Tuesday, November 01, 2011

God (probably) doesn't need your anger

I was too taken aback at first to ask what wasn’t right, but he told us anyway. “This thing about gods, insulting god, it isn’t right.”

What I wanted to do, then, was roll my eyes. Instead, I found myself getting anxious. But I wasn’t about to be cowed, of course. So I told the angry young god-defender that this was between us and gods; we’d settle our own scores.

He went off and stood around sulking for a bit, and complaining to the nearest person who was too polite to protest. But until he left the venue, I remained anxious, mostly on account of the young performer whose work had given him offence.

What I found surprising was that the poem should be offensive to anyone who was concerned about the gods. If anything, the poet had already taken offence on their behalf, and written about how inappropriate it was that people who are not powerful in any way should be allowed to bear the names of Them, whom we worship. I personally didn’t care so much for the poem, but that was because of its slightly unkind irony — poking fun at the most fragile amongst us. It was almost as if the god-defender had randomly latched on to the few stray words, and decided that name of the gods should not be taken in vain.

Accusing someone of having insulted the gods (or a faith) is the easiest way to make him (or her) a target for violence. And in our country, it is also the most difficult violence to punish. And so, when faced with accusations of having insulted someone’s religious faith (or caste identity), we panic. Unlike our political/economic/ecological beliefs, we do not really defend our religious ideas. We take for granted that everyone owes them respect. And we do this by seizing upon divinity.

Say the ‘god’ word and all arguments are silenced.

Read the full piece here.

1 comment:

Rohan said...

Wellsaid. Word god-*defender* in itself tells all the story...

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