30 August 2009

A nation of dumb devotees.


Ah, we've done it, again! Lives of little children sacrificed for
absolutely no gain.

A soothsayer and her husband predict the death of a certain child,
then poison the poor child to make that prediction come true! How
ingenious. The village believed it as something mystical. Even
worse, the mudering fraud soothsayer and her husband thought they
would get magical powers if they sacrificed children. What century
are we living in? Oh, wait a minute, this is India.

This should send shock waves through our nation, but it won't. It
will be forgotten and ignored as a stray incident. This exact set of
events may be stray and rare, but for all of the BJP's "India Shining"
trumpeting, and for all of us Indians who believe India will be a
"superpower" like it is our birthright - get this straight - We are a
country of dumb devotees. We're devoted to a lot of idiotic,
dogmatic, irrational nonsense in the name of culture and we've
completely lost our ability to think, be intelligent, rational and
effective in our thoughts and actions.

We are, instead, driven by absolutely insane religious hooliganism, or
why would Madhavan Nair take part in a coconut breaking ceremony
before blasting Chandrayaan to the moon? Well, the bloody thing is
now broken, isn't it? Mission over, prematurely. Shall we safely
conclude that the camphor was not lit right? Or shall we speculate
that the priest was having an extra marital affair much to the anger
of our Gods?

Why is it that we become subservient to the unseen powers even though
it is our effort that carries us forward at every step? Faith and
belief can be beautiful things if they are used to spur us on to
greater achievements, but when they become the only guiding force,
we're losing out on a great deal of capability.

Comedian Vivek famously ridiculed a lemon on a lorry in a Tamil film,
asking if it was the lemon and not the fifty thousand parts engineers
put together that made the lorry move! The wisdom of that has been
lost but the humour remains fresh. Thank God for small mercies!

This isn't an argument against the presence of God, or a profession of
the agnostic viewpoint. An athlete in peak fitness, calming his or
her nerves down with a prayer just before launching into a supreme
physical effort is a very human, natural and complete effort cycle.
Faith in God can be a good destresser, and if in knowing God is with
us we are stronger in our heart, then great. But the athlete didn't
spend more time in prayer than in hard work. That is the point being
completely missed by our masses. To a lot of us, worship is work.

The founding pillars of India are rooted in truth, not God.
"Satyameva Jayate" is on every single emblem of India. Why is it then
that we have trumpeted God much more than truth? The truth about
India is bound to hurt us. We're a nation of backward thinking,
stupendously foolish people punctuated by a few brilliant minds. So,
why are we still fiercely devoted to stupidity?

There was a ceremony of sorts at a temple in Tamilnadu a few weeks
ago, where coconuts were broken on people's heads. Some ritual this!
The government medical machinery was at hand to render first aid! How
ridiculous that the taxpayer has to bear the burden for this foolish,
religious and barbaric practice.

Why is there no fundamental drive to create a place for rational
thought in our education? There are enough and more texts about
religions, Gods, our incredible "unity in diversity" and so on. How
about some "truth" telling our children that this is the nation where
women are molested in public, coconuts are broken on our heads in the
name of God, and a huge percentage of us do not have clean water to
drink? How about starting there and presenting the idea that God
could be a belief, a construct, and a lot of very successful people do
not practise any religion?

Every now and then, we have this excuse that poor, illiterate and
downtrodden people cannot really afford education. Well, if the
government of Tamilnadu can give them rice at Re.1/kg and free
televisions, they have both money to spare and a window to the world.
Why not use the TV to present the idea of rational thought? Why not
present an idea to them that makes them wonder why they are poor in
the first place?

Last week in Bihar (where else?) there were hunger deaths because some
poor families didn't get their quota of rice, even though they paid
for it and bribed the now absconding Public Distribution System
official. Of course this event is not even on the news any more,
since Priyanka Chopra is not their spokesperson. What better way to
get rid of our poor and downtrodden? Let's starve the entire
population of poor, illiterate people to death.

Our poor and downtrodden will remain that way until we give them the
power to stand up. But do they want that power? They are so stupid,
they'd rather worship the politician who gives them rice rather than
become self sufficient. They are so slavish and subservient in their
minds, they are defeated even before any fight can begin. How do we
get them to fight for what is right? Simple answer - we cannot. They
are a blight on the face of this nation and must be dealt with the
iron fist of rationalism.

Ignore them for a few years and see how they cope. I bet they'll get
smarter. Stop giving them free anything. Let them work to survive
and figure out what it takes to survive. Let their deities and gods
take care of them if they are such good devotees. If not, we will
remain a nation of dumb devotees.

At the other end of the spectrum we have a lot of tax evaders and
criminals who dump their ill gotten money into collection boxes at
places of worship! Like God really needs their money and is willing
to persuade the nation to forgive their fraudulent, anti-national
activities. What kind of a twisted nation are we?

I wouldn't wish the lousy job of straightening out our nation on my
worst enemy. So I will leave God, at the very least my God, out of



vinu said...

Dear Senthil, Brilliant essay that boiled over in anger and frustration i guess. i too felt aghast that i share my country with bastards like these soothsayers.

An idea occurred to me if we just circulate this essay and make out a list of barbaric ,outdated practices like breaking coconuts on heads, lemons on lorries,etc, etc it would make an interesting compilation.Talking to lots of children these days and this list would help me nip superstition in the bud. good one buddy,keep it up,

... Our tributes, for Baba.... said...

As usual, very well written! And very true! It is amazing how we can combine high tech stuff like rockets with breaking coconuts! Much of the ordinary stuff that goes on around us in our every day lives is also based in such 'superstition' or maybe you can call it a belief system! Belief? Or disbelief, is the question.

Denkali said...

Interesting post. I must, however, question the conclusion that anything which is "NOT rational" is not worth doing. If so, let us get rid of movies (realism - do you really want to watch an Aravindan flick?), music, art and dance. Oh! why not get rid of sports too? Rationally, there is no way Del Potro should have beaten Federer at the US this year, right?

No condoning stuff like breaking coconuts on someone's head at least in the name of religion: I would much rather that was done to express dissatisfaction at a politician's performance. But before we go around bashing all others' beliefs, can we pause for a moment to identify our own?