Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Heart Bleeds for You Ayodhya

Well, the verdict is out the land will be divided among the three warring parties and hopefully all will be well. The judges have played safe, they have accepted that Ram was born at the very spot where the disputed shrine now stands and they have handed it over to the 'Hindus'. They have declared that the Babri Masjid was not built according to the tenets of Islam and therefore was not a masjid at all...ha ha the 'Muslim' should not be offended and to further pacify the 'Muslims' some land from the disputed site has been given over to the Wakf board. The good thing that has come of the verdict is that the wind has been taken out of the sail of the BJP Rama Mandir campaign...phew! The ball is in the court of the warring parties now and they have to show the nation how they can live in peace and harmony. However the whole sordid saga leaves a bad taste in the mouth, for has justice really been done?? Justice would have been done if certain facts were made clear to the people of this country-
1 The fact that when the Babri masjid was built it was the norm and accepted practice of the victor in battle to demolish structures showing the greatness of the victim and building structures showing their own supremacy over them. There was no law against the destruction of any structure at that time. However when the masjid was demolished the Constitution of India was in place and the law of this country explicitly states that one should not take the law in ones own hand and neither can one just walk up and demolish a structure which they do not like. The act of demolition of the masjid shows gross violation of our Constitution and laws and a shameful lack of faith in our system of justice and redressal.
2 Everyone knows that Rama and Krishna are mythological characters and not historical ones. There are no lessons on either in History books ...I do not know what the Archeological Survey of India has found underneath the rubble but if it had been any concrete proof then Ancient History scholars would be abuzz with the news texts would be re-written. Therefore the proof must have consisted of secondary sources, along with the some material finds that indicated settelements in the area, which would have been found at any area in Ayodhya given the antiquity of the city. Indian people must learn to differentiate between mythology and history. If Rama and Krishna and all the others are part of mythology, it will not detract from their importance in indian culture and world view and ofcourse religious belief. The Greeks have an extensive mythological tradition and that is an impoortant part of their belief system...they do not mix it up with their history although many locations of their myths are historical locations too.
3 In Independent India all land and all structures upon it (specially if disputed by two religious groups) belong to the people and neither BJP- Sangh Parivar- Hindu Mahasabha nor the Wakf Board can claim to represent all Hindus and Muslims, leave alone all the people of India- this fact has to be driven home. The majority of the hindus and muslims of India do not care two hoots about this dispute, they care for safety, security, peace for all. Food, shelter, clothes, opportunities, healthcare, safe drinking water and a bright prospect for their children. That is what we care about.
It was nauseating to see grown men carrying on about the sthapana of 'Ram lalla' and Sita's kitchen, women like Uma Bharti waxing eloquent about the coming of Sat yuga and all that jazz!! Pompous BJP spokes persons declaring that a meeting will be held at Advani's residence and then there will be a declaration by the party. Hello? who wants to hear your declaration, you can shove it up your ---- for what I care. Have you looked at the city of Ram's birth?? Because of your desire for political milage it will be for ever remembered as a place where communal tensions were born. For what I have seen and read about the city of Ayodhya, it is one of those small dusty towns inhabited by poor ordinary Indian people, and it has only one proper hospital. If I were to pass judgement on this case I would have booted everyone out of the land and had a state of the art government hospital established on the spot, I am sure that Ram would be pleased with that. I would have got Kar sevaks to clean up the city.....that would make us a true believer and follower of Ram. These blokes who have ravaged the city and filled it with communal tension will have to answer to Ram (if they believe in Him at all) one day, and I am sure they will be squarely told off, something that our judges have not managed to do. I would like to see their faces then, the smug asses!
For now, my heart bleeds for Ayodhya...a land known for its glory now made murky and tainted with blood....may you see peace, if not prosperity, may you now witness the unity of the two faiths in India...Jai Hind!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pujor Gondho Eshechhe ( The Fragrance of Puja is Here)

The other day, I was delighted to find a few 'shiuli' flowers underneath a tree near the mite's school. I had been eyeing the tree for sometime, it did look like a shiuli tree, but here, so far down south, so remote from West Bengal and even Delhi (which has its fair share of shiuli trees), I was not sure... Thereafter it sprouted massive buds...'no, no' I thought in my mind, it cannot be shiuli...But finally the tree got tired of all this speculation and deposited some flowers on the ground as the last and final proof, whereby it rested its case, leaving me both shocked and surprised and humbled too in good measure. As all Bengalis know, the shiuli flower blooms just before the Durga Puja festival and symbolically announces the arrival of the Goddess Durga in our midst. It has beautiful curved white petals on a quaint orange stalk and has a fragrance that is almost intoxicating if inhaled in great measure. Anyhow, I swooped down upon my find with great gusto while the mite stared cluelessly at me wondering what the fuss was all about. However, since he is used to the moronic and often eccentric behaviour of this parent of his, he let it pass. After slipping him in through the school gate, I returned to the shiuli tree and picked some more flowers and inhaled the beautiful and oh so familiar smell. I thanked the Goddess for sending her messenger here to me in such a remote land. Here in Bangalore there are so many pujas, the Varamahalshmi festival went by and the Gowri Ganesha festival took place a few days ago...we are invited to many houses in the building and the women offer the traditional haldi and kumkum and give us coconuts and betel leaves.I have just been attending one puja after another, but have not invited anyone for a puja in my house! The ladies have begun asking, "don't you have any pujas?" Well, I inform them that the only puja Bengalis are excited about is Durga Puja and all we have to do is wear new clothes and eat out!! Of all the communities in India, I feel, the Bengalis have the least ceremony and the most enjoyment during their grand festival! After all what is there in life other than eating, drinking and making merry, folks?!