Friday, October 01, 2010

Concrete proof to mark faith

My grandmother would make digs at us by saying some horribly inappropriate things. Everyone would get offended and lament that their progressive mother/grandmother had become conservative as she got older. I often enjoyed her comments because they were deliciously wicked.

When I got married to a catholic boy she would mumble to me, "he must have done some really good deeds in the past thats why he got married to an uchch koti brahmin." I would shout out with glee to george and repeat her words. She would smoothly cover up by saying to him, "the reason you are married to a brahmin girl is because you do the work of brahmins- teach- a noble profession. Look at my grand children, none of them do noble work. Its your work that makes you a brahmin."

And this politically incorrect banter would go on and on.

About Ayodhya she would bring up a story - She had visited Mathura along with her sister and their families. A guide pointed out a pond to them. "This was the place where some gopis bathed leaving their clothes here, on the edge. Nathkhat Krishna stole those clothes and hid them on that tree. See those clothes hanging there? Those were the clothes that Krishna stole."

My grandmother lost her cool and gave the guide a tongue lashing. She said she was offended that the guide thought they were fools to believe that the faded and torn clothes hanging on the tree were authentic. She was also outraged that he thought a the 'rasa' of the story hinged on concrete proof rather than belief, faith and imagination.

She believed that a temple was broken by Babar to build a mosque. Babar demolished many temples, she would insist. But she would go on to say that she did not need a spot to be marked as Ram's birthplace to believe and have faith.

Our Judiciary has accepted the words of the guide and his ilk. They have agreed that the faith of a million people needs to be spelt out in black and white, erasing the 'rasa' and replacing it with proof of 500 year old pillars.

The three esteemed judges seem to suggest that the demolition of the mosque was an inevitable act of faith that can be balanced out and reconciled by their judgement.

My faith in an institution meant to be based on secular, rational values is outraged.


dipali said...

Will this ever end?
The toothlessness of the establishment and its myriad branches:(
We lived in Lucknow when the demolition took place. Such a shaming experience that was:(

SloganMurugan said...

I think they needed a reason to split it between people and resorted to these words.

Banno said...

I think your grandmother was correct even when she was being politically incorrect. If we all understood the notion of 'rasa', none of these fights would have taken place in the first place.

SUR NOTES said...

Slogan Murugan: My problem is with the fact that an act of vandalism committed in 1948 has become the basis of a belief, now validated by the court.

Splitting it three way is not the issue. ( None of the parties are going to accept it, though it is the only sensible way) The logic with which they declared the spot of Ram's birth is dangerous. Tomorrow someone can declare that X,Y,Z was born at the precise spot a mosque,church, or the parliament house is.
Then what?