Forewarning: What I will be writing here, in this specific entry, will anger, sadden, frustrate, oppose and/or offend many. But that is not my intention. I am just worried. Really worried. So now that you know the emotions that this entry may evoke & has made me write this, you may continue. This one is unapologetic, there is no other way I can convey my thoughts.

These pages should be read: Which Club? & The Idea of Indignation

And 2 videos to watch:

“Religulous” – documentary by Bill Maher & “Root of all Evil?” – Documentary by Richard Dawkins.

This entry has a lot in line with this video: Marcus Brigstocke on Religion

Here we go…

I have not made an entry on my page for a long time. I really wanted to write some happy news or happening. But the there is so much wrong happening that I would have to be inhumanly ignorant to blab away about all the good things. I really wanted to write about my work which was so exciting… I wanted to write about the Discovery ad – ‘the world is just awesome’… Mr.Obama being a sign of hope. Well, a few waves did crash my mood, unsettling my mind in never before ways. Incidents relating to Mangalore, Kashmir, Orissa, Iraq … rise of partisanship, push for joining of state and religion, claims of India being a Hindu country, (im)moral policing, attempts by government to solve the wrong problems, lack of interest in being proactive, honest and transparent in taking decision about jobless hooligans like leaders of extremist organization, the treacherous level of corruption… to the deteriorating environment, the green house effect… to the bursting of the eco-bubble, to the evanescence of human values… everything seems to be going through a fall…

The Joker was right after all – “… their morals… their code, it’s a bad joke.”

This is a quote from a 1976 movie, The Network:

“I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, and shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it…”

These are words which a few, hopefully many, like to shout out at those trying close down our world into a controlled one, done in pure self interest.

I agree, though I am completely against religion, I have been, and still am, very much accommodative with people following it to the point where they keep it to themselves even if their book says that, pick from any of these – ‘I am the way…’, ‘The infidels must die…’ and the latest offering of people backed, hooliganism – ‘This is not Indian culture’.

I really don’t understand this: we are living in an age of technology which is supposed to bring us peace, prosperity, better life etc. But somehow none of that exists. We are forever running to make a living usually forgetting to live. There is violence at home, in the streets, unrest in the state, a government interested only in ‘condemning terrorist acts’ ALL the time. But that’s it. Nobody knows what to do, at least those who should are conveniently ignorant and very well the backbone support for these extremists. We are living in a community which depends on new technology – 3G phone, internet connectivity, personal computers and vehicles. We embrace all of it; we crave for it yet are plagued by our unshakeable want to stick to primitive, inane, Stone Age beliefs. Yes, the atrocities of the ‘Sri Rama Sene’ are not acceptable. And this was the tipping point for me. I was further shocked and agitated by support it received from the govt., other extremist groups and even some from the common (?!?) public. Our leading parties are so involved in them that it’s quite not possible to shake them off. Like a parasite, these groups along with corruption, greed has all grown roots so deep into our core system. Change is necessary. Not the sort being spoken about by Mr. Advani, Mr. Muthalik or the sort by Mr. Manmohan. The communist party too is marred by many charges of corruption – they; too, don’t show the way to change.

The one I am expecting come from each and every one of us. It comes from within. The simple view that each has right to freedom, of course, within the boundaries of the law. That this can be practiced without fear. That there is no difference between man and woman. The ‘she’ is just as good, and like statistics say – ‘she’ is better than ‘he’. Equality is not bound to man. It’s the right of every human being on planet earth. Same follows with other living beings. Our country’s issues with this are many. Killing of female babies, dowry related issues (I am shocked that people give & take it, openly).

