Religion? Who needs religion?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I had once said that I'll become a believer if I, you know, get through an exam in which the odds against me seemingly insurmountable.

I have become a believer. But not exactly in what you all call 'God'. Now I have an inscrutable belief in the power of destiny. For me, destiny is the true God.

You are screaming obscenities at me. Already. How do I decry all that billions hold sacred? How dare I go against the sentiments of the world's populace? Please don't do that. Not yet. I am never, for once saying that I don't recognize and respect religions and their deities. I do, actually. Who am I to question the beliefs of millions of humans worldwide? I'm just one of the very few who well and truly believe we have outgrown the concept of an exclusive 'God' in the times we live in.

For most of the 'in' generation these days, God exists. Oh yes he(or she..depending on your outlook) does. He(or she) is invoked when there's an important exam coming up. He(or she) is invoked when you have gone out for a smoke and Mom might get a whiff of tobacco. He(or she) is invoked when you are about to meet your girlfriend's father. Is your God so trivial? Is he(or she) to be troubled with your limitless idiosyncrasies?

Then your god is no God. Mark my word when I use the lower case. He's someone who you believe is at the other end of an emotional hotline which you turn to every time you have a problem of any magnitude.

And religious extremism is the root cause of almost all of the world's evils. Take the Uzi-Toting Extremists who think they are doing Islam a great service. The Palestinian conflicts. The Kashmir issue. What the heck, there are countless regional parties in Asia which propagate violence and discord, all in the name of 'religion'. We all are having to deal with problems like these all the time. In the name of all your Gods at once, I ask you, does Islam teach its followers to commit murder? Is Jesus responsible for crime and all its manifestations? Does Hinduism teach it's followers to loot and plunder those believing in other faiths? The answer is an EMPHATIC no. All these misbehaving organizations shamelessly distort the words of their religious texts. The Koran is cut down to the few passages which advocate the defence of the pride and honour of the community and the right to fight for one's rights. And with some other modifications, these are taught to young and impressionable Muslim boys in madrasas. They are not taught the Koran in its entirety, and they grow up to be blood-thirsty psychopaths who never think twice before killing, firm in their belief that whatever they are doing is, as they say, is 'Allah's will'. That they are the ones who, after their fiery death, are going to spend their afterlife in 'Jannat' or paradise. Someone needs to teach them that Allah will be weeping up there looking at the way his worshippers are being misled. Among these extremist cults, the cult of Wahabism is among the most extreme. Look at the great political party in West India which takes its name from that of the Hindu God of destruction. And destruction is what these lunatics excel at. They spew vitriol at followers of other religions, vandalize property, inflict torment on those from other other communities, jeopardize movie screenings, etc. Do the 100 million billion trillion zillion Hindu deities advocate this kind of behaviour? You know the answer as well as I do.

All of this brings me to the question. Do we need religion which is indirectly responsible for evil? Do we deserve faiths which are distorted at will by crazed activists to commit heinous crimes at will? I'm pretty sure I don't. And I don't think you do, either. We are human beings (in case you have forgotten) and we have something that differentiates us from animals. And that's the grey matter between our ears. That's what makes us civilized. That's what keeps us sane. We, therefore have an ingrained sense of morality, a 'moral compass', if you look at it that way. I genuinely feel that we don't have to visit a Temple every day, a Church every Sunday, or even a Masjid every Friday in order to reset it and remind ourselves of what's right and what's not. We need to develop a sense of humanity, compassion, fellow feeling and above all, righteousness.

The bottomline is, we have to act together if we want to save our planet and its people. No God is going to do that for us. The sooner we get this into our thick heads, the better off will we all be.

The Return of the King

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sometimes, good is just not good enough.

Awww….you cringe. Now what? Is this post going to be another incessant, boring ramble about my never-ending misfortunes?

Far from it. This is a celebration. Of the successful ‘me’. Finally.

The previous post did give many the impression that the death knell had sounded for me, but I’ve bounced back reincarnated, reinvented and reloaded!

Victory is always sweet. But when it comes after aeons, and comes in this manner, it deserves to be savoured. This is the kind of feeling you get when the sun beams down after a July thundershower, something you want to last for a lifetime. Since that can’t happen, one has to enjoy the moment as long as it endures.

And I will be extremely selfish in saying that this is MY victory, my triumph, my euphoria and my ecstasy(don't think otherwise). And no one else, other than me and my close pals deserve to savour this success. This victory belongs to Raunaq, his friends like Shubhra, Guru, Neelay, Manish, Ronodweep, Nilankur and some more who I’m not mentioning here (I apologize for that). Some cousins of mine make the grade as well. And how can I forget Mrs. Paul ? Her wishes clinched it for me!! The omission here pertains to my parents(Mom, to be specific).

This one was a long time coming. I had never been without success for such a long period as this one: from April 06 to May 08. I’ve had to face too many hard situations, which had all but broken me. I’m no rock-of-Gibraltar that can weather severe storms. No. I’m not that strong. So, I badly needed this shot-in-the-arm to jump-start my stuttering career. And what a jump-start this has been!

But I can still see how my mother screws up her nose when she tells others that I’m, going to study English and Economics for the next 5 years. It’s almost as if she is ashamed.He’s not at all interested in going for that despite getting a half-decent AIEEE result. I can see that she still wants that to happen. Heck, my school’s Principal was infinitely more happy on hearing the news of my future plans. My mom’s smile seems faked.

But, much as I love her, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’.

SHOCKING? Maybe so. I really don’t care. What matters is the fact that I’ve never been happier. Other people and their feelings can go for a toss.

“Kabhi kabhi kuch jeetne ke liye kuch haarna padta hai. Aur haar kar jeetne waalon ko Baazigar kehte hain.”

At the risk of sounding repetitive and unimaginative, I thank whoever-it-is for reaffirming my faith that these cheesy fily lines do hold a lot of water.