glares at you that the book is lost and could not be found?                                                                                                                                          “Well if you fret much about a mere book, I can pay for it or buy you a new one.” The last statement is a swipe at your face and profanation to books.
When one sits back and analyses this particular incident that happened, what one could understand is that,“books are mirrors you only see in them what is already inside you”.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Pious Face of India

                                             The Delhi Gang Rapist

A month ago one impertinent, intemperate cantankerous  politician –a belligerent Marxist was sent to serve a prison term by the Supreme Court for calling the Judges a pack of fools. Now, looking at the restraint a Judge of a Delhi court has delivered against the airing of the BBC documentary on the “Delhi rapist interview”, terming that the telecast or publication of the interview will be detrimental to law and order, I ‘m obliged to endorse the view , after all the comment about the Courts was right.

Now, what did this reprehensible sexual assaulter say to the interviewer? He said that the victim has to be blamed for her torture and death and that if she had not resisted the rape she would not have been physically tortured but left to survive after gang raping her to the content of their perverted libido. Further it is reported that he said, they would only have assaulted the male companion leaving the girl after the rape. This statement and perhaps the fear of far worse outrageous comments from a remorseless criminal must have prompted the hue and cry against the telecast of the interview and the Government’s decision to ban it. But worse still must be the real reason to restrain the telecast or publication of the interview that would reveal a pitiless and incorrigible male psyche- the infamous male misogynism.

We must recall that many of the same politicians, and religious heads who display anger now over the interview were the ones who expressed that it is women who attract rape and women who go out at night are libertines and  deserve to be sexually assaulted etc. A bishop even termed rape (in another case of rape some months ago) as God’s instrument to test the will of the victim and it should be accepted with all grace.A Muslim leader in Kerala called for marrying girls by the age of fourteen as longer they remain unmarried more are their chances of walking the immoral way.

When such men cry foul and wail that they and the country will be offended if an interview with an unregenerate despicable mind is to be telecast, it oozes vulgarly of hypocrisy and falsehood. The interview I’m sure will reveal far more outrageous side of the rapist and generally that indeed being subsumed in a male psyche, will make apprehensive and nervy many male chauvinistic and misogynistic men. It is the backlash and the anger that it would create in the vast sections of the society and mostly among women, what rattles these male chauvinistic ogres.


The lawyer of the assailants A.P.Singh said this after the verdict sentencing the criminals to death“…..if my daughter was having premarital sex and moving around at night with her boyfriend, I would  take her to the farm house and with all onlookers around , douse her with petrol and burn her alive . I would not have let this situation happen. All parents should adopt such an attitude.” A perfect specimen of the Indian male psyche.

India is a country, were value of life is selective depending upon wealth and trappings of power. This is a country were cows are sacred than the well being of women. This is the country whose government takes the role arbitrarily of a dietitian and decides what people should and must not eat. This is a country where disrobing of Draupadi is not a scene from a legendary mythical treatise- it happens daily and often have the sanction of the male dominated society. This is a country where mythical Ravana is seen as a villain though he did not even once lift as much a finger to violate Sita whom he held captive in his abode; while Rama who was insolent and chauvinistic to send Sita through Agni to purify and ensure her chastity, who later succumbing to the innuendos of a plebian about Sita’s virtue banished her and his twin sons to the wilderness of the forest, is considered a God and an ancient Mosque is razed down to build a temple atop for him. We let women be treated as commodities wrapped inside the black shades of burkha and jihabs, we dictated by archaic religious diktats, deny basic sustenance and rights to women . We ignore the hearts and souls entrapped inside the black fabric drenched with sudate and nauseating with its bacterial odour.

Well these things are not new and the products of western influence or the age of computer and iPad or iPhones. The wretched side existed ,only that such heinous aspects began  invading  our living rooms thanks to the explosion of television and the voyeuristic TRP crazed television channels. Look at the huge mob and crowd that flock to police stations and courts, drooling, their dark brownish face contorted in glee and sleazy pleasure whenever a woman -a rape victim, a sex worker or a female girl – the victim of abuse is produced! They would all in their pious Indian minds gang rape the hapless victim many times over.
What do these tell?                  

Are we trying to wish away the loathsomeness in our minds and hearts by banning such revealing journalistic work? Are we afraid of being confronted by our alter ego?
Instead of understanding how despicable the male psyche works, instead of understanding the incorrigible nature of the rapist, instead of acknowledging that a greater social scourge is subsumed in our midst, we stupidly and hypocritically cry offense; that we will not let the grand design to tarnish India’s image succeed by airing the interview; in fact  naively by blaming a sinister plot to undermine India, we exhibit ourselves as a country of thugs, rapists, misogynists and buffoons.
Indeed we are adept at banning, at proscribing. For, we are afraid of facts, of reality, of light, we are afraid of our own self, our face. It hounds us. Doesn't it?

It is not the BBC documentary or the interview with the rapist that we are afraid of, that rattle us. It is us we are afraid of- our reflection.
We are just not pious and we cannot make believe we are.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The War Cry


        “Mark you this, Bassanio,
          The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
          An evil soul producing holy witness
          Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
         A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
        O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!” 
                  
          So says Antonio in Merchant of Venice.

This was precisely why I’m sure most of those including myself reacted with consternation at the demand that Baghwad Gita be made a national book.
The other day a friend chastised me that I talk nonsense and write bunkum in my blog embellished with grandioseness. He was referring to my general anathema for the rightwing religious agenda and my outspokenness. He termed my assertions and opinion as frivolous and naive. Criticisms are welcome only that they have to be  sauted with reasoning. 

He, for that matter, though a semi liberal and not votary of the Sangh or the right wing politics, was recently enamoured by a more chastened and former Chinmaya Mission spiritual ascetic who excels in discourses from the Gita. I’m sure  that my friend's  awareness and knowledge  of the Gita is as plebeian as mine and quite certainly he may not have read even the Penguin publication of Juan Mascaro’s Gita that is still held as the most authentic English translation of Gita addressing ordinary and less competent people that certainly includes me and he.
The argument the gentleman friend based his endorsement that Gita be made a national text are
   a-     Gita is all encompassing and can be related to all race, creed, and origin of human beings
b       b-     Because of its universal essence it should be made a national book.
c      c -      It is not a Hindu religious text; it has nothing perse about religion
d      d-     The message of the Gita is eternally relevant.

Now, I being a lay person and my knowledge was always sourced from the writings and lectures of intelligent and scholarly minds and as always the thinking mind was set rolling by the works of elitist and dispassionate writers and historians.

Let me put forth why I intend to disagree with the gentleman friend on the most vital argument that the Gita be elevated as a national book, though at the same time acknowledging  the wisdom of the Gita as much as in many other books that are repositories of wisdom

Can we disagree with the statement that the Gita is a war cry and the war mentioned in the Gita is an allegory? Will the votaries who want it elevated to national status agree to see it so and not as the iconic text of  of Hinduism?   Perhaps Machiavelli too may have borrowed from the spirit of Gita in his “Prince”. The reasoning that the Gita is universal in appeal and is the panacea to all the tiresome agony of human existence is similar to the oft stated catch phrase coming out from pulpits of Muslim and Christian places of worship that the Koran and the Bible is the lone means to salvation.

In the context of Bhagawad Gita historians like Romilla Thappar (who is persona non grata to the right wing) suggests , “…..that some 700 verses of the Gita were a later addition to the primary text, The Mahabratha. The epics had originally been secular and had to be revised by the Brahamans with a view to using them as religious literature…….”.The idea of interpolation was provided by Wendy Doniger (again, a pariah for the right wing). She suggests that the Gita was written around 100 CE, while the epic Mahabharata was dated about 300 BCE and 300 CE, concluding that Veda Vyas who authored Mahabharata did not write the Gita. In sum Bhagawad Gita is the wisdom of the Upanishads and the Vedas. To now say that Gita is not a religious text is erroneous.

Forcing people of other faith to study Gita at a time when religion is not a positive identity but a tool in the hands of negative, parochial, divisive forces will bring a backlash that will grow ominously. The rightwing as we have today are certainly not the ones to be trusted with a Gita . For as the bard himself said “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose”.