24 January, 2013

respect to teacher

I am brought up in a culture where teachers are respected more than gods. This tradition of respecting the teachers who implant light of knowledge in our hearts dates back to the age old legends in the Indian scriptures. In all the schools and universities pupils are trained to respect and honor teachers and it is expected from them without any exception.

I was shocked once at the university here in Switzerland when a student from our project group sends a mail telling him to get the handouts for our presentation printed and to bring to the class. If it were in India, it is a justified reason to suspend the student. In India even when we ask a question to the professor we used to stand up in respect to him. Devotion to the teacher is considered as a proper attitude in India.

It is the country where the famous Guru Drona and his disciple Ekalavya lived. When Drona asked for Ekalavya’s thumb as a gift, ekalavya without hesitation cut his thumb off and gave him. Such is the respect and obedience to a teacher.

In another legend in Mahabharata Karna offered his lap for his Guru to sleep and while he was asleep, a Bee stung his thigh and bore the pain as he did not want to disturb his sleeping Guru. It bled profusely and he was in severe pain but he did suffer for Guru Bhakti which means respect for teacher.

With all these back ground when I see such an email, I wonder. “anbei schicken wir Ihnen unseren Handout. Wir bitte Sie es auszudrucken und es mitzubringen.”Another cultural shock. may be a teacher or a professor here in Europe is more a friend.

17 January, 2013

Forcing a faith

„We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another“. Jonathan swift.

Shocked to read news last December 25th in Spigel.de about an Indian student being attacked and his tongue slashed. What is the reason? Only because, he refused to get converted to Islam.

He was attacked on Christmas Eve when he was on the way to his place in Bonn. The men enquired about his religion and asked him to convert to Islam, warning him they would cut his tongue if he refused, Der Spiegel reported.  The attackers beat him up and slashed his tongue and fled in a car. People have become crazy on religion. „The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world“. Georgia Harkness rightly said that.

When people practice religion without human affection and dignity, educated and rational ones start hating even that word religion. I may not be wrong if I say that religions have brought more violence and death rather than peace on earth. People believe in religion rather than on God. The point of discontent for Karl Marx was not God but religion and the God that religion created. No objection to what he said, “Religion is the opiate of the masses”.

I may not be wrong if I quote Dalai Lama whom I see more authentic and spiritual than some of the other religious heads. “We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection”.

A take home message would be: please do experience God in whatever faith you are or without a faith in religion, but please don’t insist on the same experience on others forcefully.

10 January, 2013

cow better than a human being

The Kukke Subramanya temple in the sound kannadiga district of the state of Karnataka is very famous or better to say so notorious for the over 400 year old tradition of the practice of a ritual called ‘made snana’. What does it mean?

It is a custom or a ritual of people rolling over (urulu seve) the leftover of the food eaten by the Brahmins. Even the food is served differently and the upper caste people never sit along with the other caste people ('pankti bhedha' (discrimination based on caste/religion/gender)). What is the problem if it is a ritual and something to do with the faith? The problem is only when the low caste people are made to roll over the food eaten by the upper caste people.
In India you find million reasons to divide people. And the most popular and accepted way of dividing people and holding one’s head high is of diving people into high and low castes. People are proud of establishing that the other is a low caste in comparison to oneself. So in this practice what happens is just that the high caste Brahmins are establishing and confirming themselves over the other people condemned to be in the low caste that they are superior to them.

In this world where the inhuman traditions and customs are being abolished and man try their best to consider everyone equal over the divisions of caste, religion, creed, race, language etc., and the government is endorsing such a division in the Kukke Subramanyan Temple. The courts do not use their power to stop this abject injustice.  So where is the equality of human beings here? Where is the basic human dignity? What is the respect for the fellow human beings? These practices are sometimes more than the apartheid practiced in South Africa.
In a country where through social reformation the practice of untouchability, child marriage, sati (widow jumping into the pyre of the dead husband) etc. were abolished, these practices continue now or get reinvented in this 21st century where the right wing Hindu nationalist parties are widening their interests through politics based on castes and religion.

It is not a problem of one religion. All the world religions have a different version in India. Muslims divide themselves on the basis of Sunni, Shia, Alavites, mohammadiya, high and low castes and on so many other minor divisional categories. Christians divide themselves on the basis of denominations, rites, newly converted and traditional, adivasi Catholics and dalit Catholics and many others. Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists and all find their own different ways of dividing people and setting each one as high and low.

The religions have become a cause to divide the humanity in a very abject and crude manner, killing each other and protecting against caste mixing. The ‘holy cows’ yearn more respect than the human beings in India. To all those who believe in rebirth, please do pray to be born as a cow in India in the next birth.

04 January, 2013

Weird reactions

Actually my new year was not so enthusiastic since I was reading a lot about the reactions and responses with regard to the gang rape issue. She had to be flown out of India because of the inconsistency in her health and she remained critical and then succumbed to death. she breathed her last in the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

Millions of Indians are protesting and the reactions to the protests from the politicians were not fitting. Sushil Kumar Shinde, the home Minister of India, appealed to the protesters to calm down because their protests have brought shame on the country.

Actually this incident of gang rape and the rape tradition of Indians bring more shame than the protests. He is worried about the reputation of India being slashed since the protests of millions in all the cities brought the international attention.

Abhijeet Mukherjee, the son of President Pranab Mukherjee and a Congress MP from Jangipur in West Bengal, said on a TV channel on Christmas: "Those who claim to be students - I can see many beautiful women among them, they were highly dented-painted - they're giving interviews on TV, they've brought their children to show them the scenes."

After calling this gang rape as a minor incident, Botsa Satyanarayana, the congress party leader from the state of Andhra said to the shock of the reporters at the press,  "Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean that women can venture out after dark. They should ensure that they do not board buses with few passengers".

These comments and reactions reveal the real color of the politicians and the attitude towards women. It is a country where women are treated in public and in literature as Goddesses and in the dark treat them as objects for sexual pleasure. When will India learn to respect women as equals to men?