We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by. We can’t all be villains because somebody has to sit on the curb and heckle as they go by. I am the one who claps and heckles.
Flouting rules comes easy to us, unless of course someone is there with a danda monitoring us. The higher we are in the socio-political power structure, the bigger danda we need to keep us in line – there are no exceptions from the poor day laborer to the richest person, everyone tries to get away with as much as possible. Now, this is nothing unique to India – I’ve been told that Italians are in close competition with us. But I do believe that we (and most likely the subcontinent) might be unique in the extent of this behavior. From the smallest regulation like the requirement to wear the seat belt to doing a Satyam, our society is ridden with this behavior.
Thus this report in Hindustan Times comes as no surprise to me – have opportunity, will flout a rule even though it makes life more difficult for everyone else around you.
Every time there is an act of terrorism by Islamists, one of the leading charges that gets thrown around is – ‘where is the outrage from the wider Muslim community?’, or, ‘why aren’t the common Muslims condemning these attacks?’. In fact, I will admit that I, myself have asked these questions in the past.
Now of course, the shoe is on the other foot – or rather, on my foot – for it is my co-religionists who have been indulging in religious terrorism.
For the past month or so, we have seen increasing acts of violence on the Christian community in Orissa and then in Karnataka over the issue of conversions. I am staunchly against conversions, especially the ones that are induced by certain sects of Christianity such as the Pentecostals (as a side note, the US Republican VP nominee, Sarah Palin is a Pentecostal and that is just scary because of their beliefs). But the bottom line is that violence is not the answer to these conversions. If the Bajrang Dal feels so strongly about these conversions, they should try and get to the bottom of these conversions and find out why it is happening. What is it that Christianity is offering these people that is not being offered by their current religious beliefs! After centuries of treating the people at the lowest rung like dirt, these Hindu fanatics have all of a sudden become so passionate about the religious beliefs of these people.
And while all this has been going on, I have not heard of any outrage from the Hindu community except a smattering from here and there. Certainly, there have been no statements from the BJP (I Googled and checked their website – be careful in opening their website; it is so poorly designed that it will crash your Firefox, use only Internet Explorer) and searching through the blogs reveals that there is no sense of outrage from the larger Hindu community as well. India is supposed to be a free country where people are free to chose their religion.
If the Bajrang Dal is passionate about protecting the Hindu identity then there are many things that it can do to fix that. How about starting with cleaning up that great symbol of the Hindu identity – the river Ganga – which is nothing but an open sewer nowadays? How about cleaning up the river on whose banks Lord Krishna grew up (the Yamuna)? Or how about leading an effort to safeguard all stray cows on the roads, after all, as Hindus, are we not supposed to treat cows as our mothers? How about attacking and beating up those people who engage in female infanticide? Aren’t girls supposed to be Lakshmis? How about opening up schools and social service centers to help those who are converting and getting these services from the Christian missionaries? Of course, they will not do any of these things because they require effort and long term commitment. Much easier to pick up your weapons and beat up a group of hapless people – that gets them the headlines and votes of many morons. And this from a group that takes its name from the Hindu god who is the protector of the meek and the helpless. If for nothing else, Hindus should be outraged just for this desecration of Lord Hanuman’s name – where the hell is that outrage?
To the two people who read my blog (apart from my wife of course), I apologize for the long hiatus. I’ve written four blog entries in the last one year, and two of them are political cartoons that I saw elsewhere – I hang my head in shame; please don’t send me to the blogosphere purgatory, I can explain!!
The period from July 2007 until August 2008 was book ended by the visits of my mother in law (last summer) and my mother (this summer) from India and you know how busy that can get. In between, I managed to take GMAT (760 – yeah!), completed and submitted my application to the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business weekend MBA program (got admitted – yeah!), went on a month long trip to Europe (London, Paris, Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Brugges, and Frankfurt – yeah!) and managed to impregnate my wife (expecting in January – YEAH!). So while I am not offering any excuse, I hope that you and yes sir, you also, will understand.
A lot has obviously happened in the last one year, specially in the US politics. I’ve gone for a wild ride as well – from being a lukewarm Obama supporter, to a staunch McCain supporter and now back to being a staunch Obama supporter. Not that it really matters – I am not a US citizen and cannot vote. But at least I can blog without being threatened by goons!! So I promise to exercise this right on a regular basis from now on. Hope that both of you will continue to visit.