Friday, October 28, 2005

Yaar yaar Sivam!

Senthil's post about Temple for Gandhi reminded me of a childhood conversation I had with my mother. It was around the time when my history lessons talked about the different religions, their founders etc. It embarrassed me that all other religions had a founder, a history etc. whereas Hinduism didn't. My mother, to pacify me, told me that probably Rama, Krishna were Kings who lived so long ago that no documentation exists to prove their existence. She went ahead to say that I need not look upto them as Gods, but as human beings from whose life we can learn morals and lessons. She added, "For all you know, after 'n' thousand years, people may not believe that a person called Gandhi existed!".

The above I had started soon after I commented in that post. But even before I could finish mine there have been many comments and more posts on the same topic! As most of you know that I am a 'confused Desi' and an 'aadha'! So, just pouring out all those that are in my head. I never imagined that one day I would be on this side of a 'religion' argument!!

Definitely a library full of books on Gandhi or a theatre screening archival footages and movies made on him would have been a better option than building him a temple. But like I said in my comment, "In our country, worshipping a person is the way to show their respect, devotion etc." A temple will surely attract more people than a library or a theatre(ofcourse if it does not show 'thalaivar' films). If Mr. Vaiyapuri is genuinely interested in spreading Gandhi's messages and teachings, he could arrange for guest lectures, story recitals, paint the walls with his messages etc. That kid who prays to Gandhi for help with Math paper will in due course realise that no Gandhi, no Krishna, no Jesus is waiting by the door ready to grant boons!

IMO, religions, castes must have been created to bring some sort of order, discipline. Though in the years, with little or no documentation, the interpretations(and interpreters) have taken it in different directions. Stories are told to drive some point, to present morals in an interesting way. We are free to read anything and everything now. We may not agree with everything, follow everything. I am sure we are able enough to absorb the good and discard the bad. In the glorious past, Monarchs might have forced their subjects to worship them. They are still happening in this 21st century, in African countries, in dictatorships (in some state governments in our own India)!

Also, religions were built around fear. Probably with a good intention to make people follow righteousness. Especially, with human beings of that time being more aggressive, less thoughtful this might have been a great way to bring them in line(Like with kids, until they start thinking by themselves, we can scare them into not going hay-wire!). From the kids stage, the human community has probably reached the adolescent (thinking) stage now that th(w)ey are questioning the not-understandables, not-followables.

8 comments:

sen said...

Aparna,
First of all iam glad that my post has spawned some thought process in you.
As u said religion,caste etc have been created for a purpose which were necessary things for a different time period.We can either keep doing the same cycle and follow what peoples thought what was right for them 5000 years before or break it and do something that the contemprory society needs.Idiolizing gandhi is nothing but that cycle that we have followed for so long.We have been workshipping, showing respect for leaders , saints and kings for quite sometime that has to stop.

In a democracy not one single person is going to come to save you.People should stop looking for saviours,stop idiolize and revere them for saving them.Everybody should take the responsibility on themselves.The very fact that cinema stars are becoming easy politicians in tamil nadu is because of this reverence, idiolizing, respect what ever u call it.Unless and until u dont see the persons qualification for becoming a politician and vote based on that u are not going to get a better Person for the job.But for that the first thing that we have to do is, stop idiolizing the person and see him as a human being, with plus and minus.

To put it simply if gandhi would have stood in elections after freedom, he would have definitely won.But would he have been a good prime minister??.I dont think so.And what do u think is the problem here??.

And yes the child might change his mind when he grows up.But that is a might.what if he stays in the village and never goes to school after that??.At this age a child catches everything easily, it is an age where peacock feathers give birth to smaller peacock feathers in your note book and what ever that is told will be beleived.As far as iam concerned by saying gandhi as god, that guy is just corrupting those young minds.

keerthi said...

>> My mother, to pacify me, told me that probably Rama, Krishna were Kings who lived so long ago that no documentation exists to prove their existence.

Valid one. Heard "Karumathoor Kattukkulle !!" from Virumandi ??

besides all these... caste system.

I was having a talk with PK about the caste system. my point was, let us say we get off all these caste system, and get under a single umbrella, soon we will tend to categorize ourselves. there will be a upper software engineer class, and a lower class called some other.. (well, already someone started shouting..).. put it in a nut-shell. we cant live without categorizing. caste is just one such thing. nothing wrong in its existance.

Abt Gandhi being god : I've read Buddha was against Idol worship. But there are a lots of idols for him. ironical. Same goes to Gandhi !

Raju said...

Apt post on the occasion when south TN celebrates 'Gurupoojai'. Compared to that, there is nothing wrong in worshipping Gandhi as God.

sai thilak said...

" .....That kid who prays to Gandhi for help with Math paper will in due course realise that no Gandhi, no Krishna, no Jesus is waiting by the door ready to grant boons!...."

Good point...hope not your atheist. ;)

Gandhi Temple : I think we dont need any temple to adore him or making him God like. Perhaps we can device other methods to spread his principles to the world.

My friends used to have argument with me about gandhi's contributions to Indian Independence. I am not for Gandhi or against him.I like his priciples are universal. His principles cant be ignored.I admire him for his rock solid commitment to his principles. What i want to make a point is we have lot of ppl like this those who support Gandhi, ppl against him - criticising his actions towards partition etc.,.(new generation of ppl) In this scenario may be Temple method isnt surely not going to make his effective and universal principles reaching all.

Me too said...

Sen, Agree with you mostly except that, IMO, idolising a (deserving) person of the past doesn't seem as bad as that of a living person. Especially if that way, some of their good teachings can be passed on.
"First of all iam glad that my post has spawned some thought process in you" - Collar thookki vittukonga!

Keerthi, True. The grouping, categorising (still)happens unconsiously!(South Indians/North Indians, Madras-kkaran, Trichy-kkaran!!)

Raju, what 'Gurupoojai'?

Sai Thilak, like I said in my post, a temple probably isn't a good idea. But having built it, it can be used to spread his message and teachings.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that first step towards knowing Gandhi would be to read his autobiography..

I was not a guy who is into autobiographies. I just accidently happened to lay my hands on the Gandhi's auto biography.

I should say its a " Must Read"

Sorry for such a late response

Me too said...

Anonymous, totally agree with you.

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