Secular Rethink- Part I

This post is part of an essay I wrote for a newspaper competition. Unfortunately, this wasn't published :( So I decided to post it here. Since the real post is an essay, I will spare yo uthe torture and post this in 3-4 parts so that you may juse feel like reading through :)

When I was a child, I had read a little story. It was of two friends, who went to attend a small get-together. They were the best of friends, and preferred each others company to the general hullabaloo of the party. After they settled themselves comfortably in a corner, they started playing cards, while listening to a radio broadcast. All was well until the radio news came on and announced that there had been an outbreak of ‘religious’ riots at some remote corner of the country. The two friends started an argument, abused, hit, and then finally stabbed each other, all within the span of a minute. When it all ended, the others in the room just saw two buddies dying in a pool of their own blood; two people who were the best of friends until a minute ago, and who suddenly tore each others heart out without the slightest rethink. The question, which they asked and which we still ask, is “WHY?”

The Problem:
Before we delve deeper into what needs to be done to build a more secular world, let us first try and understand the problems. Ask any person on the road, “Tell me a quotation which teaches morality”, and you can compile a book by the sheer variety of answers you’ll get. But then, why don’t people realize that when they go to slaughter other humans? Something, somewhere down the line has gone wrong. People rally around the names of their gods when they are out to kill others, and then pride themselves as though they are heroes. People who can chant the sublimity of some holy book will swear by it when they vow to kill others. I believe that if we realize the root of this phenomenon, we will get to know the solution as well.

As we can very well see, there are enough didactics to fill entire libraries. But what we lack perhaps is an understanding of their meaning. We all know them literally, but it is not here in our heart. We have not yet absorbed them emotionally or assimilated them spiritually… they just stand as a statistic in our quest for intellectual appreciation. People get inured to the terms like ‘loss of human life’, ‘bloodbath’, etc. Children write good essays and win prizes at school, reams of editorials are filled up, grisly images of mutilated bodies or burning houses fill the leading page picture of dailies, and politicians find it the most effective election campaign. But then, when the time for implementing them comes in real life, we shy away. The child suddenly discovers, among the many lessons of ‘growing up’, that religion is not just about loving God and praying to Him, but it also entails being cautious of the ‘other’ people. He learns that he has been branded as though he belongs to just one locality, one caste, one state, one religion. He has to wear it, either on his sleeve or on his back… there is no escape.

If you observe a flock of sheep (or men, for that matter), you can find out easily that they do not want to think for themselves. If one of them rushes to a stream, the others will. If one of them jumps off a cliff, the others will. It is always easy to follow, since you do not have to think for yourself. You enjoy the fruits, or at least are promised to, the only condition being that you must follow without question. And everybody happily does so. If you happen to catch one person from a mob which is torching a house and ask him why he is doing that, the first reaction from him may be a “you-must-be-really-dumb-to-ask-such-a-self-evident-question” stare. Then you will typically get an answer that talks the same talk which he was told last morning for pre-battleground prep-talk by his leader. If you quiz him further, you are reduced to the answer of “I lost XX and YY due to them”. And when you finally ask how he thinks ‘they’ are solely responsible for his woes and how he seeks to alleviate them by torching the house, you are cut to pieces.

[to be continued...]


  1. Well,
    All that you say is true. But what do you think can be done? one is born with certain beliefs and brought up with more of them. There are kids who are taught from day 1 to bring down the other sect/religion/cult. Its not even smoke or booze or drugs to run a rehab. We probably need a new race, a new generation of rational thinkers, who can "probably" change(?) the scenario. I know each person ( who doesn't wanna jump off the cliff with the rest of the world) can make a difference. But how big a difference?

    PS: I read your aricle about games on linux. KNEW your name was familiar!
    waiting for part 2....

  2. Sunshine, yes... but what is CAM?

    Poorna, welcome here. What we can do is what will be coming up in parts 2 and 3. But you think the little difference will not cause any stir? Look at it this way: when you throw a starfish back into the water from the beach, it makes no difference to the the world, but it does cause a a difference to the starfish.

    P.S.- You read my article?? Whew! I'm famous :) Thanks... will check your place now.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts