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Myth and Reality

, January 22, 2013, 0 Comments

No Zola,I, to tilt at the latter day anti-Dreyfusards to contain the likes of fin de siècle Semitism,in current day cyber space. Our major ague of these times is religion in politics.So consider what some of our biggest and worthiest are upto in making everyone’s life miserable. It is they that I accuse.

Had there been no Rath Yatra, the Hindu Right Wing would not have brought Babri Masjid down. To say that Ram was born in a particular place in Ayodhya in Faizabad district is like saying Harry Potter lived in the leafy backwaters of suburban England or Sherlock Holmes  at 221 B Baker Street. We need our myths for good behaviour and a lot else, including exciting literature and a sense of wonder, but to confuse it with reality is to dig us all into holes in keeping with our mental avoirdupois.

Had Babri Masjid not been demolished, there would have been no Kar Sevaks and therefore no Godhra. The Collector there told me that the fire started within the bogey and  after 57 died,CM, in the Circuit House,asked his henchmen for retaliation. Both these facts are on record in my deposition before the Supreme Court SIT,as before whoever happened to be there at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai on the 10th Anniversary of the humongous train tragedy.If the winsome, intelligent Jayanthi Ravi says nay now, that is between her conscience, her undoubtedly promising career and the excellent tea she dispensed in fragile bone china in her office.

Had Godhra not happened, 2000 Muslims would not have been massacred, leave alone the horrors in Mumbai including the Suleiman Bakery slaughter where the main protagonist got away inspite of being indicted by Justice Srikrishna. 26/11 would not have happened either. The terrorist who lined up 19 at the Oberoi was asked by the only survivor.. Why are you doing this to us?.. His answer, Do you think we have forgotten Babri Masjid or Godhra?

In  prehistory, religion and superstition were a necessary part of politics.. Osiris,Wotan, Zeus, Jupiter, Brahma created and were allied with the sun, moon and stars and the never charted, even now, vast empty spaces of our incredible universe. This day in 2013, superb minds like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens try and needle us towards rationality and pragmatism. The likes of me go to the Galapagos for Darwin’s finches to see how evolution evolved as creationism remained caught in dogma.

So I accuse our despots.Let us worship at home if we want to. Most of us need a crutch in our many hopeless moments, since most of what is awful is created by you. Even Obama takes his oath to a power that does not exist. As a much older civilisation, let us not drag our personal beliefs into the public space. Leaders who concentrate on post natal care and disability inclusion into the mainstream serve us better than those who encourage training camps to hit other sections clustering around other shrines.

Let us be very clear. Jesus and Mohammed lived. Their miracles and distillation of the Revealed Word will be very good for those that believe, but to push it as part of a national agenda is to be specious with those of us with a reasonable education and brains washed all along because a lot of that education was certainly not all that reasonable. The time is here and now to separate myth from reality. Damodar Kosambi put it before us in chilling detail.I love the myth of his thesis being written between vegetable cutlets daily on the Deccan Queen.This we have disregarded at huge peril and wasted untold lives.

If our pols don’t learn, including the latest kid on the block, let us be as nice about it as we we can. Be clear and firm and resist the jug and the vandalising of body and person by those who prefer to divide us to share the booty perpetually on the table of politics.Should Narender Modi apologise fully, take a year of absence from politics as atonement.. I suggest a trek to the exquisite, accessible Pindari glacier or the Valley of Flowers beyond Govindghat past Joshimath.. He can come back and be a lot more accepted.

In the meanwhile all parties with religious resonances need to be knocked out. So that we can pray in private if we must and our elected do not prey on the public.

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About author
S Shankar Menon, an IAS (retd.) officer and former Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra (1995-97). ...more