Sunday, June 03, 2007

Religion, Caste, Sikhs, Rajasthan

Sikhs are supposed to be caste-less. Sikhism was founded as a heterodox alternative to the hitherto incompatible Islam and Hinduism. Guru Nanak did not ask his followers to renounce their religions - instead he asked them to realize that they were all followers of the same God. That's the theory. Where is Sikhism today?

A big caste-divide. Separate langars for Dalit Sikhs and other Sikhs. Sikhs who have other caste names. A mostly Dalit Sikh organisation which seems to have tried to go back to the basics - although the Mercs of the leader seem incongruous. So what do the Sikh leaders do? Destroy the Dalit Sikh organisation of course. How can they tolerate such a blatant display of what they're supposed to be?

Moving on to Rajasthan for one comedy and one tragedy.

Some over-zealous BJP functionaries portrayed the CM as 'Annapurna' along with a trinity of the BJP bigwigs. Now the BJP folks have shown their righteous indignation at this sacrilege, and the wife of Jaswant Singh, BJP's ex-Cabinet Minister has filed suit against the perpetrators of this evil act that is designed to inflame religious sentiments. Time-pass!!!

Now for tragedy.

The Jats who were OC, were moved into the OBC category. The Gujjars who were OBC lost half their seats to the newly minted OBC Jats. They wanted their share of seats back - and logically they figure they can achieve it by becoming ST. The BJP promised the Gujjars ST status. Small snag, only the Central Govt can designate a community as SC or ST. The UPA central govt. is in no mood to fulfill the poll promises of the BJP.

Let's throw into the pot the Meenas who are currently ST and are worried that they'd lose their share of seats to the Gujjars.

And a conflagration ensues that would put to shame any civilized state.

Such is life with religion. Get rid of foolish, archaic, beliefs. Get rid of societal friction.

Let's try to move into the third millenium shall we?


Goli said...

I sometimes wonder, how have people come to identify themselves with religion, or it is just because of the forms that we fill that reinforces us to think and belive that I am a hindu or whatsoever... I come from a strange community... we pray to all rama krishna... go to gurudwaras and the equivalent expressions of "Oh God!" is "Hai Allah".. and I sometimes think that as communities we had certain beliefs and later people started categorizing them as religions. sometimes think it is more political than anything else.

GeekBeyondRedemption said...

Why do you wonder?

It's mostly because parents indoctrinate their kids into their religion. The surrounding community then takes this further by organising religious festivals centered around the temples, etc.

Your community must have started like the Sikh community perhaps - with one person trying out some new combo, which clicked with impressionable minds.

Perhaps your parents were not the hardcore religious type? I know folks who go to the temple once a day, perform all kinds of fasts, and observe some kind of restrictions based on the phases of the moon.

And religions *must* have developed out of a need to assert power over other groups of people. "I won over you because my God is stronger than your God. So now you pray to my God" - is something you can see in any mythology we have.

Nithya said...

I think god and the concept of fate came to be because certain people (who became the upper classes) realized that if people are made to think that their 'fate' is already decided, then they would do nothing about improving their lives and could be made puppets and puppets they will make of their children. This made it much simpler for these folks to get their things done however they wanted it, cos the people who would slog and do the difficult work would not complain, thinking that they are meant to be that way. And these people would live comfortably, saying that they were born to lead comfortable lives.
A definite way to maintain status quo forever once a hierarchy was achieved.

How irritating is it to hear people say, 'enga thalaila idhu dhaan ezhudhi irukku. vaera edhuvum nenachaalum nadakaadhu. kadavulaa paatha dhaan edhuvum nadakkum'

GeekBeyondRedemption said...

Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to incompetence. It's more likely that religion developed, and then became a tool for keeping power, than religion being developed by someone as a tool for keeping power.

Although the latter has a living example in Scientology. Your proposition is mildly disproved because strictures were in place for all classes of people - not just for the lower class.