I’ve always been fascinated about various aspects of religion, such as its origin, evolution and the fact that your hands could get chopped off for writing about it. Having said that, it’s still nice to see how religion unifies society by providing nutjobs with an open-air pissing contest.
(Relax. I’m talking about the nutjobs in someone else’s religion, not yours.)
So clearly, I’m not a religious person. Sure, I was born into a Hindu family, which means that I believe in the all-encompassing power of whatever the BJP tells me to. I also know that my religion is polytheistic (from the Greek words, ‘poly’, meaning ‘many’ and ‘theistic’ meaning ‘traffic jams’)
That apart, I’ve grown up with a poor understanding of the various rituals attached to religion, such as fasting, or genocide. On a totally unrelated note, I must bring up the issue of India’s Most Famous Land Dispute at this point. As children of the 90s, this conflict is not our fault, but we’re embarrassed about it all the same (Sort of like Sanjay Kapoor’s acting career.)
Now I like having my limbs attached to my body at all times, so let’s refer to the Gods involved here as Superman and Batman. So, the issue in a nutshell: Fans of Batman built this kickass house for him, but then Superman fans – you know how those crazy red-chaddi lovers are – said that the land originally belonged to Superman, as established in Superman Issue No. 1. In between bouts of acne and not getting laid, the two sets of nerds battled it out and decades later, innocent people had to face the trauma of watching Barkha Dutt pretending to care.
It’s not just the big stuff – as a heretic doomed to hell (where people communicate only in SMS language) I don’t understand the smaller aspects of religion either. Take for example, festive season, which is defined as “the period of time when the Gods must be appeased by blasting ‘Munni Badnaam Hui’ at eardrum-rape levels.”
It doesn’t help that all major festivals have been hijacked by politicians, resulting in a glut of unknown faces occupying billboard space that rightly belongs to Asin’s underarms. However, these posters do promote secularism by showing us that no matter what community they belong to, all politicians are uniformly ugly. (The only thing uglier than the man-beast on a political poster is the design of the poster itself. Professional graphic designers have learnt to not look directly at these posters, for fear of eyeball haemorrhage.)
My degenerate little brain is also baffled by why the term ‘God-fearing man’ is considered a positive attribute. (According to matrimonial ads, this is the third-most appreciated quality in a partner, the others being “Fair” and “NOT Rahul Mahajan”) Now since I’m a writer, I’m completely in favour of arrogance, but not when the basis of someone’s condescension is the size of their imaginary sky-penis.
The thing is, whoever invented religion probably didn’t intend for it to turn out this way. It was supposed to have been upgraded through the ages, but that didn’t happen because efficiency collapsed after someone invented meetings. However, there’s one principle that holds true after all these years: Don’t attack writers. I’m sure both Superman and Batman would agree.
(Note: This is my HT column dated 10th Oct, 2010)