Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Holy Fail !

I was thinking of blogging about the election results but that should wait. Two things that I read this morning are worth wasting time! First is the 'temporary hold' on screening 'The DaVinci Code' in India and the second, Karunanidhi's decision to abolish Brahmin monopoly for priesthood in the temples of Tamilnadu. While the latter is a definite (albeit symbolic) step in the right direction, the former is highly unwarranted. I for one, am going to watch the movie this Friday for sure!

Leaving aside the argument about the so called "Christian sentiments", this ban is an assault on free speech. Worse this comes in the wake of unnecessary pre-screening of 'Rang De Basanti' to Airforce officers and the much publicized obstruction to the shooting of 'Water' some time back. The UPA government must not ban the screening of this movie. But with the vote bank politics plaguging the nation, I guess people like UP Haj minister of the '51 crores for cartoonist head' fame are likely to have a better say than reasonable minds.

Looking at the broader picture, the Church/Christian reaction to this movie is immature and unconvincing. This is not the first time questions have been raised about Christian beliefs. A religion which cannot withstand such questioning and resorts to emotional/political arm twisting to suppress competitive views is no religion at all. Christianity is today a much better religion because of Martin Luther than it would have otherwise been. So is Hinduism after Mahavira, Buddha and even Periyar! Come to think of it. You don't have to be Einstein to question some of the Christian beliefs. Anybody who has brains can figure that Christ's 'resurrection' is a figment of someone's imagination. If you still "want to believe!", fair enough! Afterall this 'faith' is inherent in all religions. But why are you pouncing on others who don't want to believe?

Common sense should be the corner stone of any religion! There was no common sense in the fatwas on Rushdie/Nasreen or in the mad protests against the Danish cartoons or in the 'Ramjanmabhoomi' (when I seriously doubt Lord Ram was ever born) and now this DaVinci code episode is no different. When religions try to accept the believers and the non-believers for what they are, the world will be a better place.

In this context, Karunanidhi's decision to allow non-Brahmins to conduct pojas in temples is very welcome. I don't expect the temples to have non-Brahmin priests anytime soon. Infact Karunanidhi did try to do this in 1970 but the courts didn't allow it then. I guess the civil society is now more mature to accept this inevitable change. Ofcourse non-Brahmins already do pojas in some village temples. I hope appropriate guidelines are put in place for choosing these non-Brahmin priests - vegetarianism is a must. On the whole it sends out a clear message that nobody can be discriminated against in a place of worship and that is very welcome for Hinduism.


Anonymous said...

"the decision to abolish Brahmin monopoly for priesthood in the temples of Tamilnadu ... [is a] step in the right direction"

Why do you think so? Temple's shouldn't be forced to do something. It should be optional. Reservation of any form is counter productive.

"[The] 'temporary hold' on screening 'The DaVinci Code' in India ... is highly unwarranted."

I agree. It's just a movie (like Water). While they're at it, the Govt. should ban the book too. Also, any book on evolution - after all, that goes against the principles of Christianity too.

Balaji Chitra Ganesan said...

>> Temple's shouldn't be forced to do something.

I don't think the government is going to force anything. If they are going to have these non-Brahmin priests in govt run temples, its very welcome.

Anonymous said...

why do you say
vegetarianism is a must?



Balaji Chitra Ganesan said...

I thought it was obvious! Can't see how one can be pious and non-vegetarian at the same time! Even people who are not vegetarians by birth abstain from meat on certain occassions.

Anonymous said...

Can't see how one can be pious and non-vegetarian at the same time!

-- What a statement!!

You are clearly prejuidiced against non-vegetarians, then what moral right do you have to oppose brahmins who are prejuidiced against non-brahmins?


Balaji Chitra Ganesan said...

I knew this was coming! I have no doubt that non-vegetarianism is immoral. Being a vegetarian by birth is no virtue. I know several friends who have turned vegetarian. Their piousness and moral fibre is more appreciable than those who are struggling to keep thier vegetarianism intact including myself (cakes,beans)!

Anonymous said...

Vijay, if Balaji said temple priests should be Hindus, would that make him prejudiced against Muslims and Christians? Go Figure.

Anonymous said...


Ok its your view that non-vegetarianism is immoral. I personally dont think so, as I dont see any strong reason for it.
Why dont you write a post describing your reasons for the immorality of non-v, if you want to. I think that will make an interesting blogspot. Try not to include cliched 'Animals illtreated' reasons.

if 1+2 =3, is 5+4 =9? Go figure.

Anonymous said...

"Sachin, if 1+2 =3, is 5+4 =9?"

Well, isn't it? If that was intended to be a non sequitur, it's not obvious to me.

Vijay, why don't you give five reasons why there should be "non vegetarian" priests?


Balaji Chitra Ganesan said...

well..for me piousness and non-vegetarianism cannot co-exist. Its as simple as that! In anycase I expect voluntary adherence in this issue since such abstinence from meat is already prevalent among the people.

btw I watched Da Vinci code and wasn't terribly impressed. The movie seems to diverge from the novel apparently to satisfy the catholics! Come to think of is this kind of cover up, over the years in favor of the church, that this novel is supposed to expose! What a disservice?!

cRaY3 said...

i am seriously pissed off with the entire Da Vinci episode and more recently a PIL has been filed against the court...i simply dont understand their faith...if the fact that christ married and had a kid made them go nuts, why on earth these Catholics marry?..Is marrying and having sex such a sin?...Cant Jesus still be a GOD even after marriage?..I simply cant withstand the way Vatican treats Women, pregnancy and abortion..I remember when one of the Pope said "Women were supposed go thro hell during child birth coz of the sin Eve committed."..How stupid!