Our propensity for idol worship is limitless. It’s commonplace to say we worship almost everything. Many would agree that we worship all because we see God in all. I differ. Our worships are a deliberate creation. Because if we don’t have Plants, Trees, Animals, stones etc. in our worship category, we will destroy all with impunity.
Just check out our zoos and the way we keep our animals. Sometimes back, it was shown on T.V., that a Leopard had wandered into a village and the whole village was stampeding behind that beleaguered creature. The Leopard was running helter-skelter and the authorities were mute spectators. The “Brave Villagers” finally bludgeon the animal to death. So much for our respect to all animals! Very recently, one Tiger was found poisoned, again by the encroaching inhabitants. And “Sariska” has become a simile- “..Our worships have disappeared like Tigers in Sariska….”! so to say.
Just have a look at our ecology. See the way we make timber out of trees. And stones; I only have the examples of mining. I have seen mines when I was in Asansol (West Bengal), and the way they take out coal, it’s like they will bore hole right across the earth to the other end. And they are doing the same in Karnataka.
So to educate or deter us, some wise forefather made all our Gods to sit upon some animals or birds. This way, at least we spare some of them. Otherwise, we would eat them all like the Chinese or the Vietnamese. Dogs, Cats, Snakes, rats etc. would all be on our menu. I wonder why we don’t eat insects-Cockroaches, beetles, grasshopper, dragon flies etc. I will check up our traditional culinary science and get back later.
There is one more thing which we have adopted for good reasons. It is to cremate our dead. This is more limited to Hindus Aryans. Even some Catholics cremate. Dravidians, mainly Tamils, bury. But anyway, our choice of cremation also stemmed from environmental concerns. This was the time, when the Aryans were settling in North India. And this was also the time of great and incessant wars. Hence, burying the dead was time consuming and expensive. Also, it occupied great tracts of fertile land. Also, there was this fear of geo-environmental contamination. This was because, many died of some unknown and contagious deceases.
If we had continued to bury, we all had to first buy our Final Resting Real-Estate. With Land at skyscraper price, few would afford this luxury. Look at Japan and Europe. They have run out of burial space and now they have “multi-storied” “double-decker” body-stackers. Just like multi storied car park, they have multi-storeyed Body-Park where you check-in after you have checked-out for good.
This is grim, but it will make our banks very happy. Just imagine, getting calls for loans to buy a plot for your degenerating fat. You would be happier to reserve a space than to get a house to live in. Only problem, what if you die single? Then you have to get it Cash-Down or choose the Tower of Silence.
It’s good that more of our problems were sorted in pre-history. Our ancestors did not leave any baggage for us to carry and suffer. But this did not spare us the desire to shoot our own toes. Each time, there was crusade against idol worship, the worship-fever grippes us harder.
When the British built roads connecting two towns or cities, they usually marked it with milestones. When cars started arriving into India, the milestones was required to be more visible from afar. So they painted all milestones with orange colour. Little did they realise that they had implemented innumerable Gods. For Indian Villagers, Orange colour and stone, together a God make. They sanctified the milestones. And the British were assured of its safety. I wish we had a God, who looked like a road!
Those villagers can be termed as ignorant. In this God-obsessed country, some obsessions are necessary requirements. Overtime, education or some “Sas-Bahu” serials would implant something else. And it has. Many villagers are more progressive than city dwellers. They have started to fight for their rights. And, we have moved from worships for common good to worship for common show!
Idolizing obsession has passed on to the Metros. After 9/11 in U.S., we yearned for our own of the same kind. We wanted “SOME/11”. Ask and it shall be given to you! So first we had a parliament attack on 13th Dec 2001. Since this was just immediately after 9/11, we and our media went berserk. 13/12 was compared to 9/11. Then we suffered the Mumbai train blasts on 12th July 2006. And we had our 7/12. Just see the way we twisted the date/month format to rhyme with the formidable 9/11.
Like a wine taster detecting a tenuous flaw of a missing ingredient, the prime “ELEVEN” was missing from all our blasts and attacks. The “Law of Attraction” came true on 26th Nov 2008. Finally we had our day, an “Eleven” which we could call our own and celebrate. Our citizens say “We will not let it happen again”. Sure we won’t. We have had our fill.
The loss of lives is indeed very painful. I don’t lament for those who died, but for those who were maimed for life. Each day for them is a living torment. Once I saw on T.V. a blast victim, a young man who lost all memory, an only child, and his aged mother caring for him like a new-born. Or like a Parle blast on our “26/11” which made a man an invalid and his family filed for euthanasia.
What are we doing for them? Any news! Any governmental concerns! What is all left is a pompous show. When security personals were killed in the parliament attack, the politicians had an anniversary for one year in which everyone attended. The second year, some attended. Eight years down the line, do you ever see or hear any such anniversary? It’s all abandoned as it does not pull in any TRP.
Coming back to our traditions! The mourning period as ascribed is only for first 13 Days of passing out. That’s it. Grieving after that is psychological problem or a fetish show. It’s like “Rudali’s” have never left the stricken house. I believe, it’s an insult to our dear departed, when we have crowd shedding false tears to keep up appearances.
Agonising occasions which leaves memories, like 26/11 and other blasts should have more grace and solemnity. We all should agree on just one day, an “all souls day”. Why not remember our dead heroes on the occasion of the Republic day (26th Jan). India Gate and the “Jay Jawan Joyti” would address all in a proper decorum and without compulsion.
We have to dignify the Dead and Our Heroes who were first on the spot and those who flew in from Delhi. And those National Security Guards who made themselves distinguished by charging on the direction from where many would choose to flee. This reminds me of a Great Poem:-
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
(The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson)