Thursday, October 4, 2007

TREADING ON A TREADMILL

A high dose of adrenalin has been injected into the veins of commoner by religious fanatics. Is it justifiable? Where do we go from there?

-by Roto Chobin

The otherwise silent and sleepy town ziro was converted into discotheque by the aficionado of Krishna on the eve of Janmasthami as they were playing songs on stereo till the wee hours and the loud speaker they were using was blaring at full volume which forced the inhabitant of the town to stay awake. On the major day of janmasthami, I spotted one of the many loud speakers that hung outside the temple was facing my residence. Hence, the stereo was hurling the sound exactly at my bedroom. It seemed rather impossible to be able to endure the brouhaha; and to spend another wakeful night was out of question. So I move out of my place and stayed at my parent’s home. But it didn’t help actually as the resonance was coming seemingly from every nook and corner. It was later on I learnt that the festival was celebrated at two temples – one within the compound of ITBP force which is not far from my parent’s home and the other in close proximity to my residence – less than 40 or 50 meters from my den. Two days of fitful sleep was really taking a heavy toll on my soma. I felt as if I had been drugged, and I had become a bit irate too. Parenthetically, what prompt the temple to use loud speakers? Why do they use those annoyances things? I inferred that the bhagwan must be deaf causing the devotee to fall back on loud speakers. It’s kind of funny to me as I always argued in my sociology class at college that science is incompatible with religion as science, almost always, opposed to religion. I guess I was wrong as I failed to notice at all times the fine example of amalgamation of science and religion which I had always neglected – stereos, speakers and temple.


The good thing was: no one said a malevolent word about the two days pandemonium at Hao po lyang. In retrospect, I am proud of our folk as they have shown an unprecedented tolerance towards the religion and their rituals. Had it been us – celebrating the janmasthami with such fanfare instead of them, we might have been taunted. Or else, the central government is always there to draft a law that such festivities in disturbed area should end before dusk. Any Hindu would surely doubt if I was proper to use the ‘taunt’ word. Yes. I think I choose a correct word because in Hindi speaking belt taunting comes easily to them like taking candy from a baby. Moreover, most of them will get furious if anybody says anything against their way of life whereas they will never stop commenting on others. So we have to behave like a good White man who pops in from England or U.S.A that pops up in T.V. or magazine and says: Ooo! I love India. I love Indian curry. Indian girls are beautiful. We could also say those lines for one or two years, but not throughout our entire lives. During my sophomore year at college, one of my Tangkhul Naga friends invited me to his church to see how it looks. We were checking out the musical instruments when some drunkard Delhite, who seems to be coming from wedding party, entered into church and started poking around. I am not a Christian by religion but the whole tribulations really disturbed my mind. As I was about to rebuke them, my friend asked me to stay calm. If this incident was not taunting. Then what was it?

Two days after the Janmasthami, when all the excitement of festival perished, I felt a little relief. But two more temples that occupy the same area with the one I mentioned earlier have yet to celebrate their festival. In Arunachal, you may not see any significant infrastructure but the numbers of temple is slowly outnumbering human habitation. The Border Road Organization (BRO) is taking a painstaking job to build temple at every turn of the road. In late eighties, when I was very young I used to accompany my father in his occasional trip to Itanagar. It was during one of those trips that I visited Ganga town. It looked very neat with the broad road and its safety zone, and the hedges in it. A decade later, I saw a small makeshift temple inside the safety zone. Earlier there was some sort of figurine in it. Now the makeshift temple has changed into a colossal structure which housed a number of Hindu gods and is totally camouflaging the other part of the Ganga market. I wondered do we really need the house of worship in the heart of commercial hub. Can’t it be shifted to somewhere else? I thought we are badly in need of parking places for ever growing vehicles in the town.

If you are, by any chance, visiting Along (West Siang district) and you have some work to do at Basar before proceeding to Along. And you have no idea how you would recognize Basar. I suggest, don’t panic. You cannot miss Basar at all because as soon as you see a giant serpent looping equally giant Shivlingam, you would know you have arrived at Basar. Two years ago, there was a great commotion when a woodcutter found a rock, perhaps, resembling an organ of Shiv Shankar at Kardo (Ziro). Most of the visitors believe it is true lingam but the educated Hindu thinks that its shape and structure is due to weathering and erosion. Believe it or not, it is doing a roaring business. Last year, the priest who also was a caretaker of that lingam took all the offering money and the gold serpent proffered by a devotee and fled away. Seeing the brisk business of the find, my friend once proposed that we also install a lingam in our compound. I hoped he was not being serious about the proposal. As a matter of fact, I would have appreciated if they could contribute money to build hospital, orphanage, etc. in place of spending on building so many temples. People of Arunachal would felt eternal gratitude to Hindu missionaries.

Talking of the missionaries in Arunachal, they are really a potent threat, particularly to indigenous faith. Until a few years ago, the people of Arunachal had not known so many religions. But now, the Arunachalese are painted either with a black or cyan color, magenta or green. Hence; the missionaries has slashed Donyi-Poloism, Christian, Islam and Hindu from the flesh of Indigenous faith. Besides, the missionaries are helping to a large extent to create a rift among these religious sect. A couple of months back; I saw a pamphlet, most probably circulated by Hindu fanatics which gives instruction to use the trick of money and lure for proselytize and if it failed, then to resort to manhandle. I wonder if they were referring to people like us who still believe in indigenous faith.

Personally, I do not abhor any religion as it is an important agent of social control. But I detest it when it breeds communal tension. And in immature society like India, the fear of communal disharmony between any two religious groups is always there because even unintentional brush can also generate a spark. However, it will be wrong to blame entirely the religion itself. In truth, it is the follower of religions who corrodes the essence of religion, and tarnishes and bends it beyond recognition for one’s own benefit. And the politicians are the vanguard of the movement. They can stoop so low so as to gain political mileage and extra vote. Extra vote is a windfall for them as it may fetch them a V.I.P. chair ultimately. And the people are simply allowing themselves to go with the tide without a second thought. When they raise their voice against Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, even some Arunachalese protested in unison without understanding how it is going to be detriment to India (particularly South India) and its people. Then again, everyone understands the modus operandi of organization in Arunachal. Unless the parent organization will not pump a lot of money, the remonstration just won’t stir. Yea! We all smelled the aroma of crisp notes when they came out to remonstrate against the demolition of Adam’s bridge/ Ram Sethu. It is indeed unfortunate that the name of Ram has been dragged around once again by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to be maligned in the court, just because the election is round the corner. Besides, it is really hard to understand the political party of India. On one hand, they want to keep pace with the world economy and on the other, they would not tolerate the change. I am afraid they cannot kill two birds with one stone all the time. To me; Ram, as I gather, is a mighty icon that cannot be easily vilified with affidavit or the demolition of Sethu / Adam’s bridge. I believe he would not bother so much about the Setu whether it should be demolished or not, unless the partisans follow his principle. As for Ram’s principle, I reckon even a hardcore RSS/VHP will run away a mile from his principle. To sum it up: I would just say that it is an era of: “Muh mein Ram-Ram, vagal mein churi”.

We all know that India is known for its staggering diversity as we all have been writing essay on this topic since school times. And because of this staggering diversity, our people and politician always choose to resort to middle path. Hence, India remained unified in one piece. There’s no denying the fact the Hindus are in majority which forms perhaps about eighty percent of the total population. So there is no need of maiming people here and there to prove the supremacy of Hindus? The reins of nation are fine and safe in their hands. Let’s give peace a chance.


5 comments:

  • taka dada

    agreed.

    but to just keep the real issue in perspective:hindu missionaries are at worst mere irritations.it is western -origin missionaries who are actually destroying our society. be on guard.

    of course the hypocritical hindus have to realise that it is out of the question for us to celebrate say dree or nyokum in india--hell we are not even allowed to eat our own traditional food!

  • AG

    'hindu missionaries are at worst mere irritations'

    May be you might be wrong there. Refer my earlier post and guess you would believe that it's not the western missionaries alone but hindu missionaries too that our society be guarded against.

  • Rome Mele

    Well, i'ad heard lately that, some Yagna(hindu) sorts of stuff was organized in ziro, amidst huge support from local populace, much related for the cause of Sethusamudram . I am curious, if Fundamental hindutva logics, much cohered to myths has also found its undiluted afficianados among Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh .
    Is that true ?

  • AG

    Rome, you heard it right. There was indeed a 'yagna' in support of Ram-Sethu quite sometime back at Ziro and I've written about it here but I doubt if almost entire populace supported it.

    It seems those(local priest) who participated in the 'yagna' was tricked into participation by telling them that it was meeting for and on Donyi-Poloism as was found later when Cho interviewed one of the priest.

    Cho had asked one of the priest attending the 'yagna' if he had any knowledge about Ram-Setu-to which the priest feigned ignorance. When Cho brought the subject of 'yagna' he said, "well, we were told that meeting was to discuss about Donyi-Poloism."

  • Tanii_Gal

    Religion and Politics , tools misused to delude people.
    What does a mythological bridge to Sri Lanka have any link reference or connection to the people in Ziro? Strange.

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