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.