Professor in jail for criticising Hindu “god” !

Theists want their “gods”to be perfect in all counts. Not only gods but prophets too.

Most gods/prophets are real life characters on whom divinity is imposed. Some may be fictitious also.They are depicted as following a perfect path of life as per the prevailing societal values.

After their creation, after the godly tales are put into verses, it becomes difficult to edit it. Thus when the societal values change, gods/prophets look primitive. So they have to be defended by interpretations and reinterpretations and reminding of contexts.

Ram, the Hindu god, a character of the epic Ramayana is suffering from this change in values. Ram sent his pregnant wife Sita to the forest heeding to rumours of suspicion on her chastity. Ram did not believe in the rumours. But thinking that a King’s wife should be above any suspicion he abandoned her. At that time it was considered as an unselfish act of deciding to give away the most loved and precious “thing” ( yes, women = commodity) he had to be an ideal ruler.

Image credit Flipkart

Image credit Flipkart

Time has changed, so are the values. Women are considered to be less a commodity now than before, though many may argue that the change is minimal and superficial. Thus today Ram is being criticised by many for his inhuman abandonment of Sita.

B.P. Mahesh Guru, a Professor of Media studies at the University of Mysore, while speaking last year at a seminar on Human rights and Media, criticised Ram for the decision to send pregnant Sita to forest. He was arrested and put in jail on June 17. Prof Guru belong to  the oppressed Dalit community. He was a vocal critic of upper caste hegemony in India. He had also publicly criticised the leaders of the Hindutva ruling party in Delhi including the Prime minister. He had another case against him for asking the Hindu holy book Gita to be burned for its casteism. The cases are under the section in Indian criminal law CrPC section 295A( deliberate and malicious intention of outraging religious feeling).

Image credit The Hindu

Image credit The Hindu

Ram’s decision has been criticised before by many intellectuals in India. Professor Guru became a target not just because of his Ram criticism, but because of his anti Hindutva political activism.

Today Prof Guru got bail and could leave jail after a 7 day stay there. But he is suspended from the University because as per Indian law any government employee imprisoned for more than two days gets an automatic suspension till an official enquiry report is available.

Section 295 A has always been a big threat for freethinkers in India. Rationalist leader Sanal Edamuruku is also facing this and had to go in exile.

India is theoretically a secular democratic country with freedom for expression guaranteed. But many who criticise religion, or take a strong anti government stand are many a time unjustly put in jails. It’s true that India has not yet become Pakistan, but we are on the same track.


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