Friday, March 16, 2007

Oh stop asking the nanny state to ban things for you!

This Indian attitude of, "This offends my religion! It should be banned!" is really getting under my skin. We've seen it played out all the time, by every darn religious group. Including Christians. And of course the netas comply. It's all about those votes you see. One can feel good and Christian because one asked Sarkar to ban DVC or The Last Temptation of Christ, and then walk right past the slums on the other side of Bandra station. Sheesh. /vent.

(That's actually not entirely fair, since Christians are among the forefront of those helping the poor in India.)

Now it's happening again because of that stupid "documentary" about Jesus' "Tomb." Cries of "ban it" are rising up.

People, that's not the way to respond. Especially to something whose supposed "scientific" foundation is so darn flimsy. Can we respond like grown ups?

It's no wonder that in the English-speaking Indian blogosphere, ie. in the blogosphere inhabited by people from that little privileged sliver of Indian society that I also belong to, there is such a rampant distaste for religion. (Though I'm not sure what can justify such ridiculously crude sentiments such as these.)

(And just what did the Pope say about Dylan? It was all over the news wires in my inbox a week back. I ignored it, since I was certain that something was being taken outrageously out of context. No, that never happens with news coverage of the Vatican. I guess I'll have to look it up, now that even DNA in Bombay is talking about the Pope and Dylan.)

1 comment:

PixelChick said...

I realized this morning that I've been thinking about this post without meaning to. I think some of this - "It's offensive to my religion, so ban it" comes from precedent and how secularism has come to play itself out in India. There secularism means the state does not endorse any religion, so any and all religions are important to us. In the US, secularism comes from the other end - the state doe not endorse any religion, so no religion is important to us.

Looked at that way, the Indian mentality is an offshoot of the perceived importance of the aggrieved's religion to the state. To prove its secular worth, the state has to get involved. And once it's got involved and banned a Rushdie, it has to dirty its hands once again and ban an M. F. Husain or DVC. And in the end, it's all one big quagmire of making one community happy, then the next, and then the other. Moving to a uniform civil code would solve many of these hurdles, but to stop Indians from getting prickly, the government has to stop providing sops to different communities.

Actually, I should do a self-edit. People shouldn't stop getting prickly, that's their right. What should not be a given is the government's reaction to their prickliness.