(Editors note -And yet another horrifying terrorist attack shook the country of France when a group of gunman started shooting people at restaurant and bars killing more than 80 people. What’s more worrying is that these group of gunmen was heard shouting “Allah oh Akhbar” while carrying out the killings. The Paris attack has seriously lowered the face of humanity and has postulated one strong question in front of us- Are we in the age of militant religiosity?)
I find myself becoming quite religious in my antipathy to rel…no, actually, that should be, Religion. I have found myself proselytizing and preaching on the dangers of institutionalized faith. My semi-libational – I’m clumsy and tend to spill things – toasts to polymath Dawkins are starting to take on the aspects of ritual, tending uncomfortably towards dogma and cant. My accountant tells me that she is considering submitting my bar bills as a tithing expense. I find myself surfing anti-Religion websites for arguments that I then plagiarize and pass off as revelations. Hell, I’ve found myself taking out my articles of faith, polishing them, and presenting them as the only Truth that makes sense, ignoring, as I do so, the obvious holes in my logic, overriding objections with the power of oratory. In short, I seem to have become Religious.
Oh, I have my justifications and my rationalizations, but, they all boil down to fear. No difference there, then. I mean reli… Religion got started because of fear in the first place. Fear of the night. Fear of the unknown. Fear of thunder, lightning, and the voices of the gods in the howling wind, the naked ape cowering in the sturm and whimpering in the drang . All of which is as close to a selfie as I care to get. Not that I’m scared of thunder and the voices of the gods, you understand. Those have been explained, to my satisfaction, by rationality and science No, my fear is of the rising tides of militant religiosity. And it’s not just about Islam. It’s about other religions as well. It’s about something that is worryingly present India and Hinduism` as well.
Saffron the designated color of Hinduism, the Religion , or for that matter Green the designated color of Islam, again, the Religion, as opposed to the the philosophies, seems to be subsuming the philosophical and much-heralded Colors of India and the global village ( Paris ISIL attack). That’s colors, plural, as in many and varied; a heady mixture of creative concepts to explain the mysteries of life; each limning, shading, on occasion merging, with the other, to create a reasonably amicable, (for a given value of amity), system of social order that has served the sub-continent well for a few thousand years. The philosophies were not so much competing, as much as finding their place in the pavane of governance and individual rights and responsibilities. At least, that’s the way it used to be. Not so much now.
Now, here, in this land where diversity, and the right to be different, was enshrined in the Constitutional clauses of sovereignty and nationhood, the monoculture rigidity of militant Hinduism, the Religion, is, with increasing frequency, occupying the public spaces of India. Saffron robes have become the official office wear of an increasing number of legislators and lawmakers, who in their zealotry are passing laws and ordinances that pay little heed to the rights of the Other. Saffron rituals and dicta take precedence over the ways, and sometimes the means, of the minority, and no back talk. Taking cues from Mosque and Church, Hinduism has embraced apostasy (apostasy – in a philosophy – can you dig it?) as a control mechanism. No more multiple pathways to the godhead; one, and only one, saffron-hued, officially approved, mandated, Road to Salvation. A philosophy that accepted, encouraged, questioning, and dialog is being perverted into a religion with all its authoritarian implications.
I have to stop. This is getting depressing.