Incredibly intolerant India

Most Indians are proud of their country. They believe it is a free, tolerant,liberal country, think the Constitution guarantees free speech and the law and order machinery keeps the citizens safe. Even many abroad feel the same.

But the truth is far removed from this imaginary liberal India.

Most often Indians elect parties with intolerant majoritarian and undemocratic ideologies to run the governments. There is a competition among political parties to use religion, caste, nationalistic icons and cultural myths to mobilise voters and to cultivate hate. Questioning any of these with reason become blasphemous. Such free speech invites attack not only from goons but also from law and order machinery.

See what happened to college professor when he questioned why Shivaji, a (Hindu) cultural icon in some parts of India and a former king , is having two birthday celebrations, one in February and other in March. He was physically attacked by his students and fellow professors and later arrested by the Police. He was denied bail because the court believed his life is at risk outside the jail. I am sure the Police will not be inclined to arrest those who assaulted the professor.

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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

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