Well, those pro-Hindu’s – if you did be a bit more knowledgeable, as the Hindu is supposed to be – very brilliant, astute, analytical and humble – then you should understand that human beings evolve. Which plainly and clearly means – culture changes. Seriously – what do you mean: ‘This is not Indian Culture’? A culture is only constant within the confines of an age. And I really don’t understand which time period you are pointing to? Even if you point to a particular age – are you, all who a part of the emerging India, planning on taking us back in time from which we escaped? A world which was mired in shackles of the caste system? One which promoted honor killings? One which carried out Sati? I honestly believe some of the followers of the pro-Hindutva culture are seriously blinded by their faith. I must say – many are severely and seriously misinformed and so ignorantly, no ready to think and break their baseless faith. Do they even believe in Ram? This is one character, of the books, who is upright, and absolutely gracious. These people, the sene and the likes, are contradicting their own value system by acting like this. They are also mimicking the same extremist attitudes of other religions they profess are wrong. This is more than enough proof that they are driven by hatred and not by love for their deity. Also, these people seem to be lacking the simplest understanding of human tendency to revolt against force.

That ideas are best conveyed and received by others through dialogue and giving respect and not through force, violence, fear is an understanding lacking in all these fringe groups who are all collective-brawn and not brain.

If I were to define “India” – at least what it ought to be – ‘A democratic country, free of prejudice, favoring progress of life, embracing various cultures, one that promises to curb corruption, look over personal greed and usher in a new hope that human life will continue to co-exist, peacefully – all this on choice, not on force.”. How many of us can comply with this? Many would say this is way too idealistic. But for one, should we always be trying to create order, move towards perfection, and one step at a time? Yes, we should. Many would say they can’t go past their religious views or give up on the competition on which religion maintains the majority… Can’t we realize that what matters is one’s own faith, if ever it is that important? Yes, we should.

I am sure many wont. For, they can’t. They are far too ‘patriotic’ (Some use that word, very wrongly). They are too religious. They are too self righteous & zealous. Some plainly claim our country to be a religious state – rules set by one, rest of them let to live. This is the land of Aryabhatta, of Akbar, of Ramanujam, of Tipu Sultan, of Shivaji, of Bhagat Singh, of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, of Mahatma Gandhi, of Jawaharlal Nehru, of a million sacrifices, of you, of me, of our friends, of those who disagree with us. Like very few other nations, we are nation that lets each one of us be them. So not for one moment is Mr. Muthalik and his aides and followers and supporters right when they say this is a Hindu Nation. If you agree with Mr. Mutalik Ignoramus, you are not patriotic – you are fundamentalist, blind, and only accelerating an almost inevitable break down of humanity.

Continuing on the issue at hand, the issue of such extremists messing up for the rest of us doesn’t end with just this one Sri Ram Sena or a Shiv Sena. So do not, for a moment, think I am pinpointing one of them alone. I recently watched Bill Maher’s ‘Religulous’. It was an eye-opener. I always used to hear about people believing in fantastical and incoherent claims backed by absolutely no logic or reason or speck of proof, but faith. His documentary showed me how far the lunacy can go. The documentary clearly showed the real idiosyncrasy of Christian faith – all the variations – ministries, catholic …etc, some I’m seeing for the 1st time.

It is disgusting to learn about the opposition to given by Christians, in particular, to stem cell research. A study that holds so much hope for many who are ill with incurable diseases like advanced stage cancer, AIDS etc. Stem Cell research may be their only chance. But the people of US (read: Christians) give the lame reason of 3-5 day old lab specimen to have life. If to save a 3 day old petridish sample, they are ready to sacrifice the lives of so many people who are expecting one last chance, I am appalled at the ‘morality’ of the religion. Even more disgusting is the attempt to get people in Africa to refrain from use of condoms. In a continent with AIDS on a rampage, that’s not exactly human to advice people in such manner. Yes, I am sure that ‘family values’ aspect will come up – but seriously – how long will it take to really let people understand that? Come on, half of US can’t understand evolution and believe in creationism, Shouldn’t it be obvious that people don’t change easily?!. By the time, there is a cure for AIDS, the entire continent will dead or may generate new viruses – Resident Evil 5, anyone?

Okai, maybe your ‘God’ is the ‘way’ and the ‘light’. So be it, don’t try to influence others – persuasion can get on people’s nerves. Isn’t obvious – Orissa? Remember? Oh, don’t assume I supporting the militants of that attack. But the point is – just as you hold your faith high, others do the same to theirs. So, refrain. Faith is something really personal and can really tick off people when their space is encroached. I am not aware of extremism of the obvious kind but be sure, it does exist (E.g: Dominionism – I am just reading up on it, on wiki.). I really don’t understand how the ‘believers’ really think US is a Christian nation. This is by one of the founding fathers of US:

I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.

Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.”

“To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.”

All of this is said by Thomas Jefferson. The others were, too, equally, against a connection between State and Church. I really don’t get it; even Jefferson’s book makes no claims of Jesus’ divinity or miracles. It is only the moral teaching of Jesus which I agree are to help lead a good life. And in the past 8 years, after the Sept 11 attack, US has gone on overdrive pushing Christianity and it’s delusions – creationism etc. The last reign – the Bush era plundered the system for 2 terms. It doesn’t take a lot of ingenuity to realize the mess Bush put, not just America through, but the whole world. They now have a sensible person for a president. When do we get one who will bring about such a change?!

As for Islamic fundamentalism, I guess there is more than enough criticism out there. I am not able to comprehend their case for ‘Jihad’. What exactly do you want to prove? Haven’t you created enough problems for you and for everyone not involved? Made a 9/11, provoked a world on the verge of communal discord, got a war that’s been going on for 8 years, destroyed the economy (partly the reason), and made the vast majority of moderate, innocent Muslims look like you. Now here Muslims are always looked upon with a caution & doubt. I am not sure why religion suddenly got all so important. Why mess up so much? The inanity and hatred content of the text is astounding for it has actually survived for so long – it is logically inhuman to follow what is mentioned. At least, I only know that the phrase (one’s relating to the ‘infidel’ and all that goes with it?) are present and has to be followed to be a true Muslim – what is ‘true’?! I know a few friends of mine who are very good people. They are Muslim, their family too is very accommodating, get along with everyone they know and really helpful. Where does all this Taliban, Al-Qaeda and LeT fit in? – What do you groups want?

My history is quite hazy, but the push for Pakistan? Why? The massacres that happened during the period of formation of the 2 states, it could’ve been avoided. I can’t really come to the conclusion that ‘A Muslim State’ wasn’t exactly the need of the hour, but an area under control of a few people who were politically motivated and religiously blinded. Look where we are now.

This cosmic, inter-gallatic, super-duper battle has been going on for ages, ruined civilizations, massacred people, brought down economies, upset the entire balance. All you religious people, who seek solace in ‘your God’ – please give a thought on what your deep and infallible faith has brought about in this world. Yes, probably the religion was important at a time, but that is a world and time well past. We are in a world of escalating lawlessness, deeply rooted and ingrained corruption and sectarian violence. The environment is almost irreparably polluted bringing about diseases and situations we have never had to come across before. The economy is leaving many of without ways to feed ourselves leading to increasing crime rates. We have ‘wars on terror’ going on. We had 2 world wars encompassing horrors beyond the imaginable, we can’t take one more. Our world won’t survive it. There are so many problems more, so much more important than petty religious differences or concerns which mean nothing in real life.

All religions are just like the languages of the world. Each speaks its words of wisdom and ill. Just like languages are beautiful and ugly by words that can be formed by the medium. Just as we try to learn other languages, so should we approach other religions. When we are insistent on holding on to just one, we end up not understanding the other, doubting everyone who doesn’t speak your language. This is our problem. Narrow-mindedness. Many of us are infected by this, some incapacitated, some so dependent on it that they are ready to kill to protect that which they believe is rightfully theirs.

This blog entry was so important to me. It is almost a cry. A plea to end this madness. I request no abandoning of faith. I request only a change of approach. One of intellectual inquiry. One through discussion and public discourse. I demand only peace.

Human civilization has its last stand cut out. Either we trivialize our religions and differences or die fighting for each one’s religious right. To complete the dialogue which I pasted in the beginning of this entry:

“… Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone! I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad! You’ve got to say, “I’m a HUMAN BEING, GODDAMNIT! My LIFE has VALUE!!

Yes. I have wanted to say all of this for some time now. I have said enough that took off a lot of weight from my heart…

I leave you with the lyric to the song ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon: (This is the cover by ‘A Perfect Circle’)

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

…. Someday, I hope…