December 07, 2009

Risible Rituals

India is a nation of meaningless rituals. Indians tend to their risible rituals with the utmost devotion so as to avoid the difficult task of having to think.

Indians like to celebrate various yearly rituals ... of both happy as well as sad occasions. One such recent anniversary was that of the Bhopal gas tragedy. Not long before that, there was the anniversary of Indira Gandhi's assassination. Then, people also remembered the Babri Masjid demolition. A more recent tragedy from Mumbai a year ago was also piously observed. Even Sachin's playing for 20 years occasioned an outpouring of admiration and adulation.

Sadly, I think people don't have any sense of proportion at all. Otherwise, we would not have seen the absurd eulogizing of Sachin.

Public outrage about the death of a model fortunatly led to the incarceration of a playboy-turned-murderer. Similar outrage is unfortunately completely absent when the dead happen to be the ordinary people of India. This dichotomy is deeply rooted in people's psyche.

Indians believe there are different rules that apply to the common people and those that apply to the ruling class. In earlier times, the ruling class comprised of kings and emperors. Today, the rich and the powerful constitute the ruling class who are automatically judged by different yardsticks.

The powerful are allowed a few transgressions. It's considred okay if they happen to break a small law here and there.

The definition of democracy itself of course gets buried when some people become members of a privileged class with a sense of entitlement.

That's Indian democracy for you. People won't rise up in revolt as long as they get to celebrate their daily and deadly rituals ... monotously pestering their imaginary gods and following other age old rituals with predictable passion.

Actions of course have consequences. What Indians are sowing today, they will be reaping the results tomorrow or a few decades hence. I feel lucky that hopefully I won't be around when Indians at last realize that no gods will come to their rescue when they start dying in their millions from the millions of stupidities that they have committed.

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