Wednesday, December 07, 2005

God(man)'s plight on a flight

The airports of Luknow, Mumbai and Aurangabad witnessed a different kind of mob outrage yesterday. A very holy man, Narendra Maharaj, has been prohibited from carrying his staff (“dand”) onboard. The Central Industrial Security Force forbade him from entering the flight with the staff. As the word reached Mumbai before the arrival of the Holy man, a mob of about 300 protestors gathered there and besieged the airport. They smashed few cars in Aurangabad airport too.

Later the Maharaj said that he would ask “people’s representatives to take up the issue”. Promptly the Shivsena took up the issue as they are the only representatives left in the country. As they were reeling under the after effect of in-fighting, this was the second elixir of life that they were searching for. The Grand Med collage (JJ HOSP) issue was dying down and they desperately need another straw to clutch on. This was god send. Or rather God man Send.

I am not against of any particular religion, but if the latest developments in India is any indication, We are heading towards another communal riot. Intolerance towards minority and immigrants, resorting to physical violence by the least provocation and as if to add fuel to fire, the statements of the so-called God men or political patriarchs. We are sitting on a communal time bomb and the time is ticking away. The elements in some political outfits are also aiming for a cleansing of some sort.

Somebody said that “if other swamis can carry their staff onboard, why not our Swami?” So what if tomorrow someone else pretending to be a swami and carries a rifle along with him claiming his belief required him to carry that weapon? In a country of great diversity, we must respect the feelings of others too.

On the other hand, Shivsena is fast becoming ever more violent. It is back to it’s roots. Terrorizing tactics and violence. But as Pritish Nandi wrote the other day, India is fast changing and so is Indian Politics. They can’t rely on the outdated techniques forever.

Our cultural rituals and festivals all must be respected and adhered to. But none should come in the way of security. Compromises have already been done on many occasions. Now it’s time to tidy up our act and act tough. Everyone should have equal rules. Be it a big shot politician or a crowd pulling sports star or a self-proclaimed god man.

Some interesting comments in today’s newspaper regarding this incident and my thought about them.

  1. Fr. Tony Charangat, Official Spokesperson of Catholic church.

I don’t know if carrying the staff is an integral part of religion and can’t comment. But everyone should try to observe rules. Carrying cross is not allowed in Saudi Arabia;

Well, this is not Saudi Arabia. They still observe eye-for-eye punishment. And you are allowed to carry your cross here. Don’t you Father? Unlike Saudi, this is a secular country.

  1. Daljith Singh Bal, President, Sikh Association.

Rules should be same for all. Even we are not allowed to carry our kirpans on board despite it being a religious necessity. I don’t think religious leaders should have special rules.

Consider taking up this issue with Shivsena. But chances are likely very bleak since they take up Hindu issues. Or consider starting up something in the line of Shivsena. You can even call it Gurusena.

No comments: