I like to think that I have a healthy love for nature, planet and animals. Call me cold, but I draw the line exactly where human lives gets disrupted over it. I firmly believe that universe and Gods can take good care of themselves and it is us mortals that need more sense to see that.
With all the loud debates on the ethics of eating beef, happening here in India, I think today is that day of the year we should properly observe. Religious sentiments seem to get hurt at the drop of a pin and fingers are pointed all over on who’s gotten hurt first. With the cows strongly tied to the Hindu religion, the slaughter of cows and by extension the cow family is an increasingly volatile topic. But with people getting attacked and even murdered over the flesh of an animal, this issue needs to be looked at with a dose of common sense. This is why we should celebrate the International Blasphemy day with increased vigour. Yeah, it is today, September 30. The day when we celebrate our right to be outspoken!
For all the thoughtfulness and reasoning of the Indian Constitution, it also has a few catches and outdated pieces. I like to think that Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code is one such misfit. It criminalises insult to religion and allows up to three years imprisonment and fines for “whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of a class.”
I don’t see any religious fanatic being considerate of others and I fail to see why the rest should bother about their fragile sentiments. With abundant God men and their army roaring for blood and sprouting nonsense that I would rather not retell, the situation is such that to refute becomes suicidal. Simply put, religions should not, at any cost be criticised or insulted. But common sense and rationality can be severely censured and easily wiped away. How is that fair?
The real evil is that the law is often misused to suppress free speech like in the case of Sanal Edamaruku. Edamaruku, a rationalist to core, exposed the story of the statue of Christ weeping in a church in Mumbai as a mere case of bad plumbing and water leakage. He was accused of insulting religion and on the face of a bitter trial and spiteful vengeance, relocated to Finland. The law is distorted to hunt, persecute and silence any rational being who dares to question anything remotely religious.
Whatever happened to taking criticism in its stride? Words like tolerance and the lack of it are vastly overrated in the current landscape but I can’t help wondering where the notion of coexistence went. We want more of ‘you and I clearly disagree-but it is okay’ than ‘You and I clearly disagree- but bad for you mate I am also the majority- so keep mum or suffer our displeasure’ behaviour. This tendency to blow things out of proportion should be brought to a stop. Soon.
I do not want to insult any religion. Feel free to practise yours. But do realize that you have exactly as much right to force your belief into others as I have to force-feed you cow dung, that is, none at all. It is time that we fix beliefs ourselves instead of letting others decide it for you.
Moreover, do you think that all your powerful idol needs protection? I would think that they were capable of defending themselves. Considering that these faiths survived centuries of trial and revisions, what is a couple more?
If, you don’t want to eat beef, fine, very well, don’t. If you don’t want to slaughter your cows, then ensure that their retired lives are treated well. How many shelters do you know exist in India to take in stray cows AND treat them with dignity? You are okay with your Gomatha domesticated for its milk. You are also okay with them pushed out in the streets, out of your hands, to die when they are no longer of any use. How hypocritical is that?
Which Indian street doesn’t have old and sunken cows wandering around and meeting their unhappy ends without any reminder that they have strong ties to the religion of the majority and that there are killings happening in its name?
I heard a friend joking that Christians should start raising claims for the Holy Rooster that crowed thrice and thus caused Peter to realize his mistake and repent for his betrayal, thereby spreading the message all over the world. See how important hens are to Christianity? What do you say to the idea of claiming Hens are holy, no one should kill them and that Chicken should be banned in India? I safely say this because I know for a fact that Christians love their meat delicacies and wouldn’t dream of denouncing Chicken over a newly sprouted interpretation of the Holy Chickens. Islam has been more mature at least about this. They absolutely forbid eating pork but they are also perfectly okay with the rest of us having it.
I read a minion quote somewhere that goes along the lines of “Vegetarians, you are eating my food’s food!” Spot on! If we were all on the lookout for reasons to get offended, there are plenty to please everyone. If you believe Cows holy, shelter them by all means. But do not flatter yourself by thinking that the rest of the world will change their culinary habits to appease you. Period.
Dear fanatic, I find it pathetic that you have such little faith in your own beliefs that you have to resort to dramatics to reclaim them. I feel sorry for you, I really do.
If I hurt anyone’s religious sentiments, good work, I would say! Why don’t you shove your dim sentiments where it rightfully belongs and celebrate humanity for a change?
PS: Celebrate your right to eat, drink, think, speak and write as you please. Not just today but every day of the year.