Friday, 5 December 2008

Indians and their gods.

"God is an infinite source of energy", said a plank put up by our physics teacher. During those adolescent days, when questions had begun to unrest the soul, it seemed as a perfect haven for peace. Being born in a Brahman family, I was close in quarters with this idea. Daily prayer after bath, reciting chalisas to elders, listening to the daily litanies of elders shaped my faith. It built in me a notion of an unknown supreme power moving along , to whom if I paid daily reverence through my prayers and right conduct , I shall be rewarded with His blessings. I am the story is almost the same for almost all middle class Indian households, more so in middle and lower middle class.

How dangerous or beneficial is such conception?

The benefits are plenty. Formation of a system ,through which society could be together and share their identities.Besides, it also serves as that "last straw" for a "drowning person". In this uncertain world, filled with mysteries, accidents, unexpected results, thinking along those lines provides a straight path through which one could move about with confidence and assurance.
It also brings joys into the lives of numerous folks in terms of festivals and celebrations, and perhaps provide a common glue through which society is held together.

But the unwanted side effects are no less. Religious piety breeds intolerance. Dogmas and rituals could make life hell as well. However, the biggest casualty is one's individuality. A person's outlook is blocked. He has to see things through the eyes of religion,through the eyes of scriptures and statutes. His personal reasoning power collapses and he gives way to fantasies and belief in things supernatural. He starts to live in this world preparing for the other world , which is no more than a romantic idea espoused by religion. Its amazing to notice that the gravest of problems that the world faces is because of the religious intolerance. Rational ideas and logical thinking shows that they have no meaning.

The biggest casualty is individuality. Man is being looked down as an evil in itself who has to continuously fight against himself to prepare for a journey to HIM. He is chastised for being born on this earth and its considered as a part of his sin. However, it isn't only mythological gods that have their position elevated to the levels of supreme greatness, but we Indians also have a tendency to raise our muse to such levels. In our country we have a tendency to idolate a person. He could be a politician , cricketer, a leader, an actor or actress. Legions of fans could be found in our society.As long as it is personal its constructive , but the nature of fanaticism is seething intolerance and narrowness of thoughts. In every part of our country we have them. Fans of Sachin, Saurav,Sharukh,Amitabh,Aishwarya,Subhas chandra bose etc. Fans come from word fanatics and it simply means that the person is a blind follower of certain cult/figure. Towards the multiple factors contributing to the degradation of society this serves to aggravate the malaise. It hampers the spirit of questioning and critical analysis.

Its not my intention to muck rack the names of great persons who have changed the way the world was,rather, I wish to draw the focus on adopting the ideas they developed and not to adopt the person itself. Human beings are a unique entity in themselves and they grow by knowledge. But once a person starts to lose his own critical reasoning and thinking capacity to a certain cult , he is going blind.

We Indians need to identify our gods. Its within us, its Us.

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