Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bigotry: 1 India: -1

Since everyone’s talking about Salman Rushdie, let’s stick with him. The latest score indicates the bigots have won. Hands down. Once again. They generally do in our country but this time around the story’s a bit different. Legend has it that ultra-religious folks got furious at somebody who once wrote a humorous yet defiling book in 1989 that got banned across a majority of the Islamic world. (Why the so-called secular India decided to become the first nation to join the bandobast still haunts all non-political answers.)

Anyway this acclaimed writer was planning to attend an event in Jaipur which interestingly he had already been part of back in 2007 without the ongoing banfare. Now here’s the most intriguing facet: the ones who are enraged are Muslims and the one they are engraed at is also a Muslim. The only difference between them is that the latter has read the book by default.

So what gave rise to such a beautiful conundrum? Election. Yup. It’s around the corner so politicians got interested in a literature festival that they otherwise wouldn’t have. Vested interest and narrow vision has more to do with this hapless scenario than anything else. Whatever has happened, is happening and will happen is a lesson in progress for all. Human history has not only seen how religion makes people go crazy but also how bigotry makes them do worse. Add politics to the bonfire (or banfire, if you will) and try to imagine God praying heavily for our sanity.

The worst aspect about this current situation is we’ll never know who is right and who isn’t. At the end of the day, religion is a subscriber’s product and God, a belief system. One can join the party or not. It firmly depends on the given person’s sense of rumour. And as long as everybody is cool and nobody’s shouting “My imaginary God’s imaginary dick is bigger than your imaginary God’s imaginary dick!”, no one’s going to regret non-silence.

Excuse moi for digressing here but once upon a train, there was a little boy traveling with his granddad. He was pestering the elderly gentleman with ceaseless questions but with an unassuming innocence. One such query was related to the passing paddy the kid saw through the window. The wise old man was asked who created those green paddy fields. Instead of going into painstaking details, the former decided to snitch on God and stated, “God did.”

On hearing this, the zealous kid’s eyes got excited and started verifying everything they could set themselves on. “What about those trees?” to which the elaboration-free response “God did that too!” echoed. This enamoring charade went on for a long while. All of a sudden, God was the perfect answer to everything the boy had to ask. It didn’t even spare the non-living things either. With “And this train, grandpa?” getting “Who else? The almighty God!” on the conversational track.

It was at that very precise moment the idea of God was born in that child’s moulding mind. The very God who must be mighty pleased with those offended nincompoops’ ability to be well-versed in the tenets of Satanic blasphemy without even giving the godfatwa’d book a try.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

A briliant read! I'm sure most of these bigots who've been expressing their outrage against Rushdie's book haven't even read it. This issue is more about politics than aything else.
And those who've read the book and then found it offending should realise that the Freedom of Expression ceases to exist without the Freedom to Offend. If you don't like The Satanic Verses, do not read it. Your Right not to be offended does not extend to policing the thoughts of other's.