In this great country called India, everything remains relevant after decades, centuries, and even after millennia. When it is the birth anniversary of any literati, people say he or she is still relevant. And they do not only say this, unfortunately it is true too. Few days ago intelligentsia of my city conducted a seminar to discuss the contributions of Premchand, an all time great Hindi author. The creatures who are relatively free most of the time organize and participate in these sorts of activities, and like to label themselves “intellectuals”. Special guest, after facing initial trouble with usual Indian microphone and intervention of mechanic with primordial mantra of ‘mike testing… 1… 2… 3…’, said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Premchand is still relevant today for our society.” What a cliché and what a pity! Premchand is still relevant even after 75 years! In India, still many Hori’s are waiting for cows in utter misery, and still many Ghisus are spending shroud money to satisfy their hunger. Alas, it is all relevant. Premchand is relevant.
Similarly, I was reading a book on Kabir the other day. The author declares in first line of prologue – “Kabir and what he said, irrespective of the different social milieu, is still pertinent in contemporary India.” “Man, this guy is also relevant, and that too, after 500 years”, I thought. India is still grappling with same old classism and communalism that this old guy addressed in his time half a millennia ago. Still Hindus and Muslims are jabbing each other and there still exists a cast whom they call untouchable. All is relevant!
I could console myself if it was up to last five hundred years only. But according to a news channel, Pranab Da, in his budget speech, invoked heavenly intervention of Lord Indra for good rain. Now, Vedas are at least five thousand years old. Some even claim this number to be far greater, ten thousand, twenty thousand, fifty thousand and even more as per their convenience, and it can be stretched further on the basis of what they want to prove. Many Sukta (hymns) in Vedas are full of this. Open the scripture from anywhere and you can read something like – “O great Indra, open the gates of grand clouds and bestow us with rain, so that we can have ample food grain.” Agriculture sector in India, even after 5000 years, is still dependent of monsoon like the ancient Vedic era. Those Vedic mantras are being sung in our parliament by FM. It seems that we have the history of relevancy and even those things are relevant in India, which are beyond history. Seeing current state of affairs in India, let’s all pray, “God, please make it all irrelevant!”
A piece of land I owe
A religion I follow
A penny in my pocket
A cloth in my closet
All that is only mine
In my heart
There’s no place for divine
I may talk of logic
I may be a pedagogic
I may stare at a picture
I may analyze sculpture
But inside me
I nourish a shoddy mind
That thinks only of…
Me and mine
I read it somewhere once, “What units is religion, what divides is sin.” These days, people are talking a lot about trivial issues like Marathi vs. non-Marathi and making a mount out of a tiny mole. They say certain place belong to them, exclusively to them only. But does a place belong to anyone? Does the air and water of that place belong to anyone? What makes one think that one owns a place?
Those who oppose this concept say it is against our constitution. But before that, isn’t it in opposition with common sense? One might and should feel that extraordinary sense of gratitude for the place where one lives. It is quite natural and human to feel so. And this overwhelming gratitude brings love and understanding toward the needs of others. But if something evokes the feeling of exclusion, the attitude of only-me-and-mine, it can be greed or selfishness mixed with fear but not the gratitude.
Both in support and opposition have their own logics, but shouldn’t logic follow heart? It may be all economical as those who live there are deprived of jobs due to outsiders; in that case should it not be solved through understanding the problem with a heart with warmth and mind with openness to understand the root cause. I doubt people have the time to do all this and therefore they want a quick fix solution through violence and hatred.
Now this is something that can really cause a lot of trouble for languages. People are protesting and setting churches on fire against Malaysian courts’ decision that “Allah” is the word that can be used by non-Muslims too. Malaysian government is going to contest the decision and government as well as Muslims of Malaysia want excusive ownership of “Allah”.
What can be more bizarre than this incident? Although there’s no logic in this claim that a word belongs to a particular section of society and however, as all bizarre things happen due to fundamentalists, it’ll take place too – ownership of words. And whoever can claim on any word first will get the exclusive right to use that word. I don’t have any interest in words like “Allah”, “Bhagwan” and “Jesus” etc. But as I like gossiping and chitchat, I land my claim on “blah blah” and not on “Allah”. And I’m posting it on my blog as a proof that I am the first person who claimed for ownership of this word before someone else could fly away with my “blah blah”.