Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Protector or Protectee?

In a review of Ramchandra’s Gandhi’s Sita's Kitchen: a testimony of faith and inquiry, historian Vinay Lal recounts this episode from the life of Swami Vivekanada:
The famous Indian monk had gone to Kashmir towards the end of his life; anguished over the invader's desecration and destruction of countless images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, and filled with rage at "this humiliating testimony of history", he approached the Divine Mother in a Kali temple, and falling at her feet, asked: "How could you let this happen, Mother, why did you permit this desecration?" On the swami's own testimony, Kali is reported to have said: "What is it to you, Vivekananda, if the invader breaks my images. Do you protect me, or do I protect you?
Of course, the irony of men having to protect God completely escapes some people.

Today, the Times of India reported that the VHP has come out against the Allahabad High Court judgement which awarded one -third of the land on which the Babri Masjid stood to Ram Lalla; the organisation feels He deserved the full 67 acres. And just in case the irony hadn’t been enough, the VHP also said that only the VHP-affiliated Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas could build the temple at the spot as it had that authority from Ram Lalla himself.



An earlier post on why we feel the need to protect our gods: Oh My God


Meghana said...

Vinay Lal must be one big moron to actually take the "saffron brigade" literally. How can he, after having built a career about of making all of us understand that India would be much better off without the sadhus and their dirty Hinduism!!

Hades said...

I didn't understand your comment completely but attacking Lal is of no use in this context. The little parable, if you will, is from Gandhi's book, which in turn has been recounted by Vivekananda himself.

Meghana said...

Hare-brained trivial-izers will always give you a variety of rationale of the kind that Ayodhya is all about religion (and therefore about protecting Gods) and has no association with politics (of the vote-bank variety) and social inequality...

On the other hand, if it hadn't been for the likes of Lal, it would have been very difficult to fritter away a 40-year first-mover advantage (handed by Nehru)and unchallenged hold on socio-political institutions.

Hades said...

I'm glad we both agree that Ayodhya has little to do with religion which is just a (shoddy) cover up for a power grab.

Sad though that the passions aroused by politicians misleading people in the name of religion led to thousands of lives being lost.

Meghana said...

Shoddy perhaps, but better compared to having an undisputed party with an Italian mistress and her photo-op obsessed son.

Are you saying there were no lives lost to communal tensions before the 1990s? Ayodhya is to Indian socio-politics what correction to the markets!

Meghana said...

Because the power-holders in the 1990s failed to gracefully concede their loss, were the lives lost. If you need one ugly sight of power grab you don't need to go beyond the grand old party!